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With over 1 billion monthly users as of June 2018, Instagram forms the perfect platform to increase your online brand exposure. It is a simple and effective tool when used correctly, but can be daunting when you aren’t sure where to begin. Here are some steps to take when getting started.
1. Switch to a Business Account
Once you have a business account you gain access to what are called ‘insights’ – an invaluable way to see which posts are giving your brand the most online exposure. You can access information on how your followers (potential customers) engage with the content you create – are they sharing your posts? Saving them?
You will also be able to see what days and times the majority of your followers interact with your posts, which gives you a good idea of when you should be posting.
2. Clean Up Your Bio
Your bio appears at the top of your Instagram feed underneath your username and it allows you to say a bit about your business. It is the first thing anyone will see when viewing your feed, so you want it to be as informative as possible.
Keep your bio short and uncluttered. Include a link to your website to generate brand exposure by sending your followers to your website, letting them become familiar with your brand. If you have a catchy slogan – include that too!
3. Make it Easy for Your Followers
If a customer has difficulty contacting you, or struggles with the link in your bio, they will quickly lose interest in what you are trying to sell. Having a business account gives your followers the option to contact you via a “Contact” button – streamlining the often frustrating process of getting hold of a company.
Remember, Instagram is primarily a cellular app, so any traffic generated from there will be viewing your website from their phones. Make sure you have a mobile friendly website.
4. Use a Brand Hashtag
Creating a unique hashtag sends your online brand exposure through the roof. Use your company’s name, slogan, or a short motivational phrase; similar to Nike’s ‘Just Do It’.
Make sure your hashtag is easy to spell and remember. People may choose to follow the hashtag, or use it in their own captions when interacting with your brand. If your bio is still looking slightly empty – put your hashtag up there! This makes it easy to find and scroll through all posts containing the hashtag.
5. Build an Aesthetic
In order for your brand to generate as much online exposure as possible, you need your followers to be liking and sharing your posts. Having an Instagram feed that authentically shows your brand while being visually pleasing is the ideal way to get people engaging with your posts and recognizing your company. Some simple things to do to build your brand’s aesthetic are:
- Have a consistent profile picture
- Choose a color scheme
- Keep your photos clutter free
6. Paid Advertisements
Instagram has a feature where you can pay to have advertisements for your business shown on the app. They have a variety of different types of ads, even letting you promote an existing post that was popular with your followers. Instagram lets you tailor your ads to reach exactly who you want to by putting in specific locations, demographics, and interests.
Having ads circling Instagram means your brand will be exposed to those not necessarily following you. This brings in more followers – and therefore more potential customers.
7. Use Stories
Stories are posts that appear on the top of your feed for 24 hours only, which have the option to be saved so they remain underneath your bio for as long as you choose. Make sure your settings allow people to share your stories with others – this means your brand’s exposure can increase every time you post a story.
In your story include information about events your company is planning, special deals or promotions, and some images showing ‘behind-the-scenes’ of the company’s daily life. Keep your followers involved, but don’t overload them with stories they will simply click through. Grab their attention with a few eye-catching pictures, and draw them back to your feed.
8. Partner with Influencers
Influencers are people who have made a career out of giving their honest reviews on products or services to their followers. Partnering with an influencer whose target demographic is similar to yours can build exposure for your company.
Partnerships often include a discount code that can be used by the influencers’ followers. This brings in the interest of people who otherwise would not have heard of your brand.
Remember your hashtag? Now is another perfect time to use it. Their followers will be able to look at all other posts using that hashtag and become familiar with your brand.
9. Build Incentive
Who doesn’t love free stuff? Give back to your followers while encouraging them to share and promote your company. Make posts where if a follower tags three friends, for example, they are entered into a draw. This type of promotion brings in major online exposure for your company because the people that are tagged may enter as well.
10. Engage with Your Followers
Lastly; if your Instagram page is accessible, your company feels accessible too. Convincing your followers that they are more like friends than customers will build brand loyalty – which gets them sharing your posts and talking about your brand. Engage with your followers by:
- Reposting follower-generated content that mentions your brand
- Holding follower-only promotions and giveaways
- Replying to questions in the comments of your photos
Putting these few steps into practice will ensure maximum payoff with next to no effort. Let your customers fall in love with your brand while you enjoy selling it to them.