I’m sure you’ve heard, everyone seems to be ‘taking a break’ from Facebook and instead now spend their free time scrolling through Instagram instead. As of June 2018, Instagram has hit the 1 billion users milestone. Among the major social networks, only Facebook and YouTube have more people logging in and it won’t be until it’s Instagram and YouTube at the top.
If you’re only just getting into it now, you’ve missed the boat to quick success – but it’s not too late. I have some top recommendations for making the most out of marketing your business or organisation on Instagram, based on what has been proven to work for me.
Get your branding on point
Your profile picture is KEY. Often it’s the first thing people see without even visiting your Instagram account. A misaligned, pixelated or let’s face it… crap picture, will put people off when it’s the most important time to get it right; within the first six seconds of them coming across your brand. Use a quality image, positioned evenly both horizontally and vertically. Ideally this would be your logo, however, if you have better ideas then use something else.
Your bio is the next most important thing. Keep it punchy and draw people in to hit the follow button and want to see more. This is your chance to speak to your audience for the first time, so make sure your messaging is on brand and effective. Use a consistent tone of voice for your bio as well as in the caption each time you post a picture.
Be consistent in everything you do:
- Post an image at least once a day or ideally three times a day (morning, lunch, evening)
- Use a specific number of and specific hashtags (13 or more for maximum effect)
- The style of your photography
- The filters you use and the way you edit the pictures
- The way you engage with your audience and replying to messages
What better way to get your audience invested in your brand than to get them to produce the pictures/videos, let’s call it content, and then you post it on your Instagram account. When you post somebody else’s picture and give them credit for it, they feel honoured and get a serotonin hit. This makes them feel good and attach positive emotions to your brand.
You need to create a unique hashtag and start using it. For example, for a community I founded in London called My Streatham, I started using #mystreatham. Our audience then started to use the same hashtag on their pictures every time they wanted to feature on our Instagram. I then selectively reposted the pictures which fit with our brand and message.
Not only does this save you time through not having to produce all the content yourself, each time somebody uses the hashtag they are inadvertently spreading awareness of your brand. People tend to discover you through hashtags and so if your audience is using yours – you’re going to get found much more quickly.
Use the right hashtags
You might cringe when you see a loads of hashtags in Instagram posts, however, if you want to grow your audience quickly then you have to use them. In fact, you need to use at least 13 each time to get the full effect. Once you’ve built up a large following of 10k or more followers then you could probably tone it down a bit if you prefer.
Think carefully about the hashtags you are using. Are they relevant to the picture you’re posting, your audience and what you want to be found for in Instagram? When I post a picture on My Streatham for example, I use hashtags such as: #streatham #london #igerslondon #southlondon #streathamcommon etc.
Don’t forget to include the hashtag you created to start producing user-generated content.
Tell your story
Show that there is a human behind the Instagram account and you’re not just a corporate robot. Each social media platform specialises in something and with instagram it’s certainly the place where you tell your brand’s story. Your pictures, videos and stories reflect your brand and the message you’re trying to put out there, so you need to make sure what you’re posting is reflective of what you want to achieve.
Like it or not, Instagram is booming and you either get a peace of the action or not. If you choose to start posting on Instagram then stick with it, stay consistent and follow my advice above and you’ll be on the right road to social success in no time.