Your brand is your message to the world about who you are. But outside of actually producing the product or service you provide, knowing how to effectively communicate that to your audience can be difficult. This is especially true when you're trying to communicate your brand through social media.
One of the biggest social media platforms right now is Instagram. And for many businesses, this image-based platform can be intimidating. However, it doesn't need to be! We've curated some tips for you to help use Instagram to build your brand.
Make a strategy
Before you even create your brand’s Instagram, it's important to have a strategy in place. As with any business decision, having a plan in place will set you up for success and give you direction.
Before you begin, ask yourself what your goal is. What is the goal of this Instagram account? Is it to promote products? Or is it to give behind-the-scenes glimpses at your employees or clients? Make sure you have a good idea of where you would like to end up at the end of your campaign and an aesthetic to guide you before you begin creating your account. What kinds of interactions will you be having with your audience?
It’s also wise to plan out posts in advance. Keep in mind that the best times to make Instagram posts are 2 a.m. and 5 p.m. But depending on your audience and industry, this can vary. Make sure you keep up with analyzing your data. So it’s definitely worth it to get an app to schedule your posts for you, as many of these platforms keep track of your engagement and reach. It’s also a great idea to do frequent ‘photo shoots’ or buy stock photos and have the month’s posts planned out.
These photo shoots can be done with your own smart phone, as newer models take great quality photos. Take time every month or week to take good pictures of your products, your customers, your employees, or anything else you think your audience would enjoy seeing! Consistency is important and having a plan ready to go is a vital step to making sure you’re growing and maintaining your audience.
Create an Instagram business account
Creating a business account - as opposed to a personal one - will give you access to tools that personal accounts don't have and will give you the information you need to help you monitor your success. You can use this to add store hours and a phone number to your profile, as well as have access to analytics that will help you track your success. Using a business account and the analytics tools it comes with is a great way to make sure you’re staying on track with your goals. You can monitor responses to different kinds of posts and see what topics your audience loves to engage with most.
When you deliver consistently engaging content, you're building trust with your audience. Even when there are growth slumps or plateaus, making sure that you still put out content is important.
Schedule your posts. As we mentioned above, scheduling apps can be a great way to make sure you don’t have holes in your feed. But planning content and even hashtags ahead of time can be a great way to make sure the content you produce is consistently high quality. Be sure to keep up with trends though, and always be willing to change, tweak, or update anything you have scheduled.
If there is a banging hashtag that takes over Instagram quickly and it is relevant to your brand, be ready to jump on board and use it to up your exposure. There is a theory that you should not schedule your posts more than a week or two in advance - this keeps you from seeming robotic and too highly structured. Social media is a world of opportunities that can disappear as soon as they show up. It’s very important to keep your ear to the ground.
Are you having an event? Are you taking part in a charity? Any time you can bring potential clients or partners in contact with your brand is a great opportunity. Tagging people in your photos, flyers, or content on Instagram is a great way to network and get engagement on your posts.
Craft your style
Instagram is a visual platform. When people click on your profile, your posts show up as images. Make sure there's a cohesive theme to your posts and images. Choosing a color scheme or photography style will help add to the overall feel of your brand. You want people to get a solid understanding of your brand style when they look at your profile. Make sure that every post, hashtag, and picture matches with your goals.Take a look at profiles of brands that are similar to yours.
See what works and what doesn’t. Find gaps in the community that you can fill. Taking advantage of information gaps and the absence of content is a good way to set yourself up as a thought leader. Learn from and engage with others in your field. These are all steps that you can take that will help you focus in on what your brand’s aesthetic is.
Build a community
Instagram is also an incredibly social platform. Users interact with each other frequently - it’s important that you do too. Profiles that only promote and don’t interact socially get significantly less interaction with their audience.
Lack of interaction is a way to break trust with your audience. Be sure to set aside time each day to respond to comments and messages on Instagram. Your audience wants to know that you’re engaged in the community. At the end of the day, the best way to use Instagram to build your brand is to know your brand and be yourself. As you strategize and learn on Instagram, don’t forget that it’s an extension of who you are and what your business is about. Using Instagram can be a great way for you to engage in your community. Engaging with your community through social media platforms will grow your audience and influence growth organically. By using these tips, you can ensure your growth as a brand.