Instagram smashed onto the social media scene in October 2010 and since then, it has become a powerful platform on which both small and big businesses successfully market their brands.
If your brand hasn’t yet found its way to the square-cut realm that is Instagram, it should. Not only can it help your brand look great thanks to its photo-based concept and picture editing features; but if it’s done right, it can also rapidly increase awareness for your business.
To help you on your way to Insta-brand success, we’ve compiled a list of useful tips for creating a lucrative feed.
- Shape Up Your Photos
As we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words. On Instagram, it can be worth a thousand likes! When it comes to setting up your Instagram feed, think about how to make your photos as appealing as possible. A good starting point is to try to make use of natural light where you can as this will help to keep your images looking bright (and if it’s a cloudy day, there’s always the brightening feature on the filters page!). If you don’t like the way a photo looks, try taking it from a different angle. Instagram is a playful, creative platform so have some fun and experiment a little.
It might be worth establishing a clear aesthetic theme for your photos, whether that be a certain colour scheme, photo style or filter. A lot Instagram profiles employ this idea and the result is often clean, uniformed and visually satisfying; a huge draw for potential new followers. If you’re struggling to find a theme that works for you, try creating a mood board of all the things that define your brand and how you want your brand to be perceived. If you need further inspiration, take notes from other feeds. Can you see a theme? Does the feed use filters? Is the content varied? Would you follow it? Recognising what other companies do well will be useful when developing your own account.
Tip: You don’t have to rely on Instagram filters alone to make your photos tip-top. Apps such as VSCOcam, Snapseed and Filterstorm Neue (links) offer easy-to-use, good-quality editing features to help your photos look their very best.
- Personalise Your Brand
This one’s a biggie. Strong branding used on Instagram can work wonders for small business marketing. Much like finding a theme for your feed, showcasing brand personality does well to attract new followers. Just think of Instagram as a portfolio; it’s a great platform for marketing your products, deals and promotions, but it’s also ideal for establishing a distinct visual identity.
Note: It helps if your branding runs all the way through your marketing collateral- from your Instagram feed to your website right down to your business card design. Consistency in branding helps to set your business apart.
The best place to start when creating your brand personality is to share the things that interest you, even if they don’t necessarily relate to your brand. People often use Instagram as an outlet to express their passions and to follow others who do the same. Sharing your company’s interests, hobbies, passions and ethics is likely to engage your customers and encourage them feel more trusting of your brand.
To help you seem more personable and approachable, you could share photos that offer a ‘behind the scenes’ look at your business. People like to know what they’re buying into, so office set-ups, team shots, company celebrations and photos of the city/town/village you’re based in will help to build a sense of familiarity between you and your followers. It’s natural for people to be curious, and allowing the public to know what’s going on behind the curtain will humanize your brand and could ultimately help to entice more custom.
- Reach Out To New Audiences
Once you’ve nailed your branding and your instagram feed is looking top-notch, it’s time to extend your reach to attract new followers. An easy way of doing this is to incorporate hashtags into your posts. People often search for hashtags relating to what they are looking for, such as #win or #smallbusiness, so having them in your post will open the door for potential followers to stumble across your feed. Hashtags can also be a great source of creativity and if you can think of something unique and make it your own then you’re on to a winner! As long as the hashtags are kept pretty minimal and are pertinent to your image then you’re sure to attract some well-earned traffic.
Another way to reach out and discover new followers is to host a fun competition. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; ‘share this photo to win XXXX’ tends to be a strong enough formula. With the right campaign and a desirable prize, contests can be highly effective and will get people talking about your brand.
- Collaborate With Others
Teaming up with other Instagram users can be a brilliant marketing move. Collaborations are popular on Instagram and it’s easy to see why. It’s common for people to take to Instagram to discover new products or brands, so if someone sees a product you’ve created being endorsed by a blogger or a brand that they trust, they’re likely to visit your page and perhaps even follow you. Partnering with others allows you access to each other’s followers and can open your brand up to an entirely new audience. As a lot of small businesses use Instagram, it can also boost your professional networking opportunities by aligning you with other companies who you might want to work with in the future.
- Go viral!
Going viral is definitely something to shoot for if you want to boost your business. Instagram presents a number of opportunities to do this and the great thing is that you can use a photo or video to do it. Content that goes viral often centres on pets, babies, funny happenings, baffling talking points (yes, I’m talking about THAT multi-coloured dress!) and simple but shareable campaigns (ice bucket challenge anyone?). If you can get people talking and sharing your content then you’re in with a chance of going viral. This shouldn’t be the ‘be all, end all’ of your Insta-purpose of course, but it’s certainly worth looking into.
If you need any more reason to get your business on Instagram then you might want to know that Instagram currently has 50 times the engagement rate of Facebook, and Instagram users are the most invested of all social media channels. If you take our advice and build a distinct and engaging visual identity then you’re opening your brand up to a host of potential new leads, along with a whole heap of fun on the most exciting social media platform!
So what are you waiting for? Get gramming!