Instagram has been steadily increasing in popularity over the past few years, solidifying its spot as the second most active social media network last year, according to Forbes magazine. The reason it has seen such a massive increase in its user base is that it has a fantastic visual market, it is mobile friendly, and it is straightforward to use, unlike some of the other social media applications available today.
Combine this with the fact that each user has access to a vast public network while retaining a controlled personal network, and it’s no wonder that this platform is number one in customer engagement and advertising. With this said, here is how small businesses can utilize Instagram to grow their tribe.
- Promote Your Account Constantly: Make sure you share your Instagram account posts across all your other social media accounts as this will help you to transfer your followers from one platform to another.
- Set Goals for Your Business: Make sure you set goals for increasing sales, driving traffic, improving customer satisfaction, and raising brand awareness. You still need to keep the overall picture in mind (profits and ROI) but having pre-determined goals will help to streamline your processes.
- Use Strategic Content Marketing: Figure out how often you should be posting, when you should be posting and what your content themes are. You will also need to set engagement guidelines based on how you want to run your Instagram account. For instance, how often will you respond to comments or “like” other people’s photographs?
While you can automate your posts, you should never automate engagement with your followers. Interaction in the form of comments or responses to comments on your posts should be genuine, natural, and personal where applicable.
- Create a Visual Consistency with Subject Focus (Brand): Your content should be related to your company. If you are a lifestyle company, then you’re going to want to share lifestyle content. But allow this to be too rigid of a guideline because your audience will also want to see what’s behind the company façade.
- Use and Create a Hashtag for your Brand: You want to create a hashtag that goes beyond just your company name. Choose a hashtag that embodies what your company is all about while still being relevant to your audience.
- Understand Your Audience: Just like other social media platforms, you will have to figure out your audience and stay true to them. Be original – what works for other brands may not necessarily work for you.
- Always Be Creative with Content: Although merely taking and posting a picture can work depending on your audience, if you want to grow your business through followers, you will have to be creative with your content. Do not neglect the captions that you can use to expound upon your image, and make sure to use the multi-photograph carousel feature to keep users engaged in your posts. You might even consider taking a few risks and experimenting with Instagram stories.
When possible, inquire about collaborating with influencers; these are individuals who have already amassed significant followings and will share your content, promote your brand, or provide sponsored content for you (typically for a fee).
- Advertise with Instagram Ads: Instagram has recently launched their advertising options for businesses, and they are proving to be worth their cost with ads that are non-intrusive, beautiful to look at, and easy to digest.
Perhaps due to their simplicity, seamless integration, and the nature of the platform already being highly visual, coming across a brand’s ad on Instagram isn’t nearly as frustrating or obnoxious as those found on other social media platforms.
If you don’t have an Instagram account for your small business, it’s definitely something you should be looking into as soon as possible. It’s super simple to set up, with all you need to do so being a username, biography, and photograph. With a massive user base and the ability to easily integrate advertisements, there’s no reason to not be on the platform taking advantage of its highly active audience.