How’s your Instagram presence doing these days? Of all the social media platforms available, Instagram remains one of the most popular, yet many brands and businesses struggle with developing a following. Some, on the other hand, are known for having some serious Instagram game. How do they do it? Here’s a guide to what earns Instagram fans (and what alienates them).
Don’t Play Dumb
There’s something too many businesses forget when it comes to not just Instagram marketing but marketing on any social media platform, or content marketing in general: your audience isn’t dumb.
In the social media era, where “brand” has become synonymous with “persona,” pretty much everyone’s a marketer to some degree. Everyone is familiar with marketing tactics. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them, but do you have to tweak them. Take a cue from the “meCommerce” school of thought, which prescribes that instead of trying to get a little out of a wide group of people, a brand should strive for massive devotion from a hardcore group of fans. We’ll talk about how to interact with your followers a little later on, but let’s get back to the whole playing dumb thing.
One major mistake that brands make with their Instagram posts is a woefully inept use of hashtags—namely, stuffing captions with hashtags in an attempt to capitalize on trends. Obviously, capitalizing on trends is a part of your social media strategy, but too many hashtags looks spammy and desperate.
Instead, focus on creating quality content. Craft a thoughtful caption, then choose three to five hashtags that precisely describe what’s going on in your post. Don’t worry too much about picking trendy hashtags, either. It’s useful to check the top hashtags on Instagram to see what other people are doing, but it’s better to use relevant ones and stand out.
Don’t Play It Safe
Alternative header for this section: Do Be Weird. One of the delightful (and occasionally horrifying, but let’s ignore that) things about internet culture is that it’s brought everyone’s weirdness out of the woodwork. So put your tightly wound veneer of professionalism aside for a moment. If you’re in, say, financial services, you’ll have to remain on the conservative side, but weirdness does wonders for other service-centric brands and retailers.
When you post to your Instagram account, let your brand’s personality come through. Refrain from imitating other brands—it’ll come off as stilted and uninspired. Give your followers the kind of content they really want—unexpected, inspiring and challenging. (Chances are, this content aligns with what you’re actually interested in, which makes posting more of a game than a chore.) Customers will see that you’re just as fun and weird as they’d like you to be.
Do Brighten Your Followers’ Days
Even if you’re not a beauty or fashion business, you can still create a lifestyle image around your brand with Instagram. Customers today don’t just want a product—they want a product that integrates their values, and the right Instagram posts can prove that your business meets this criteria.
Interact with customers by following them, commenting on posts (another good way to shape your brand image) and tagging them in appreciative posts when they stop by your office or give you feedback. Holding contests is an effective and popular method of customer interaction—this article from Content Marketing Institute has an excellent guide to holding Instagram contests that breaks down what to give away, what to post and how to earn followers.
You shouldn’t have to struggle with your Instagram strategy. If you still feel like your Instagram game needs a boost, speak with a digital marketing expert at 1SEO.com Digital Agency. Our social media strategists will have you #winning before you know it.