Instagram is more than food, filters and beauty tips: it can also be a powerful marketing tool for your small business. With over half a billion daily users, it’s clear that successful Instagram branding can open up a treasure trove of potential new customers.
Let’s start with the obvious: Instagram is a visual platform. So, the first thing to do is consider the type of imagery you could produce to draw attention to your business. If you sell products this is relatively easy, but what if you’re a service business?
Here are three types of non-product content any business can use to create their Instagram branding:
1) Behind-the-scenes photos
Customers love to see the people behind the business. Taking the team out to lunch? Pop the photo on Instagram! In fact, here at NS Design, we have a tradition of taking selfies at our Embrace the Space workshops, and then posting them on our social channels!
2) User-generated content
Normally, you can’t go wrong with user-generated content, or UGC. In fact, 76% of respondents in a recent survey said they trusted content from “average” people more than material created by brands. Think about what sort of content you could ask your users to create, and start a conversation.
3) How-to content
Advice and tutorials perform just as well on Instagram as on any other channel. Why? Because people are always looking for ways to solve problems and improve their lives.
Growing your audience on Instagram
Research by Forrester has shown that user engagement on Instagram is significantly outperforming that of other social platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
So, let’s explore how to grow this crucial audience on Instagram.
Keep it simple
There’s no getting away from it: beautiful works best on Instagram. That may sound demanding, but you don’t have to be a professional photographer to create clear and impactful images. Just make sure your photos are well-lit, with the subject in the centre, and remember to check how your images display in the feed. Let your users guide you: keep an eye on which images get the most attention, and use this information to create more like them.
Real people matter
As with all social media platforms, it’s not the number of followers you have that matters, it’s the quality. You don’t need the estimated 8% of Instagram accounts that act like bots; you need engaged individuals who will interact with your brand. Make sure you add your real-life customers and contacts, and encourage two-way discussions on your posts.
Remember your captions
Instagram branding isn’t just about images. The captions are really important too, not least because they give you an opportunity to use hashtags that can give your content additional visibility. You can use up to 2,220 characters but, like the images themselves, simplicity works best. A pithy, straight-to-the-point caption will gain attention far more frequently than an essay!
Use shopping tags
If you sell products, make sure you enable business settings for shopping. This will let you create a virtual storefront to showcase your items. You can also add product tags that will lead your users to product description pages. From there, they can go directly to your website to buy your products.
We hope this article has given you some useful pointers to kick-start your Instagram branding. Follow these tips and you’ll be an ‘influencer’ before you know it!
For some face-to-face help with your social media strategy, sign up to our next workshop!