Before we delve into the dishing out statistics about how and why Instagram is a great platform to build your brand image on, the first question you need to ask yourself is – are you first, willing to go the distance and invest all possible resources to building your brand image through Instagram?
If your answer is YES, then say no more! We’re as thrilled as you are, if not more so!
And, if you think otherwise, understand that half-measures aren’t going to do anyone, any good, least of all your business!
A quick brush-up should put things into perspective.
Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking behemoth. And, if you didn’t know, well, now you know!
Exclusively created on iOS in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger, Instagram has gone on to become a primary weapon of choice for most marketers and consumers alike.
Here are a few stats that will give you an idea about the direction this social media platform is headed in – Instagram, on a global scale, has amassed over a billion active monthly users and 500 million daily users. This platform is the fastest growing social media network in Canada, it is said to reach over 112.5 million users in the US alone by the year 2020, and has over 130 million worldwide users tapping on shoppable posts each month.
And, that’s just the tip of this iceberg.
A social media platform with a consumer base this extensive would seem too ludicrous a marketing outlet for any business to pass up, especially if you are looking to grow your brand image and increase sales.
It has been stated that over 200 million users visit at least one business profile each day. With that many potential prospects merely a swipe away, it should come as no surprise that US marketers on average pay influencers up to US$ 2,085 per post. And, if it’s in video format, then, as you correctly imagined, the rates are much higher.
Instagram is a highly engaging platform. And, going by the numbers, the rates of engagement with businesses on Instagram is 84% more than that of Twitter and 10 times more than Facebook.
Now, before we can explore how you will be able to use this platform to improve your brand’s image, let’s start with the basics first: –
Constructing and maintaining an understandable profile
You must ensure that no corners are cut when creating a business profile for your company. Three elements comprise your profile – display images, a URL address, and a profile description.
Make sure that your profile picture is of high quality and in sync with the logo of your brand. Instagram, after all, is a visually stimulating platform.
When it comes to the profile description of your brand, keep it concise and witty.
It should encompass – who you are, what your brand stands for and what users can expect to receive from your end should they begin to follow your business.
It is of the utmost importance that your profile’s description meets or exceeds the expectations of your followers.
Create compelling content
Sticking to a strategy that involves eloquent, easy-to-digest content, that not just resonates with your followers, but also encourages them to form a highly interactive and meaningful relationship with your brand.
It should also make your followers want to share your material regularly, and this is vital when establishing connections.
Doing so could make a significant difference when growing the image of your brand.
Due to the nature of this platform, two elements have been observed in all successful Instagram business posts – striking imagery and engaging text.
You should aim to elicit an emotion or even tell a story. This is bound to strike a chord with users on some level and will subsequently lead to a surge in engagement levels.
There are plenty of apps available (most are free) that will allow you to include appealing text or to edit imagery to suit the needs of your content strategy.
Build your community
Once you have mastered the formula needed to create engaging posts, it’s time to harness that collective energy and attention.
While engagement is measured in several forms, be it, followers clicking on your call-to-action, sharing or tagging your content with other users, or even interacting with your post in some way.
Therefore, it would make the most sense to create content that is in sync with the needs of your users.
That being said, even if you were to create content that has all the hallmarks of a viral post, you must account for factors like – is now the right time to share your content?
This may or may not come as a surprise, but if you were to share an update or post at a time when none of your followers are online, you shouldn’t feel disappointed if it received little to no engagement at al.
Social media networks essentially function like feeds.
What we are implying is that the newer the content, the higher up it will be in the feeds of your followers.
And, once again, there’s a way for you to work around this issue.
It’s rather simple actually!
These days, there are plenty of software and apps out there (like hopper HQ, etc.) that will enable you to figure out what the optimum time is for you to share your content.
These apps even give you the option to create a pipeline of automated posts that can be shared according to a schedule of your choosing.
By being able to regularly interact with your followers, you create a sense of exclusivity with them and this lends your brand message a personal touch.
Doing so will not just build engagement levels significantly, but also allow you to construct a virtual community of not just loyal followers, but ardent brand ambassadors as well.
And, in today’s consumer-driven construct, that goes a long way.
Build your email list
Considering your followers are your brand enthusiasts, they are the individuals who are most likely to purchase your services or products.
Tip: As Instagram doesn’t allow links in photo descriptions, implement a specific call-to-action with a catchy URL that will redirect users to a particular page you’d like for them to visit.
Once on that page, followers must be given access to value-loaded content. This will ensure that they stay up-to-date with your brand and make it a regular habit of sharing your content among their respective circles.
Email marketing has and always will be a vital segment of marketing and has proven to increase ROI significantly.
By how much you ask?
Well, according to research carried out by the DMA in 2019, for every US$ 1 that is spent, businesses can expect an average return of US$ 42.
While, to some, that might not seem like all-that-much, we beg to differ. It is!
Grow exponentially with strategic partnerships
Most would assume that to increase your current number of followers, you must first have a substantial follower base, to begin with.
This is a predicament that most marketers end up facing as they are unaware of how to go about growing their respective follower bases.
The assumption made earlier, couldn’t be further from the truth.
All businesses that have implemented Instagram as part of their content strategy, at some point had to start from scratch, even though their current profiles might indicate otherwise. Right?
The answer is rather simple actually.
It has been found that many-a-business have sought the tried & tested method of partnering with other Instagram accounts.
This has allowed them to acquire a greater market reach in a relatively short period of time.
Strategic partnerships can be formed with other Instagram users through shout-outs. Shout-outs can be either paid or unpaid.
A simple example of an unpaid shout-out (share for share) is when you share your partner’s content and they, in turn, do the same.
This gives you access to their list of followers and vice-versa.
And, both parties stand to equally benefit from a transaction such as this.
On the other hand, paid shout-outs are a great way to gain followers quickly. The only difference is that you may require a budget as you are now targeting accounts that have a higher number of followers and greater engagement levels.
Either way, these tie-ups can prove to be extremely beneficial to your campaign.
Well, if you’re still unsure of whether Instagram can boost the overall image of your brand – don’t be, it can!
And, if you have a presence on Instagram but want to overhaul it for reasons of any kind – fret-not, you can!
Instagram has proven to be a key social media networking platform over the last decade. And just like the times, the landscape is always a-changing.
From being just a visually engaging platform for individuals to share and connect, it has blossomed into a gargantuan virtual database with seemingly endless potential for both marketers and consumers alike.
Being true to your followers and what your brand stands for will further aid in spreading the word of your brand’s presence and what you have to offer.
A well-crafted business portfolio with value-added content paired with the pursuit of actively engaging your followers and the forming of productive relationships with fellow users will let your brand be distinguishable from the pack, and, in turn, allow you reap the fruits of your labor.
If you are relatively new to marketing or Instagram for that matter and want to succeed in building a robust, revamped image for your brand in these contemporary times, heed the words of J.D.Rockafella when chasing overall success in any endeavor – “Don’t be afraid to give up the good, to go for the great”.