The Instagram community consists of more than 400 million users and bears in mind that many of these people have the potential of becoming your customers. As a business owner, Instagram offers you a tremendous opportunity to promote your brand by telling your story through photographs and video clips.
You can use Instagram for promotions or announcements for an event, and to connect with customers and prospects, to tell a wide array of stories, such as demonstrating the manufacturing process for a new product, displaying construction of a new showroom, answering frequently asked questions (FAQs) or showing a satisfied customer enjoying the use of your services or product.
The possible uses of Instagram marketing to build your brand recognition are virtually unlimited.
For many business owners, hearing the word “Instagram” may conjure up images of pretty photos or “selfies” that has absolutely nothing to do with their particular enterprise. In their minds, this latest online sensation may be great for other brands, but it simply is not a fit for their particular business.
The following statistics may just change your mind on Instagram for business:
Since 2012, Instagram has received more visitors per day compared to Twitter.
While Facebook reaches only 4% of your followers organically, Instagram reaches 26%.
Data shows the probability of fans engaging with your brand has a 40% higher probability if you have photographs.
According to Forrester reports, Instagram delivers 58 times more engagement than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement than Twitter.
Now do you think that you should use Instagram to market your business?
This guide will give you some valuable insights on Instagram marketing tips that you can use to help you build brand recognition and grow your business.
1. Develop a Plan
Well, if you wish to build a successful brand for your business on Instagram, you must go beyond what other individual users or companies are doing and try to develop your own unique Instagram marketing strategy that will work for your business.
With the right strategy, you will have better chance of attracting the right kind of Instagram followers, which will then allow you to convert your followers into your potential customers. Also, keep in mind that some of the strategies that you use on other social media sites like Twitter and Facebook may not be workable on Instagram.
So depending on the industry, start by visiting your competitors and find out what their numbers are as they relate to the following metrics: posts, following, followers, average likes, average comments, joined, and first posts.
You should find out how often they are posting; which days are they posting; and what type of content they are posting.
For example, let’s say you’re new or about to start a new yogurt business, the next thing you do is to search for a bigger major player in the market. In this case, let’s take a look at Yogurtland. Check out how many Instagram followers they have.
This is how Yogurtland use Instagram Marketing effectively.
As you can see from their main Instagram page, instead of just posting images of yogurt, they’ve creatively used different types of high quality images to attract and capture the attention of their audiences. Besides that, they encouraged their customers to upload photos of their euphoric moments with Yogurtland.
Meghan is also having a great time enjoying Yogurtland.
Some pictures come with a daily digest.
They even uploaded a picture to tell everyone that they are running a “snap-a-pic” contest and tag it with #YLTOPTHIS for a chance to win a year’s worth of free yogurt.
Run your own contest like how Yogurtland did it!
So, why not start by telling your very own brand’s story?
2. Create an Instagram Style Guide
Once you’ve developed a plan, the next thing is to create your own business style guide. A style guide will save you and your staff a lot of time and give you a cohesive presence on Instagram. The challenging part is where you need to ensure that your brand aesthetic and composition remain consistent throughout the entire time.
How To Create An Instagram Style Guide. Step 1: Collect examples of images, font, colors and tones that demonstrate what you would like for each type of content posted. Step 2: Organize the elements into categories. Step 3: Eliminate the elements that do not work and use the remainder to create your style guide.
For this, you can actually use Pinterest to start pinning any images and font style that you like or that’s aligned to your business branding and then organize those elements into different categories. This will allow you to easily filter out those that don’t fit into your brand and select the best remaining ones for your style creation.
Example 1: Here are some of the images posted by Colette Grand Cafe, a modern restaurant and bakery located in Toronto, where it brings out the modern French setting for some food lovers.
Source: Colette Grand Cafe
Example 2: As you can see from the images posted on New York Cafe Instagram page, the colors and composition of these images are consistent.
Source: New York Cafe
Example 3: If you wish to open up a cafe targeting at younger crowds, you can always check out Kawaii Monster Cafe. It is one of the latest cafes opened in Harajuku, Tokyo, to promote the japanese culture. As you can see from these images, the colors used are more vibrant and colorful. And colors like these are more inviting for people who adores fun and searching for childlike fantasy kind of experience.
Source: Kawaii Monster Cafe
Can you spot who is riding on the unicorn?
3. Post Quality Content
Your content should emphasize more on your products and services or focus on your company’s culture and team. Every piece of content you publish on the platform should be adding value and help you attain goals. Since people are spending just a few minutes on Instagram at a time, make sure that you use high quality content that captures the attention of your targeted audience. Most content falls into one of the following categories:
Photographs — Visuals have a greater impact on customers. Although general photographs work better than not having one at all, branded photographs are better motivators. You should avoid simply taking a photograph of a product and sharing it across your social network channels. Energize your efforts by snapping a photo of your products being used by everyday people.
User Generated Content (UGC) — User Generated Content has the biggest impact on your audience. Crowdtap conducted a study, which reveals that Millennials trust the information they received from UGC 50% more than the information they received from other media sources, including newspapers, television, and magazines.
Furthermore, when making buying decisions, respondents to the study said that the UGC exerts 20% more influence on their buying decisions than other sources. UGC can help you increase audience engagement and encourage them to post their own content, bringing further exposure for your brand. If you find a photo that highlights your brand, reach out to the owner and ask them for their consent to feature you in a post, and give them credit.
Videos — Instagram allows companies to share short videos about their stories, build brand recognition, and reach new customers. Just like how Peanut Butter & Co did it. Not only do they post all the nice images about how peanut butter can be used to make incredible topping or spread, but they do post lots of videos teaching people how to make pretzel bites, ice-cream cakes, frozen yogurt bark or etc with their peanut butter.
A video posted by Peanut Butter & Co. (@peanutbutterco) on
Promotional Content — Use demographic information about your audience to develop content to keep them engaged and coming back for more. Consider using promotional codes in your posts, offering discounts or sponsor a photo contest.
4. Post Regularly
Set a schedule to ensure that you post consistently and maintain an active presence on Instagram. Since Instagram does not have a scheduling feature you will need to prepare your content in advanced. Create a content calendar that cycle through your marketing themes and campaigns so that you can track when you post. Since Instagram does not have an algorithm that decides what followers see, you can post as much as you want to grow your business account for your business and not suffer a decline in audience engagement.
Whether you choose to post images from your mobile phone, professional photographs, or other composition and subject matter, make sure that the content relates to your brand. Remember, quality content engages, inspires, and resonates with your target audience. To obtain the best engagement possible from your audience, balance the type of content you post. Sometimes a brand photo may be worth a thousand words. At other times, a video may be the most effective way to tell your story.
5. Use Hashtags Wisely
Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags, which enables you to target each segment of your audience, but that does not mean that you have to use the entire allotment. If you use more than the number of hashtags allowed, your post will appear without any hashtags. Like other social media networks, hashtags play a vital part in getting you noticed, especially for lesser-known brands. Hashtags tailored to your post or current marketing themes, such as a new product, slogan, or tagline, help you create awareness and help your audience recall.
Hashtags fall under three categories:
Popular hashtags — The hashtags that people commonly use are excellent for getting your photos and other content discovered.
Brand specific hashtags — These hashtags already exist in the Instagram world, and fans of popular brands like Jeep, Pepsi, and Coca-Cola, use them. The best hashtags for your posts are the ones used by your fans.
Customized hashtags — Hashtags tailored to your post or current marketing theme, such as a new product, slogan, or tagline, help you create awareness and help your audience recall.
Many companies use Instagram for events and trade shows to attract people and teach them about their products and services, with the intent of turning them into customers. For example, you can use #hashtags to show your audience what is going on at the event and stand out from the crowd. Reach out to more people and get more of them to visit your booth.
According to a research done by Piqora, they’ve studied 150,000 posts over 200 brands and found out that marketers who use the right hashtags get more likes and also posts with 7 relevant hashtags that tend to generate the highest level of engagement.
6. Build Your Instagram Following
Developing a larger Instagram following could results in more hits on your blog, a stronger community for your brand, and more sales for your business. Here are three tips that you can incorporate into your Instagram marketing strategy that will help you grow your account:
Connect to your Facebook and other social media accounts
Ask other followers to follow you on Instagram
Geotag your photographs – this is particularly useful if your business is related to travel because this feature will allow you to create the photo map of your post.
In addition, find photos in your niche and like them, which get your name, the brand out in the universe, and make it easier for prospects and customers to discover you.
7. Utilize Apps to Help Build Your Account
Take advantage of the many apps out there where you can use it to enhance your photo-sharing efforts. It is always the best if you can update your all your Instagram posting on a real-time basis, but what if your company has multiple Instagram accounts to take care of, then scheduling your Instagram post with some of these apps can really be a life-saving tool for every business.
You can also find apps that will allow users to search keywords and tags, subscribe to Instagram profile, via email, download photos in an archived folder, or print photos.
Besides, you can also find lots of apps out there where you can use to enhance the effect of the images. Having beautiful images to be posted on your Instagram account is the only for you to keep your followers engage and stick with you all the time and to make you stand out from the rest of your competitors.
Remember, Instagram marketing has become an important part of every digital marketing strategy for many recognizable and successful companies around the world. Even if you’re starting up small, having an Instagram account is always the recommended choice.
Moreover, it really doesn’t cost you anything to just set up an Instagram account. So having an Instagram marketing plan in place is extremely crucial if your mission is to create brand recognition and to boost up the revenues and profits of your business. Also, such Instagram marketing plan has now become an indispensable and powerful tool for every marketing arsenal.
Ben Seow is an inbound copywriter who is constantly striving to get the best out of every technical SEO know-how. He is also hoping to transfer all the knowledge that he'd learnt to every newcomer through his own writing.