by Pamela Webber, Chief Marketing Officer at 99designs
These days we are lucky to have so many incredible marketing resources at our fingertips thanks to the power of social media. At the top of the pile is Instagram — think of any successful business, and it is likely they will have an account.
Instagram’s easy-to-use interface and outstanding visual representation is ultimately what makes it such a powerful resource. As little as 10 years ago, companies relied primarily on description to promote their services, but thanks to the power of Instagram, they are now able to present their services in a more appealing manner.
With its tremendous popularity, creating a standout account can be difficult, but the following 5 steps will have you well on your way to establishing a commanding presence on Instagram.
1. Establish Your Username.
Establishing a username that matches your business is essential to having people locate you on Instagram. Instagram has around 800 million users and finding a username that stands out and matches the identity of your business can be challenging. Try to avoid generic usernames that do not contain the name of your business or are irrelevant, and instead opt for a handle reflective of both your personality and brand. If possible, obtain a handle that includes the name of your company and any additional information you want people to know when they first discover your account.
Ensure you get a high quality logo design for your business, and be sure to include this on your main Instagram page to tie in with your username.
2. Use Hashtags.
Hashtags are a fantastic way to fish for potential customers. Including hashtags with your posts means that a user is able to locate your post without directly going to your page. For example, if users click on a #realestate tag, they will be taken to a page containing posts relevant to that industry. Having your posts included in these searches will give you higher exposure and create a method of reeling in customers who may otherwise not stumble upon your page — be sure to identify your target audience, and use hashtags that are relevant to them.
Be sure to do some research and learn what hashtags are most popular relating to your industry. Explore using a hashtag generator. Stay current with these hashtags and look to comment on other posts with the same tags to keep you in the loop, thus enabling customers to better find you on Instagram.
3. Use Great Images.
Instagram is such a powerful resource because of its fantastic ability to advertise visually. You don’t need to be a world class photographer to get great images, but utilizing powerful and attractive photographs will certainly better catch the eye of your consumers.
Just as with your username, avoid boring and generic images that fail to captivate your identity and display enthusiasm towards your product. Instead, go for shots that stand out on a page of pictures with similar identities — remember, your images will show up when potential customers click on a relevant hashtag.
It’s a good idea to invest some time in learning how to take better photographs and the role of composition. Study the images used by brands you aspire to, and learn what is catching the eye of users the most. Aim to develop consistency in your photos and don’t be afraid to use other apps to breathe life into your images — PicStitch and Snapseed are great apps to try.
Geotags allow you to share your location with a post. Geotags need to be activated in your personal settings, but once you name a location, consumers will be able to see all posts that are uploading to that geotag. Similarly to a hashtag, this means that users will see your posts included in a popular tag, meaning greater exposure for you and your product.
Stay active with your tags and connected with your customers. If you are attempting to target a certain location or want to increase exposure in new territory, you can geotag your posts to appeal to that area. Doing so brings your brand out of the shadows and into the light of areas you may not already be hitting — meaning a larger audience and more business.
Competition is a great way to motivate users to become involved with your brand. For example, if you are launching a new product or are working a partnership with another business, a giveaway is a great way to develop interest.
There are different types of contests you can use to bolster your following. You can have users like a certain page, tag a friend, or create a photo contest where the user must tag your account to win.
When constructing a competition, ensure you have your target audience in mind, and have a clear prize and foolproof method of establishing a winner.
Instagram is an extremely powerful resource, and when managed correctly, could become the driving force behind your latest venture.
Pamela Webber is Chief Marketing Officer at 99designs where heads up the global marketing team responsible for driving customer acquisition and increasing lifetime value of customers. She is passionate about using data to derive customer insights and to find “aha moments” that impact strategic direction.