By now, we all know that the best social media strategies are ones that have consistent follower growth, engagement, and likes/clicks. And Instagram is one of the best platforms to quickly achieve this! Building your brand on Instagram doesn't have to be difficult. When you compare it to SEO, it really is one of the best ways to compete against bigger brands.
How To Improve Your Branding On Instagram
Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to smaller brands. Especially if you want to grow your reach and presences. This is where Instagram comes into play. It truly is the best ways to create brand awareness. You don't need a huge budget in order to be effective either. Even though social media grants you ultimate power, you need to be able to have excellent branding. Especially when it comes to organic reach and engagement on Instagram.
If you need a little convincing as to why Instagram should be your go-to social media platform, check out the following statistics from selfstartr.com. They've proven as to why Instagram is far superior to Facebook.
- Instagram has 58% more engagement per follower than Facebook.
- Instagram has a higher average order value than Facebook ($65 vs $55).
- The percentage of Instagram users who regularly engage with brands is more than double that of Facebook.
- Only 36% of marketers are using Instagram, compared to 93% of marketers who are already using Facebook.
- Over the last 4 years, organic marketing reach on Facebook is down 63%, while Instagram's organic marketing reach is up 115%.
- Brands on Facebook reach only 6% of their followers per post, while brands on Instagram reach 100% of their followers.
The numbers are pretty staggering, huh? Basically, it boils down to this: less competition and a more engaged audience. This is what leads to crazy increases in organic reach. This is why you really need to shift your marketing efforts to Instagram. Trust me, you'll thank us later.
Below are some Instagram branding tips that will help you make the most of your presence on Instagram.
#1: Visuals ARE Everything
I know you know that Instagram is a photo-based platform. But the thing to remember is that high-quality visuals rule this app. Visuals are also something that you can extend your branding to. Why? Users are more likely to react if they can easily recognize your brand. In order to achieve that, you need to remember the following four rules:
- Only share photos that are consistent in style and quality. Now is not the time to post low-quality images.
- Whenever you can, choose a color scheme and stick to it. The more cohesive your feed looks the better.
- If you decide you want to use filters, make sure you use the same ones. One idea is to change your filters when the seasons change.
- Whatever you do, don't overcrowd your images and captions with text. Less is more!
Following these rules will immensely help with branding. As an added bonus, users will have a better chance of recognizing your brand immediately. Even if a user only looks at an individual image in their feed.
The trick is to be creative with your photos. You can't just take a photo of a product and put a filter on it. It's a better idea to show the product in everyday life if you can. Besides, it's a lot simpler than you might think. But if your resources are limited, you can create images with quotes or share some product previews. Just make sure you keep the quality and color scheme in mind.
#2: Make the Most of Your Visuals
It's a common practice for brands to share the same posts across all of their social media networks. If you end up doing this too, you need to make sure to adapt your messaging. Your goal should be to choose a different message for each audience and platform. The good thing about images is that they're much more universal than straight text.
For example, you can technically use the same image and still upload it to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Just change the text. But if you use Pinterest or Tumblr, you might run into different audiences. Thankfully though, these platforms are still based around images like Instagram is.
Whenever you use high-quality images on ANY of those social media platforms, you can potentially triple your reach with the exact same image. However, you need to make sure you optimize images for each platform. Here's a helpful size chart.
#3: Get Friendly with Hashtags
Hashtags aren't just for Twitter anymore. They can do wonders when it comes to building your brand on Instagram. Using hashtags guarantees that you reach an audience that is actually interested in what you're sharing. That's why you have to make sure you only use hashtags that are relevant to the images you are posting.
However, you need to keep the number of hashtags to a minimum. I suggest not going over 30 hashtags for a single post. Not only does it look cluttered, but it can also come off as a little desperado. Seriously though, it's a little difficult to actually find more than 30 relevant hashtags for an image.
Your best bet is to try adding five to ten hashtags to a post and see how well it performs. Then you can take a look at how many new followers you gain in conjunction with these hashtags. It's also a good idea to see whether you achieve your target level of engagement.
Hashtags are great because you can even create your own campaign and brand-specific ones. You can then fill the gaps in with the more popular hashtags as a way to broaden your potential reach. Luckily, hashtags don't have to be catchy. I suggest taking a look at your competitors to see which hashtags they currently use.
You can also do a hashtag search on Instagram since they show you similar ones. It's a free and easy way to check whether or not your hashtags are relevant too! And if you're on the hunt for some user-generated content in connection with your brand, just search for #yourbrandname. You might be surprised by what you find.
#4: Your Posts Should Inspire and Entertain
Your audience NEEDS to enjoy seeing your posts WITHOUT a sales pitch. You really need to make sure that your posts are entertaining and not spammy. If creating posts that are entertaining is difficult for you, don't worry. Besides, there are a lot of brands out there where the whole "entertaining" or "inspiring" aspect is a complete no go. But if you can, do it! At the very least, your posts need to be useful.
If you still have a hard time creating this type of content, you can always look into Instagram ads. They are a great way to drive action or to really put your brand out there.
#5: Promote Others and Don't Forget to Repost
The best way to approach reposts and promoting others is to look at it as a 'shout out'. It's pretty much the same thing as partnering with a cause. Plus these promotion-style posts gives you a chance to partner with other brands within your niche and build on awareness. There are two different kinds of shout-outs to consider: paid and unpaid.
A paid shout-out works best from brands with a big budget. The idea is that you pay a brand (or influencer) with a much larger following to promote your product or service. This is a killer way to gain a large number of new followers and fast! Don't forget to ask them to include a strong call to action in the shout-out.
An unpaid shout-out is when you partner with another brand that has about the same number of followers that you do. You promote their brand and they promote yours. Both of you then receive benefits from the increased exposure.
As for reposts, it's always a good idea to repost images that are shared by your customers. Go ahead and repost their photos on your brand's feed, making sure to tag them. It's a great way to show your current customers and potential customers how much you appreciate them. Plus, it lets everyone know how happy your customers are.
#6: Take Time To Engage with Your Followers
This applies to whatever social media platform you're on. You have to be social - I mean that's what social media is ALL about. Therefore you need to make sure that you engage with your followers and other users who might not follow you just yet. That means replying to their comments and engaging with THIER content.
#7 Use the Link Feature In Your IG Bio
Sadly, links in your Instagram posts aren't clickable (unless you use their paid advertising feature). That means you need to take advantage of the one place where they can actually click on a link - your bio! It's nestled right under your username and description at the top of your Instagram page. And if you don't have your description filled out, you need to!
Most brands use this to link to their website, but that can be a missed opportunity. You should really consider changing that link regularly. Especially during specific promotions and product launches. The link can be to a landing page or blog too. Whatever brings more value to you at the time is what you should go with.
#8 Measure and Adapt
With any kind of marketing, you need to figure out what works best for your brand and audience. Honestly, you can read all the articles in the world and still hit a wall. Sometimes all those best publishing times and practices don't apply to every brand. Granted they are a starting point and can truly help you determine what actually works for your brand.
Don't forget that social media management tools can help too. You can use them to schedule your campaigns in advance - which is great when you're a smaller brand and don't have much time. However, you need to make sure that you also use social media analytics to regularly measure their success. You also need to pay attention to your follower count, engagement and clicks. All of this will help you refine and improve your Instagram strategy.
#9 When In Doubt, Hire a Professional
If you aren't the creative type or just don't have enough time, don't worry. Sometimes it takes a magic formula. If this is the case, you might want to look into hiring a professional. One that has experience in design, photography, or social media management.
Let's say you already have a marketing professional who is amazing, but photography isn't their strong suit. You might want to consider outsourcing the visual component. Photographers can supply you with images that you can use on your website, blog, and social media platforms (like Instagram).
Hopefully, these tips will help to improve your brand's presence on Instagram. Creating incredible content for Instagram can truly help you reach more potential customers. Let us know if you have any questions or comments, so we can discuss!