As you take the first steps to kick off your brand’s Instagram presence, make sure you pay attention to each move you make. Posting, hash-tagging and every other aspect of your digital brand should be done with purpose.
Regardless of what your brand is, the following 7 tips can help you grow a valuable Instagram audience.
1. Set clear expectations.
Instagram can help you build brand awareness, boost brand loyalty, convert followers to sales or simply create a better brand image. Furthermore, you can target a number of different audiences on the online platform.
When first setting up your brand account you need think about what your goal is and how your actions will help you achieve that goal. Sit down with your team to think through what end goal would make your account successful, who you are hoping to engage with and what that target person would enjoy seeing online.
This step will be crucial as you start to create a content style and execute your brand growth.
2. Define your brand story and aesthetic.
As you work out what your account will look like on Instagram, it’s important to recognize that Instagram is a visually oriented platform, and provides an experience similar to watching a television show. Accounts need to have fairly homogeneous content and aim to tell a story. This storyline and aesthetic should be defined by your expectations.
Answer questions such as “What does our brand stand for?” and “What impression do we want to leave on our followers?” This information will allow you to better identify what the successful story and aesthetic are for your Instagram. Additionally, as with any good story, be sure to mix in interesting action and “cameos” by featuring events and collaborative content.
3. Align your content and audience.
The first rule of building a brand on Instagram is that you need to be a content creator, not a promotional brand. People want to follow accounts that offer unique and interesting content for them to enjoy, not a string of commercials for a product or service.
This means you need to get a vivid picture of who you are targeting on Instagram and what they are interested in. This picture ought to be extremely detailed, and should include their hobbies, favorite fashion brands and ideal careers.
Once you have this consumer profile developed (and it may include multiple profiles) you need to figure out how to create content to match their desires. For example, say you are a car company and your research indicates your target customers love looking at food on Instagram. You might capitalize on this by creating a unique feed of “food to eat on the road.”
4. Leverage growth opportunities.
Instagram, and social media in general, is still relatively young and is continually changing. Whenever new features and opportunities arise on the platform, jump on them and try to become a power user.
Not only is this a great way to display a forward-thinking brand presence, but Instagram offers subtle boosts to early adopters to increase user numbers. For instance, the first people to use Instagram and Facebook Ads received a lower price per impression than those who joined once competition increased. Riding this early bump from the networks is a free growth opportunity for your brand.
5. Work with the right influencers.
Instagram has become a hub for the most powerful influencers, due to the prominence of Instagram as a social network with the youth. Instagram is the No. 1 social network for Gen Z, 59% of whom use the platform.
Gen Z’s love of Instagram has led to 63% of them saying they would prefer seeing a “real person” in an ad instead of a celebrity. As a brand, influencers can work with you to expand your audience via partnerships and shout-outs. When you go about picking which influencers to work with, pay special attention to the brand story, aesthetic and target audience of your brand, and how certain influencers fit into those.
6. Learn the tricks of the trade.
One of the aspects of Instagram that takes a bit of time to get right is optimizing your usage. Since Instagram is a single news feed, you need to post at the right times or your content may not be seen by as many eyes.
A good rule of thumb here is to target 9 a.m., noon and 8 p.m. Eastern time, but as you build your account you may notice that certain times work best with your audience. Furthermore, you need to learn how to execute hashtags well on your content. Relevant hashtags that do not make you come across as spammy can allow certain demographics to better find your content.
7. Focus on engagement.
Above all, engage with your following. Instagram is a two-way network and you should take the time to like and comment on users’ images and reply to comments on your own images.
If you take the time to reach out to and speak with users, you will notice that your follower numbers and loyalty will increase. Finally, engagement is a much better metric than followers, since followers who do not like or comment are essentially dead wood.
As you bring your brand onto Instagram, it can be tricky to get off on the right foot. Thinking through the visual language for your brand will allow you to successfully connect with your customers. Taking all of these tips into consideration as you scale your content channel will allow your brand to thrive on Instagram.