Social media marketing will remain a cornerstone of running a successful business in 2018. At the bare minimum, your company should have a strong brand presence on Facebook and Twitter. However, if you want to truly tempt potential customers and increase overall reach and engagement, you should also dip your feet into the world of visual social platforms.
Visual social platforms, like Instagram and Pinterest, provide a completely different experience from their text-based counterparts. And this is no surprise, given that visuals are processed up to 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
Of course, no two social media sites are completely the same. So, when you’re establishing your brand on a new platform, it’s vital that you develop a new strategy to support your social media marketing plan.
Feeling overwhelmed? That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a list of five ways to make Instagram work for your business.
Let’s get started!
1. Tailor Your Strategy
The first thing you should consider when developing your brand on Instagram is what your audience wants to see. It might be tempting to copy the aesthetics or hashtag usage of already well-known brands, but understand that what works for Coca-Cola might not fly with your own business. If you must take inspiration from other Instagrams, let yourself be motivated by companies with a similar target market.
For instance, if you’re marketing a jewelry brand that you want to ooze luxury, your Instagram should reflect that. Focus on taking professional photographs (absolutely no selfies allowed!) that depict the product and the glamorous lifestyle you’d like consumers to associate with your brand, as you can see on this company’s Instagram page. Also be sure that your bio matches your upmarket theme by avoiding slang, emoji and too many hashtags.
2. Be Consistent
Consistency is key in marketing. That means posting frequently and using the same tone. This will help customers and fans become accustomed to your brand’s style and forge a stronger sense of brand loyalty.
You should also aim to be consistent in the types of images you post, as a social media report found that 60% of the top brands on Instagram use the same filter for every post they make. This means that fans can instantly identify your content as they’re scrolling through their already busy feeds and will be more likely to stop and engage with your posts.
Additionally, using a filter that gives your images a similar color scheme will make your Instagram profile more pleasing to the eye and encourage viewers to spend longer on the page.
Instagram comes with a number of filters, but you can also create your own unique filter in Photoshop or another image editor and import it to give your brand a truly unique signature look.
3. Use Competitors to Engage Followers
As a visual platform, Instagram is ideal for utilizing user-generated content. Not only does user-generated content add a little twist to your regularly scheduled programming, but it also works to humanize your brand and cement the relationship you have with your fans.
One way to elicit user-generated content is to host a competition. There are various types of competitions you can run, from a basic “Like to Win” scheme to more complex contests that require users to really interact with your brand and products.
In terms of generating greater engagement and reach for your brand, “Hashtag User-Generated Content” contests are king.
Along with deepening the emotional connection between your brand persona and the consumer, they can also create an enormous amount of traction for your company by spreading your hashtag over a greater distance.
This occurs as a fan uses your contest hashtag, exposing their friends, family and other followers to your brand, potentially earning you new followers in the process. The best images produced by fans can also then be disseminated as authentic marketing images created by genuine product lovers.
4. Build Relationships with Influencers
One element of Instagram that you may not have experienced on Facebook is the power of “Influencers.” Influencers are essentially the popular kids of Instagram and the celebrities of the digital age.
Track down influential Instagram users that are relevant to your particular industry and reach out to them for collaboration. A collaboration could be anything from providing an influencer with your product to review to asking them to film a brief commercial with you. This method is effective because recent research has shown that social media stars now have almost the same level of influence on consumer buying behaviors as a friend or family member.
And, of course, the most popular influencers have upwards of 10 million followers, giving you access to a whole different level of exposure.
5. Don’t Forget the Text
While Instagram is a predominantly visual social media platform, that doesn’t mean you can totally neglect the text.
Posting images without captions is like throwing an opportunity for promotion out the window! Elizabeth Holmes wisely describes it as a way to “help a visual rise above the digital clutter” — and there’s certainly plenty of that on Instagram.
A clever phrase can make the content more memorable and cause the reader to associate warmness and approachability with your brand. Additionally, throwing in a hashtag or two (don’t go crazy) can increase engagement by a whopping 12.6%. Finally, don’t forget to fill in your bio with relevant keywords to improve your SEO.
Social media marketing is no easy feat, especially if you’re a small company that’s still struggling to establish your brand identity online. However, by applying these five simple tips, you can quickly and easily take your social media marketing strategy to the next level and drastically increase your overall engagement metrics.