Instagram is no use to your business unless you are actively building a community. On the flip side, if you commit to investing time regularly to continuously improve your Instagram profile, you’ll reap the rewards for your business through organic brand ambassadors (those people who have never and may never actually buy your products or services but LOVE what you do so much that they tell other people) and paying customers. Let’s get started…
1. Engage with other users!
Instagram is a two-way street. You can’t simply ‘post and forget’ then expect your followers to come rolling in. The MORE that you engage with others users, the more exposure you’ll generate for your profile and the more followers you’ll organically attract.
How to do this? Search for hashtags that relate to your business and 'like' photos tagged with these. Comment on the photos that you love in an authentic way. In return, people will click onto your account to check you out and - if they like what they see - they will start following you. Plus keeping up to date with what's happening under key hashtags relating to your industry is an awesome way to build great contacts and find inspiration.
2. Post regularly
Everyone wants to know the 'magic' number of times to post every day, week or month on Instagram. The secret is there is no magic number. You simply need to commit to posting at a regularity that’s doable for you.
While I recommend not posting less than once a week or you'll drop off people's radars, if you can commit to this frequency, it's still going to deliver results for your business. I also wouldn't recommend posting more than three times a day or posting several images in a row as you'll start to annoy people by filling up their feed. So if you’re at an event or place which is really inspiring and you’re snapping heaps of images, bank these up to share across the coming days or weeks. It's always handy to have images 'in the bank' when you're due for a post!
3. Use hashtags
The key with hashtags is to get the balance right between general enough to get in front of a significant portion of people, but tailored enough to actually reach your ideal audience.
For example, if you run a bricks and mortar store or business, a great way to get in front of potential customers is to hashtag your location. If you’re an online store or business, experiment with tagging the different types of products or services that you sell. And remember to mix your hashtags up for every post so that you continue to reach new people.
4. Share quality photos
Be fussy about the images you share. I can tell you that black borders, dark photos or lots of text over a detailed image are a huge turn off for your audience. As is using different filters, borders or collages over different images.
Lighter, simpler and brighter photos work best on Instagram so go for clean, minimal and clear shots. Find accounts that stand for your values and who share incredible, aspirational shots. Then, share their images (always crediting them) in amongst your own. Take your own images in day time or great light and try apps like Snapseed (my personal favourite - free on the Apple App store) and experiment with the different filters.
5. Create your own 'look'
Once you’ve found a filter that you love (see step 4), STICK TO IT! The goal is for your photo to come up in other people’s feeds and for them to straight away recognise it as being yours.
Be consistent with the types of colours you share through the photos in your profile, the filter or photo editing you use and the type of actual subject matter. You can also break up the images in your feed with 'quote' posts. Post ones that resonate with your company and its values - it's an excellent way to communicate your brand personality through your profile.
Enjoy and have fun with Instagram. The more time that you put into exploring this platform, the more success you’ll experience with it in terms of building a community and generating interest and customers for your business.