Instagram – the number one social platform for visual advertising. It can be your company’s best friend or worst enemy, depending on your social strategy and content quality. A company with an Instagram feed without substance, is a company that doesn’t stand out from its competitors — and if you’re not standing out, you’re not receiving leads and, worse, adversely affecting your business by portraying the wrong message. This is a follow up post to our blog 5 ways Instagram growth is hard (and what you can do about it), so you may want to check that out before getting into the nitty gritty of how to get your Insta content on the right track for success.
Creating content with value can be difficult, especially when you don’t have the marketing or design experience to help you out — not to mention a copy writer to create content that is relevant and beneficial to your users. But all hope is not lost. There are a few industry trade secrets that you can implement to help reignite the flame in your Instagram relationship.
1. Produce content that is valuable.
This is the most important trade secret and it’s easier than it sounds. Valuable content is content that benefits your user in some way, whether that be through advice, tips, a quote, or a trade secret of your own. It’s simple — Instagram accounts that have more posts with valuable content, have more followers. Think about questions your customers ask you — all of these are nuggets of advice that can be turned into valuable content for others to consume.
2. Develop a social strategy.
A great rule to follow is that for every 9 posts, 4 posts should help/add value, 3 should create a connection and 2 should promote your company. Following this rule will allow your users to feel a greater connection to your content and prevents your account from appearing too salesy (yuck).
3. Ensure brand consistency.
Consistent brands are brands that have an established logo, font, colour palette, style, and tone-of-voice. This is to ensure that your content doesn’t become too messy or disconnected throughout your feed and enables your followers to really engage with your business.
4. Include hashtags.
www.displaypurposes.com is a great tool to make use of. Here you will find the most popular hashtags on Instagram. All you have to do is enter a word related to your industry e.g. marketing, and this website will recommend a series of the most popular related Instagram hashtags. The website also includes 5 dots — a great way to conceal all of your hashtags. Check out this post on Popdot Media’s Instagram as a great example.
5. Interact. Interact. Interact.
We can’t stress this enough! Reach out to other members in the Instagram community. Comment on and like the photos of other users that are in line with your brand and follow these accounts. The more interactions you make, the more your brand gets out there — that’s some great free advertising right there.
6. Include video.
Statistics show that after viewing a video, 64% of viewers are more likely to make an online purchase. There are a variety of video types you can utilise such as a vlog, interview, webinar, presentation, product review or animation. Video is great for keeping your followers interested and breaking up the monotony of any feed.
7. Post accordingly.
Nothing great ever comes out of spamming your users, but you don’t want to leave them in the dark either. Posting 2–3 times a day is a safe amount without annoying your followers. Any more than that and your followers will be hitting that unfollow button faster than a toupee in a hurricane!
8. Don't use typical stock imagery.
There’s nothing blander than an Instagram feed filled with stereotypical stock photography (cue Vince Vaughn’s infamous stock series). You want to show off your company’s unique value proposition, not your ability to follow the crowd. If you have a physical product, consider hiring a professional photographer — if you’ve got a keen eye for styling and design, take the photos yourself. There are plenty of alternatives to Shutterstock. Check out our previous blog post: The definitive guide to the best free image sites on the web to learn more.
9. Run promotions and competitions.
Everybody loves free stuff. Whether it’s a free consultation, gift with purchase or a discount on a product/service, users love getting involved. Competitions are also a sure-fire way to gain new followers, likes and comments. In order to gain traction, you must make it clear in the post caption, e.g., “follow our Instagram and like this post for your chance to win X”.
10. Establish a tone of voice.
Know your demographic and who you are speaking to. Tone of voice is everything when it comes to brand personality. Different tones attract different users, and if you pick the wrong tone you can lose their trust. Proof read all of the content you write. Spelling mistakes and poor grammar convey a sense of unprofessionalism and negligence, so check it twice to get it right.
That sums up the top 10 ways to have a killer Instagram account. It’s easy to get lost in the world of Instagram, especially when you don’t have a social strategy in place but with a couple of trade secrets, perseverance and an Instagram account that stands out from your competitors — anything is possible!
If you are struggling with any of your social media accounts, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to help you out, even if it’s just to have a quick look at what you’re doing and strategise with you over how best to get your business on the right track. We offer a complimentary 20-minute consultation to get you started.
This article was written by Mimi Seymore, Graphic Designer at Popdot Media. With a keen eye for all things design and social media related, Mimi's passionate about creating designs and social strategies that help to grow your business.