Instagram is the most visual of social platforms, and therefore it can be of a good use for a marketer. You can easily promote your brand with bright colors, rich visuals and wide possibilities Instagram offers.
But pretty pictures alone aren't enough to make your brand sell. That is why for conquering Instagram you are going to need a winning strategy.
A creative strategy can help you leave your competitor behind and increase both your reach and sales gradually.
Let us start with a simple step-by-step Instagram strategy:
1. Learn from your competitors
On Instagram branding your images are everything. People like things that look solid, expensive and trustworthy. If they consider your images well-placed and expensive, that will equal to your company being reliable and trustworthy.
Which also means they will be much more likely to purchase from you.
But when you're only in the beginning of your road, how do you define the tricks and perks that will play well with your potential customers and find the ones that will do nothing but harm?
The first lesson is to know your enemy.
Nowadays every niche has thousands and tens of thousands competitors. Chances are, the most successful ones are present on Instagram.
And that is a good thing, because you can learn how to build your own strategy from them. Find your competitors. Study them. Define the tricks they use more often than others, and choose ones that get them the highest engagement.
After you do that, adapt the aforementioned strategy to your business and start thriving!
2. Inspire emotions
Being pretty isn't enough for a highly-engaging picture. First and foremost it has to be inspiring. It has to evoke emotions, motivate for action.
Don't just post a picture - tell a story.
Make your posts art.
You can use a variety of programs and online tools for brightening your pictures, but the main thing is the idea behind the post.
3. Learn to use hashtags
Instagram's organic search potential is one of its main distinguishing characteristics. You can say Instagram is as much a search engine as it is a social platform.
It's just like Google - you only need to replace keywords with hashtags, and here you go browsing!
Remember that without using hashtags you will not show up in a search at all. Without hashtags Instagram will have no way of categorizing your image.
However, be vary: do not overuse the hashtags.
You also shouldn't use the hashtags that are too popular, otherwise bigger brands will simply squeeze you out - they will take all the top positions in the search results.
4. Connect to other social platforms
Remember that you can post the best of your images at Instagram, Facebook and Twitter subsequently.
That is why you should also study hashtags that are popular in other social networks.
You should also optimize your posts for these networks.
5. Forget the stock images. Post your own photos
Being original means being successful.
So don't just dully duplicate the photos from GettyImages, however pretty and bright and professional they might be. Chances are, dozens of your competitors noticed these photos, too.
It would be a shame if you doublepost the same photos.
Make your own pictures or consider hiring a photographer to avoid these unpleasantries. If the fist one pretty much means what it says, the second options sounds expensive, doesn't it?
And yet it is not.
$50 - that's all you need to get 5 exclusive images at Shutterstock or even hire a freelancer. You can also use alternative ways if you're really low on budget - involve students who are only learning to become professional photographers. You can also involve your friends or relatives if they have a talent.
6. Learn to use filters
Consider adding a filter before posting even the most bright, inspirational and unique picture. Instagram simply works that way.
No-Filter posts are used more often, true, but they are far from the most effective. It's the Filtered posts that get the main likes and shares.
And the most likeable filters are the following:
Use filters to make your posts stand out.
Attract new followers with your unique approach and taste.
7. Use the right timing
Try to post when most of your followers are likely to see your posts - meaning they are online and awake.
You can schedule your posts depending the geography, time zone and even age of your audience.
Teenagers and elderly people tend to have pretty different sleeping hours.
Even though there is no ultimate posting time, you can learn from the experience when your audience is the most suited to engage with you.
8. Find and involve Instagram Influencers
There are thousands of people in your niche - experts or celebrities - that have tons of followers listening to their every word.
Why waste such a resource?
Learn how to use the influence of the opinion leaders to your benefit.
Of course, you can simply pay them to promote your product, but what will you do if their demands exceed your possibilities by three-digit numbers?
Find the influencers organically: search for one of your main hashtags on Instagram, choose the posts that got the highest engagement and reach out to the posters.
With this strategy, you can find the opinion leaders without spending a dime on it.
Learn to give, and you'll receive.
Got it? Repost.
When you share some post of your potential client, partner or even competitor, you reach several objectives at once: expose your brand to their targeted audience, create a positive image of yourself and motivate the poster repost something of yours, and also receive a genuine, valuable content.
It is an obvious win-win.
If you are not being active, you are in danger of becoming invisible. Apart from reposting, liking and commenting is an easy way to expand your follower base.
To start participating, use the traditional tactics: browse through the most popular hashtags and find the posts that get the highest engagement, and comment!
Even if the person whose post you're commenting on doesn't know you, he or she might get interested in your brand - and that concerns their followers, too.
Moreover, they'll probably be polite enough to comment back, so you'll get a possibility to start a discussion and engage even more potential clients.
Quick note: before commenting make sure you have something to say. Don't force it - forcing shows.
With these ten tips Instagram will become your best friend in no time!
And your follower base will grow in geometrical progression - just don't forget the simple steps you've just read.
Conquer the Instagram!