Why you need to think about an Instagram strategy for your small business.
In April 2017, Instagram announced that it had 700 million monthly active users. While it still lags some way behind Facebook, which boasts 2 billion users, Instagram’s edge lies in the power of images.
The beauty, fashion and luxury markets have fallen head over heels with Instagram as their platform of choice to market their wares – and it’s easy to see why. Relying on images to sell, taps into some increasing trends across the world.
NEARLY 65% OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION ARE NOW VISUAL LEARNERS AND RESEARCH SHOWS THAT AFTER 3 DAYS, YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO REMEMBER VISUAL INFORMATION ABOVE WRITTEN OR SPOKEN.
So how do you begin to harness this power for your small business brand?
It’s reassuring that even brands whose profile reaches 100 thousand to one million fans, are only posting an average of 2.21 posts to Instagram every day. Good to know then, that setting out an Instagram strategy for your small business doesn’t mean you’ll become a slave to the camera.
We’ve pulled together some helpful steps so that you can get started and we’d definitely recommend that you do.
#1 Understand Hashtags
You can’t have escaped the hashtag. Common on Twitter, less so on Facebook, Instagram needs hashtags for people to find, and share, your content. Unless you have gazillions of followers, your images alone just won’t cut it. But, if you post an image and include your relevant hashtags then it means that people who aren’t following you, but are interested in the topic you’re posting on, will be searching for it, find it and (hopefully) like it, share it or buy it.
Think of it as a way of categorising your content. It works both ways - you can search hashtags relevant to your brand and connect with other Instagram users who might be interested in your products or are influencers who can help you promote it. Further reading: Get to grips with hashtags
#2 Engage, Engage, Engage
We can’t emphasise enough – just posting your own content won’t get you very far. You need to follow people, comment, like their stuff, repost it (which is called a Regram) and reply if people are commenting on your posts. Just like any other channel, you need to engage with people if you want to build a following. So dive in and start following people that resonate with your brand, search those hashtags and find new networks.
#3 Create Striking Content
The beauty of Instagram is that it has a lot of tricks that you can apply to your images to get them looking slick and smart. Filters, contrasting, brightness, sharpness…it goes without saying that setting some time aside to play with what it can do is time well spent. When it comes to your content make sure your Instagram images link up with your company and what you’re selling. If your marketing uses striking, high quality images then make sure this translates to Instagram.
A nice story to go alongside the image helps – it also means you can squeeze in those all-important #hashtags.
Have you thought about…
- Hiring a photographer to get a suite of high-end images?
- Lighting when using your phone to take photographs?
- Asking the product manufacture to supply you with images to use in your marketing if you’re a re-seller?
#4 TagAlongside using hashtags, tagging other people in your images is another way of increasing their visibility. Visible on their profile, you’ll be reaching a different network of followers by tagging people and giving them the chance to re-post your content at the same time.
If you’ve got a local blogger that has an influential network, then why not invite them in to review your latest product range? Linking up with people and making connections is essential on Instagram (consider it virtual business networking).
- Tag people in your images – ask them for their username
- Spotlight customers – get testimonials using images and text or video
- Tag manufactures of your products
- Host a giveaway on your profile, asking people to interact with the post to win prizes.
#5 AdvertiseThe slower, organic approach might need a boost if you want to see quicker results. Allocating a budget to spend on Ads is a great way of building your following and giving you valuable data and insight into your market.
When you’re thinking about your Ads, consider anything that you’re doing outside of social that could fit into your strategy – are you offering any incentives or running competitions? Blending your offline and online efforts is a great way of streamlining your brand marketing. Further reading: Learn how to create Ads on Instagram