As I state in my About section of Creatively Corporate, one of the reasons I started this blog is to motivate myself to learn about things about which I don’t know a lot. Instagram is one of those topics.
I’m probably the last human being on Earth who, until recently, didn’t have a smartphone. Since I obtained mine a few months ago, I signed up for Instagram and began looking around. After being on Facebook for so long, I wasn’t sure I was getting it. It was ALL photos, and the comments weren’t exactly easy to read.
But I’m starting to get the hang of it and I know that this social media channel is becoming a big part of campaign strategies for marketing and public relations professionals. Recently, I did a bit more digging to learn some basics that novices like myself should know before beginning their foray into the business of promoting a brand on Instagram. So if you’re a noob like me, I hope these insights provide some value to you.
Give Some Efficient Love to Your Bio
Like any social media profile you don’t want to be stingy with yours on Instagram. This is where people can go to find out who you are and what you’re about. You only have 150 characters to play with so make sure you’re giving them a quick but informative read about your brand and your mission.
In addition, one thing that I learned is that apparently Instagram does not allow active links on image posts or in comments. One way to get around this is to put a link to your website in your profile. So be sure to include a destination link that visitors can click.
Feature Your Product or Service
This is one of my “no duh” tips, but it’s important to remember you’re dealing with an almost purely visual, graphic- and video-based medium. Instagram is a way of bringing your product or service to your followers instead of them having to find you. Kinda like window shopping, but on a phone.
So find creative, aesthetically interesting ways to attract attention. You want to stand out, so photograph your items accordingly. Present your logo or branding in ways that connect with followers. Stand out from the Instagram a crowded feed. If you have photography or Photoshop skills, this is the time to showcase them.
Going back to the link issue, another way to get around that is to feature a short URL in your image – whether via text as part of the image or with a watermark. Don’t just make them fall in love with your brand at first site; give them a place to go to learn more and/or make a purchase.
Let Them In
One of ways to stand out is to establish a personal relationship with your audience. Post exclusive behind-the-scenes images and videos that can only be seen on Instagram. This creates a personal element for your brand, rather than a corporate one.
Let them see how the proverbial sausage is made. There’s a big “corporations aren’t people” movement going on these days, so it’s important that the public sees that your organization is, in fact, a group of dedicated people working to make the lives of their consumers better. Show employees working hard on new products, talking to customers, or helping out in the community.
The Art of the Hashtag
One of the biggest ways marketers spread their branding message is with #hashtags. Creating simple yet creative hashtags with your photos or videos categorizes them and gives the Instagram audience a way to organically discover your content. When posting an image or video, encourage your viewers to use a particular hashtag to help create buzz. It’s a good way to see in real time how many people are engaging with your brand.
You know those photos you like on Facebook and have to share with your friends? That’s the equivalent of the “regram.” So in order to spread the word about your brand on Instagram, encourage your followers to share your images. Offer incentives for them to spread the word. Make them eligible for a discount or free giveaway when they regram and hashtag your post.
Be Judicious About Your Timing
Try to post at peak times (the times of day that your followers seem to interact the most with your posts). Also, be aware of the frequency that you are posting things. According to HuffPo, 2 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST are the best times to post if you want your followers to pay attention to you; the worst times are 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Also, Wednesday is apparently the best day of the week to post, though not by much. Remember using Instagram to promote your brand should be part of your marketing strategy, but it’s not effective if you’re posting at times when no one is looking.
So these are some things I’ve discovered in my limited research. I hope there are some of you who have been using Instagram as part of your corporate strategy. What have you found to be most effective? What advice would you give to noobies like me? Let us know in the Comment section.
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