Did you know Instagram has now over 200 million users globally? It has to be an impressive number for a company no one heard of 3 or 4 years ago. Since the social giant Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 the numbers continue to go only one way – up. With 60 million photos uploaded daily and 1.6 billion likes generated this network in unstoppable. And as we wait for Instagram advertising to be rolled out in New Zealand – what can companies, big or small, do to market on Instagram and market successfully?
Instagram account for your company
If you’re wondering should you use Instagram for your company, the short answer is probably YES. These days you can find accounts for brands from pretty much every category, from banking and finance to retail and tourism. And according to a recent study – brand engagement on Instagram is higher than on any other social network. More than 4% of your Instagram fans are likely to engage with your brand post, while Facebook only hits 0.07%.
Of course, it is easier to generate engagement if you’re working in the hospitality. Beautiful photos of amazing scenery, luxurious villas and gourmet food are just a few examples of what everyone likes to see in the feed.
But what if your product or offer can’t be translated into a pretty picture? If that’s the case – don’t give up just yet. There’s still a lot you can do for your company on Instagram.
Setting up a brand Instagram account
To successfully embrace Instagram marketing you need to accept the fact not all brand accounts are the same. Just like with any social network – comparing likes, followers and comments is absolutely pointless. Every business is unique and the user engagement you will receive will be yours and yours only. So don’t stress about the numbers too much!
Unlike Facebook, Instagram doesn’t offer ‘business’ profiles, so setting up an account for your company is very simple. If you don’t have a private Instagram account you use, just download it to your smartphone from any app store and sign up in a few easy steps. You can either register with your email address (recommended, if you’re setting up company profile) or with your Facebook account. You can then set your profile image, a short blurb about your company and off you go – your account is ready for posting.
If you already have a private account and want to manage one for your company too – there are a few ways to make it happen. Here at NZDMI we simply juggle 2 accounts and every time we want to switch from private to company one we just use the logout option available under profile view. Alternatively, you can download one of the many apps allowing multiple Instagram account management – check some of them out here.
Marketing your business on Instagram
The first thing to do once your business account is ready is to start following other companies and people. You can do it simply by using the ‘Explore’ option from the menu or by looking at follower lists of other users and companies. You can add as many or as few as you wish, remembering that on average 20% of them will follow you back.
Of course, you will also need to start posting something, so that other users won’t stumble upon an empty account. You can start with anything – company logos, your recent print advert, view from your office or a photo of a team outing. Remember – like with any other network – less is more. Don’t post multiple photos of the same object or situation, don’t write extensive captions or use 100s of unrelated hashtags. After all, you are looking for followers who are or can be your customers also, so keeping your account relevant to your business is the key.
Your first posts and followers are of course just the beginning. Instagram is designed for sharing and engagement and the best way to market your business on this platform is to follow a few golden rules.
Golden rules of Instagram marketing
Hashtags are your best Instagram friend if you use it correctly and don’t overdo it. First of all – create a hashtag for your own company and use it in every post. You can also create variations of this tag for specific products or offers you’re promoting. Remember to keep it short (to avoid misspellings!) and relevant. You can also use general hashtags relating to your category and explore Instagram for new hashtag ideas. Think of the meaning of hashtags before you use them – you don’t want your brand to suddenly appear in some random, irrelevant, or even worse, an inappropriate hashtag gallery.
- Engage your followers
Like your followers’ photos, comment and respond to comments using your brand account. Use @ symbol to mention your followers in your own comments, showing the appreciation and engaging them.
- Be creative
Don’t be shy using filters, unusual angles, different lighting and other tricks. The more your photos stand out from the user’s feed, the more chances of getting a like or positive comment. Now that Instagram also allows posting videos – you should try to use that format too. Make sure you use a phone with good camera so that your photos and videos are high quality. Use them to show your products and services in action, bringing them to life! You can also use Instagram for posting coupons and discounts, encouraging your followers to visit your business in person.
- Analyse and improve
Analyse your posts performance to come up with the ideal post type and frequency. Compare weekdays and times you post it, to understand what combination works best. Keep improving your posts and content and keep an eye on emerging Instagram trends. This way, regardless of the size of your company, you will engage valuable customers.
We’ve recently launched our own Instagram account and you can follow us here. As our accounts expand we will be updating you on new strategies and techniques to use Instagram marketing even better. In the meantime, you can talk to us about one of our unique Social Media products – Hashtag Strategy. Here we combine the science of search and SEO with social marketing, to deliver a unique hashtag strategy for your business and grow your social reach.