How to use Instagram to enhance your business and brand
If you are not using Instagram yet, would you set up an account if we told you that engagement rates are 10x higher than Facebook and 84x higher on this visual social media platform?
What if we told you on average 80 million photos are uploaded to Instagram each day? Would you get a grid? Launching an account is just the beginning. You need to know how to harness the storytelling capabilities of the gram, so that you can enhance your brand and increase engagement to meet your objectives.
Having an Instagram strategy that stands out from the crowd might seem daunting, but if you can do the basics brilliantly you can take your #InstaPics from good to great. Here’s our top five tangible tips:
- Decide on your visual identity
Spoiler alert – you don’t necessarily need to adopt a certain theme or colour scheme to fill your grid. But because Instagram is the most visual social network of them all, you need to ensure that your imagery is on point for both your business and your brand, and it helps if you establish your own visual identity.
Each image should be part of an inclusive visual experience – so think about how you can be consistent through colour and composition. Think about your brands ethos – are you bold and boundary-pushing? Wholesome and cosy? Or daring and different? The key to developing your visual style is to communicate your brand values through your content.
- Set yourself high expectations
Push communications (post some content, watch and wait) probably won’t give you the return you require. And neither will a lacklustre approach to your posts. To cut through the 40 billion photos (and counting) on Instagram, make sure yours are not grainy, blurred, dark or cluttered. You do not need to be a professional photographer to take a good Instagram photo. All you need is a good smartphone, a steady hand, some good light and a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve with your image. Always ask yourself why you are sharing an image and what you are hoping to achieve with your content – avoid posting for postings sake.
- Mix up and manage your content
Variety is not just the spice of life, it’s the key to keeping your followers engaged. A varied mix of content – free food in the office, a new staff appointment, a speaker at an event or the view on your commute will ensure that your storytelling technique continues to evolve. People buy from people!
Creating an editorial content calendar and dividing it into sections will help so that you tell your brands story from every angle or stream of your business.
- Use creative captions
Calling all copywriters! We need to dispel the myth that Instagram is being solely used as a visual social channel. Clever, comedic and creative captions go hand in hand with dynamic imagery, so make sure you have a way with words before you post. Think about how one image sums up that moment in your day, at your event, or during your product launch and tell your story. Don’t be afraid to be bold. No-one likes a perfectly polished Instagram grid where the content comes across as being too corporate. Take a real-world approach – your followers will thank you for it!
- Harness hashtags
If you want followers to find your content, you need to ensure you are tagging your posts in the right way. Instagram currently allows up to 30 hashtags per post – and we advise that you aim to use them all (or at least 10) to give you a better reach. Spend some time deciding which hashtags will work for your posts and tap into communities, trends, or days of celebration to elevate your content. A crowded clump of hashtags is a sure-fire way to appear spammy – but that doesn’t mean the fewer, the better. Hashtags are an important part of the Instagram ecosystem; they serve as one of the easiest ways to find content tailored to your interests – and for others to discover your content.
Hashtags can build your community, increase your engagement, and grow your followers. When it comes to using hashtags to attract new followers and get your images in front of new eyes, a little strategic thinking goes a long way.
Explore which hashtags bring in the most engagement for your brand by experimenting with both trending and unique options. And don’t forget about branded hashtags. They can help create a sense of community among your followers, and can be the perfect way to encourage and consolidate user-generated content.
For example, on the 1st of December, we wore Christmas jumpers in the office to embrace the festive season, and posted an image with the tag #HolidaysAreComing which is the Coca Cola strapline. This was so that likeminded Insta users interested in the seasonal switch would be able to access and engage with our content.
On Instagram, as on all social media, a little strategic thinking goes a long way. Keeping these five tips in mind will ensure your brand’s presence is truly #Inspo-worthy. We also have a few of our own tried and tested observations to help you on your way to becoming Insta-famous:
- Phone pictures have better engagement than polished shots from a digital camera. This is because your audience is more likely to feel your brands authenticity when an image is organic rather than glossy and staged
- Photos with people or your brand in will get greater engagement – people love to see a face behind the account (and a bit of interior landscape!)
- Captions are just as important as the image – no longer is IG just a photo sharing app, its now more of a microblog. It’s a place for storytelling, personality and humour
- There’s no ‘right way’ to do Instagram. No posting time or hashtag will ensure you have successful engagement (thanks algorithm!) but what we do know is that the less serious, less stuffy, less corporate and more organic, natural and real-life posts will get you the greater return
South Coast Creative delivers impactful social media strategy. Our digital experts work with you to tell your story in a brave and creative way to raise brand awareness and build reputation. Get in touch with us today.