If you are not a big brand with a massive marketing budget, particularly if you are B2B or B2C, then read this: social media can be your best tool to grow your influence and presence online. Even if you are already on Instragram, there are some areas you might want to improve.
Your goal might be to generating brand awareness, to increase engagement, to build a community, and very important to B2B, you might want to develop an ‘employer brand’. Great social media strategies need continuous follower growth, engagement, and actions. Instagram just might be your best opportunity for achieving this quickly.
Just look at the stats. With roughly 500 million active users monthly, sharing 95 million photos and videos daily, and where photos are earning 4.2 billion likes daily, Instagram’s stats are impressive. Plus, Instagam’s conversation rate is the highest, with an average engagement rate of 2.26%, compared to Facebook’s 0.21% and Twitter’s 0.02%. More so, Instagram has a 58% higher engagement per follower than Facebook. Facebook’s organic marketing reach has dropped by 63% over the past 4 years, whereas Instagram is up by 115%. As for competition, Instagram is only been used by 36% of marketers compared to 93% of marketers using Facebook. That said, brands on Instagram reach 100% of their followers, as compared to Facebook’s reach of 6% only.
So, Instagram offers less competition, a more engaged audience and an enormous increase in organic reach.
Do remember, that SEO should always be an important part of your online marketing strategy. But let’s face it, you’re unlikely to beat the big brands with enormous budgets for a spot on page one of Google’s search results anytime soon. This is why social media can be a powerful ally to smaller brands when trying to grow your reach and presence online.
For this, 10 tips are listed below to improve your brand presence on Instagram:
1. Create a business account
Instead of just the standard account, Instagram allows brands the chance to set up an Instagram for Business account. The benefits are that you will have access to valuable insights, that you can generate a contact button, obtain a verified badge, and group your business with makes it easier for people to find you.
2. Play smart with visuals
Unlike social media channels like Twitter or Facebook, Instagram is a visual medium, it means that you need to invest more in content creation. And consumers will act if they can spot your brand from the crowd. To get this right there are 4 points to remember:
• Produce visuals which are consistent in terms of style and quality
• If you going to use filters, keep them consistent
• Pick a colour scheme and keep to it
• Keep your images simple and limit the use of captions on photos
Lightroom presets can make a huge difference so make use of it. For B2B or other service-orientated businesses this might be a challenge as they lack a tangible product to show case. To overcome this you can thus create images with quotes of client testimonials. Still, keep in mind the pantatone scheme relating to your brand identity. Another method you can use is to use captions to tell your story, as well as express your brand values. This can be a skillful strategy with an objection to educate and inform the user, but also to provoke and enhance engagement.
You can also humanize your B2B brand by showing the people behind the product. This can be an inspiring look at the staff, which in turn can lure new staff to the company that want to be part of the company’s culture.
3. Use your images to the max
Although different social channels have diverse audiences, images can be universal. This means that the same image can be used on Instagram, as well as Tumblr or Linked-In. You can thus reuse images from your other social channels to jump start your Instagram campaigns. Also, you can mix-and-match, using new and archived images – as long as they all represent your core values.
4. Get a professional
Not everyone has an artistic eye, and that is okay. You can hire a social media specialist that has graphic or photographic skills which can create images of your services or products. Then again if you have a marketing specialist you can outsource photographic or designer services. An alternative approach would be to search all the posts your brand is tagged in and if it is a professional photo, you could report those images. The benefit is that it will take you almost no effort or money.
5. Use hashtags
Like other platforms, hashtags, as a discoverability too for marketers, can help users to notice your brand. But although Instagram allows users to use up to 30 hashtags, don’t. Stick to a 7 at the most, since after that your engagement levels will drop.
You can use campaign specific hashtags, combined with popular hashtags, like #tbt, to broaden your reach. If you have an established brand, you can use custom hashtags. Make sure these are unique, speaks of your brand identity, and that they are easy to spell. Alternatively, you could hack a hashtag. But, never use hashtags in your bio as they aren’t searchable.
Be social! Engage with your followers. Follow bloggers, and other industry influencers, and engage with them about their content. But give them a reason to engage. You can do that you can focus on user-generated content, followed by a question and a hashtag to track replies.
7. Inspire and entertain
Posts should be entertaining, and inspires them, or at least be useful. But stay away from the obvious sales pitch. Still, Instragram does offer businesses advertising opportunities. You can use them to promote your brand if you want to do a sale pitch.
8. Place your link in the bio
The only place where links are clickable on Instagram are in the bio section. You can place your link to your website, but rather use it more actively. Change it regularly, directing the users to promotional pages, product launches, whatever is important to your campaign at the time.
9. Partner up – it’s for a good cause
Followers will connect better with you if they see their values in yours. Hence connect with like-minded groups and attract their attention. Or, if you are selling responsible sourced products, like Fairtrade items, then tell your followers that. Then again you can partner with a non-profit to promote and extend your reach.
But don’t forget about shout-outs – they can promote your brand and the brand of the receiver. Some of these shout-outs can be prearranged, and you pay an influencer.
10. Review and change
As with any sort of marketing, you need to research what is working, and what is not. Social media management tools can be used to conduct the research to measure the flower count, clicks, and engagement.
That is your 10 tips on making your brand stand out on Instagram. Go out and create stellar content and grow your follower base. But share your ideas and challenges in the comments.