By: Nikith Deo
Whether or not you have a physical product that is visually appealing, Instagram can still be used as a helpful platform to increase brand awareness. Here are a few tips for businesses to follow when posting on Instagram. Hopefully, these tips help!
1. Connect with your audience
As an established company, you should know who your current audience is and have a rough idea of who your target audience is. Keep in mind that your current audience may not all be part of your target audience. Find, follow, and interact with your ideal customers.
Interaction includes liking customers' posts, following their accounts, and even messaging them. Here, it is important to be smart and remain professional. Nobody wants to be bombarded with a ton of promotional content! When you're deciding who to follow and who's posts to like, take a look at who your current customers are following. Are they following any competitors? If so, which ones. Interacting with accounts that follow the competition may help you pry them away.
If you notice someone posting a problem about a competitor that you (or your product) can solve, rather than responding to their comment, shoot them a Direct Message (DM). You can say something like "Hello, I noticed you had a problem with Product X's security features. Product Y, the company I represent can solve your problem...". This shows that you care enough to offer support to people who not yet your clients and can sway them in your direction.
2. Create engaging content
On Instagram, engaging is easy. All a user has to do is double-tap to like. As a result, you may observe inflated like numbers, compared to similar content posted on your other platforms. People tend to scroll mindlessly through Instagram and double tap on any post that catches their eye. As a result, you have to be sure to post visually appealing content!
If you're feeling anxious because you provide a product or service that you can't make a pretty photo-shoot about, don't worry. The content you post still has to match your brand image. Don't search for attractive stock images hoping for interaction, instead take a closer look at what your audience likes.
You may need to hire a designer to make relevant but appealing graphics. Good ideas of things to post are company updates, blog posts, new product launches, awards, and testimonials. Obviously, your customers will want updates about your products. If you don't have any that day, post about an award you may have won. If you have a compelling testimonial from a satisfied client, go ahead and post it! Clients may not remember exactly what award you won or what the testimonial said, however, they will see your page in a more positive light.
3. Stick to a consistent color-scheme and font
How your posts look defines your image. Your posts may be recognized because they all have Verdana font with a green background and white text. This sets you apart! Consistency is important, if all your posts share something in common, chances are followers will increase brand recognition.
Take a look at what some of your competitors are posting. Maybe, when they post text-only content, they do so with a red background and blue font. Don't do the same thing, be different. Stick to your brand's colors to provide visually appealing and easy-to-read content.
4. Use hashtags to your advantage
At this point, you should know what hashtags are and why to use them. Instagram is no different! Posting with a relevant hashtag will benefit you. When choosing what hashtags to use, think about what your clients may be searching for. Make sure the hashtag you use relates to your post because all people who search for that particular hashtag can see your post.
As always be smart with which hashtags you choose, and how many you use. If you use too many hashtags, your content will look spammy. It may also appear that you are desperate for engagement. Pick and stick to 3-5 consistent hashtags per post. This way you can still drive up engagement without looking spammy or desperate.
A helpful tool to identify hashtags to use is the Hashtagify tool. This tool will help you determine the best hashtags to use for your business and target audience. Enter a tag and you'll see other tag suggestions. For example, #food can be related to #recipes, #yummy, etc.
5. Post consistently
Now that you have crafted killer content, it's time to post! Post consistently and frequently to maximize viewership and increase engagement. Stick to a schedule, that way customers can learn to expect posts from you at a particular time.
A study by Union Metrics observed that most businesses post on Instagram daily, (1.5 times a day). Interestingly, they also found that there is no correlation between increased frequency and lower engagement. This means that brands that posted multiple times per day didn't experience any negative effects. Make sure you stick to a consistent amount. If you are known for posting three times a week, this doesn't mean you should do anything differently. It just shows that Instagram is a platform where frequent posting shouldn't hurt, as long as you stay consistent.
Hopefully, these tips help you increase engagement on your business accounts! Instagram is a platform where the most appealing images perform best. Create content that draws people's attention. Good luck!
About the Author
Nikith Deo is the Digital Marketing intern for Sparrow Marketing. He is a senior marketing student at San Jose State University.