Instagram’s engagement rate is one of the best of all social network platforms, enabling businesses to quickly establish a healthy following.
In the current social media era, where “Charlie bit my finger” can receive over 861 million views on YouTube, it’s now easier than ever to connect with potential customers. Using social media businesses are no longer limited to advertising in their ‘back garden’ – they can now connect with customers from every corner of the world, especially with Instagram.
How does Instagram work?
To start marketing your business on Instagram, you need to register an account. You can download the app on your smartphone, or visit the Instagram website. As Instagram is part of the Facebook family, you can quickly create an account using your existing Facebook login. If you do not use Facebook, you can create an account directly with Instagram using your email address.
Once you have created an account, you can then create a business profile using Instagram’s settings. Make sure you use your company logo for your business profile’s photo. This will create a consistent visual experience for your customers, tying in your Instagram account with your website and other social media platforms.
Make sure you link all of your social media accounts, if you’re going to take the time to post, you’ll want it to appear on all platforms. Twitter, Facebook and others can easily be linked within the ‘Linked Accounts’ settings.
Add a photo as often as you can, ideally once a day. Lots of people are avid Instragrammers, checking their feed at least daily. Post to them frequently and you’ll be well on your way to becoming part of their daily routine. Although posting is quick and painless, it can be time consuming adding a photo every day, as getting the right shot to market your product is often more difficult. Why not take photos in batches when you have an hour or so free? Then all you have to do is look through your camera roll each day to choose the best photo. Be sure to utilise the filters to ensure you post the best photo possible. Video clips can also be added, useful when you have something to demonstrate, or for a product review.
When sharing your photos, be sure to add a caption to the image, this will help your post be found in related searches. Then (and here’s a really important part), try and add popular hashtags and @mention multiple related Instagram accounts. This can dramatically help to increase the number of followers you have, as when followers ‘like’ or comment on your post it will appear to their followers.
Find people or like-minded businesses to follow. Using the Instagram search bar will give you similar trending photos and hashtags. You can also use the search bar to look for existing accounts or competitive businesses. Following your competitors not only gives you an insight to what they’re doing, but something far more valuable: a way of communicating with their customers. You can see who their followers are and engage directly with them.
A picture says a thousand words
You’ve done it, you’re now posting regularly on Instagram. Friends, family and potential customers are following you and things are going well. To attract more followers, try alternating product posts with fun lifestyle posts. Humans are social creatures and, let’s face it, most of us are terribly nosy. Posting fun photos will help people get to know your brand and personality and help tell your story. The great thing about posting photos is that you can monitor and analyse which have the highest engagement. This means you can start to tailor your posts and pictures for your audience.
It takes two to tango
Make sure you engage with others too. Firstly, follow your followers. Think strategically about who you would like to follow. Like and comment on posts that best compliment your business or audience, then those who follow your followers can see that and may decide to follow you too. You can also use Instagram to follow and research other businesses and competitors, looking at popular hashtags that might relate to your business.
A little something extra
Similar to loyalty cards or stamp and go reward schemes, people love an offer. Give a discount code or promotion to the people who follow you. Make the offer for a limited time to increase the urgency for people to engage. Offering a promotion through active participation is common, for example:
“Comment on our photo, let us know your favourite burger toppings and get a 25% discount code.”
Everybody likes to have a say and scroll through the comments to see what other people chose. The comment they make will also appear for their followers to see, who are also likely to engage and follow you for more fantastic offers.
Finally, get on the social proof bandwagon
Social proof states that if your friends or family like a product, you’re then more likely to choose that product over another. Many companies encourage their followers to post reviews or pictures of their products, because they know consumer reviews are significantly more trusted than product descriptions and are more likely to convert a sale.
According to Reevoo, customer reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales.
There’s evidence that even bad reviews can sometimes increase conversion rates. If a prospective customer can see a positive outcome following a complaint, it demonstrates how the business confidently dealt with an unsatisfied customer. If handled well, this can increase buying confidence.