Navigating the vast world of social media can be intimidating, but to ignore its potential is senseless.
We often discuss how to use Facebook and Twitter in your business,but these aren’t the only platforms to consider. Instagram boasts 75 million daily users.
So, how do you leverage that in your favor?
Do Some Soul Searching
The first thing to figure out is who you are. If you don’t know yourself, why should we care about your confused,scattered Instagram account? Confidence of all kinds draws people in.Being put together and presenting a solid identity is a great way tohave current followers believe in you and a way to pull in new traffic.
Don’t just consider your brand’s personality: look outward to yourtarget audience. How you approach teenage girls versus men over fiftydiffers significantly.
Use Clear Calls to Action in Post Captions
Use the post caption to enhance your post and convey a clear message to your audience.
The post caption, which is the first comment immediately underneatheach Instagram post, is the comment you include during the uploadprocess. No matter how many subsequent comments are added, the originalcaption will always remain complete and visible beneath the post.
This valuable Instagram real estate should never be left blank and it should be as descriptive as necessary to complete the message. Remember, you don’t want to repeat what thepicture says, just enhance it. While you’re allowed up to 2,200characters in your Instagram caption, 200 to 300 characters is usuallyideal.
Include a clear call to action in your post caption so it will drive traffic and results. If you want people to visit your website, ask them to “Click on the link in the bio” or write some other messagerequesting they navigate to your profile to access the direct link. If you want people to call, email or visit your store, make that request clear in the message.
Also, engage your audience with incentives in your post caption call to action. For example, Nordstrom did a “Like it to lower the price” campaign. For every 10,000 likes they’d lower the price 10%, up to 30% off. Whatever your call to action is, make sure it’s clear and of value toyour followers. The simpler the action, the better the results.
Consider Content Carefully
Once you’ve solved your identity crisis, focusing on what you want to put out there is key. Social media images should always be of highquality, so on a visuals-based platform like Instagram, you mustespecially ensure that the images attract.
Fuzzy, pixelated and blurred images should be avoided. Try to keepthings colorful…unless you have determined your brand is betterrepresented by a more dramatic black and white theme.
Unleash Your Inner Spy
Don’t be shy: check out what your competitors are doing. We’re notsaying you should outright steal their plans – definitely don’t be acontent thief – but sizing up the competition is only logical.
How can you make a plan of action if you are stumbling around in thedark? If a competitor’s campaign is working, take note. What is it thattheir followers loved, and how can you incorporate that into your owncontent?
Really, Learn From Others
In that vein: learn from the best. Even if they aren’t directlyrelated to what you want to do with your Instagram, it is still wise tosee what the most-followed accounts are doing and if there is anything you can do to emulate it in your own style (aside from becoming a celebrity or athlete).
Shockingly, Instagram’s own account has the highest number of followers. What do they do? They promoteother users’ content, and make sure everything is interesting. Whichseems daunting, but not if you simplify it: everyone has an innerphotographer.
Does it look nice? Make sure the eye can focus on what is important.Too many distractions can detract from an otherwise interesting image.If you want to take it further, have some awesome resources.
To make the best use of your post captions and comments, include relevant hashtags on your Instagram posts. This will help increase your reach, engagement and overall visibility.
Add hashtags that are related to your business, your post and yourtarget audience. (Avoid popular hashtags or completely unrelateddescriptions in an attempt to get on a popular search; these will nothelp your brand.)
Try to use 10 to 15 hashtags per post. If your postonly warrants 8 hashtags, that’s okay. If you can justify 17, that’sfine too. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, but there’s rarely asituation where that many are needed.
In every post, incorporate a mix of highly popular hashtags(those with hundreds of thousands or more images), moderately popularhashtags (those with thousands of images), less popular (those withfewer than 1,000 images) and your own custom hashtags.
This ensures you’ll reach popular searches, while staying relevantfor more than a few minutes in searches for the less-popular hashtags.And, when you incorporate your own custom hashtags, you create a virtual gallery of all of your content. Then when someone searches thathashtag, they’ll find all of your Instagram posts.
Save a list of your most commonly used hashtags on your computer, so they’re on hand to copy, paste and add to posts at all times.
Don’t Forget the Social Aspect
In addition to coming up with original content that will wow,Instagram allows you to share images from other users as long as yougive credit where credit is due.
Interact with your followers and forge connections with users whose content you love.
This creates happy fans, and happy friends will spread the word.
Create content that’s a little different from your other social media sites to best engage your followers. Interact with your Instagramaudience to boost your brand awareness. Then market your business tothese people to get more traffic, conversions and sales from Instagram.
Instagram is a fun site that’s also a really powerful marketing tool. You just need to know how to use it.