Of all the social media channels available to brands, Instagram has been getting a lot of attention recently as a great tool to grow your brand. In fact, looking at the current state of Instagram as a marketing tool, it is providing brands with 25% more engagement than other social media platforms. So how can you optimize your Instagram profile to build your online presence?
We collaborated with Designer Mary Young to dive into Instagram and how to use it effectively.
Why Instagram is a Platform for Growth
Forrester analyzed over 3 million user interactions and saw a 4.21% brand engagement rate. The ability to choose what you see in your feed results in reduced noice, and a higher engagement rate, allowing content to reach consumers whose interests are aligned with your brand or business. In the end, this results in 25% more engagement over other social platforms.
Instagram is especially useful when you look at the demographics of people who use the app: 58% of users are aged 18-29 and 26% have an income greater than $75,000. The engagement levels are also high with the average time users engage with the app being over 50 minutes a day and an overall average of 2.5 billion likes per day. That’s time spent scrolling, double-tapping, and ultimately soaking your your brand’s content.
Over time, the number of brands that have achieved success with Instagram as their primary marketing strategy is increasing, with companies like Daniel Wellington reaching 2.5 million followers through their influencer campaign.
So how do these brands do it? Here are some steps you can take to start growing your brand.
Best Practices on Instagram
Build your initial audience
- Start small: Friends and family can act as seed followers and provide social clout for your brand.
- Link your Instagram anywhere possible, whether it be on other forms of social media, business cards, or on the company website.
- Add the brand’s social media handle to any extra communication from the company helps to increase awareness.
Create a unique bio
- An eye-catching biography is the first chance to hook your audience and tell your brand’s story. Combining text, emojis, and links helps to provide value to users and drive traffic to your website.
Develop a consistent aesthetic
- Be consistent with your messaging and imagery to maintain a distinctive voice and tone throughout your posts. Photographs that have a familiar aesthetic will ensure that your page reflects your brand and is recognizable to followers.
*Pro tip: if you put your phone on airplane mode to edit your photos, you can post them to Instagram and see how they fit with the rest of your feed by viewing your Instagram folder in photos.
Choose the right #hashtags
- Hashtags should relate to your business, product, and photo.
- Use popular hashtags like #instagood and #photooftheday for exposure but use more niche hashtags to increase your chance of ranking on the discover page.
*pro tip: look at accounts that you see as goals, and if their content is similar to yours, replicate their hashtags. Check out our Digital Marketing course to dive even deeper into the ways you can grow your digital audience.
Prepare your post
- Use natural light when it is a daytime photograph, and take advantage of the brightness, contrast, and shadows editing tools to create the perfect lighting.
- Remember the Rule of Thirds to achieve a well-balanced photo.
- Use saturation for emphasizing colour and making your feed pop and warmth to soften the blue and green hues.
- Highlight is a great tool to make the whites of your photo brighter and the Sharpen tool can add a professional edge.
- Tag your location to increase engagement up to 79%
Building a Community
Post engaging content at peak times
It’s important to post when your following is engaged so that your content won’t fall through the cracks of the Instagram algorithm. If you have a business account, use the insights tab to discover when your audience is most likely to be online engaging content. When you do post, make sure 80% of your content is focused on enlightenment and engagement, keeping self-promotional posts to around 20%. Your audience wants to consume interesting content that’s a valuable use of their time, so don’t overwhelm them by only talking about your offerings. When you do share product posts, do so in an informative and interesting way, detailing the function or benefits. Keep in mind 65% of top-performing posts feature products.
Engage with your users
Make time to respond to comments, like posts that users tag you in, and curate user-generated content by reposting and giving credit. This creates a conversation with your audience and builds a community around your brand.
Want to dive even deeper into building your social media presence? Check out our Social Media Strategy weekend workshop or Digital Marketing course.