Instagram has quickly become one of the world’s largest social media platforms. With more than 1 billion users worldwide and more than 100 million in the US, it’s no wonder businesses are using Instagram to connect with their target audience.
But just because everyone is on it doesn’t mean it’s easy to build a following, or to turn followers into customers. A lot of businesses struggle to get engagement, so they don’t see the value of Instagram. Whether you’re having trouble getting traction, or you just want to maximize your efforts, we’ve got six tips to help you take advantage of this unique platform.
1. Post something every day
Many businesses (and individuals) imagine that if they post something clever or interesting enough, they’re going to go viral, and that’s how they’ll build an audience. But that’s not how it usually works. Growth happens slowly over time. And that means you need to be consistent.
How many new people are exposed to your brand every time you post? What percentage of those people will be intrigued enough to engage with you or follow you? Probably not very many. But if you post every day, that small, incremental growth adds up.
2. Use Instagram Live
If you’re used to creating time-consuming, high-quality videos, a live video recorded on a smartphone probably sounds like a nightmare. But like Instagram stories, Instagram Live is creating a lot of valuable opportunities for brands to create more informal video content.
This is a great way to answer user-submitted questions, which you can request in another post to create hype and get people to engage with your brand. It’s also a useful way to share tips from your in-house experts.
Instagram automatically promotes live videos in prominent locations for your followers, so it’s a great way to connect with your existing audience.
You can also add a guest to your live video, which makes your video show up in their followers’ feeds too. That makes this a great opportunity to partner with other brands and influencers in your space and interview industry experts.
3. Consider influencer marketing
Every social platform has influencers. But Instagram is one of the easiest places to connect and work with them. These are the people your target audience is already following and listening to. The key is to find influencers who:
- Share content your audience would appreciate
- Overlap with your brand and industry
- Get real engagement
When brands want to work with influencers, they often make the mistake of just looking at follower counts. But that’s not what’s most important. Many Instagram accounts have tons of followers and very little engagement. And that means you won’t get much out of a partnership with them.
The most important thing you want in an influencer is engagement. You only want to work with someone your target audience actually listens to and interacts with.
Influencer marketing isn’t always the best option for a brand, but it’s definitely worth looking into. You can start by finding the people who your audience already admires and your organization wants to emulate. From there, you can create an exclusive promotion for their audience, such as a special sale or a free gift. Some influencers may not even need an exclusive deal—just the right compensation.
4. Look for cross-promotion opportunities
When you find appropriate ways to work with other brands, it’s a win-win. They promote your brand, and you promote theirs, so you both get exposed to new people. The key is to find brands your organization would like to be associated with that align with your brand’s story. Your audience may already be familiar with them, or you might help your audience discover a new brand they’ll love.
You might create original content for each other to share, conduct interviews, host a giveaway together, or collaborate on projects. For an organization, part of being active on Instagram means seeking out ways to work with other brands in your space.
5. Share and respond to another brand’s content
Hopefully, you’re already following the major brands in your space. When you see them post something that gets a lot of engagement, you can share that post to your story and add your own commentary. This is a good way to build thought leadership and to associate your brand with the type of content you’re commenting on.
Maybe another brand took a position on an issue facing your industry, and you have a thought to add. Or you want to affirm something good they created. There are lots of ways you can use someone else’s content to engage your audience and reach new people.
6. Experiment with different types of content
Maybe live content doesn’t work well for your brand. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on Instagram. Between stories, videos, images, hashtags, cross-promotion, influencer marketing, live videos, and piggy-backing off someone else’s posts, there are all kinds of ways for you to create daily content that engages your audience and grows your following. You just have to find what works for your brand.
If you give it the time and energy it deserves, you’ll see that Instagram can be immensely valuable to your organization. We hope these tips help you find your rhythm and discover the strategies that work for you.