Instagram recently announced that they’ve gained over 300 million users, even surpassing their much older cousin Twitter. “Over the past four years, what began as two friends with a dream has grown into a global community that shares more than 70 million photos and videos each day,” writes co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom of Instagram, a Facebook-owned social photo-sharing app born in 2010. Not to mention users tap the like button 2.5 million times daily, proving that I am not the only like-aholic out there.
#1: Build a community around an actionable hashtag:
The great thing about this strategy is that it can be leveraged across other social networks like Twitter and Pinterest, but works so well on Instagram and is the perfect way to get your audience to engage with your brand. Not only is the timing exceptional, but it gives Instagram users the ability to interact with your brand
Why is this hashtag so successful? Well, being in the relaxing industry of touch doesn’t hurt, but Infatuation leverages their customer photos to give a shout-out to their followers and also post to their own page.
#2: Partner with a good cause that supports your brand’s values
We've observed a few brands that I follow who take a unique approach to their posts by promoting and sharing their partnerships with their followers.
BONUS tip: Also keep in mind that Instagram isn’t as strict as Twitter with its character limits when captioning a photo, but that doesn’t mean that you should be writing a novel beneath each post. Short, sweet, and effective in the approach I’d recommend when captioning your photos.
#3: Relate to your followers while staying relevant to your brand
You always want to be thinking in the mindset of your target consumer(s). Likely you’ve already established a few buyer personas and have an idea of the makeup of the leads you’re nurturing and the customers you’re delighting.
#4: PLEASE don’t over post
This tip is pretty self-explanatory, but for those new to the platform please note that over-posting is a big insta-no-no!
We don’t want our photo feeds cluttered with posts from one person, that’s when your posts go from enjoyable to migraine-inducing, and your followers lose interest and visit your page for the last time to unsubscribe for life.
#5: Promote your Instagram everywhere
For example do you have social icons on your homepage or product pages connecting visitors to your social channels? An Instagram icon needs to be added as well. When setting up your account you should first be connecting with Facebook to pull in your friends, but this is just the start of promoting your channel.
You should be running Instagram campaigns across your social networks and sending out reminders to employees, brand-ambassadors, and partners (basically anyone who’s established a positive relationship with your brand) to use your business hashtag and any hashtags that are relevant or important to a marketing campaign running.
#6: Find the beauty in your brand (even if your offerings are ugly)
A lot of B2B companies have already ruled Instagram out as an unusable platform for their business. Their mind-set being that they don’t sell food, beer, or clothing; their products are either unattractive or intangible so why would they use a photo-sharing application?
Take photographs in the office or of your work environment to give your followers a sneak-peak into the day-to-day of your company’s unique culture. Get your employees involved so all of the work doesn’t fall on your shoulders; for example create a unique hashtag for your company’s holiday party and have all of your employees add the hashtag to the pictures they take at the soiree. This way you can repost pictures taken by employees and create buzz around popular hashtags.
#7: Utilize all the tools Instagram has to offer
Three months ago Instagram released a suite of business tools to help brands analyze the performance of their posts. The highlight of this release is that these tools are available to all businesses, not just the select brands with advertising capabilities.
The tools include account insights like impressions, reach, engagement, ad insights – this feature is for paid advertisements only, but gives the advertise more detail into brand analytics, and ad staging, which allows businesses to work together to preview, save, and collaborate on their ad creative. No, these tools are not perfect, but they’re a start into getting a clearer picture on how effective your posts are performing.
#8: Get inspiration from others
“Steal ideas from other companies”: this was the advice my first manager at my first job gave me when I hit an inspirational road blocker. It became obvious advice once I thought it through and is genius when it comes to Instagram.
#9: Interact with Others on Instagram to Grow Your Following
We’ve talked a lot about promoting your Instagram, posting engaging, quality images, using hashtags to create buzz, and gaining inspiration from others, but another critical step in the process is interacting with your followers and the people you want to follow you. If you’re already posting follow-worthy content then start liking, commenting and following others.
So search popular hashtags and like away! Write complementary comments on peoples post and #regram images while giving credit to the original post.
If you’re not Insta-successful after following these tips then there might be something seriously wrong with your business. Only kidding, but these tidbits of advice should get you off to a running start on the platform so dig your iPhone out of your pocket and start snapping photos at every opportunity because Instagram is where it’s at!