Instagram is the new blogging platform, but instead of creating long-form blog posts with images to capture attention, you’ll focus on micro-blogging and images. You can make a killer brand on Instagram too if you have the right tools and know how to play the field.
In fact, Instagram may be the best platform out there for engaging with consumers. The engagement rate is more than double that of Facebook, and more than 80 percent of followers say they connect with at least one brand regularly on the platform.
Brands that thrive on Instagram know exactly how to reach their audience. Here’s what you need to do if you’re looking to build a brand on Instagram.
Create a Strong Profile
The Instagram algorithm likes brands that have completed, compelling profiles. Consumers also have more trust and interest in brands that take the time to thoroughly complete their profiles. Therefore, you’ll want to spend a little time perfecting your profile.
According to Lisa Illman, business development expert, the three areas to focus on with your profile are the photo, URL link, and description. The description should be an enticing explanation of your business, and your URL should go to a landing page on your website that entices action.
Since Instagram is a visual platform, your profile photo is particularly important. Illman suggests using your face rather than your logo.
“I personally prefer a photo of a person in social media avatars, unless you are a pet business,” Illman told Forbes. “If you are, an adorable kitten or puppy is crowd-pleasing. But if you do use your logo, be sure it matches the logo on your website and other social media platforms. For logos, consistency is key.”
Research supports Illman’s opinion, since photos with faces in them perform almost 40 percent better than photos without.
Tell a Good Story
Without a good story behind your brand and everything it does, you’ll have a hard time standing out on Instagram. The story is half the reason that consumers connect with brands while the products, tips, and insights are the other half.
“Brands are designed with values that people can relate to,” explains a blog post on the art of storytelling by the digital marketing agency Active Web Group. “The idea is to manufacture a personality that appears more human. When a brand’s personality resonates with a consumer, they feel an emotional connection that can inspire trust.”
You can use images, Instagram Stories, live video, and lengthy captions to tell stories about your brand and what you do. As you do so, consider your audience. What do they value? Why do they connect with you on Instagram? How will they react? Work on building trust and emotions with your audience through your compelling storytelling.
Develop a Theme
If you’re looking for something to add a competitive edge to your existing brand, use a consistent style and theme for your business. This helps to build a strong, describable presence on Instagram so that your photos and Stories stick out against your competitors’ images.
You can design a consistent theme in a couple of ways, but one of the most common is to use a color scheme. For example, this Instagram account uses a lot of red, white, and blue tones with bright backgrounds, so you can tell it’s her style.
You could also use a unique angle with all your photos. Here’s a great account that uses angles strategically to create visually stunning photos of a couple’s travels together.
There are many tactics you can use to create a stunning theme for your business, and as you do so, you’ll begin to see your following grow. It will create a sense of trust and belonging for your followers, enticing engagement and growth.
Hashtags have their uses on all social media accounts, but hashtags on Instagram are perhaps the most important. The right hashtags make your posts searchable, making them more likely to show up in potential follower’s searches and feeds.
You’ll want to use a combination of branded and trending hashtags. Start with trending hashtags, which have already gained popularity and therefore have an engaged audience that you can appeal to. For example, a food brand might use #foodphotography to gain more traction for a photo of a delicious plate.
Branded hashtags also help. “You need to create a branded hashtag if you don’t have one already,” says digital marketer Neil Patel. “A branded tag can create tons of interest surrounding your brand (and make it easy for your to find user-generated posts).”
Customers might already be talking about you on Instagram, so give them a branded hashtag that can direct more followers back to you.
With these Instagram marketing tactics, you can build an unstoppable brand in your industry. You can’t go wrong when you stay strong and consistent with your content.