With over 150 million active users worldwide, Instagram has become such a successful marketing tool for many brands. Like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is also a leader when it comes to social media marketing, but with the added personal touch to its followers. In addition, it’s mobile, simple and very easy on the eyes since Instagram is primarily composed of images shared by numerous users. It’s common for brands to think that social media apps like Instagram can be used to sell. Though this is true, users on Instagram are more sensitive to the hard sell tactic, and this is one of the main reasons users may stop following a brand on Instagram. So the question remains: How do you build your audience through Instagram marketing?
Instagram advertising can become successful, given the right audience. If your brand has an Instagram account with a tiny following, here are some ways you can amass a wider audience for more effective marketing:
Keep Your Channels Connected
Instagram probably isn’t the only social media channel you use to promote your brand. You may also have a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest account to boost your marketing strategy. If this is the case, it’s important that you keep your accounts connected so that your followers in one social media site can also be your followers in the others. With Instagram, you can link your posts to your Facebook page or your Twitter account, and you can even embed Instagram posts straight to your site. Connecting your channels is simple, but it’s definitely effective for building up your audience.
Make Your Profile Stand Out
With just one look at your brand’s Instagram profile, would you be enticed to follow it?
When it comes to making your brand’s profile stand out, it’s important that you choose the right images. Use a profile picture that represents your brand, such as your logo or your most iconic product. For your cover photo, choose something that represents your brand as a whole. For instance, brands that have a very strong environmental advocacy can show how their products are sustainable and eco-friendly. As for your profile’s bio, keep it short and simple, and add a link to your official site.
Make a Personal Connection
As you know, posting an image on Instagram will lower the resolution of your original image. With fun filters to use, ads that are magazine-worthy may not reflect as well. Instead of opting for professionally made images, keep them a little more down to earth. For instance, camera phone pictures of actual people using your products may show that regular people are into your products too. Images showing what goes on behind the scenes also show your audience that your brand’s employees are regular people who are passionate about what they do.
In addition, knowing what your audience wants and their motivation for following your Instagram account would also give you tons of insight into what posts would work. Audience engagement is the key here. See if your promotional posts get more engagement or if it’s the more personal posts that they respond to. Try to go for what your audience wants to see instead of repeatedly posting promotional photos. Other like-minded people on Instagram may then be more encouraged to follow your brand.
Know How to Use Hashtags
How many hashtags is ideal? According to a study by Track Maven, posts with five hashtags received the most interaction.
In knowing this, you can reuse hashtags that have already been extensively used in your other social media channels. This enforces the hashtag, and your brand along with it. The best hashtags for your Instagram account are the short, simple ones that are easy to remember. Keep them fairly consistent with your brand’s image, and encourage your audience to follow suit. Once a hashtag gains traction, use it whenever it’s relevant to your post so that your brand will pop up whenever your hashtag keyword is being searched for.
Keep Your Posts Interesting
The definition of interesting is entirely dependent on your audience. Images that would grab the attention of your audience are the key to gaining a larger online following. Make sure that your posts are relevant to both your brand and your audience. For example, a product shot would be seen as bland, boring and an attempt as a hard sell. Instead of doing this, you can make your post more interesting by adding a question, a quote, a bit of trivia or even change the image to something that shows how useful your product is. You can also forego a promotional image for something a little more fun and, as stated earlier, a little more personal. For instance, a fashion brand can take photos of people wearing their brand, and thus showing what other accessories go with that particular item.
Make Use of Peak Time Posts
Knowing your audience’s peak time allows you to post whenever they’re active and online. These peak times usually occur after work hours or during weekends. However, the time zones of your followers may not always be the same. It may be best to study when your followers are generally most active, so that you can plan your posts based on their peak activity hours as opposed to just their respective time zones. In addition, never bombard your audience with numerous posts during these peak times. Your best course of action is to have a few hours between each daily post.
Follow and Be Followed
If your brand has a relatively small audience, you can always follow back your followers. Reaching out is a great way of showing that you also care about your audience. Like, repost and comment on your audience’s posts from time to time. It makes them feel like they’re being singularly picked out, and thus makes them feel special, especially if they’ve been following your brand for a long time. In doing this, you’re also showing your audience’s followers that you interact and engage with your audience on a regular basis, and thus would encourage them to follow you.