Instagram works very similar to most social networks, but has some different features. You can’t post links as easily as you can, for instance, on Facebook or send private messages to other members. And it’s also used mostly on mobile, so Instagram can be used best for making money as a direct response method.
In a way, Instagram is a combination between Twitter and Pinterest, so the marketing opportunities are pretty interesting.
Here are the steps to establish your Instagram presence:
- Create Your Business Profile.
The setup is fairly easy to make and you only need to fill in information in a few key parts of an Instagram profile:
- Add a Profile Picture
The profile picture should be something representative of your business, usually the logo or an image of your product:
- Write a Bio
When you’re not as famous as Starbucks, your bio definitely needs to be more detailed. You have 200 characters to write your bio and tell people why your profile should matter to them and what your offer is as a business. Also, you get the chance to encourage your followers to share content that’s relevant to your business using a specific hashtag.
- Connect Your Website
Adding a link to your Instagram page is very easy to do. It helps you to attract your fans down the path to purchase and your website should be best place in which that can happen. Make sure that your link sends people to a mobile-friendly site as most Instagram traffic comes from mobile devices.
- Market Effectively
Once you’ve setup your profile, there are some easy steps you can take to make the most out of Instagram for increased exposure, engagement and sales. Here are some guidelines to help you out:
- The Best Type of Images
Before you get started with Instagram, you need to know what kind of images work best on the platform and understand the interests of your target audience, so you can pick those images that best reflect the story your brand is trying to tell.
Once you’ve completed this step and have a clear understanding of your audiences’ interests and how that matches your business, you’re almost there. Next, you need to figure out how that can be best expressed visually.
You need to be careful about the quality of your photographs. Instagram is a platform where people expect to find high quality and interesting photos, so pick the ones that spark emotion, engagement and invite users to be part of your story.
Here are the most popular types of posts to share on Instagram:
a) Brand-related content
As humans, we are built to emit judgments and get emotionally tied to what we see, so using beautiful visuals in marketing is a powerful ally in communicating complex messages to other people.
The most popular brands on Instagram understand the huge value of brand storytelling. So whether it’s through images of your products or images of results of your products (e.g. happy customers), you can use Instagram to creatively communicate the importance of what you have to offer.
In the example above, you can see how Starbucks uses photos to tell their story in a unique way. They focus on using a strong branding approach with visuals covered with their logo and feelings associated with their product.
b) Reactive storytelling
Reactive storytelling is a mix of a popular idea or trend and a persuasive marketing message. If you use reactive storytelling you are able to leverage an evergreen truth, a timely event or unique idea to create immediate connection with your target audience.
Some of the biggest like Oreo or LEGO are using reactive storytelling to create viral content that generates buzz and immediate feedback from their followers.
c) Meme-based content
On Instagram, meme-based content is King. It’s a very easy way to create buzz and engagement about your brand. Leverage popular memes and use them to share a brand relevant and fun message to your fans.
d) Inspirational quotes
The best way to create viral, buzzy content is to spark emotions in your customers or target audience. Inspirational quotes are one of the best ways to get more shares, likes, comments and any sort of interaction with your brand. The stronger the emotion, the more likely the user will react to your content.
Quotes from famous people are a great way to stir emotion and build connections with your followers and it’s no accident that one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram is “#Quotes”.
- Manage Your Profile.
Now that everything is set, you need to keep an eye o your Instagram feed, followers and overall activity. Squarelovin is a great tool to do that. It shows you how many images you’ve shared, how many total likes and comments you’ve got, how many followers you have and how many people you’re following. You can also see your followers based on their location, check follower growth, new and lost followers and much more.
All in all, keep in mind that Instagram is a simple platform. Don’t over-complicate things. You will find the most success on this platform by being clear and creative and engaging with your audience on a daily basis. Also, remember that Instagram is a mobile-based platform so any URLs you post on your profile should be to mobile friendly sites.
The huge interest in visual content is only going to grow in the future, so use Instagram to share your authentic brand message and develop a strong voice in your community. Also, focus on high quality photos and let them be your ambassador and tell your story. There are many creative, relevant filters that can enhance your message and spice up your status updates.
The real beauty of Instagram is the ability to see how people are interacting with your brand and also how they talk about your brand. Last but not least, don’t forget to integrate Instagram with other social media channels to increase your visibility and connect your brand with as many people as possible.