It’s no secret that Instagram has experienced a huge boom in the social media space in the last few years. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 28% of internet users are currently using the social platform, compared to only 17% in 2013.
As internet users evolve to crave more visual-based content and less copy, brands have to step up their image-producing game to gain and engage a following on Instagram.
Considering more than one-fourth of internet users are on Instagram, companies need to be extra conscious of not only having a presence on the channel, but of having a presence that will both appeal to Instagram’s demographic and encourage users to engage with their content.
Below are 5 must-do’s brands must follow in order to use Instagram effectively:
1. Tell your brand’s story
Each social channel has a purpose for brands. Twitter calls for quick, short posts. Facebook allows for more copy, giving brands the space to say what they want to say. Instagram, on the other hand, gives brands the chance to showcase their story using images, with less of a focus on words.
Charity: water is a great example of a brand telling its story well on Instagram. Their mission is to provide clean and safe drinking water to those in need. Their posts tell the stories of those who are being helped by the organization, the work the company is doing, and the lives they’re changing.
Before they had access to clean water, Everline’s family never had enough food. They used to spend so much time walking to find and collect dirty water, that they never got to take care of their garden. “We ate enough to survive only,” Everline said. But everything changed when they got a well in the middle of their village. Today, her family has plenty of corn to eat, extra corn to sell at the market, and hope for a better future. Happy #NationalCornOnTheCobDay.
What’s your brand’s story? What do you do? Are you a nonprofit? A startup? How was your business born? What makes your brand unique?
Keep these questions in mind as you produce content for your Instagram channel. Users are drawn to brands that create an emotional connection, and telling your story can spark that connection and gain you an active and engaged follower.
2. Share eye-catching images
Because an Instagram feed is updated as a timeline (like Twitter), you may not see a post from 3 days ago, from 4 hours ago, or even 5 minutes ago. Therefore, you need to make sure the images you put up are eye-catching so you can get “likes” in real-time. Users on Instagram are looking for content that appeals to them, whether that means a quote overlay on a background image or a beautiful sunset in Oahu. Think about your target audience and what they would be interested in, and then develop your images accordingly.
Apparel company Everlane does an awesome job of posting visually appealing images on Instagram. They take a creative approach to showcasing their products in a way that helps users visualize how what’s pictured can fit into their lives. Their images are simple, yet eye-catching and get about 3,000 “likes” on average.
Before posting content, ask yourself if you would consider it an interesting, unique image. Would you “like” it? Would your target customer “like” it? If so, post away! If not, head back to the drawing board and make sure you’re putting out content that represents your brand!
3. Share your company’s culture
It’s easier to connect with a brand when you can relate to it. Seeing a company where its employees have fun, share common interests, and have a great vibe altogether makes it easier to trust the company and its products/services.
Showcase what your employees are up to and let users get a feel for the atmosphere in your office. Here at DBE, we genuinely enjoy spending time together, so it’s easy to have a good time whether we’re in the office or checking out a local happy hour!
Does your company take part in March Madness brackets? Do your employees enjoy cookie swaps? Take a photo and share a behind-the-scenes moment to add a more human and accessible side to your brand.
4. Build followers by using Instagram advertising
With over 400 million active accounts, advertising on the channel is a no-brainer for brands whose target audience uses the channel.
In 2015, Salesforce used a carousel ad campaign to increase awareness of and registrations for its Dreamforce conference. The ad campaign reached a whopping 5 million users, with a 1% click-through rate.
Whether you’re looking for app downloads, clicks to your website, video views, or impressions, Instagram ads can be tailored to fit your specific objective. Ads can be managed through Facebook Ad Manager and Power Editor, so having your social campaigns filter through one application makes it easier to manage campaigns and track results.
5. Always be testing
Each brand’s audience will respond differently to different images. It’s important to test a variety of images on your account, and then track the results to determine which types of posts gain more “likes” and comments. It’s also beneficial to track your daily follower growth to account for any surges in followers based on a specific post. Keeping in mind that Instagram is a real-time channel, tracking how posts perform at different times of the day can help you get insights into when your audience is on the channel and when you should be posting.
Tailoring your Instagram content to fit what your audience responds well to and when they are the most active on the channel is imperative to gaining followers, as well as to keeping them engaged.
Instagram can be a great tool for increasing awareness of your brand and making a connection with your audience. As the number of users on the channel increases, brands will no doubt be looking to have a larger presence to reach these users. By ensuring you’re telling your brand’s story, showcasing what makes your brand unique, and taking a strategic approach to the channel, Instagram can do wonders for getting your brand out there.