Instagram has become known as the place to share photos and videos of everything from cute kids and puppies, to your morning latte, and everything in between. But from a brand marketer’s perspective, Instagram can be a valuable resource for increasing followers, promoting brand awareness, and giving a voice to the brand itself. And while there is no magic formula for success, here are 8 marketing tips for brands to be successful on Instagram.
- Define Your Voice.
Social media is, at the most basic level, a means of communicating with the world at large. How you present your brand is defined by the voice behind your content. Are you funny? Knowledgeable? Trustworthy? Sentimental? Determining your voice can depend greatly on the type of business you’re in. Most of the time, brands have a built-in voice that resonates with the type of business or industry. For example: Taco Bell has a fun and playful voice, and being a fast food brand makes that a natural fit. Figure out what works best for your brand and make sure your voice is in the same scope.
- Give “Insider” Access.
Behind every brand is a team of people that make things happen. Showing that team in action and giving behind-the-scenes access can make followers feel like they are a part of the action, and possibly increase brand loyalty and conversions. Take ThirdLove as an example. ThirdLove is a bra and underwear company designed to make undergarments as comfortable as possible for women. They also frequently feature the members of the team behind the product, and also feature inspiring messages from powerful women all throughout history, including founder Heidi Zak.
- Spend Some Money.
While participation on Instagram is free, utilizing Instagram advertising can boost your brand to new levels by exposing content to a more widespread audience. Instagram offers photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and stories ads. In addition to utilizing Instagram’s advertising platform, brands often use influencers to promote their message and gain traction in the social space. Influencers are other Instagram users who have loyal followers who trust their opinion and often will purchase a product or service on the recommendation of the influencer. When partnering with an influencer, be sure their primary audience also aligns with your brand’s target audience. This will ensure a mutually beneficial and successful relationship.
- Use Eye-Catching Graphics.
Instagram utilizes visual storytelling to share information through videos, photos, and stories. Unlike other forms of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, Instagram doesn’t rely on text to relay messages, emotions, and content. That makes it even more important to have appealing graphics that stand out. Many brands invest in professional photography and utilize photo editing processes to create visually striking images that capture the attention of their target audience.
- Be Cohesive, But Not Boring.
The most successful brands on Instagram have found the perfect balance between creating cohesive campaigns and becoming stagnate and predictable. From a branding perspective, it’s important that each element follows a campaign theme on some level, and can be associated with all other elements of the campaign. This can be done through a number of methods, including colors, imagery, characters, and even through a series of images in an Instagram story. Just be sure you content isn’t becoming repetitive, boring, or predictable. A good way to stay aware of this is to take a step back and look at the Instagram page as a whole. Take a look at the last 30 or so posts side by side, and see if you feel like the content meets those standards. If not, it may be time to rethink the strategy.
- Plan Ahead
Instagram moves at lightning speed, so in order to remain relevant it is essential to post content regularly. If you start an Instagram account in the first place, you should be prepared to commit to posting unique and relevant content frequently. While this may seem like a full-time job in itself, a little planning ahead can go a long way toward saving time posting on Instagram. Some ways to achieve this include planning an editorial calendar months in advance and the use of social media scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite and Buffer. One thing to note when planning ahead: Keep tabs on current events and relevant news topics, as they may affect your scheduled social media posts and you might need to change directions.
- #Hashtags Are Still Important.
While sometimes overused, hashtags are still a relevant tool in Instagram. Using unique hashtags to identify a campaign, or even trending hashtags to join a social movement can help your brand become more visible to new followers. In general, hashtags should be easy to remember and fit your brand. Because hashtags are just statements with no punctuation, it’s helpful for readability to capitalize the beginning letter of each word. Hashtags can be especially helpful to promote certain promotions, where there is a limited time use and you can monitor the success of the social campaign through the use of the specific hashtag.
- Engagement is Essential
Social media is meant to be a 2-way form of communication. When followers like and comment on your posts, it’s important to show some reciprocation from time to time. While no brand can respond to every comment and activity on a page, just making an effort to show some back and forth can go a long way in the eyes of your followers. Also, be sure your brand page also follows other pages. Instagram users notice when a page only has followers, but doesn’t follow anyone else. Plus, this could be a great way to keep eye on what other successful brands are doing.
By following these tips and applying them appropriately to your brand, you can become an expert at marketing your brand on Instagram. Finding what works for your brand and industry may involve some trial and error, but once you’re up and running you can see the benefits of learning the tricks of Instagram marketing.
What tips have you tried for marketing on Instagram?