7 Tips for Instagram Success
Instagram has skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years, and it’s easy to see why! Most of us carry smartphones with excellent cameras around everywhere, and we’re constantly snapping pictures. Achieving Instagram Success isn't difficult if you think it through a little...
Instagram is a great way to show off those photos, and cool stuff in general. Businesses have a lot to show off (more on that later) plus, Instagram can be a great tool to connect and share with potential customers.
Check out our 7 tips for cultivating brand loyalty and developing a positive, interesting presence on Instagram!
1. Post with Personality and Variety
One of the most common mistakes businesses make on Instagram is being overly “sales-y”.
Advertising is absolutely freaking everywhere! I feel like I can’t go anywhere, from the park to most websites, without someone trying to sell me something. So when I notice sales pitches and ads, I shut them out. I ignore them. Pretty much everyone I know does.
What I’m saying is, if your Instagram posts are just ads for your thingamabob, a lot of people will probably ignore them. You may even repel potential followers.
So how should you keep, and attract, attention with your posts? Easy! Post with personality and variety.
Like any other Instagram user, post what excites you. Post when you have a beautiful thought or moment you want to share. Post when you just can’t even handle how totally awesome something is, and you have to share it!
But instead of posting just anything awesome, try to focus on stuff that relates to your business, your brand, and your experience.
2. Let Your Instagram Be a Glimpse Into the Very Best Parts of Life at Your Business.
When your company does something fun, share a photo. Great collaborative moment in the office? Share it! Putting the finishing touches on a gorgeous new project that you’re super excited to share? Post a photo of it! Did your handsome, charming intern named Willy have a birthday over the summer? Yep, that would sure look great on Instagram!
Don’t focus on selling a product, focus on showcasing your business and brand. Instagram really isn’t about immediate conversion; rather, it’s about developing customer loyalty and excitement, and keeping your business on your potential customers’ radar.
Of course, you ultimately want to sell whatever it is you sell. Sales posts can be effective, so long as you don’t flood your followers with them. Try to showcase your product in interesting photos, offer suggestions for how to use it, or show people enjoying it. Make your sales photos creative and interesting!
I recommend a 3:1 ratio of content posts to sales posts. That way, you can leverage quality content to keep people interested in your brand, and close the deal with a direct sales post now and then.
3. Maintain a Multi-Dimensional Instagram Presence
What I mean is, don’t just post photos and ignore everything else about Instagram.
The great thing about Instagram is that it’s a community, so take advantage of that.
Instagram success can be achieved by being social, it's a social platform! Interact with people! It isn’t hard. Follow people. When someone follows you, follow them back. You can even follow other businesses related to yours, or people you think would love what you post.
If someone comments on your photo, leave a response. (Keep it positive.) Dialogue about your product, your business, or anything else on your posts is usually good.
Don’t be afraid to encourage engagement to keep it coming: When you love someone else’s post, like it! Comment on it! Act like a person, not some too-good-for-social-media corporation. Your followers will appreciate your personality. The more the better!
Ultimately, lots of interaction will show people that you notice and value them as potential customers or clients. You can inspire brand loyalty and excitement by connecting with potentials in multiple ways on Instagram.
4. Take Advantage of Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way for your business to reach people who are interested in what you do, but who don’t already follow you.
Using popular hashtags can help you attract new followers, as well as promote certain messages about your business. Breezy Hill Marketing is a company based in beautiful Richmond, VT, so one hashtag we use a lot is #VermontByVermonters, especially for posts of the outdoors. We want to show that we’re Vermonters, we do fun Vermont things, and we’re an awesome local business.
A lot of viral hashtags linked to a certain day exist, and they can make for great inspiration! Check out this great list (link to?) of the biggest day-based hashtags, with helpful explanations.
Did you snap a great photo of the office cat? That photo could be your #MeowMonday. New office decorations? #TransformationTuesday. Photo of your business from a few years ago, or a few decades ago? #ThrowbackThursday or #tbt.
Posts for day-based hashtags can be great opportunities to show business personality. Plus, they can be super fun to make! I mean, who doesn’t love taking goofy photos with coworkers?
Note: if you see an unfamiliar hashtag that’s trending, be sure to take the time to do a little research before jumping on the bandwagon. No one wants to be the next #HashtagFail because you valued expediency over staying true to your brand’s values.
5. Run Photo Contests
Engage your followers with photo contests… basically, bribe them with free stuff for advertising. Everyone wins, and it’s fun along the way! Just find a specific subject and ask your followers to post photos that match your criteria. The best photo interpretation of your subject gets free stuff. And everyone loves free stuff.
Let’s say you sell camping dishware. You could start a photo contest with a photo captioned, “Post a photo of a great meal on a beautiful hike, use #abcHikingBowlContest. Our favorite post wins a bowl set!”
Your followers will post photo submissions with your hashtags, hopefully directing their followers’ attention to your brand. The number of submissions will depend on how many followers you have, but some businesses reach many thousands of Instagram users with their contests. And the only cost to you is that of a set of bowls! (Or whatever it is you give away.)
Plus, giveaways help your followers imagine themselves using your product. And even if they don’t win your contest, some may be convinced that they could use your product, and boom! That’s where sales come from.
6. Try Tools to Spice Up Your Posts
This one is less of a “have-to,” but it’s worth throwing in because it can be super fun! The built-in Instagram filters rock; use them sometimes. Post a blend of filtered and #nofilter photos. Be creative with filter use, have fun with it!
In addition to the stock filter tools, lots of free or low-cost apps can help you compose different kinds of interesting and creative posts.
7. Keep it Creative
The beauty of Instagram is in the underlying sense of creativity. People are on Instagram because they love taking awesome pictures and sharing them, and they love seeing the awesome photos other people took.
One brand that totally rocks at creative photography is Chobani. They’ve been successful by staying in tune with what their customers are posting about their products, and following that lead.
They regularly post unique, tasty-looking recipes featuring Chobani yogurt, ranging from smoothies to popsicles. Of course, my favorite example of Chobani’s creativity is the adorable dog photo to the right. Because for real, who doesn’t love dog photos?
Another company that rocks at conveying brand through photography is Red Bull. They share photos of pretty much everything extreme, from surfing to stunt planes, and they’ve amassed over 3.3 million followers for their efforts.
Red Bull is a great example of leveraging the power of branding to sell a product. I mean, I don’t hear a lot of people compliment them on the way their energy drinks taste, but they’ve been phenomenally successful!
Another creativity boost: immerse yourself in the art of photography, even just for a moment. Take multiple versions of the same photo, play with angles, lighting, subjects, anything.
Challenge yourself to display your product or brand in the most intriguing or colorful or hilarious way you can think of.
Now Get Out There and ‘Gram It!
The most important Instagram advice I can give is this: Have fun taking photos. If you love your photos, others probably will, too. Keep an open mind, keep your
smartphone out, and have fun posting!
Already #KillingIt? Let us know your favorite Instagram Success tips n’ tricks in the comments! And be sure to catch up with all things Breezy Hill by following us at: https://instagram.com/breezyhillmktg/
Thanks for stopping by!