How to Brand your business using Instagram
Over the years social media has emerged as a powerful marketing tool, some studies claim that one in three people use social media regularly. Instagram is the photo and video sharing app that was acquired by Facebook in 2012, and for good reason. Unlike Facebook, Instagram is a more compact platform that solely focuses on sharing photo and video content. Today Instagram hosts over a billion user-profiles and more than 25 million businesses. Naturally, it becomes an effective platform for sellers to market their ware and ensure their content is visible to a large audience. The social media giant provides unparalleled opportunities to create intriguing brand stories around high-quality images and video.
Thanks to Instagram, giving your brand a name and a face is as easy as it gets. One can share stories about business practices, manufacturing processes and other related content to the target audience, this increases the credibility and trust in the brand.
The true potential of Instagram lies in its ability to connect with users, with one of the largest active user bases across various social media platforms, it commands over 120 times the user engagement as compared to Twitter. The chances of a user interacting with a post on Instagram than on any other platform is exceptionally high.
All content on Instagram can easily share with any user on the platform and across other platforms, this implies that one can create a post on Instagram and simultaneously share it on other platforms greatly widening the contents reach.
Instagram can provide the much-required boost to your user-generated content marketing strategy. Many businesses share user-generated content (pictures, videos, and posts) after getting user permission. Posting user-generated content that features customers do not just drive sales, but also opens doors to new opportunities to engage them.
Tips for Branding your business using Instagram:
1. Create a comprehensive and impactful profile:
The first step in using Instagram is to create a profile, in terms of business Instagram gives the user the choice of switching/creating a business profile. Using a business profile has its benefits and it is highly recommended to do so when creating a profile for a business. On using a business profile, Instagram gives the user access to analytical tools which helps the user monitor their followers base and also the persons who have interacted with the profile as well as content performance. This can allow the user to edit or modify content to better attract/suit their customers fancy. A business profile will also allow you to create and publish content without having to use advertising tools. Additionally, business profiles get a contact button that users can click to get in touch with the business. Having a comprehensive and self-explanatory bio is extremely important. Ensure that your bio remains professional and reveals exactly what the business deals in and compliments the content that follows. Create a bio that grabs eyeballs, include branded hashtags, and a slogan or a brief description that captures the essence of your brand. Use a relevant link that takes users to your homepage or a current promotion. It is important to note that before creating a profile one must take the necessary steps in trying to understand your audience on the platform. This is critical no matter what marketing you produce. You might create the most beautiful Instagram content in the world, but if it doesn’t appeal to your target buyer, what’s the point?
Instagram stories are a useful feature in keeping your followers up to date with daily activities in your business, be it packaging, dispatching, manufacturing etc. Instagram stories help in increasing engagement with your base. This feature occupies a niche between significant posts that may feature new product launches and important updates and posts which may not be so significant to warrant a permanent post. This is where stories come into play. They are temporary and self-delete after a day, however, it is more effective in increasing engagement than normal posts are. Stories can be used in different ways to promote products/services and one way is that of programming. One can persuade the user who has recently purchased a product to post a story with it if he or she is satisfied with it. You may then regram this story on your business profile. This is a form of free marketing where you can showcase an entire sales journey and a satisfied client in a single story. This greatly increases the trust and confidence in a brand in the eyes of the users who view that story and eventually increase sales.
3. Use appropriate hashtags:
Hashtags help in organising and categorizing image and video content to find content more easily. If you want users to find your content (especially those who do not follow your business), use hashtags. Adding a hashtag to an image will ensure that that image features when any user searches for that hashtag. Usually in a business profile hashtags are kept relevant to the image and not overdone. Also, overused hashtags are not used as there is no saying where the image may feature in the hashtags huge directory. There are 2 main options while choosing hashtags for your post. First are general hashtags, these are hashtags that correctly describe an image. For example, an image of a car may have hashtags such as #car #ride #whip #wheels etc. These hashtags are however excessively common and will not increase your visibility, especially to your target audience. It is thus useful to use niche hashtags relevant to the post in question that will help make the post more readily visible to the relevant persons. A quick google can assist in niche hashtags for the industry in question. Post planner is a good site to explore this. The second is branded hashtags, If you’re launching an Instagram campaign, a branded hashtag is a must. This applies to contests, influencer shoutouts (keep reading), or new product launches. Branded hashtags are specific tags that only apply to your brand. They could be your brand name, the name of a product or person, or something special you’ve created for your campaign. Branded hashtags are much easier to track because they’re almost always used to talk about your brand. Track the reach of your hashtags throughout a campaign to help judge whether the campaign was a success.
4. Tie-Up with influencers:
Influencers on Instagram have become power brokers of sorts of late, having a huge following they push or promote products that have an unparalleled reach and trust. Having an influencer promote your products is a huge advantage for your business. They are in themselves credible profiles and garnering such huge support means that your brand’s visibility can be increased exponentially. Influencers are responsible for one out of every 3 sales made on Instagram today, and they can single-handedly turn the tables on lagging or plateaued business. This however can come at a cost with upper-tier influencers commanding some exorbitant rates for product promotion or showcasing. Many businesses choose to incur this cost as the ROI is usually decent. To make their services more affordable to smaller businesses influencers have a range of promotional activities that suit a wide range of budgets. A slightly different way of using this service can be tied up with micro-influencers too. These are a niche brand of influencers who have smaller followings but can actively engage with a larger number of people, this customer engagement can not only build credibility in a brand but can also translate into sales thanks to the magic of a personal touch, they might not be able to command as much visibility but they make up for it with their higher engagement and lower cost. Depending on the product and the business model, one can either tie up with full-fledged influencers or micro-influencers to promote their products.
5. Post at the right time:
Instagram is not what it used to be before where a user would chronologically see posts on his feed beginning with the most recent. Today there is an algorithm that dictates what posts you see and when you see them and if you see them at all. Posts that have more engagements figure high on this list and are featured on top of a users feed irrespective of when the day the post was posted. This can be an issue for a business as if a post does not garner enough engagements it may not figure in a users feed at all unless the user actively searches for the post and that is akin to the post being invisible to the user. Posting at the right time is therefore vital to the visibility of your posts. Surveys suggest that the best time to post on Instagram to gain maximum visibility is between 7-9 pm. However, this can be misleading as a business needs to consider when THEIR audience is using the app the most. Instagram analytics can help a business decide the best time to post to make the post most visible. For example, if your audience is mostly office goers then usually lunchtime may be the best time to post something as this is the time they might get time to actively browse Instagram and thus see your post. This may apply to both posts and stories depending on where the business would like more engagement. In the end, it’ll take a little research to figure out what works best for you. Monitor your posts – and your competitors’ – to arrive at an optimum posting schedule for your account.
6. Post Quality content:
This is probably the most vital aspect of using Instagram to market products. Content marketing is as applicable in this platform as any else. People respond to quality content even if it’s not with commercial intent. Quality content creates an imprint in the minds of people which can cause them to recall it when they see similar posts from the same business or other businesses. It creates a kind of organic connection with users which automatically makes them appreciate the brand despite having never used their products; just simply based on a simple post. Along with a well-taken image, it is important to give the image a useful and informative synopsis as well. This goes a long way in increasing not only a posts visibility but also a profiles reach and authority. Along with posting quality content, a business must post regularly as well. This is important from the point of view of always being not only in the feed of a user but helping them recall every time a post is made. Irregular or infrequent posts can cause users to forget about a profile and decrease their organic connection towards it.
Social media marketing is not an excuse to spam your followers with nothing but sales material, it is vital to engage your followers as much as possible. For one, it makes your company feel more human and less corporate. Also, the more that users share and comment on your content, the easier it is for new users to find it. Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content with higher engagement, and you want to appear in as many feeds as possible. To get the best out of Instagram note that one may have to pay for a whole range of services so be ready for that. As we’ve discussed, you can’t just share photos of your products and hope that people will buy them. Your followers will quickly tune out, and you’re unlikely to attract new ones. Instead, you want to vary the kinds of content you share, to keep your followers happy and interested.