“A picture paints a thousand words” is an old saying that’s as applicable today as it was back then. Photo-sharing app Instagram has certainly taken this old phrase to new heights. Instagram has gone from a hip iOS-only app to a huge photo-sharing platform with an Android and online presence.
Latest stats show that as of early this year, Instagram has reached more than 300 million users worldwide. Meaning, 300 million people all over the world which your brand can reach – if you market properly. But how does Instagram marketing work?
Petim Maminta (@ipetim), an independent Social Media Manager and moderator of IGersManila’s #TheMods, shares a few handy tips for businesses and brand managers on how to navigate this popular platform.
Create. Share. Inspire. Petim shares these three goals for a brand’s Instagram post.
1. “Create high-quality, on-brand content that people want to see in their Instagram feed.”
As you create your content, you have to make sure that you (and everyone on your team handling the company’s IG) know the identity of your brand. Not to be confused with the brand’s personality, which is the emotional association of the brand such as (is it exciting, is it sophisticated, is it rugged, etc.?), a brand’s identity is the image created and projected by the brand to relate to consumers and can be manifested via logos, font types, colors, and more.
Once you’re set with your brand’s identity, the next step here is to visualize a unique content for your brand. To manage this, create a content calendar and fill it with different, interesting, brand-related posts. Every time you post, make sure it’s complete: a “whoawesome” photo, informative and fun caption, and your brand’s hashtag.
What’s a whoasome photo?
A whoasame photo is a high-quality photo with good lighting, great color blend, and is taken at an angle that highlights the subject. Some editing apps you can use are VSCO, Phonto, Snapseed, Layout, and Camera360.
Use a tone that’s inline with your brand, make sure it’s grammatically correct, original (NEVER plagiarize), and always do proper citations. CTTO(credit to the owner) or CTO (credit to owner) does not make brand you brand look good. Always do your research when posting a photo that you didn’t take.
2. “Share your brand’s visual story.”
When sharing your brand’s visual story, it’s important to research and observe how other brands do it. It wouldn’t hurt checking out your competitor once in a while and other big-name brands to see how they create their posts so you can emulate these too.
In sharing your posts, explore Instagram tools such as the “Tag People” and “Geotags” and “Share” features. Tag people who you think may be interested in your brand and will want to re-gram the photo to their own followers. Use Geotags to add your photos to a photo map, especially if you have a physical store (or you can use this part to link to your brand or shop URL). Share to other platforms (Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, etc.) so that your brand’s followers on these platforms can also see and share to others your brand’s visual story.
Why should you use #hashtags?
Hashtags are search terms that one uses to identify and categorize posts or tweets (Twitter). While you can use up to 30 different hashtags, it doesn’t mean that you should. Know which hashtags to include in your posts ASAP. Also, don’t forget to create a unique hashtag for your brand that is easy to remember, self-explanatory, and include your brand name or a part of it. Doing so creates a better recall for your brand’s consumers and future customers.
3. “Inspire your audience to share the same visual story.”
To inspire your audience means to create a community around your brand who believes and shares in your visual story. Doing so means a lot more than just posting regularly and applying photo, caption, and hashtag tips properly. Petim suggests different ways your brand can inspire its audience:
- Create an advocacy.
- Set a trend.
- Injecting humor to your posts.
- Communicate with your audience with BTS photos of your company, reports, features, and other tips.
- Invite them for a fun activity.
- Partner up with different IG communities and influential people on IG for photo contests, sharing information about your brand, promotion of your brand hashtag, etc.
What to do after you post?
Now that you have a clear brand identity, high-quality photos, relatable well-written captions, brand-specific hashtags, and a calendar of posts it’s time to start posting. But it doesn’t end there.
Instagram marketing means you have to also keep track of what happens next once you post your photo on the app. After posting, Petim advises users to stay online for at least 30 minutes to reply to comments, check your post’s statistics online (iconosquare.com, websta.me, ips.sproutsocial.com/instagram-management, etc.) and use different apps to track your followers – which posts they liked, what time they were online, and more.
Your Instagram’s KPIs:
Number of followers, likes, and comments.
Number of tagges photos using your brand’s hashtag.
Number of photos geo-tagged in your physical store.
Number of IG influencers in your followers list.
Quality of tagged photos.
Number of attendees to your offline event.
Conversion of non-followers to followers.
Managing any social media platform for your company or brand is not easy. It takes a lot of time, energy, and resources. Nevertheless, following these expert tips can help you ensure marketing success for your brand.
If you have any more tips for marketing in Instagram, feel free to comment below!
**Photos grabbed from Vogue Magazine, Nike, Heima, Rags to Riches, and Starbucks Instagram.