I’m a big fan of Instagram. The darling of the social media world and Facebook’s baby sister, Instagram has 77 million users. Smart businesses are using Instagram as a way to build their brand, join communities, network and gain followers.
I’ve put together my top 8 tips on how to use Instagram to build your brand
1. Think about what you want to share (and what you don’t want to share!)
Plan your stories in advance. Work up key messages and stick to them. That way you’ll have a strong brand identity. I’m a mum of two boys but I choose to keep my family life out of my Instagram feed, whereas I’ll talk about my family life on my personal Facebook page where I feel it’s better placed. Equally I know other PRs who share their family life and how it’s about the juggle (#thejuggleisreal)! No way is the right way. You’ve just got to work out which way is best for you, your business and your audience.
Some examples to help you:
- Your journey from now to where you want to be – a personal journey in the context of business is really strong when it comes to engaging with your audience. #backtowork #newchapter #myjourney #mystory
- Your background, where you’ve been, where you are now, where you’re going with your business. #changeofcareer #followingmypassion #worklifebalance
- What your passionate about in your area of expertise, what tips you can share. #prskills #prtips #hrconsultant
- Share content that will help solve your customers problems rather than selling your services. #timemanagment #stressmanagement #socialmediaadvice
- What problems do you face with your business, how do you overcome them? #freelancelife #workingfromhome #worklesslivemore
BONUS TIP: Instagram isn’t as strict as Twitter with it’s character limit when captioning a photo but that doesn’t mean that you should be writing a novel beneath each post. Short, sweet and effective.
2. The Power of The Hashtag – the way to get an audience to engage with you
Look at other people in your field, people you admire. Check out what hashtags they’re using. Start to use them too. Build up a list of hashtags relevant to what you’re posting about.
#myjourney #myday #womensupportingwomen #wibn #womeninbusiness #femalefounders #smallbusiness #startup
Use as many as you wish. You’re limited to 30 so it’s up to you.
BONUS TIP: Either separate your hashtags via linespacing or post them in the first comment. Just good housekeeping.
3. Get inspiration from others
No, don’t steal ideas from other people but use their content to inspire you. You may be reading a business-related book. Take a photo of it and share what resonates with you about it. Tag the author, hashtag the author, thank them for the inspiration. Search up the author, comment on what they’re posting about.
Follow anyone in your field or a related field. Look at what strategies they’re employing (what are they talking about, what hashtags are they using?) and give this content your own unique spin.
4. Geo-tag where you are or where you want to be found
People search by area. If you’ve geo-tagged your content, it will be found. If you’re looking for business in Reading but you’re working out of Wokingham, tag Reading. Also, you can search by place to tap into other communities and connect with people in the place you want to be. If you’re working in a co-working space, search the space to see who else is working there and connect with them. A ready made, online community!
5. Don’t over post
Over posting is a big insta-no-no! It’s not like Facebook where you can upload photo after photo (although you can add collections in one post).
The optimal amount of time for a business to post to Instagram is 1-2 posts per day, but no more (and ideally no less).
6. Create a photographic style
Camera phones are brilliant camera. So think about your images. Think about your photographic style – loud and colourful or clean and minimal?
Start with a style you like and try to stick with it but be aware that it’ll develop over time. Whatever effect you like and create, stick with it. You want your images to be consistent.
There’s a lot you can do to beautify your photos:
- Always use your camera to shoot the image – the quality is better than in-app cameras.
- Always use the focusing tool and generally ramp up the exposure.
- Either edit your photo in Instagram or within another app.
- Some of the most popular filters in Instagram are Low-Fi, Valencia and X-Pro II. Have a look at the standard filters, find one you like and stick with it.
BONUS TIP: If you use images from another source/account ALWAYS credit the source (Photo @xxx).
7. Interact with others to grow your following
Yes, you need to post engaging content with quality images and use hashtags to create a buzz. And yes, you can use others for inspiration. But a critical step in the process is interacting with your followers and the people you want to follow you.
If you’re already posting follow-worthy content then start liking, commenting and following others. Remember, it’s a two way conversation.
BONUS TIP: You can opt to get notifications when accounts you’re targeting share a post so that you can interact with it right away!
8. Show up!
Don’t be scared. Work out what you want to share and get started. Identify what you want to talk about, find some accounts you like and start to post.
To build a following, start by:
- Liking 3 posts per day
- Following 3 accounts per day
- Commenting on 3 posts per day
Are you using Instagram for business? I’d love to connect with you. You can find me on Instagram as @_gossipgirlpr.