Instagram has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years and has become the go-to social network for the internet generation. One can’t really argue with the numbers:
- Instagram has more than 400 million active users. On an average day, 80 million photos are shared and it cloaks up 3.5 billion likes every day.
- If we look at the top 100 brands in the world, 90% have an Instagram account 96% of US fashion brands are on Instagram.
What makes Instagram perhaps the most important and brand-friendly channel of user acquisition and engagement for any brand is the inherently visual nature of the platform. According to a recent study by Forrester, Instagram drives more engagement than any of the other major social networks, beating out Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn.
At the same time, Instagram marketing is a tough nut to crack. Many brands and seasoned marketers often struggle to create an effective brand presence on Instagram. To help beginners and advanced Instagram users alike familiarize themselves with the platform, we’ve put together a list of 5 of the lesser-known tips to grow on Instagram.
1. Ensure that your profile is optimised:
Having an optimised profile is the first step to create your presence on Instagram. It is crucial to ensure that your profile follows all the best practices and creates a unique brand identity.
- Username: Having a unique and recognisable username makes it easy for your users to find and remember.
- Bio: Bio is the only in-app information that enables users to make the decision of following you. It offers you a chance to tell your users something unique about your brand, how you are different and what value you provide. It is more likely that the users will follow you if you keep it short & sweet and be authentic at the same time. (Pro-Tip: Add call to action. Include coupon code in the bio).
Bottom line is that your bio is a window into what your brand stands for. It should effectively reflect the identity of your brand in a crisp and authentic manner.
- Profile Image: Profile picture marks the identity of your brand. Brands generally use their logo (preferably sans any text) as their profile image.
- Homepage Link: Adding a link to your description section makes it easy for followers to go straight to your website.
2. Post relevant and appealing content consistently:
- Instagram is synonymous with visual content: photos, selfies, videos. Accounts with the highest number of fans tend to post 2 or 3 photos per day on average.
- As far as possible, your images must be unique, high resolution and needless to say, appealing.
- If the bunch of your posts are salesy, that is coupons codes and promotions, your users and followers are most likely to ignore them. Also important is the fact that your captions bring additional value to the user experience.
Pro-Tip: Merely posting beautiful photos is not enough. Win the trust of your audience with captivating captions that invoke an emotion and tell a compelling story.
- Filters are an important part of an Instagram post. Instagrammers love filters. In fact, according to a recent study, Hefe, Lo-Fi, Nashville, Brannan, and Kelvin filters generated 4.5% to 5.6% more engagement than the average Instagram post!
- Emoji are fast becoming a universal method of expression: nearly 50 percent of all captions and comments on Instagram now have an emoji or two.
Being a visual social network, your brand is defined by the quality and consistency of your posts. Well-composed and edited photos with consistent colour combination and lighting will naturally drive engagement.
3. Analyse #Hashtags and include the best ones:
- Hashtags allow Instagrammers to discover content and accounts to follow. That is why it is absolutely necessary to create a hashtag for your own brand to monitor on a regular basis (#yourbrand).
- You can dramatically boost your follower count if you can cleverly ride on the wave of a trending hashtag. Before including hashtags in your posts, you can do a quick analysis to determine which hashtags to use by checking:
- Hashtags used by others in your industry
- Most popular hashtags (by volume of posts)
- Most active hashtags (trending)
- A study by Piqora involving 150,000 users found that 73% of brands on the photo-sharing network use too few hashtags, which means they’re not getting as much engagement as they should. The same study says that adding 7 relevant hashtags can boost “Likes” by up to 23%! And coming up with 7 hashtags is not all that difficult.
Pro-Tip: Instead of adding too many hashtags to your caption add them to your comments.
4. Seek your TG and engage with your followers. Use influencers wisely:
- Simply posting quality content is not enough, particularly in the initial days when you have a low follower count. Engaging with your audience is absolutely necessary to not just grow your following but find loyal brand advocates.
- To start with it, first search for the hashtags your prospects are likely to use. Identify the users you want to engage with.
- You can start with liking their photos and then following them. A rule of thumb for effective engagement is “Like-like-follow” i.e. like couple of their posts before following someone.
- Don’t just go on commenting on the random posts in a spammy manner. It is better to comment on the posts when someone follows you back.
Remember that Instagram is a social network that rewards you most when you are proactive.
- Influencer marketing is not a buzzword anymore. It can be an incredibly effective strategy to grow your following if done right. Here are few tips to get it right:
- Set a clear goal for your influencer campaign (follower growth / sales / brand building)
- Find influencers relevant to your brand and your goal.
- Recruit influencers based on not just their follower count but also on the content, engagement per post and pricing.
- Give them clear inputs about your brand, what you are seeking and the kind of content you want them to produce.
- Measure and analyse the impact of the campaign.
5. Share user generated content:
- The ultimate goal of marketing is to convert followers into loyal customers. That is where user generated content (UGC) comes into play.
More than 65% of consumers seek out user generated content before making a purchase decision. UGC is essentially the word-of-mouth of digital age.
- Collecting and curating quality UGC can be a brilliant strategy to build a strong community around your brand. Make sure you also acquire the rights of the content (photos, selfies, reviews, etc.) created by your customers so that you can use it in your paid marketing efforts.
- Two most effective ways to create high quality UGC are:
- Incentivizing and rewarding users for sharing their photos with your brand.
- Photo contests: Instagram hashtags make it easy for to collect photos from followers around a theme, and many brands have had success and fun using this capability to host photo contests. Instagram has a great blog post with some tips for organizing successful photo contests.
INCENT SOCIAL: INSTAGRAM MARKETING SUITE
Incent Social’s Instagram marketing suite helps you create compelling brand stories and build a strong community around your brand. With our app, you can now incentivise your customers to share their photos, selfies, endorsements on Instagram and publish them as stunning shoppable galleries. You can learn more about us here.