Instagram is a powerful tool for your business.
As an image-sharing social network, it’s eye-catching and engaging. It allows you to share visual content about your business as well as your services and products to connect with your customers on a more personal level.
With over 500 million monthly active users, you can bet your customers are on the platform, and your competitors too. That means your business should be there.
Whether you’re already on Instagram or just getting started, these 15 I’s will put you on the path to Instagram success.
Instagram is just that – instantaneous. It’s a way for you to post pictures or short videos and connect with your customers for an instant, sometimes in an instant.
When done well and implemented correctly, your Instagram posts drive traffic back to your site and build brand awareness.
Social media is a great way to introduce your brand to new customers and maintain contact with current customers.
With Instagram, you give potential customers a glimpse into who you are as a brand and give them a chance to get to know you.
It’s an introduction to your brand and from there, you can build a relationship.
Instagram is all about the images, and with the introduction of video and stories, an imagery experience.
What you post reflects on your brand, so make sure the images you’re posting are relevant to your business and are high quality.
You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional photographer and set up a traditional shoot, most smartphone cameras will take a quality photo for Instagram. Then again, professional photography doesn’t hurt either.
As with all social media, interaction is key.
When you post images, be sure to add a request for interaction like asking questions, sharing quotes, stats, or stories, and using hashtags.
Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post.
However, just because they allow it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to pack 30 hashtags into every caption. The sweet spot tends to be around 4-5 hashtags, but depending on the content of the post, it can range above 11.
Your best bet is to let the content of your posts drive your hashtag strategy. Research the relevant hashtags for the topic of your post, choose the best ones, and go with those.
Just be sure to stay relevant. It can be tempting to jump on trending hashtags, but do your research first and only partake if it’s relevant. Otherwise, you could end up as a brand hashtag fail.
Another great way to interact is to like and comment on other users’ content and to repost content from others. There isn’t a way to repost easily within the Instagram app, but there are other apps you can integrate to do so (Repost for Instagram is a good one).
Just make sure you’re attributing the content back to the original poster. Reposting content with attribution is curation, without attribution it’s stealing.
Influencers are your key to reaching completely new audiences in social media.
These are high-profile users who have grown a big audience of followers who like what they post and trust the content they post.
As a brand, it’s difficult for you to break into the conversation as a trusted source in an audience like that, but if an influencer introduces you, you’re likely to receive a much warmer welcome.
That’s the power of relationships with influencers.
A post from an influencer is not only an introduction to their audience but also is oftentimes viewed by their followers as a recommendation from the influencer.
Start by identifying the influencers in your industry, then start building relationships with them. Offer them value first before you talk about how to leverage the relationship.
Keep in mind, if you are paying your influencer in any way, they need to say so when they are sharing the content you’ve agreed upon – it’s legally required and skipping it could get you into big trouble with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
Social media is about information.
So, make sure your users are informed about you by completing your profile.
A complete profile is another trust signal to indicate you are a real brand, you care about the details, and you want your customers to know who you are.
Plus, you’re allowed to put a link in your profile. Normally, this is a link to your website, but you can always switch it out for short-term promotions or campaigns.
Successful social media posts are inspiring. They touch people’s emotions and inspire them to action, even if it’s only a like or a re-post.
Make sure your posts are inspiring the right reactions in your audience.
Add a CTA (call-to-action) to your caption in the form of a question or request to encourage your audience to take an action, whether it’s to tag a friend who would like the post, visit a landing page, or something else.
You should have a social media strategy in place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities.
If something cool happens around the office, be ready to snap a picture and improvise a post to invite your audience into the fun.
It’ll keep your feed interesting and your audience interested.
Innovation is at the heart of any successful marketing, social media or otherwise.
Create a posting strategy and stick to it for a bit to see what happens. Refine your strategy and test. Try new things and test the results.
Repeat the process of innovation and testing to keep your strategy up to date with your audience.
This will ensure you’re providing the best content for your audience and will also keep your feed from going stagnant.
What you post on Instagram is all about interest.
Based on your buyer personas (a.k.a. ideal customer profiles), ask yourself:
“Will my audience find this interesting?”
If the content you post doesn’t pique their interest, they’ll never take a second look and you can forget about interaction.
Find out as much as you can about your audience on Instagram – what types of content do they like and share, who do they follow, etc. Then, build your posting strategy around what they’re most likely to find interesting and valuable.
Instagram is a visual platform. Content is posted as images or short videos.
Once you know what your audience finds interesting, you’ll also get a feel for the content they can’t resist.
Content that inspires your audience to interact with it is irresistible.
Continue trying new things and testing until you find the topics and formats your audience can’t ignore.
When it comes to your brand, identity is everything.
Your brand identity should be conveyed through everything, from your print collateral and your website to the messaging you use on social media and the images you choose to share on Instagram.
Use Instagram to develop another pathway for customers to get to know your brand and build awareness.
When it comes to your content, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. However, it can provide you with valuable information.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing on Instagram and focus on what works the best for them. Then, take the ideas that work the best, make them your own, and test them with your audience.
As long as your audiences are similar (and if they’re the right competitors, they should be), the types of content that perform well for your competitors are likely to perform well for you as well.
Just remember to make it your own, no one likes a copycat.
Make sure the content you’re sharing on Instagram (and on other social media platforms) will make an impact.
When your audience is scrolling through their feed, your content has a lot of competition.
Not only does it have to stand out to catch their attention so they stop scrolling, but then it has to keep their attention long enough to make a connection as well.
If your content can make an impact on your audience, interactions will follow.
Your strategy on Instagram cannot exist in a vacuum.
Building your follower count and getting a lot of interaction on your posts is great, but if you don’t tie it back to your website or your other marketing efforts, it doesn’t do you much good.
You have to integrate Instagram with your other marketing efforts to get the most out of it.
Social media can be a lot to take in, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Take your time, listen, try new things, keep testing, and enjoy the results.
See you in the social sphere!
Still have questions about social media?
Contact the VIG team for a chat!