With 700 million users globally on Instagram in 2017, it is still a wonder why any brand would choose to stay away from utilising Instagram as an extension of their public relations strategy.
Instagram is a picture-based social media platform that allows individuals and brands to share high quality images with the world. The platform offers 400 million active users (200 million use Instagram stories) a place to keep a daily account of their activities as well as follow those of others.
The use of social media in general has blurred boundaries between organisations and their audiences allowing frequent interaction, instant feedback and making it easier for a brand to monitor their engagement. Instagram has grown exponentially since its inception in 2010 when it was only available to Apple users. Today it is available to both Apple and Android users.
This platform is ideal for brands whose target audience is millennials, who spend a majority of their time online and therefore become potential customers or partners. In order to effectively penetrate the space and place yourself as an authority in your field, we advise the following:
Create A Profile
Your profile describes to visitors who you are or what the personality of your brand is. It carries the image of your brand without you having to speak about it. There are a few things to keep in mind while creating your profile:
- Create a Business profile which is different from a regular profile as it gives you insights that help you understand your audience better. In order to use Instagram business, you would need to link your Facebook page and/or company website or blog
- Include your brand message or tagline displayed in your description box and post a URL link to your Facebook page or website. Creating links between your websites helps create a digital footprint for your brand and helps improve your SEO (search-engine optimization)
- Ensure you use clear professional images. Applications like canva.com help you create interesting visuals for your page. You can also download freestock images that are related to your brand message.
- Make sure your profile is public. This is the only way you will appear as a suggested user to people whose profile fit your target audience.
Build A Systematic Feed
There is nothing more calming than clicking on a profile and discovering a clean almost clinically uniform page. The most popular Instagram accounts have an aesthetically pleasing feed that is made up of carefully curated visuals. If you don’t know which theme to pick, you can search on Pintrest and personalise the ideas to suit your brand.
Part of determining what your feed will include requires a mix of editing and planning. Editing apps such as VSCOcam, Afterlight and Snapseed are some of the few that help both amateurs and professionals to edit images before posting them on social media. Rather than post first and then delete later, apps such as Planoly, Plann, Unum and Preview are useful in planning your theme. You can see and upload images you want to post, drag and drop them to suit your aesthetic before you schedule them to post.
Hashtag Like A Boss
Hashtags make it possible for your audience to see your posts or a campaign as it includes all the tagged images. As you begin, it is important to engage and interact with similar brands or reach people that might be interested in your brand on existing hashtags. Find popular hashtags within your industry and use at least 3-5 in your posts.
Create a unique hashtag related to your brand or campaign that allows you and your followers to contribute to the same discussion. Similarly if you or others use your hashtag in their stories then it is easy to follow their activities by just clicking on the hashtag. Check out ours #ShapingAfricanConversations
Interact With Similar Brands
Make it your goal to engage with at least 10 brands daily. Select brands that you look up to and that have a similar following to yours. Refrain from posting generic comments but rather share something related to the post while bringing out your brands personality. Be conversational and you will attract people back to your own pages.
Similarly don’t forget to interact with your own audience. Respond positively to comments on your posts and leave a comment on posts by users who use the unique hashtags related to your brand.
Use Instagram Live & Stories
Broadcast current events as they happen through Instagram Stories. Let your audience interact with you through Q&A sessions. Alternatively invite influencers to take over your stories and take your audience through an interactive day with your brand. This authenticates your products and allows your brand to grow by tapping into the influencers’ audience.
Content Is King
At the end of the day the content on your page must be attractive enough to retain your audience. Make note of current events and holidays and don’t forget to acknowledge these. Be consistent with your posts and analyse your statistics to determine when the best days and times to post are.
If you keep all this in mind, you are sure to establish a powerful brand on Instagram, which should eventually lead to conversions for your brand.
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