Blog: 4 Steps To Instagram Nirvana For Brands

With its devoted audience and rapid growth, no brand can ignore Instagram. But how should they use it best?

Instagram has proven to be an excellent tool for businesses to use as a platform to reach their audience, providing high organic engagement rates for brands. Instagram posts from big brands often see a 4.21 percent engagement rate per follower, while Facebook only gets .07 percent engagement rates and Twitter only gets a .03 engagement rate based on a study done by Forrester.

So how can you get started on Instagram, and what are the key considerations? We’ve summed it up as four major things:

Step 1: Give Value To Your Followers

Instagram gives you the chance to develop a following of users that are relevant to your niche. To do this, brainstorm ways that you can offer value to all of your current and potential Instagram followers. Offer ideas on your Instagram account on tips or guides within your industry, or provide entertaining pictures and videos that speak to your audience. Promise excusive pre-sale discounts, or money-can’t-buy prizes. Content that resonate with your audience will be the best for engagement.

Step 2: Reach More People With Quality Content

Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most used social media platforms in the world. The only bigger social media network is Facebook, and they own Instagram! Think about that for a second. You have a highly engaged group of individuals that you can tap into, an audience that you can likely target on Instagram through the use of Hashtags, Engagement, and Paid Ads. Over 12 billion minutes are spent on Instagram each month in the US alone. This is an excellent way to reach out to even more people.

Do the proper hashtag research in order to maximize your reach. You want to use specifically targeted hashtags in your posts. If you run a travel agency or a business within the travel industry, going with a broad hashtag like #travel might seem like a good idea, but it probably doesn’t yield the best results by using that alone. Match that hashtag with something a bit more direct and focused. If your post is based in a specific place, use a location hashtag or a hashtag that is specific to a group of people. You need to identify with your specific niche’s tribes and appeal to them (maybe #backpackingholiday is more relevant to your audience.)

Your visual content has to be great. A lot of people believe that churning out “viral content” is the key. It would be great if you could create viral content, but there’s no formula for this. Viral content changes constantly. The best way to create content that engages your audience is to be relevant and informative. You don’t need to go viral, but you do need to create valuable content that works for your audience. If they like it, they’ll come for more. It also tends to be more relevant, which means your efforts will be more targeted and likely more successful.

Step 3: Drive Engagement & Conversation

You can think of every social platform as one of two things: either a broadcast medium, or a conversation platform. We’d strongly encourage the latter. Tell your audience about your brand by all meansโ€Š—โ€Šbut encourage them to respond and create content themselves that’s relevant to your brand and campaign (as it happens, our platform can help you run campaigns like this easily and quickly! Take a look and let us know if you want to know more.)

Step 4: Go Deeper And Build Trust

A lot of people use Instagram to show the behind-the-scenes of their company. With a better engagement rate than other social media networks, showing your company’s work culture and office can build more credibility and trust in your business. When people see your profile, it gives a face to your company - no longer a business transaction on a random website, your company becomes human, which is a great thing to have for a business.

Depending on your strategy for Instagram, it might be good to mix in some company photos such as gatherings, meetings, photos of the office, etc. If your strategy for Instagram is strictly following a style guideline and doesn’t allow it, then that might be different, but if you want an Instagram profile that is personal and has a bit more leeway in posting habits, this might be a good course. For small to mid-sized businesses that go for a personal feel, this would be a great strategy to go for.

So, should small or mid-sized companies use Instagram to market their company? Definitely. It’s easy to make an account and get started - but turning that into business value requires effort. It takes time and commitment to create a strong Instagram page, filled with loyal and engaged followers that want to see your content, but there are enough resources online that you can start a healthy Instagram profile to help your business’s marketing efforts.