11 Nov 2016

    Beginner's Guide: 6 Ways to Make Instagram Work for Your Business

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    Social media is now one of the main marketing platforms that business owners use to level up their consumer reach, engage with their customers, and gain extra exposure. Unlike other platforms, social media is more personal and opens your brand to other marketing opportunities such as being able to create an identity online, establishing relationship with your customers, and being readily available when they have queries and suggestions.

    In line with this, Instagram is one of the social media networks that shoppers turn to for reference. According to Iconosquare, 70% of Instagram users look up a brand or a specific product on this platform, while 62% will simply follow a certain brand just because they’re fond of it.

    If you follow the right steps and post the right images, your brand’s Instagram account can turn passive users to confident shoppers without hard-selling your products and services.

    Whether you’re working on behalf of a company or using your own account, here are some of the tried and tested practices that can get you started!

    Optimize Your Profile

    Optimize Profile

    Provide a concise description, valuable brand infomation, and contact details in your profile. Keep it short yet interesting and as much as possible, avoid hard-selling.

    When it comes to Instagram, you can only add one link in your bio so make this opportunity count; you can add a link to your website, your Facebook page, or whichever you think would benefit your brand the most. Keep in mind that once a potential customer visits your page, they need to be able to grasp what you’re offering and know where to contact you in a quick glance.

    Friendly tip: Although hashtags don’t work when placed in the bio part of your profile, you can still include this for when you’re running a hashtag campaign.

    Post Consistently

    Post Consistenty

    In order to establish your brand on Instagram, you need to be able to post on a regular basis. Having an Instagram account will only work if you update your feed from time to time, as stagnant accounts usually fail in this department. In line with this, Instagram is now using a similar algorithm with Facebook where consistency helps you get your posts seen and appear on top of your followers’ timeline.

    However, this will depend on the analytics of your own profile. Different metrics can be used to see details of what time your followers are most active, what days of the week do they like and comment on your photos, and so on. Once you’ve analyzed your profile’s analytics, you can start from there and work on a calendar that shows the optimal times when it’s best to post your content.

    Use Quality Photos with Good Filters

    Quality Photos

    Instagram became popular due to its image-centric platform where if you post the right photos with the correct filters, these can get you more engagement rather than those with unprofessional and unedited posts. The power of visuals allows you to showcase your products without hard-selling; the picture should speak for itself.

    When posting photos, make sure that the shots taken are aligned, has a focal point, not blurred, and is enhanced by good filters. Statistics say that filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on compared to the unfiltered ones. Some researchers say that the best ones that garner more views and comments are those with higher exposure, warm temperatures, low saturation, higher contrast, minimalist, and feature blue as dominant color rather than red. These vary depending on your type of business and your target market but the key is to know your forte and to stick to your Instagram aesthetics.

    Know your hashtags

    KnowyourTags

    The right hashtags can expose your brand to a larger community and help you grow more followers in an instant. These tags connect you with other groups and make it easier to search for your brand, as Instagram’s feed changes fast.

    Use keywords that are relevant to your brand, but avoid being too generic such as using #design or #fashion for this quickly gets buried and tends to be ignored. Go for trending and more specific hashtags that cater to the community that you are after, and use these to keep you on top longer.

    Friendly tip: Rather than putting your tags on your captions, post them in the comments section instead to avoid the cluttered look.

    Share user generated content

    Share User Content

    By sharing user generated content, this allows you to curate photos that best fits your brand, while still giving credit to the original user. You can search through hashtags and by checking out suggested photos and accounts on your feed.

    When you’ve gathered enough followers, you can feature some of their posts and tag them as well, as most would even feel honored when a brand mentions them online.

    Network on Instagram

    Network

    Create strategic relationships with other brands and users. You can follow other brands, like other posts, and comment praises on the photos of others. This is a fun and friendly technique that allows you to mingle with other users and join industry-related communities that can put an edge on your brand.

    Instagram is a great marketing tool to promote brand identity. Remember that even if these basic points are tried and tested techniques, they will still vary and have to be analyzed depending on your brand. Overnight success should not be expected as this will take time and patience, as you need to slowly build up your brand online.

    Follow these simple instructions, do your own research, know your own aesthetics, and you’re good to go!

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