Instagram is one of our favourite social media channels, and for many small businesses its one of the most effective platforms for reaching a large following for free. The reason Instagram is such a great platform is because of the snappy and reactive realtime visual content. Your audience here are like social carnivores - literally hungry for giant chunks of meaty engaging content.
If you're a business with a strong visual product or message that can be conveyed through photography you can create fun, relevant and topical content with ease. All you need is a camera with a smart phone and a bit of imagination.
As though with any social media network, there are rules to be mindful of. Not only out of respect to your audience but to make sure your message is having the best impact it possibly can. So just what are the top tips to make the most of promoting your business on Instagram?
Instagram is all about quality imagery. The more of your brand personality you can inject through your photos the better. Don't post a stream of un-creative, dull, standard images work on posting 3 - 4 photos a day that really stand out and represent what your business is about. Posting 3 - 4 decent images that are aligned to your brand ethics will ensure that when your pictures appear in consumer feeds they instantly associate that picture with your product.
If you take a look at the Instagram account for fashion trend retailer Pretty Little Thing you will see that all of their photos follow a regular pattern.
Their 'Instaquotes' are branded with the Pretty Little Thing icon, their beauty shots are colour themed to their Instagram trend of the day and they tap into the hot trends of the moment both for fashion and accessories.
Don't Go OTT
If you're on social media then the term hashtag will be familiar to you. They are searchable terms that people will type into their social media feeds to find content associated with that term. When used well you can pick up quality followers, piggy back on the latest trends and build good interaction with fans. The key though is to find a balance on using them effectively. To avoid going over the top in your Instagram pictures focus on no more than 5 - 10 hashtags and vary the ones used on each image to find out what works best for your business.
Some businesses such as The White Company will also adopt their own hashtag that customers can use to tag their brand online so they can monitor real-time content and engage appropriately.
Embrace the Filters
Not everyone is a dab hand at photo editing and that's why Instagram comes with handy built in filters to improve your imagery. To work out what works best for your product photos experiment before posting. If you want to see what some of the most popular Instagram filters are then there is a brilliant blog on this.
When you find your perfect filter stick with it as yet again it breeds familiarity amongst your followers. If you're really struggling to find one you like check out the editing app Afterlight which has another 75 filters to inspire you.
Disney are well known for their love of the Juno filter and many of their daily Instagram posts use this filter for continuity.
Instagram is about engaging with your followers. Spend a few minutes each day responding to questions on your posts, commenting on other photos you like and even mentioning other brands in order to build your own account and be part of the community.
One of the best brands on Instagram for social engagement is innocent smoothies. Selling over 2 million smoothies a week they know what they're doing and innocent have become known for their innovative, playful and soft-sale social presence. Like their juices, their content is fresh, different and stands out from the crowd. The most obvious thing about the content that innocent posts is that it 100% matches their name - it is all entirely innocent. Every photo is fun, light-hearted and suitable for any audience. It is inoffensive, good humoured entertainment.
Instagram is an incredibly powerful tool for sharing visual content (both images and video) and could perhaps be the most important branding tool that you use for internet marketing. Businesses have taken to it like wildfire thanks to its cost effectiveness for raising brand awareness.
Like many other social media channels available, in order to be successful it is critical that your business takes the time to understand how Instagram works before jumping on board.
Hopefully, this blog post illustrating some of the tips and tricks for using Instagram for business will prove to be beneficial to you to increase your exposure, traffic, and branding on this increasingly popular social network.
To learn more about using Instagram as a branding tool for your business, please contact us at TiCK Business.