Did you know that Instagram is currently the fastest growing social network, and has gone from 600 million to 800 million active users in the past year?! Although businesses and consumers are becoming more and more aware of the power of social media, there are still so many of us who don’t know how to utilise it to its full potential.
Fret not, as this is completely understandable – social media platforms have constantly changing features, trends and algorithms; even the pro’s struggle to keep up with what works. Some people can’t find the time to manage their online marketing effectively and others just don’t know where to begin.
With that in mind, I have put together 5 easy to follow tips to help your business smash its Instagram game and make 2018 the year you grow your brand online!
Need more than just 5 tips? Get in touch to see how I can help you grow your business even further!
1. MAKE THE MOST OF INSTAGRAM STORIES
Instagram Stories now have an audience of 300 million – which is nearly half of their active users! They are an awesome way to show the face behind the brand and what goes on in your day-to-day business. While Instagram feeds are a great place to display a stunningly curated image, people know that social media isn’t always as perfect it seems. Make yourself relatable and likeable by showing some real life behind your perfect image. Go backstage in a photoshoot, give your followers a tour of your working space, show them how many products you are packaging up for delivery, take them to your favourite meeting spot, let them watch how your items are made, give them a glimpse into the life of a business owner!
The options with Instagram stories are endless, and with so many editing features available you can make them as beautiful as you like. Keep it fresh, keep it fun, keep it relatable – let them fall in love with your brand. You can also now cross post your IG stories on to your Facebook stories! Woohoo for double exposure!
Top tip: Geo-tag your location on all of your IG stories. Instagram curates stories for specific locations (such as cities or notable places), so you’ll bring in more followers who are watching the stories of that specific area. You can add your geo-tag by selecting the location sticker from your sticker menu on the stories wizard.
2. CORRECT USE OF #HASHTAGS
#girl #sky #tree…. gone are the days where users relentlessly hashtag everything in their images (thank goodness). Hashtags these days are much more strategic, and when used correctly can really optimise your reach on Instagram. But do your research! Find out what hashtags your target market are using by looking at larger businesses and brands that have the same audience as you, and copy them! Alternatively you can easily google search for quick results, e.g. ‘top travel hashtags on Instagram’. Find what works best for you and what boosts your engagement by doing some trial and error, then looking at your Instagram analytics to view results.
I recommend saving your hashtags in your notes on your phone for easy access, so you can copy and paste them each time you use them. Instagram has a maximum of 30 hashtags applied per image, but remember that no one wants to read a caption chockas with tags. List your hashtags in the comment below your caption, and it wont appear as spammy or effect the user experience.
Top tip: Instagram has recently introduced an option where users can follow specific hashtags as well as profiles. This means that if a user is following the #healthyeating hashtag on Instagram, your image with #healthyeating will appear in their feed even if they don’t follow your account. This can massively increase your reach if you utilise hashtags correctly!
3. KNOW YOUR MARKET & KEEP THEM IN MIND
This is key to the success of your business, not just your social media game. You need to work out exactly who your market is, what they like and why they are following you. Once you know what their motives are for following you, you can then revolve your content around this. For example: You’re a business owner that makes exquisite and expensive leather shoes, your followers are following you to see product images and pictures that are synonymous with luxury and fashion – they don’t want to see what you get up to with your dirt bike at the weekend or what you had for dinner! Keep it relevant and keep your followers in mind. If you want to post your personal pictures, create a separate personal account.
Top tip: Use your Instagram analytics to work out the averages of the age, gender and location of your followers to help you. You can find this information by clicking the small graph icon on the top right of your profile page, providing you have a business account.
4. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE VISUALS
Despite all of the new technical features Instagram has to offer, it still strongly remains a visual platform – so keep those visuals in mind! Look at your wider grid and consider your feed as a whole and your brand image before posting images randomly. Make sure you keep your editing consistent from picture to picture by using the same filters or editing programs. Try to develop colour schemes that align with your branding and stick to them in your Instagram feeds too! The more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing your feed is, the more followers will love you and engage with your images.
Top tip: there are some great apps to help you plan your feed, for example Preview, which allows you to see what your feed would look like with your new images before you actually post them.
5) USER GENERATED CONTENT
Wouldn’t it be great if someone could take beautiful pictures of your product for you so you could post those images instead of creating your own content all the time? Yes? Then create this opportunity! So many top brands and businesses encourage their customers to take pictures of their products and tag their username when they share it. Not only does this increase your brand exposure to that customer’s audience, it also means that you have just received a glorious new image to post on your own feed, providing the image is of high quality and in line with your branding.
Better still, create a # that your customers can use too. For example, @asos – the online clothing brand with 6.6M followers states on their Instagram bio: ‘Tag your looks #AsSeenOnMe to get featured’.
Top tip: Make it easy for customers to find you online by including a note on your receipts, proof of purchases or business cards that you slip into your product packaging with details of your social media accounts and the hashtags you’d like your customers to use in their images.
If you’d like further help with social media strategy, scheduling or management, please feel free to get in touch!