With almost 500+ Million users flocking Instagram, it certainly isn’t “just another market trend”, but an incredible sign of changing times, of how the social world is swiftly moving from knotted texts to impressive images.
And, How Does This Translate To Business?
If you consider Instagram gathers 50 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter, it stands to reason why big businesses and brands are jumping on the visual bandwagon.
Also, unlike written content, visual content is snackable - quick, quirky and ready to consume without much of effort which is why Instagram is turning out to be a hot favorite for users across social web.
At first approach, building audience with images may seem effortless and an undemanding job but it’s only when you dive into the pool, you realize the depth. Creating right pictures, fostering user engagement, narrating ideas, reaching target audience- all shape up to be the most challenging task on Instagram for business growth.
Here’s a quick look at how you can build your brand on Instagram by advancing your content strategy.
1. The Foremost, What Should Be Shared On Instagram?
Instagram is all about visual inspiration but image is an umbrella term that needs to narrowed down when it comes to Instagram. Share images that enhance your visual presence and bring to light your brand utility.
Maintain a narrative pattern through your images such that it becomes your signature over a period of time.
Here’s What All You Can Share On Instagram:
- Share your company values and beliefs. Post your workplace photos. Let your audience connect with your product through human touch.
- Allow your company employees to share their perspective on behalf of your brand or business.
- Share photos of people using your product.
- Try not to use Common Creatives or Google images. It’s always recommended to post original photographs.
- Play with your product. Be creative and explore the different ways in which your product could be photographed.
- Use GIFs and videos to enhance your visual sharing.
Here’s an example of how a famous cafe, Blue Bottle strikes a balance of all these components- a great work culture, new recruitments, happy customers, behind the scenes and of course, some great coffee moments for a better engagement.
Tip: Apply Filters to your images before publishing. Filtered images are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on than unfiltered ones.
2. Command Attention With A Big Idea And A Theme
As a business or brand on Instagram, your end goal is to persuade your audience to action. Use a common theme that binds the diverse images on your profile.
Here’s how Kitkat, a famous chocolate brand builds its community on Instagram. Few of its posts are so delicious that it’d literally make you cringe for a break.
And surprisingly, at the end of the day that is what we want- alter behavior of our audience by inducing action.
Interestingly, all their posts have a consistent theme, color scheme and you rarely miss on that chocolate finger. Besides that, the central idea in all the images remain same- the luxury of a break with Kitkat.
This is one of the ways of gradually developing a likelihood for your product, for building your brand in the mind of your audience. Once they are committed to your ideas, they would unconsciously reciprocate their gratitude in the real world by choosing your brand over others.
3. The Art of Hashtags
Hashtag is essentially the way of tagging your pictures on Instagram and thereby connecting it to the pool of other photos already existing under that Tag.
It is much like distributing your image amongst different user base, beyond your audience on Instagram.
A study by Max Woolf reveals that photos with more hashtags have higher likes. 5-11 hashtags in a single post is considered an ideal number.
Tip: Research and create your own pool of 8-10 Hashtags that are popular and can be used consistently. Besides that, you can run your own Hashtag specific to your brands or business name and ask your audience to use it in their comments or for posting your brand related images.
4. Run Promotion Campaigns and Contest
In order to gain more audience, you can run promotional campaigns with Hashtags or photo contests asking your audience to share images relevant to your brand.
Hosting such contests, inspire your audience to participate and connect with your brand.
Sharpie does that really well. They create a campaign around one of the popular Hashtag #Iloveyou to connect with audience beyond their own followers.
With great visuals and prolonged use of this Hashtag, they were able to fetch better engagement, more comments and favorites.
Therefore, using a trending or a popular Hashtag to shape your promotion campaign can inspire people to talk about you, thus gathering a better response.
Tip: Create a gallery or a blog post of all the submissions that you receive, let’s say during a photo contest. This helps your audience to stay connected and you can repost their images or simply use it as a resource to engage with them later.
5. Maintain Posting Time and Frequency
Sending out posts at times when your audience is most active can help your business connect better. Burrito Principle of Content Publishing, given by Darian Rodriguez Heyman, founder of Nonprofit Boot Camp says the best time to post on social media is during their downtime, when they are most likely to be active on social media.
Based on this principle, you can create single or multiple schedules to effectively manage your content flow. Also, it helps you to visualize a broader picture of your content. And the bonus- you can always come back for revisions and give final touches before you push it live on Instagram.
6. Instagram As A Source Of Micro Blogging
Moving in the world of quick fixes and readymade content, Instagram is picking trend as an avenue to microblogging where you can pour your product story in not more than 2,200 characters. This condensed form of blogging is a great way to display your product along with a visual element.
You may share a tutorial, an important update or may be just the story behind the capture.
Keep it short, concise and always substantiate it with a call-of-action. You can give a link in the bio for the follow up or at the end of the description itself. If you are sharing a user experience, you can also Tag to gain more response.
Play With It!
The ultimate selling point pins down to originality, uniqueness and creativity. With more and more brands turning to Instagram, it is important to maintain your individuality and invest effectively in building your content strategy. There should be a well defined objective that firmly fits into the mould of visual marketing.
So if you are on Instagram and want to win it, kickstart right away. Be creative and consistent.
And remember, nothing sells like uniqueness.
Have your own brand or a business? Share with us your Instagram content strategy.