Companies have just begun to tap into Instagram, one of the hottest social media sites with an enormous following. The platform encourages sharing of photos and comments in a hyper-alert, real-time setting. It’s fast, exciting, and fun, and it’s also a profit-generator for businesses that can learn how to make the most of its advantages.
Standing Out on Instagram
Like other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Instagram has an abundance of continuous chatter. This is essentially “static” that businesses have to break through in order to reap any benefits. The name of the game is to woo people to follow your page; it isn’t easy when you’re competing with noise from hundreds, if not thousands, of other Instagram users.
With that being said, numerous organizations have been able to clear a path through all the hubbub and get themselves coveted followers. Some of their basic techniques for getting ahead amidst all the conversation include:
- Posting on a regular basis. While there doesn’t seem to be a particular formula that works for every company, it’s smart not to allow too many days to pass without adding to your Instagram page. This encourages consistent visits.
- Commenting on other Instagram pages. Don’t forget that social media is all about giving and taking. If you’re not giving as much as you’re taking in terms of commenting, you’re not going to get too far on Instagram unless you have a strong brand like McDonald’s or Coca-Cola.
- Tagging people in your photos, and get them to tag you. Say you’re a sports orthopedist and you want to increase your followers on Instagram. Why not ask happy patients to tag you in pics of themselves back on the field or in the court? This is similar to the organic back linking that you want on your website.
- Using hashtags. There’s a reason that hashtags are everywhere — they simply work. Plus, you don’t necessarily have to invent your own hashtag. See what’s trending and try to jump on the bandwagon.
- Optimizing the company page profile.Surprisingly, companies don’t always make the most of their page profiles. This is a huge mistake, because the profile is the ideal location to spotlight what a business can do. It’s also the place for keyword optimization.
Of course, what hasn’t been discussed yet are the images themselves — that’s where it pays to take some time and be creative.
Creating Images That Spark Interest
The images and videos that you put up for the world to see via Instagram have to be appealing. Otherwise, they’ll just get lost in the crowd. This makes it imperative to spend time really contemplating how to position your organization in the best possible light.
For instance, you may want to hire a professional photographer to help you launch a new product or service. On the other hand, it may be better to highlight that product or service using “impromptu” snaps taken on a smart phone or tablet. Either way can work as long as you have a plan in mind. Of course, that plan can become sidetracked by photo ops that you weren’t expecting, such as when your CEO ran into a Hollywood starlet at the airport and got a photo with him or her.
You should also make sure you have at least one person on your team who is designated as the curator of the Instagram images. He or she can then ensure that photos or videos are put up in a timely fashion, are tagged appropriately and are tracked. While it’s possible to have any number of curators posting on behalf of your company — some smaller businesses even give this power to all employees — it’s usually recommended to have one “point person” be the go-to expert for questions or concerns.
Growing with Social Media
As the months roll by, you may find that Instagram is changing in some ways. Try to stay abreast of those changes for the benefit of your business page and followers. The last thing you want is to spend all your time devoted to building a following, only to lose it because you didn’t keep your ear to the ground.
Over time, you’ll find what works best for your organization, and you’ll begin to gain steam. At that point, you can really leverage your Instagram presence and ratchet up your conversion strategies. It’s all part of marketing in the 21st century!