From small startups to multinational brands, using Instagram as a tool for marketing makes a lot of sense. In terms of audience engagement it is a tough social platform to top, and it also offers ample versatility in terms of how you present your products and build your presence to your target demographic.
Of course you can’t expect to start an Instagram account and instantly achieve success, without first getting to grips with the strategies needed to maximize its impact as a promotional asset.
Here are just a few juicy morsels of advice to help you gather momentum.
Come Up With Creative Ways of Photographing What You Sell, e.g. Beverages
On Instagram, you can afford to be experimental and imaginative in the ways that you present product photos. Indeed this is preferable to taking a route-one approach, because novelty breeds audience engagement, and uniqueness is an essential currency in this context.
For example, if you are having to manage a brewery’s Instagram, you could present new beverages with snaps of bottles or cans in unexpected scenarios, rather than the obvious option of showing them sitting on a bar or being poured into a glass.
Creativity at this point will help to give your products more personality, and also add flexibility in terms of how you connect with your customers.
Being able to capture products in unusual scenarios, perhaps linked with the pastimes of the people you want to sell them to, is appealing as a means of growing your following and earning shares.
Be Consistent With Your Posting
There are two aspects of being consistent when it comes to running an Instagram account for a brand or business.
First, there’s the way you schedule what you publish. The more regimented and uniform this is, the more your followers will come to expect your content to arrive in their feeds, and appreciate it when it does. It’s no good only posting erratically, just as it doesn’t make sense to go overboard with posts; find a balance and stick to it.
Second, there’s the style of the content you create. It has to be consistent with your brand image and identity, as well as being attractive and relevant to current and prospective customers.
Part of this is knowing which trends to follow and which to avoid; just because the latest social media fad might be the ‘super hot chili-eating challenge’, that doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for your daycare business, for example.
Embrace the Social Aspect
Instagram is a social media service, not just a digital equivalent of a traditional advertising hoarding. This means you have to engage with the social side of the platform, whether that means replying to messages left by followers on your posts, seeking out comments about your brand to respond to proactively, or tagging in influencers and partners for a bit of cross-promotional engagement.
Having your DMs open, so that customers can get in touch in private, as well as including other contact details such as your email address and your website in your Instagram bio, will further enhance the engagement and interactivity of your presence.
Tell Your Story
Instagram has a well-liked and widely-used ‘stories’ feature, which lets individuals and business account operators alike a way to temporarily share content, both images and videos, with followers in a cohesive, coherent way.
Putting together mini-narratives which showcase the day to day running of your business, for example, is a good way to tell your story and get people interested.
You can also use stories to integrate polls, surveys and other interactive aspects, which further boosts your chances of earning interactions with your audience.
Hire a Specialist
If you are a small business owner, then you might feel obliged to take charge of the running of an Instagram account for your brand alongside all of your other duties and responsibilities.
This can be overwhelming, and it’s easy for you to push this task to one side, leaving it neglected and causing your presence to stagnate.
If you are faced with such a scenario, then it is worth hiring a dedicated social media professional to run the account in your stead. You don’t need to work with a full time team member, as it can be outsourced to an agency or a freelance contractor if you prefer.
There are lots of ways to wrangle an Instagram account for brand-building and promotional purposes. The main thing to remember is that your business is unique, and so your use of social media must also be adjusted to reflect this, and there’s no quick way to gain traction, so patience is needed.