Is your business’ Instagram profile a bit neglected? Are some of your ‘Nostalgia’ filters becoming pretty accurate about how long ago you posted?
Let’s revamp (isn’t there a filter for that?).
Instagram’s ROI is different from other businesses. The platform is more about brand awareness, and brand reputation than it is about dollars.
That said, doesn’t an awesome brand reputation increase real-world dollars?
This article will give you five proven strategies to keep in mind when giving your business’ Instagram profile a facelift.
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1. Make Your Business Look Awesome
Remember that Instagram’s user-base is younger than many other platforms (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc). In order to succeed on Instagram you need to make your business look fun, awesome, exciting, engaging, interesting.
Consider cataloging all the fun stuff your office does: weekend barbecues, foozball tournaments (our favorite), community involvement, etc.
Here’s an example from one of the most successful brands on Instagram, Ben & Jerry’s:
Now i know you may be thinking that this is just a picture of a pumpkin on a tractor. And it is. But, more than that, it’s communicating a certain emotion. At the time of its posting, it was a feeling of autumn, coziness, home-town tradition, etc.
These kinds of emotions are what you want people to associate with your brand on Instagram. It creates trust and reputation. Next time a Ben & Jerry’s Instagram Follower is walking the ice-cream aisle of their local supermarket, maybe they say to themselves, “hmm, I like Ben & Jerry’s as a business. I feel like I know them. Maybe I buy some ice cream today.”
I’m being somewhat glib here, but the fact remains: Increase the trust that a consumer has in your brand and you increase their interaction with you.
2. Instagram Smart
There are a couple of very useful – and free – tools (like Statigram and Simply Measured) which can help you optimize the time and energy you’re putting into Instagram, and whether your reward is worth it.
- When your Followers are online.
- What images and post-styles your Followers respond best to.
- Where your Followers are coming from. Do you need to change your target audience to generate the customers you want?
- Is your brand profile on Instagram growing?
Instagramming smart is not just about the analytics, though, it’s about taking advantage of in-the-moment and trending subjects. Use fun, random holidays to appeal to Instagram’s use-base. Get creative and figure out a way to work ‘Public Sleeping Day’ (February 28th) into your Instagram strategy. Seriously – give it a go.
Here’s an example of Instagramming smart from Ben & Jerry’s (with the caption ‘Here’s to starting resolutions… tomorrow’:
Definitely don’t forget to focus your Instagram profile around the important holidays, let alone the more specific things like optimal posting times, paying attention to what posts generate the most engagement etc.
3. Tap into User-Generated-Content
User-generated-content (UGC) is huge on Instagram. Each and every one of Instagram’s users are amateur photographers (and some of them are actual photographers). Tap into their talent and feature it on your own profile.
Not only does UGC take the workload off you, it also gets better engagement than brand posts. It increases your brand reputation as personable, friendly, and open. It increases your brand reach, as the source of the content is sure to promote the hell out of getting to be published on your business profile.
How Do You Get UGC Though?
Honestly the quickest and easiest way is to run an Instagram photo contest (and I’m not just saying that because I work for a company that makes them). Genuinely, it’s the fastest, simplest and easiest way.
Ask your customers to submit photos – and ensure the image somehow features your product or service. Make the prize publication on your Instagram profile as well as a new camera (or something related).
You’ll generate buzz around your company and get flooded with loads of great images. Choose your favorite for the grand prize and feature the top seven each day for a week, culminating in the announcement of your winner.
Use the other good images as Instagram fodder for as long as they last, and make it known how awesome you thought the responses were and that you’re open for more images. I also recommend a campaign hashtag for both the contest and the images that are submitted. Get creative with that one, as it has to be catchy and shareable.
Here’s an example of UGC from Ben & Jerry’s:
I also like the addition of a pet, though children would work as well. Pets, children, and food have the highest engagement for images on Instagram.
4. Use an Offer
70% of Facebook users follow a brand to get access to special offers. Now, while Instagram is by no means Facebook, you should still be giving something back to your Instagram followers. Instagram-exclusive offers, or contests, are also a great way to increase your brand profile on the platform as they drive traffic from other sources and encourage non-fans to become fans.
Offer and Contest Tips:
- Make your offer exclusive: While you can promote it on Facebook and Twitter, drive the traffic to your Instagram profile, and from there to an Instagram-centric landing page on your site.
- Come up with a cool theme: Contests succeed when they coincide with what your Followers are already thinking about.
- Run a contest based around the seasons, back-to-school, tax season, sporting events, holidays, etc.
- Have an awesome prize: Make sure your prize provides enough of an incentive for your Followers to enter and share with their friends. Choosing a prize that connects specifically with your target market is a great strategy.
- Include a voting element: Bringing in a voting element will massively increase the chance of your contest going viral (thereby increasing your brand profile). Contest participants will share it with their friends, family, and friends of friends.
Here’s an example of a Ben & Jerry’s promotional campaign on Instagram:
Notice the hashtag (#OMGFreeBenJerrys) that they’re using to increase the shareability of the promotion. This hashtag will generate traffic to their campaign from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and even Google Search.
5. Show off your Employees Naturally
This last strategy is probably the easiest but one of the most rewarding. It goes along with making your business look awesome. Showing off your awesome employees doing awesome things makes your business look like a big ol’ family: embracing, welcoming, fun, and engaging.
Show What You’re Made Of
- Feature fun photos and videos of your employees.
- Be sure you mention something awesome about the employee when you’re showing them off.
- Give your Instagrammers a behind-the-scenes look at your company.
- Make a video of your organization doing fun stuff.
- Don’t sugarcoat the real people in your business.
- Show your products as they are in real life.
- Post fun, authentic videos of your CEO – make your top executives look personable.
- Try a candid video (15 seconds on Instagram) at the weekly lunch, weekend barbecue, softball game, etc.
- Don’t put a huge amount of time into making it perfect, make it fun instead.
Here’s an example from Ben & Jerry’s:
Images like the above personalize your business. They put a face to your brand. If you support any organizations (charities, t-ball teams, etc) be sure you’re showing it on Instagram.
These 5 tips will hopefully inspire you to get creative on Instagram. It is, by far, the most creative social platform. Be sure you’re putting time and effort into making your photos look good (remember most of the users consider themselves amateur photographers). Use these strategies as a springboard for your own ideas and strategies.
Have you had success with any of these five strategies before? Or frustrations? Let me know in the comments below.
Main Image via Shutterstock