By Renee Gauntlett
People generally associate Instagram with sharing photos of your breakfast or your dog. I’ll be honest, I thought Instagram was just for idle or conceited people. There are many brands (some I mentioned in a previous blog post “10 Best Instagram Campaigns”) that have changed the meaning of Instagram. This social networking site can help build your brand, but only if you know how best to utilize it. Here are some basic tips to help you build your brand on Instagram.
1. Give a Variety of Content
Yes, its good to post photos of your products, but try also to post photos of people using the product. Maybe even have actual consumers send in photos of how they use your product.
It won’t hurt too, to post photos unrelated to your brand, like a photo of the sunrise or even a quote. BUT be careful of that content and make sure it is still relevant to your target audience.
2. Get Personal
Try posting some behind-the-scenes photos and show consumers the more personal yet fun side of your brand. Consumers are happier when they see happy workers and are more likely to stay faithful to your brand.
3. Engage in Friendly Discussions
When consumers comment, reply. Also, feel free to comment/like/repost fans’ photos or even other brands’ photos, in a friendly way of course. Consumers will always appreciate when their favourite brands correspond with them, without trying to sell them something.
4. Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are a way for users to find specific content. They can also be used to encourage certain content. Be sure to use relevant hashtags too. Please, if your brand is a shoe company and you post a photo of one of your shoes, use hashtags such as #shoes #fashion #flats, and not #goingout #clubbing or #hot. The more hashtags the better, but don’t overdo it.
5. Host Contests
The best way to engage your fans is to give them something to do with a chance to win something. Have fans post photos or videos under a specific theme and use a specific hashtag along with them. Choose your winners and reward them in creative ways. Feel free to mix it up too, these contests don’t always have to relate directly to your brand.
6. Make Use of the Video Feature
Though this feature is still relatively new, don’t act like its new, act like its been around for ages. Short videos of product usage, services and behind-the-scenes content are usually more memorable than photos.
7. Cross-platform Sharing
Instagram gives us the option to share our content on other social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and even through email. Not all your fans are on all platforms, therefore, if you want everyone to see your Instagram content, its best to share on all your platforms.
This is the best and easiest way to let people know you are not only on Instagram, but active on it too. Another way is to add the Instagram badge to your email signatures and online ads. You should also put the web link on printed items such as business cards and flyers.
8. Measure and Monitor Your Following
You can’t just output, output, output and hope for the best. You have to measure and monitor your content and your following to see if what you are putting out is helping to build your fan base. Choose a time period (I suggest monthly) and at the end of each period, make note of your number of followers as well as correspondence from fans. This will help you to keep track of your social media efforts and results, and can show you what works from what doesn’t.
Apply these tips to your ‘Instagramming’ and I can guarantee an improvement in your following and consumer satisfaction.
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