Instagram’s edge over Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest is that it’s composed only of little square filtered images with no word limit for the caption. Many businesses would assume that this is the best social media app for posting their product images in order to promote them, but they’d be wrong. The hard sell tactic doesn’t work as well anymore, and it definitely doesn’t reflect well on social media. Social media marketing is more about the “social” part than the more direct marketing part. If you bombard your followers with promotions, you’ll end up with one less follower each hour.
The key to grow your Instagram follower base is engagement: reaching out to others so that they may reach back out to your brand. Instagram is a great app to turn to if you’re looking for engagement from your audience and it also shows you a glimpse of who your audience is. Social media is built around likes, comments and followers that help you gauge whether or not your business is gaining traction online. Remember, the larger your audience, the more engagement you get; and the more engagement you get, the more people become aware of your brand.
So what can you do to gain a larger follower base? Here’s what you need to do:
Keep It Connected
Are your Facebook followers aware that you have an Instagram account? You may already know that your Facebook followers will see your Instagram posts like a regular photo. The only difference is that there’s a label there stating that the image is from Instagram. Now, if you had a large Facebook follower base wherein about a third of them are also Instagram users, your awesome Instagram posts can be the key to encouraging them to follow you on Instagram. Remember, Facebook has more users than Instagram, so it’s a great place to start.
But don’t stop there when you’re getting Facebook followers to check you out on Instagram! You can also use your Facebook status to promote your Instagram account for added measure.
Jump On The Hashtag Bandwagon
You don’t have to necessarily have to post with the Throwback Thursday hashtag every week, but you can still incorporate a lot of other popular tags on your posts. Ideally, each Instagram post should have about 4 – 7 hashtags. So if you have a post that’s running a little low on hashtags, try some of the popular ones that many Instagram users may see. Remember, your hashtags are used to categorize a post, so the more popular categories you fit into, the better!
Here are some of the top Instagram tags:
Of course, these may catapult your brand into Instagram popularity, but make sure you keep your tags relevant to your posts. Also, try to come up with your own unique tags that people can associate with your brand. Make it as easy to remember and as simple as possible.
Filter Your Posts
What would Instagram be without its filters? Almost every Instagram user has used a filter at least once, and a lot of them would even emphasize if their post is #nofilter. Users are more likely to follow photos with certain filters over others. This is mostly just an aesthetic preference, but it shows you what the users want to see, at least with regard to the filter. Some of the most popular filters are Earlybird, X-proll, Hefe, Rise, and Valencia. But remember, these filters will distort the color balance of your image, so if your post has a lot to do with the color of one of your product, stick to #nofilter.
Post Quality Images
It goes without saying that Instagram isn’t the best place to post your high resolution photos. But that doesn’t mean all your images should look like they were taken from a pre-2005 phone camera! Everyone can be an artistic Instagram photographer with the right angle and the right filter. But most of all, you should be putting a lot more effort into choosing images that are meaningful to potential clients. For instance, a photo of your product being used by someone who’s not a model, or a lovely view of the street from your office can be the things that would attract more clients. Variety is the key, but relevance is what gets it through the lock.
Combine Your Images
Instead of posting photo after photo of the same person or place or event Facebook-style, go for combining multiple images into one. Apps like Diptic and Picstitch are the perfect tools for letting you customize how you want to layout your images. It’s been shown that images like those tend to get about 19% more likes and 22% more comments. That’s not bad, considering all you need to do is take multiple shots of something and tack them all together for a more interesting post.
Check Out Who’s Doing it Right
You can’t just base the success of a certain type of post on the amount of engagement your brand’s posts get. You also have to look at what the other people in your industry are doing right. So many business Instagram accounts are public, so do your research there. Go through a profile and check which posts are getting more engagement and why. For example, are fall street fashion styles getting a lot of engagement across different fashion Instagram accounts? Are images of the latest hardware from tech shops getting more comments? How about “behind the scenes” shots that feature employees hard at work?
But don’t limit yourself to the type of images that are being posted. You also have to see if the captions and hashtags are also contributing to the post’s success. Check if they’re using more popular hashtags or creating their own. See if they’ve tagged certain people. Have a look at how often they respond to their followers’ comments. It’s these little factors that matter a lot to your audience, and these are also the factors that can convince users to follow your brand’s account.