- Instagram is a primarily visual platform in which accounts share photos, videos, and special posts called Stories. The community appreciates engagement, entertainment, and education above all else.
- Building your brand presence on Instagram happens when you regularly engage with your target audience and provide valuable content.
- To reach more people, you must release high quality content with the right combination of hashtags to break through the noise.
One billion people log on to Instagram every month. One billion. That’s an enormous potential audience, and it’s one that’s eager to consume great content. Unlike Facebook, where people are primarily browsing their friends’ posts, or Twitter, where folks are inundated by news and trends, Instagram is a place for fun and education.
Studies show that consumers enjoy engaging with their favorite brands on Instagram. With the platform’s focus on visual content and great senses of humor, it’s no wonder that your business can make meaningful connections with your target audience on Instagram. So, how can you make this wonderful, sometimes wild platform work for your needs?
The Basics Of Instagram
Instagram is, at its core, a social network for sharing photos and videos. Humans are highly visual creatures, and they love scrolling their Instagram feeds to see all sorts of interesting content. The platform nourishes this obsession by allowing users to follow accounts and hashtags.
The main feed then collects the latest content for them to like, comment on, and share with their friends. They can also browse “Stories,” which exist for just 24 hours and typically contain short updates, whimsical photos, or opportunities for engagement (e.g. polls).
Users can also use the “Discovery” feature to see other posts that Instagram thinks they will enjoy. The platform’s algorithm analyzes each person’s behavior and interests to serve them high quality content. The more someone uses the platform, the more relevant posts they will see. The Discovery page is an excellent way to find new accounts to follow, hence the name.
Establishing A Brand Presence On Instagram
Businesses can use Instagram to drive traffic to their site and nurture leads. However, the highly visual nature of the platform and the tendency of many users to seek enriching, entertaining content both mean that this is NOT the place for general promotion and sales pitches. Instead, businesses should take this opportunity to grow their brand’s reputation. If people feel that they have a valuable experience with a business, they’re more likely to buy. Instagram is an excellent way to provide that value.
To start, set up your business profile with your logo and a compelling bio. You should give potential followers a brief yet engaging description of what they can expect to see from you. Include your core value proposition to show why people should care about your business.
Next, develop your content strategy. People are fatigued by promotional content and want to have a good time on Instagram. When crafting your posts, think outside the box. You can show behind the scenes content, how to videos, fact sheets and infographics, and so on. Think about the problems that your business solves for customers. Then, translate those solutions into high value social posts.
Getting Followers On Instagram
There are millions of accounts on Instagram, which means it can be hard to convince people to follow your brand. You must provide enough value that users will want to see your content in their daily feed. Anything that seems inconsistent, insincere, or overly promotional can get you unfollowed, so tread carefully!
The best way to grow your following is to engage with potential followers. Take it slow and steady. Identify your ideal leads and customers, then like and comment on their posts. Start establishing your reputation in the communities you serve. Instagram is all about value and trust, so don’t rush things.
Next, reach new followers by posting highly discoverable content. This is where hashtags and the Discovery tab come in. Try to use low competition, niche hashtags that interest your target audience. If you stick to wildly popular hashtags, you’ll lose out to more established accounts on the platform. Aim for a mix of 1 to 2 high volume tags and 4 to 6 niche tags. This combination will help you reach the right people through Discovery.
Show Up Every Day
Instagram is constantly changing, and its users want to see fresh, exciting content every time they log on. Once you’ve immersed and established your brand in your target communities, maintain your presence and continue growing your reputation. Instagram users do tend to unfollow inactive accounts, or they may cease to trust you if you only show up once in a blue moon. To maximize the benefit of your Instagram profile, post and engage regularly and predictably.
Stories are one of your best bets for Instagram success. When you post a Story, it appears at the top of your followers’ Home feeds. It’s also a great way to make your followers feel special and included, while your static posts may get lost in the feed. Take time to develop some intriguing Story ideas, and post at least one per day if not more.
Ultimately, the more you use Instagram for business, the more value you will gain from it. The platform offers an amazing opportunity to nurture lasting relationships with customers who appreciate your brand. But to achieve this, you must show up regularly and provide consistent value. After all, Instagram is a social network, and that’s especially true for this community driven platform. Make friends with your target audience, and your brand’s reputation will grow.