If you are a small business owner or a marketing manager, growing your brand’s online presence can seem overwhelming. We recommend starting with one platform at a time. For many target audiences, Instagram can be effective for building brand awareness, ecommerce, and interacting with loyal followers. Instagram, however, is the most visual platform, so before diving in you’ll want to take stock of your visual assets. After getting yourself graphically organized, we recommend dividing your strategy into three categories: graphics/content, Instagram Stories, and strategic hashtags.
Quality content is the most important part of your social media presence. You will want to take the time to create engaging posts that bring value to your followers. Unsure what types of content your audience wants? Take note of your competitors’ top posts for inspiration.
Next, take a lesson from Queen B herself. Beyonce uses color blocking on her feed better than anyone else. She uses strategically similar colors in 3-6 posts at a time for a dramatic effect. For a more subtle effect, consider using similar colors for weeks at a time. Some brands exclusively use 1-3 colors for their feed. Remember, aesthetics are the backbone of Instagram. For more tips on taking better Instagram photos, check out our throwback blog post.
Instagram Stories are the future of the platform. If your company doesn’t have the resources to create videos for IGTV(Instagram’s vertical video application), consider developing stories. This feature allows your followers to see behind the scenes of your company. This can be footage of delicious staff lunches, team-building exercises, or even product promos. In addition, Instagram Stories can humanize your brand. For example, if you sell luxury hand soap, demo the product! We recommend using a variety of content for your story including polls, Boomerangs, and emojis, and fluctuating between images and videos.
Try to post stories at least twice a day for a consistent engagement.
Instagram is a highly searchable app, where users discover and follow hashtags relevant to their interests. Using hashtags is the easiest way to increase your organic reach. We recommend focusing on two types of hashtags: popular and branded (unique tor your brand).
Do a bit of research on which hashtags have a high frequency of usage and which are more niche — and mix up yours between high-volume hashtags and ones that might be specific to your target audiences. For instance, #hairstyle might capture users looking for images from salons, but #balayage will be used by people looking for a specific hair coloring technique.
Branded hashtags should be unique and tied directly to your brand. You’ll want to search their frequency on Instagram before settling on ones to “own.” When creating branded hashtags, you could also develop clever ways to build your brand. For instance, Widefoc.us uses “#overheardintheoffice” for silly staff musings. Be creative with it!
You may be asking, where do I put hashtags? Either post them after your copy or as the first comment. Wherever you add them, consider using 10-20 hashtags for peak results.
If Instagram is the platform for you, spend time each day developing your brand. After all, Instagram is a visual app, so consistent posting of content that’s engaging and attractive is the top priority.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, Widefoc.us is here to help! Our social media strategies tie target audiences to your business goals for measurable results.
Community Manager and Digital Storyteller Sarah Yaffe is a writer and community organizer. She enjoys reading historical nonfiction and writing stand-up comedy.