Instagram is one of the world’s favorite social media platforms, and could potentially be the most effective means you have of engaging your target audience. Instagram is particularly popular among the teen and twenty-something market, so proper targeting research will reveal if this is the medium of choice for your brand and product.
Once you have established that Instagram is the place for your brand to be seen and heard, how do you set about building a brand presence on the channel? The first and most important consideration when it comes to Instagram is that content is not posted on users’ feeds chronologically, but depending in relevancy of interest. In 2016 the social media giant changed its approach and adapted its algorithms to list postings according to the interests of each individual user. That means that posting regularly will mean nothing unless the audience is engaging with your brand. How do you set about doing this? Here are seven tips for building a strong brand on Instagram:
Post quality content
Let’s start with an obvious point, but something that needs to be reiterated. Now that Instagram has changed its algorithm model, posting one hundred times a day about irrelevant things will simply be a waste of your time. What is required is thoughtful and engaging content that is likely to appeal to your target audience and get those all-important likes, shares and comments. Ensure that your posts are unique and consistent with your brand, more of which later.
Engage your audience
This point is obvious too, and requires planning and astute execution. But how do you go about engaging your audience? We have covered the first step, which is to produce quality content that is unique and directly relatable to your brand and products. But look beyond that and look what is relevant in the world at large today, and try to appeal to the current interests and trends which are engaging people in a wider context.
Following and utilising trends is vital, and will be covered more in the hashtag section, but you can develop ideas for competitions or ask for comments on prescient subjects and at the same time develop yourself as a brand that is both cutting edge and in tune with what is going on in the world.
“Actively encourage comments and respond to users’ comments too to show the engagement is two-way. Also comment on other brands feeds, always remembering to align yourself with brands who have a similar approach and ethos to yours,” recommends Bella Mathis, a marketing blogger at Academized and Studentwritingservices.
Develop a brand voice and persona
Brands have always done this: created a persona by which they can be identified with and by. With the prevalence of social media, this stance has strengthened, and not brands such as Nike are keen to show that they stand for something more than just their product. You do not need to identify to controversial trends ad topics in the way Nike have done with Colin Kaepernick, but it is sensible to decide upon the voice that you want to use with your audience and stay true to that. Create a brand strategy and voice internally which everyone who is responsible for developing your social media content understands and has bought in to. Remain consistent to that approach.
The fact is that people are still more likely to trust an individual that a brand, because as much as a brand tries to create a warm exterior and unique voice, it’s still a brand. Adding a face to that brand is a tried-and-tested tactic and we have seen it for years with celebrities endorsing products on television and in billboard and magazine adds (think George Clooney and Nespresso).
Social media influencers are a popular and visible aspect of marketing through such channels, and Instagram in particular has become synonymous with individuals who have become so-called influencers through creating gigantic followings which buy in to their opinions about different brands and products.
“The trick here is to not use a host of different influencers, but maintain your brand’s voice, persona and ethos by identifying with an influencer who identifies with your approach and engages with the audience that you seek. Be careful in your selection,” advises Mal Grossman, a social media blogger at Topcanadianwriters and Boomessays.
Taking advantage of hashtags is a great way to attract new users to your brand. Hashtagging your post with carefully-selected keywords (these can be researched beforehand) will align your post with similar-themed ones as well as brands who are taking a familiar approach. By clicking on hashtags that interest them, Instagram’s algorithm can identify relevancy to your posts and you gain more visibility on that particular users’ timeline, increasing the possibility of them following you.
Use user-generated content (UGC)
user-generated content is simply regenerated content from other users or brands that you utilize for your own purposes. Of course permission is required here, but by identifying content that appeals to you and your users, you can rework it to make its mark for your brand. Also begin to stimulate UGC content designed especially for your brand by reaching out to our audience in the form of competitions and the like. Getting your users to generate the content for you makes smart sense, and represents engagement at its very best. Keep reaching out to your audience in this way and others will take note too.
Ellie Coverdale is a career and marketing blogger with Revieweal and Ukservicesreviews. She enjoys researching marketing trends and working with businesses to implement them and analyze results. She is a digital nomad who also teaches writing skills at Write my Australia and travels the world.