Instagram is certainly not the first network that comes to mind when it comes to using social media to market and advertise your business. Traditionally, you could think of Facebook Ads or Twitter networking as typical methods that many firms employ.
However, with Instagram becoming one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the last year or two, an increasing number of businesses, brands, and solopreneurs are turning to the site to reach a new, younger audience.
It’s also logical if your brand has a strong visual component. Instagram, on the other hand, is ideal for firms that are more content-driven. So, whether you’re a freelancer, a blogger, or a small business owner, it’s time to start thinking about how Instagram can help you succeed.
What exactly is Instagram?
Instagram began as a popular photo-sharing software for iOS users. It popularized square photos, allowed users to apply digital filters to their images (the “Instagram look”), and integrated social elements such as profiles, followers, and comments.
Instagram was purchased by Facebook for one billion dollars in the spring of 2012, consolidating its position as the popular photo-sharing app.
Instagram now allows users to share videos and has a growing advertising platform, although it is still primarily a smartphone app. You can’t, for example, add new photos to your Instagram account from the website.
Instagram and the Business World
Can businesses of all shapes and sizes succeed on Instagram, which is mostly photo-based? Instagram today has over 500 million daily active users and is continually expanding, despite the fact that other social media platforms are dwindling. Instagram is used by 31% of all women online and 24% of males; almost half of these users are between the ages of 18 and 29.
That would make Millennials the largest group, and if you’re targeting teenagers, Instagram is the most essential social network for them.
Making plans for your Instagram approach
You presumably have a blog content strategy and a social media strategy for Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook; Instagram should be no different. Your business and brand will be easily forgotten by the short attention span of its demographic if you don’t have a strong visual presence on Instagram.
To begin, use Instagram to familiarize yourself with the platform. Install the app (it’s free) on your iOS or Android device. Examine how other businesses in your niche are establishing themselves on Instagram, as well as the types of photographs they post. Here’s an example of one of Hubspot’s posts:
After you’ve created a business account, you’ll need to pick a username. If it’s possible, use the same moniker you use on other social media platforms for brand consistency and recognition. You’ll want to start participating once you’ve created your account and updated your bio (which we’ll go over later). To get the ball rolling, follow industry influencers and engage users and prior clients — some should follow you back.
But don’t think you have to work on your approach for hours every day. Social networking is mainly an automated or outsourced duty for entrepreneurs and business owners. You can plan Instagram posts with applications like Pallyy and Iconosquare, but unlike many other platforms, it’s not completely hands-off.
Because all Instagram posts must be published through the app, you’ll get a notification from Hootsuite on your phone when a post is ready to go live. Then all you have to do is open the photo on Instagram and share it.
Let’s take a look at three methods you may strategically develop your Instagram presence while also growing your business. To buy Instagram followers is also one of the options you can use to boost your account. Some also buy Instagram like, which has proven to be very successful for many accounts.
Make sure your Instagram bio is up to date.
One of the first things you can do is improve your bio in order to attract more followers, which implies more potential customers.
Focus on filling this valuable area – you only have 150 characters – with a quick benefit-laden summary of what followers may expect from you, as well as a call to action, employing your copywriting abilities.
Your URL, which is the only clickable link you’ll get on Instagram (live links in comments aren’t allowed), can drive users to your site or, better yet, a landing page with your lead magnet or email capture form.
Pauline Cabrera of Twelveskip has a nice example:
Pauline is forthright about who she is and where she calls home. She also includes a link to her services page, which will help her close the deal if prospects visit her Instagram account. Include a branded hashtag here as well if you’re planning to use one. Lululemon, an athletic gear manufacturer, uses the slogan #thesweatlife in conjunction with their Snapchat account.
Expand your network
Being attentive and genuine is the number one suggestion for expanding your community. Use a genuine profile photo, post genuine comments on other people’s photos, and communicate with your followers as soon as possible. Many online businesses utilize Instagram to offer behind-the-scenes footage of their expanding operations. People like to feel like they’re getting something special, so include photos that you don’t post elsewhere.
Nesha Woolery, for example, informs us about her new podcast.
This not only advertises her podcast indirectly, but it also humanizes her and demonstrates her commitment to her audience by involving them in her activities. One thing to keep in mind is that hashtags are often utilized on Instagram. Create a branded hashtag to stand out on Instagram and increase brand recognition.
You don’t want to just use your business’s name as a hashtag. Instead, use your imagination. Consider using a hashtag that represents your Instagram presence. It should be something that motivates your audience to participate and share. #hootsuitelife is Hootsuite’s trademarked hashtag, which has over 10,000 posts.
Create a Personal Brand
Because Instagram is a visual platform, you’ll need to use high-quality photographs to establish your brand. These photographs don’t have to be professionally posed – in fact, it’s preferable if they aren’t – but they do need to be relevant to your brand and target demographic.
If you’re going to apply an Instagram filter, pick one and stick with it to keep your brand consistent. There’s no way a follower will mix up her posts with someone else’s. You’ll be able to reach more people and expand your business at the same time if you create a distinct visual identity on Instagram.
Bringing things to a close
You’re missing out on the hottest, most popular social network around if you’re concentrating all of your social marketing efforts on Twitter, Facebook, and possibly Pinterest or LinkedIn. It’s not simply a place for people to post selfies and food photos; it’s a major social media platform with a fast-rising 18-34 demographic.
Plan out your Instagram strategy ahead of time. Make sure your bio has a clear call-to-action and that you’re working to establish a network of brand champions. Develop your visual identity by committing to a specific image style, maintaining a consistent posting schedule, and engaging with your fans authentically. Although Instagram may not appear to be the best medium for all sectors – particularly non-visual ones – it may be successful with the correct approach.