“Everyone has a different definition of success.” You’ve heard that said before, right? Well, it’s true in many aspects of life, in marketing, and, particularly, in Instagram marketing. For some, success is measured solely by the number of followers.
Some may “buy” followers, while others follow thousands and hope for reciprocation. True, these techniques can create a nice-sized audience. Yet, more often than not, those audiences are not very active or engaged. They’re full of people who aren’t particularly interested in what the account is all about. Would you call that true success?
Don’t you think it would be better to create a steadily growing, active community of people who are highly engaged and interested in your business? Sounds a lot better, right? The 7 Instagram marketing best practices below will help you to do just that.
Related: free Instagram Marketing eBook
Guidelines are especially important if there are several team members with access to your Instagram account. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Why? In social media marketing, regardless of the platform, consistency is key.
From the types of things you post, to the tone you use, to the hashtags you include, everything must be appropriate, on brand, and cohesive. Formally deciding on such things and putting them in writing can minimize the risk of skewed messages, confusing branding, and an inconsistent aesthetic—all of which are bad for business.
It’s a social media-wide best practice to keep personal posts to a minimum on your company account. If you have or hope to develop an individual presence, you should interact using a separate account. This is for the sake of professionalism and so that you can avoid the same pitfalls listed above.
While you can certainly repost company posts on your personal feed, it doesn’t work both ways. And even if you choose to repost, you’ll want to make sure that your personal presence reflects well on your business.
It would be wise to spell out in your guidelines exactly what kinds of posts you deem to be appropriate or not.
You won’t succeed on Instagram by choosing random post ideas and hoping your followers love it. The recipe for success is this: Market to your audience based on your audience’s values.
What problems do they have that you solve? What causes do they support? What goals are they trying to achieve? What strongly-held beliefs do they have? What characteristics do they value in businesses like yours? What attitude(s) do they display as a whole?
Through diligent research, you can find the answers to these and similar questions and then use powerful visuals that coincide with those things. Your Instagram marketing efforts will be far more attractive and persuasive. That’s a guarantee.
Most active Instagram users don’t endlessly follow “dead” accounts or those that post few and far between. Your followers want to know that they can count on you for a steady stream of interesting new posts.
Posting regularly will go a long way in keeping your audience engaged and growing, but there’s something else you must do. You must be active when your followers are most active.
Instagram posts have a fairly short lifespan because of the algorithm. If your followers don’t see them within the first few hours, they likely won’t see them at all. Determine when the bulk of your audience is online and take advantage of those times to maximize your reach.
To follow up on #4, how can you maintain an active presence on Instagram? After all, sometimes life and business are hectic. It can seem like a hassle to always have to come up with and execute new content ideas.
To take some of the pressure off and strengthen your audience, encourage your users to submit their content. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to share their experience with your business and be featured on your feed. And you’ll always have a nice supply of posts in your back pocket for when the days just don’t seem long enough.
To expand your audience, it’s necessary to use hashtags relevant to your business. These could be related to your location, type of business, industry, industry events, industry terminology and so forth. People interested in those things will be much more likely to find you, especially since users are now able to follow hashtags.
Don’t miss the opportunity for added exposure. Include relevant tags on each post and clickable hashtags in as many of your Stories as possible.
Instagram is already primed for high engagement rates. Visuals, when well-crafted, move people to action. But don’t count solely on this fact. Do all you can to engage your followers further.
Ask questions in your captions that people will be eager to answer. Use polls in your Stories and get people to cast their vote. Do giveaways and hold contests to get followers excited and tagging their friends.
The above guidelines will help you to create an engaged Instagram community surrounding your brand. You’ll then have many more opportunities at your fingertips. For example, you’ll be able to direct more leads to your website or online store, provide some level of customer support, improve your online reputation, and even convert followers into customers.
No doubt, you’ll agree that Instagram marketing is worth the effort when best practices inform your strategy. So what are you waiting for? Get to work creating a strategy that will get you the results you want!