Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms, and businesses who currently use other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are looking to Instagram more and more to attract and reach a whole new (younger) market. Your business needs to target millennials - and now! Instagram has great potential to build your audience as well as your brand. In addition to photo sharing, people can also share videos on Instagram. It’s fun, visual and surprisingly easy. Most importantly though, is the growing advertising potential you don’t want to miss out on.
A solid strategy to grow followers starts with these five tips:
Post engaging content. Don’t just post a photo of your new company ball caps. Tell people what you are doing and why it’s interesting. Your followers want to like your posts, so give them content to like. Share photos and information related to your business such as new staff, your products/services, community events you support, news stories that involve your business/industry, fun industry memes, etc. Occasionally, you can certainly add a photo of your adorable office cat, local sports successes, weather, or other engaging posts that remind your followers that you are community minded people who love their customers. Just be sure to leave the family photos and what you ate for lunch for your personal social media accounts – not your company Instagram account. The point is to give a wide range of topics, great photos and business news items that aren’t too serious, but that are professional and attention-grabbing. You want your followers to think “Hey, these people are knowledgeable and interesting. I should really go there/buy from them.” Finally, it’s advisable to avoid all potentially political, religious or any heated topics to avoid even remotely offending a follower. The backlash will be more hassle than it’s worth… every time.
Post regularly. This doesn’t mean posting all the time; it’s all about quality, not quantity. You want to stay on your followers’ radar, but not become a nuisance. You want to avoid having anyone “unfollow” you because you are posting too often, or are too “spammy” or sales-y. To engage your followers and keep them thinking about you, it’s recommended that you post approximately once per day, or at least five times per week. You can go to 2 – 5 times per day, but only if you have great, fresh content. Don’t forget about the time of day you are posting at – keep your followers in mind and post during peak business hours or early evening hours when people are more likely to be using the platform.
Use great hashtags. The right hashtags open up your post to a larger, targeted audience. Instagram users love hashtags – and you are allowed 30 hashtags per post (not that you would ever need that many, but it’s good to know). Spend some time researching hashtags relevant to your business and brand. For example, if your company is environmentally conscious, you would look for hashtags to support that, and add hashtags that link you (and expose you) to organizations, companies, and products that are also concerned about the environment, to expose them to you in return! The possibilities are endless. You can also create a unique hashtag (first ensure it’s not already being used!) and ask others to use it to build your own searchable tag. Before you know it, your business will have significantly more exposure, but you have to keep using it in order for it to remain effective. One word of advice: always check your hashtag for appropriate content before posting. What you may think is seemingly harmless and fun, could expose your audience to unsuitable or even harmful language and images. How? Well, when someone clicks on that hashtag in your post it takes them to more posts about that hashtag.
Hold contests. Contests expose your business to new followers by increasing engagement. For example, you could open up a contest to have existing followers “tag” two or three friends in order to qualify for a gift card or other fun offer, and your audience will naturally grow with very little effort and expense on your part. Your customers help you gain new customers often without realizing they are doing so.
Reply, comment and follow others. If anyone comments or inquires about one of your posts, be sure to reply as soon as possible, or put someone else in charge or doing so if you can’t. Engaging with your audience in a personable way, you will get discovered more easily and your brand will start to be more recognized. Do keep in mind that the majority of Instagram users (currently) are teens and early twenties, so be sure that your product or service is relevant to those whom you seek out.
Getting started starts here
It’s exciting to see how Instagram has evolved since its inception, but beyond that…to recognize its potential to grow a business. It’s essential to keep up with the trends in order to compete in today’s fast-paced business world and Instagram is one that you want to hold onto for sure. At 3SIXTY Marketing Solutions, we are here for you - with custom strategies for your small, medium or large business. If you have any questions about creating, executing or analyzing a social media marketing plan whether on Instagram or another platform you have in mind, give us a call 705-252-4180. Our experienced team is always happy to help you create a strong marketing foundation to grow your business with results-driven advertising or marketing and a strong return on your investment.