It goes without saying Instagram is a powerful social media channel that’s growing by the day, everyday.
It’s time you got on to the platform and started grabbing everything you deserve.
In this post I will be discussing several things you can do to beef up your Instagram reach, get more people talking about you and win over hearts.
Setting up Instagram account for Business
First things first. In this section I will guide you on how to set up an Instagram account for business.
It’s pretty easy to do so. It only takes five minutes and is free.
- You will need a smartphone to access Instagram. The app is available for free on both Apple and Android phones on their app stores.
- Once you’ve downloaded the app, here’s what to do next. Sign up and enter your email id or phone number. There’s also Facebook login available now after they bought Instagram.
- Under app settings you will find a menu option that lets you switch the basic account to business account. You will need to add a mobile number and verify the account to be able to use Instagram as a business account. The advantages are many and so I advise everyone serious about Instagram to turn their accounts into Business accounts.
Choose the proper username
Use the same name that you use to run your business to run social media accounts. Let’s say your site’s domain name is XYZ.com. In that case all social media handles including the Instagram username should be XYZ and not ZYZ. That makes it easy for your audiences who know you from your website xyx.com to search for you on social media channels and follow your brand on Instagram. Also using some other name other than the brand name can be deeply confusing and arouse suspicion if it’s someone else parading around with your website brand name. The same name is great and must-have for branding and can be used across all possible social media profiles, forum profiles and other public platforms.
You can add a website url in your bio. It goes without saying you should link to your main business URL in that section.
The profile photo
The profile photo is another feature you might want to make sure is up to speed. It’s always recommended to upload your company logo so to aid visibility and discoverability.
The photos you upload should be around 110 pixels. Anything exceeding that limit gets downsized to match the requirements.
Whatever you do on Instagram should drive goals that further drive your business up. That should be on top of your mind whatever you do on the channel.
The next order of business is to drive growth using content on Instagram.
Here’s how to proceed:
Be an Active Participant on the Platform
Instagram thrives on a constant and consistent supply of content. More than this you need to be involved in the larger community by sharing, following and commenting. Without that there won’t be any growth.
You need to follow other people. You need to follow brands. And you need to follow influencers. Not everyone you follow will follow you back. That’s how it works. But that doesn’t mean you labor in vain.
The comment section is there for you to engage and talk with people, brands and influencers.
When you share your own content don’t forget to share great content that others have posted. It’s not all about you.
Share company’s progress with followers
Who doesn’t like to celebrate?
And if people are following your brand on Instagram, chances are they like you and can be happy about you, your successes and be part of your celebrations also.
Whenever you achieve a milestone, a goal that you’ve been dreaming of you should share that with your followers and wait for the deluge of comments, likes and shares to surround you.
Make sure that these achievements are worthy of sharing.
Use an overarching theme that defines your brand
On Instagram it’s easy to get distracted. You see something trending, some kind of post going viral and you think you should be posting content on the exact same subjects. Nothing could be further from the truth. On Instagram or any other social media channel for that matter, the content you post has to tie to revenue goals you’ve in your mind.
A brand that consistently puts in all efforts to grow itself by branding it through content grows quickly, becomes something that’s easily recognized and comes across as professional.
Use a Hashtag Contest
In your life you must have seen at least one Instagram hashtag. It’s quick and relatively easy way to generate new Instagram followers to your brand.
You also get to generate tons of new user-generated content for your brand which both adds trust and supplies an unending fodder of content on which to grow your brand.
How to get started with it?
On your Instagram page you announce a contest where Instagram users and ideally your followers will be entered to win a prize should they choose to upload a relevant photo with a custom created hashtag you choose.
These photos can be part of a bigger goal like say a travel brand could invite photos for a holiday you had and so on. All photos with the particular hashtag automatically get tagged to your contest page.
As part of the contest the winner is the one whose photo gets the highest number of engagements say likes and shares.
This encourages users to ask their friends and family to share and like their submission if the prize is good enough for the them.
Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is a big hit on the platform with over 400 million daily active users tuning in to see stories in 2018. This is up by 100 million from 2017. The platform as a whole is witnessing massive growth.
What attracts people to this feature in particular?
The fact that stories disappear after 24 hours.
Stories are the perfect vehicle to experiment and find out what your audiences love most.
Stories remain live for just 24 hours and this adds an urgency to content consumption making it achieve the highest possible engagement rates.
Stories are beneficial for your brand because they afford a unique opportunity not facilitated by any other feature on the platform.
- Stories are the first thing that pop up on people’s feeds when they login to Instagram. It takes precedence over every other form of content.
- Since your mistakes are seen only for 24 hours at most, you can share bloopers and unedited videos as well.
- Stories allow you to tag other accounts and forge collaborations.
- Stories let you use stickers and images too.
Include Video Content
Video is really big on Instagram. With faster internet speeds and the world being on the cusp of 5G video will rule the roost in the near future as well.
When you upload a video to Instagram it has to be of certain standard because you would generate the opposite reaction if it isn’t.
Videos with great sound, images and ones that get created professionally go a long way in encouraging people to share and like them.
An example from Red Bull, the brand known for its extravagant stunts:
Post quality images
If you don’t have basic photo editing skills you shouldn’t be on Instagram.
There are hundreds of brands I can call out that use piss-poor images on their Insta page. This reflects poorly on the brand and doesn’t get any engagement either. You need to make images appealing. They need to be shot in great light using some equipment that’s not too bad. You can use a phone camera too but get the lighting right and use a few tutorials to convey shadow and size effects.
We already talked about using hashtag contests to grow your Instagram following. Next create user generated content to get more out of your followers and to generate higher engagement and develop a sense of community in tandem.
This can be achieved by asking your followers to post pictures of them using your product or service. AirBnb frequently posts pictures of their guests in Airbnb homes all over the world. The best pictures set in picturesque locations are posted on their channels.
Engage with influencers
Influencers are called influencers because of their ability to sway popular opinion.
There are many tools both free and paid that let you search for influencers, find them and follow them.
You can search by keywords to this end and engage with the influencers you find.
Measure and track growth
Whenever you do something on Instagram it’s good to see how far your reach would extend. And if you’re able to grow your brand with whatever it is you’re doing. The insights section gives you plenty of information about your existing Instagram audience like number of profile visitors, number of clicks to your links and growth in the number of followers week-to-week.
What do you think of the Instagram strategies, tips and tricks outlined in this post? Does this make any sense to you?
Do let us know in the comments below.
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