Instagram is a phenomenal platform for brand storytelling and customer engagement.
- 300M monthly active users
- 30 billion+ photos shared
- 2.5 billion likes daily
- 70M photos per day
- 67% of the world’s biggest brands now use Instagram
While there’s no doubt Facebook is a great platform for engaging with fans, a typical brand will see an organic page reach that’s below 3%. In other words, out of 100 followers, only 3 of them will actually see your posts.
With Instagram you can still reach 100% of your followers organically – opening up the possibility of great fan engagement, brand awareness, lead generation and ultimately, bottom-line profit!
So how do you get your channel off the ground?
Step 1: Set up and optimize your profile
- Setup your account.
- Set a profile picture – it could be anything from your company logo to a product offering, or new image that informs customers who you are.
- Use a strong, memorable username – ideally, it should be the same as your Twitter handle. This makes it easy for people to find you, improves brand consistency – and you’ll find it easier to remember, too!
- Write a compelling biography that sums up who you are and what you do. You only have 150 characters here to sell yourself, so keep it short and sweet!
Step 2: Spread the Word
- Use your existing social channels – many of your followers will use more than one, and a simple “Hey, did you know we’re now on Instagram?” can be a great head-start.
- Consider running an email campaign to spread the word to your email list.
- Add social icons to your website and marketing materials so people are aware of which channels you have a presence on.
Step 3: Start Sharing Photos
- Instagram is, ostensibly, a storytelling platform. It’s important to remember this. If you aren’t telling a story with every photo, you’re doing it wrong! Constantly posting commercial content won’t cut the mustard.
- Make sure to share photos that stimulate customer emotions. There’s a nugget of emotional resonance behind every brand: identify yours, and pull at their heart strings! Whether it’s cute, funny or thought-inspiring, post stuff that makes ’em feel!
- You can link accounts if you want to share photos between channels automatically – including Twitter, Facebook and other third-party sharing sites. Decide on what works best for you!
- Consider using filters and apps to give your photos that little bit extra.
Step 4: Hashtags
- Hashtags are, essentially, conversation topics to bring people together – and they’re your passport to meaningful conversations and engagement!
- Perhaps more than on any other social network, people use hashtags on Instagram to share and discover interesting content. According to L2, 80% of brand posts contain at least one hashtag, and the average brand post has 3.
- The most used hashtags is ‘Love’ which has been used more than 372 million times!
- By adding hashtags to your posts you can hugely boost the reach of your posts, strike up conversations, expose your brand to a new audience and generate potential customers for business.
Step 5: Networking
- Hashtags are a great way to get started here, but there’s more to networking than that.
- Follow brands – including your competitors – so you can analyse their output, see what’s working and what’s not.
- Strike up relationships and engage with others. Remember, you can comment on other people’s photos rather than waiting for them to comment on yours!
- The key is to act like a person rather than a brand.
Step 6: Videos
- Images are great – but with videos, you can express even more.
- As well as photos, Instagram lets you share 15 second videos (on Vine and Twitter you’re allowed 6.5 seconds)
- Since the launch of Instagram video, there has been a 37% increase in Instagram shares on Twitter.
- You can use the same filters as you would on your images and even edit them.
- Of the brands on Instagram, 62% have shared at least one Instagram video.
Step 7: Run Contests and Giveaways to Reward your Followers
- Engaged followers are valuable, so make sure to reward them!
- It’s important! 66% of people follow a brand on Instagram because they want to be rewarded (as opposed to 43% who do so simply because they love the brand!)
- Ideas include photo contests, promo codes, incentivised follows/comments and others.