Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave over the past ten years, I’m sure you have already established your presence on several social media channels to promote your content, gather new leads, and overall, increase your overall marketing efforts. Hard to believe but Facebook first opened its ‘flood gates’ to the general public back in 2006! Since then, most businesses have also added Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube platforms to reach their followers.
Not to be outdone, Instagram has now become the fastest growing social media network, reaching 800 million users as of September 2017, out of which 500 million are active daily users (according to Carolyn Everson, vice president of global marketing solutions at Facebook).
With those types of numbers, it is no wonder that Instagram for Business has become an essential element of social media marketing. It’s critical to navigate growing Instagram for your business the right way, Here are eight key points to keep in mind as you grow your own Instagram presence for your business.
Stay on Brand
If your company utilizes a visual style guide (colors, fonts, etc.), make sure that your Instagram posts are “on brand” and follow the prescribed guidelines. For example, does your company only post social images in your brand’s specific color scheme on Twitter and Facebook? Should your pictures all include your company’s logo? If necessary, ask your digital marketing agency before posting to agree upon visual guidelines before you get posts up and running.
Use High Quality Stock Photos
Freestockphotos.org, unsplash.com, deathtothestockphoto. com High quality stock photos, set as a backdrop for text and graphics, are a fantastic way to showcase your brand’s look and feel. And of course, photos of your own business services or products in action are a must to keep your audience engaged and updated about your offers.
Follow the Rule of Thirds
This is a very basic photography standard. The rule of thirds states than an image is most pleasing when its subjects or regions are composed along imaginary lines which divide the image into thirds — both vertically and horizontally. The rule of thirds is all about creating the right aesthetic trade-offs. It often creates a sense of balance without making the image appear too static, and a sense of complexity without making the image look too busy.
Designate a Content Creator
If you work for a medium or large organization, chances are many decision-makers will want a take a look at what is posted. The key is continuity in branding and messaging. By keeping the same type of language, content and imagery that has already been approved for use on other marketing platforms (website, paid ad campaigns, flyers, etc.) you will ensure that your content creator’s posts adhere to approved standards.
Take Great Pictures
You don’t have to hire a professional photographer to take great pictures for your Instagram posts. Framing, social interaction and spontaneity are more important elements for Instagram as opposed to a more traditional photo shoot that you would require for a printed brochure.
Follow Typography Rules
When adding text to images, remember the graphic design rules for typography and how to use different fonts to captivate audiences and create beautiful designs. Again, your brand standards may already define how to use typography over pictures and it is important to apply those rules across the board.
Use Hashtags to Grow Your Instagram Following.
Using the appropriate hashtag that is to your goals, content, and brand will help aggregate your images and will also associate them with trending topics. The importance of a “brand identity” goes along with a specific hashtag you create for your business. A lot of brands will use their own brand name as a hashtag, so your brand name can be your handle (username) and also used as a “brand hashtag”. When coming up with a hashtag for your brand you should make sure it’s something unique enough that it will be relevant to your company and not overlap too much with other brand’s posts (ie, if you are hotelier, rather than using #vacation you will want to use something like #hotelnamevacation). When you use a hashtag that you’ve created for your brand you can follow its evolution and start answering important questions such as:
- Is the hashtag gaining popularity?
- Do your followers use the hashtag?
- Is that hashtag gaining you followers?
Iconosquare’s search engine (no affiliation) allows you to see the number of times your hashtag has been used, which gives you an idea of how popular your hashtag is. You can even compare your own hashtags to top trending hashtags by perusing Iconosquare’s “Top Tags on Instagram” section, as well as export data about any hashtag (posts per day, likes, comments, advocates, geolocation, etc.) to dig even deeper into the analytics of hashtags and optimizing for your audience.
Be Aware of Algorithm Shifts
Previously, Instagram feeds displayed your followers’ content in chronological order — that is, whoever posted something most recently was at the top of your feed. But as of 2016, (not surprisingly mirroring Facebook’s algorithm) Instagram designed an algorithm that now shows users’ the content they think users most likely want to see based on users’ past engagement. For marketers, followers who engage with your brand most are more likely to see your posts first, and those followers who don’t engage have to scroll farther before they see your content. Try using eye-catching posts that work better for your audience if you see a downturn in engagement.
Instagram has become one of the fastest -if not the fastest- growing social media channel. It allows you to easily spread information about all aspects of your brand, your culture, your products and services and your satisfied customers’ stories, all of which, will ultimately generate more business too. Go ahead! If you don’t have an account, set up one soon. If you already have an account, take a quick look at the above points and you will see greater rewards.
Feel free to contact our MGR Team if you prefer that we manage your social media marketing, you won’t be disappointed!
Thank you for reading. Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real.
Sources: Hubspot, Instagram, Facebook, CNBC