With the rise of Instagram users, it has no doubt become an essential part of any online marketing strategy. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” – and Instagram proves the raw power of using images to market businesses.
Before you jump onboard with Instagram, there are some things you should consider, because there is no point in adding it to your marketing mix unless it’s going to be done right.

Tips to help you get started:

– Understand your audience
– Create a theme for your content and be consistent
– Make sure your photographs are aesthetically pleasing and creative
– Give people a reason to follow you
– Spread out your posts (once or twice a day)
– Engage with your followers (comment, follow back, like other photos)
– Tell a story through your images and captions

Most of these points are pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll expand just for clarification. If you’ve already got a solid marketing plan, then you know your target audience, and the next step is to understand how they use Instagram. Younger target markets will have different posting habits than older target markets so do your research before you start. The second thing is to make sure that you have a content strategy nailed down, and stick to it – consistency is crucial. Of course, since Instagram is a photo sharing tool it is vital that your photos are pleasing to the eye, so don’t be afraid to be creative – more people will want to follow you if they genuinely like the content you post. That moves me to my next point of giving people a reason to follow, if you’re posting awesome photos they will always be excited and engaged. Make sure you use this tool the same way you would Facebook or Twitter, spread out your posts so that you don’t become annoying to followers. One of the most important elements is engagement since that is what social media is all about. If you see a comment on your photo or a question, take the time to answer (promptly).

Instagram Sins

– Making your account private (unless you only want family/close friends to follow)
– Not optimizing your bio
– Stop overusing filters
– Stop posting everything, always think about quality over quantity
– Chill out with the hashtags. #you #don’t #need #to #hashtag #every #single #word (annoying right?)
– Stop sharing the photos on ALL social media channels; if you have the same followers on more than one they will get annoyed fast

There are lots of things you can do on Instagram that will hinder your goals, but I thought I would highlight the sins above because I still come across them while browsing Instagram.

If you’re on there to post photos for only your friends and family then, by all means, make your account private. Otherwise, make sure that you’re public so that people interested in your content can follow without having to request permission. The next thing is relatively new – the ability to hashtag and tag accounts in your bio. If you have not updated this DO IT – it’s a great way to tell people what you’re profile is about, and highlight your business (or any other account) that you want to share with your followers.

Filters – well, I mean, everything can use a filter – right? I don’t agree. Some accounts look SO overedited that it takes away from authenticity. Why not take a beautiful photo and post as-is? We all know that people’s skin is not like a China doll, and if your beard is blurry at the edges – we know there is a beauty filter on the photo. 😛

The next sin is oversharing, which is still a widespread issue. I have said the same thing about all social media channels; the key is quality over quantity – more is not always better. Be sure that you’re thinking about the content you’re sharing, and putting yourself in the mind of your target to think ‘would I be interested in this?’

Hashtags are another thing to be careful with, putting a hashtag in front of every word will not help you get the kind of followers you want. In fact, here is a blog on Hashtag Etiquette that you should read to ensure you’re using the best hashtag strategy.
Conclusion? Instagram is extremely popular with businesses and individuals alike, so it is important to get on board and start interacting and engaging with potential/current clients or customers. Of course, I will always argue that some businesses are better suited to Instagram marketing than others, just do your research and ask other industry professionals for advice if you need it.

I hope this helped give you a general idea of how you can use Instagram as a tool, but if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave a comment or contact us today.

Looking forward to reading your thoughts!