How to Build Your Brand Through Instagram
Building Your Brand through Instagram
By: Todd Brown
Is Instagram Right for Your Business?
These days, a lot of companies are unsure of which social media platforms they should be using to build relationships with their customers; some start an account on every platform they can find, while others avoid social media entirely. Rather than spreading your resources too thin, on too many platforms, or neglecting social media entirely, it’s important to pick the right platforms for your brand.
When to Use Instagram for Your Company
The single most important question to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to use Instagram is: “Can your business demonstrate its value aesthetically?”
If you put work into creating an attractive product, be it a gourmet food item or a smartphone, you should be able to use Instagram to showcase your product. If you make or sell apparel, Instagram is practically mandatory.
If you plan or host events, you can use Instagram to post pictures taken at your events.
Perhaps you want to promote lifestyles for pet owners, or green energy. If you’re in the hospitality industry, you could post pictures of your destination. If you have any excuse to post inspirational quotes, the Instagram fitness community will be on you like sweat on gym equipment.
When to Avoid Using Instagram for Your Company
Instagram is very much an informal platform, so for this reason you will likely want to avoid it if you deal primarily in B2B. If you offer a service, you will probably have a hard time promoting with images; few people want to Follow their plumber or dentist.
Planning Your Instagram Content
Having a solid strategy for your content is key to running a successful Instagram campaign. It’s important to use a variety of different content to meet separate needs of the campaign.
At the end of the day, Likes and Comments do not bring you any closer to your goals. What you do get from Likes and Comments is feedback on what content is resounding well with your audience, as well as when your audience is most responsive.
Number of Quality Followers is the single-most important metric you can measure. The best content strategy for gaining Followers is by consistently creating well-received images, by tracking which posts perform the best.
A Comment Tag is when someone leaves a comment on your post that includes the username of a third-party (including the @). This can be considered a Quality Referral, and is typically a person recommending a post or page to a friend. Given the value of these referrals, it is worth experimenting with posts that suggest “tagging someone who…”
An Image Tag is when your content is posted on someone else’s account, and you are tagged in it. This could happen with an in-image tag, a username mention in the caption, or by using a brand-specific keyword. These links are valuable, because it creates potential traffic from that person’s account, indefinitely. Posting highly-shareable content is the most likely way to get these links. It is, however, fairly common for no credit to be given when an image is reposted, so it may be best to ensure your brand name is featured in the post.
With the foundation of a good content strategy, the real legwork comes from the Outreach. In previous years, plenty of automated programs were available to speed this process along. However, Instagram has recently begun cracking down on accounts that it considers to be ‘spam.’ They define Spam as any “unwanted email, comments, likes or other forms of commercial or harassing communications.” While you may be able to use an automated system for an extended period of time, it does put your account at risk of deletion.
Using the right hashtags has huge potential to increase the exposure of your brand. The right hashtags can also provide you with leads for accounts that may be interested in your content.
In the experiments I’ve conducted, Following is the most powerful tool for gaining new Followers. It is important to Follow people who like accounts that have an overlap with your own, or who use relevant hashtags to your industry. Keep in mind that Instagram has set a hard-cap at 7,500 Following, so you will need to Unfollow accounts periodically. In experiments, I have found that following more than 3,000 accounts tends to increase Follow-back rates.
Liking posts is the easiest form of outreach, and can have a considerable impact. If a user did not initially Follow-back, Liking their posts as they appear in your feed can increase the chances of a Follow. Liking posts in bulk can be quick and powerful, supposing you are targeting the right hashtags.
Using Instagram for professional branding is still relatively uncharted territory, so the key to a successful campaign is adaptability. By tracking your metrics, and adjusting your content and strategy as needed, you can and will eventually be able to build a social media presence on Instagram.
Todd Brown is a Strategic Analyst with 180fusion, who primarily analyzes strategies. He aspires to one day achieve his goals. In his free time, Todd enjoys recreational activities. There are many interesting facts about Todd.