From a business perspective, Instagram can appear bewildering when it comes to gaining an audience. Sure you can use hashtags after your captions — but that alone really doesn’t cut it, especially with the amount of followers you’re likely trying to acquire. Simply posting photos and videos of great quality won’t do it either, although that’s what the app is primarily used for. What it really comes down to is how you present your content, interactivity, and engagement. If all this seems puzzling, don’t worry! Being media specialists, we’ve grown with the app since its launch in 2010 and can offer insight into how to use it properly.
1. First, let’s start with what you post.
It’s important that what you post on Instagram all be woven into one central theme or story. This will give first time visitors a pretty good idea of what you’re all about. Think about what you want people to think about when someone mentions your business. Similar to when people hear Patagonia, they think adventure, sustainability, and travel. There’s a reason Patagonia has 1.9 million followers, their photos are not just of their products, they’re of real people, going out into the world and exploring beautiful places. The feeling that followers get that makes them follow businesses is the feeling that the posts are genuine and relate to their beliefs.
What it comes down to: Post pictures and videos not only of great quality, but ones that relate to what your business is at its core. How does it make people feel? Like they want to go out and adventure? Like they want to spread happiness? As a business, the decision is yours to make, but once you have, roll with it full steam.
2. Use hashtags and tag people (the right way).
When adding hashtags to posts, don’t go crazy. Have two or three solid ones. It’s also useful to hashtag your business’s name. If you’re doing a photo contest, make a unique hashtag for that. Really think about whether your post should have general or specific hashtags. If it’s too general, your photo will get lost in the stream, if it’s too specific there’s a good chance no one will see it. Also, be sure to check trending hashtags and check your business’ hashtag, like you would check your business’ Facebook.
What it comes down to: Hashtags are beautiful. Hashtags are great. But hashtags are effective when you put effort into the ones you’re using and don’t just post “#picture”, “#dog”, or “#love”.
3. Interact with your followers.
There are numerous benefits to interacting with followers, businesses, and locations. If your business sells a specific product, start by seeing what photos of your product have been posted by other accounts. If there’s good ones, ask the users if you can repost them. This adds to the genuinity of your page. Another easy thing to do is to like and comment on your followers posts. Make sure that if a follower comments on your post, you respond! Tagging followers, locations, celebrities, and other accounts that have to do with what you’re posting will boost the audience of your post and the audience of your account! Also, asking for comments on your photos and videos is equally beneficial and promotes engagement, but you’ve got to be the one to get the ball rolling! A final suggestion is contest or giveaways. If you announce a giveaway or contest, make sure it’s creative and something you can follow through with, or else you’ll lose credibility.
What it comes down to: Engaging with your followers and prospective followers. It’s called social media for a reason. Get a conversation started. Create a contest. Reply to a comment. Create a presence.
4. Use the “stories” feature.
You’ve probably heard about the new “story” feature of Instagram, very similar to Snapchat’s story feature. Considering the large amount of users who uploaded stories to their Instagrams after learning about the feature, we may say it’s a success. After observing, we then considered the feature in terms of business branding and found it can be very useful.