Use Instagram to promote your business
29 April 2015

Use Instagram to promote your business

If you are looking for a way to attract new customers and engage your existing customer base, then Instagram is a great social media platform to choose! Due to its strong aesthetic appeal, it presents a variety of marketing opportunities, which businesses of all sizes are using to aid their success.

Instagram is a great tool, to inspire your potential customers and captivate their attention. You can showcase your products and services without using direct advertising, simply by using eye-catching visuals that leave a lasting impression. The values of your brand can be communicated in an impactful way, inspiring your followers and help to gain interest and build a relationship with your audience.

Read on for 4 tips on how to successfully promote your products, services and brand on Instagram:

1) Post frequently and consistently

As with all social media networks, to succeed on Instagram you need to post content regularly. As Instagram’s feed is constantly refreshing, you need to post regularly to make sure your posts are seen by your audience. It is advisable to post multiple times a day, if possible, making sure to vary the content of your posts to keep it interesting and engage your audience.

Examples of the types of images you could post on a daily basis are:

According to Web Tech posting to Instagram on a Sunday is best for interaction, but they also suggest to post at the following times:

7 - 9am: Most people check their phones when they wake up before they go to work or begin the day.

11am - 2pm: Lunchtime is a typical time for people to take a break from what they are doing and check their phone.

5 - 7pm: The end of the working day or if at the weekend a popular time to relax before dinner and browse Instagram.
The best way to find out the optimal number of times to post a day for your business is to test it yourself and measure the results. See what times of the day and days of the week your customers respond best to and go from there.

Adidas Originals frequently post eye-catching and diverse posts on Instagram to keep their brand fresh in the minds of the followers.

 

2) Include Hashtags

Although hashtags are often heavily over used, they actually play a very important role when it comes to engagement on Instagram. Recent studies have suggested that there is a considerable benefit to using relevant and appropriate hashtags. The findings of these studies were that there is a correlation between hashtags and likes; the more Hashtags a photo had, the more likes it received. This makes sense as adding Hashtags to your Instagram post, increase its reach, therefore a wider audience is able to view your image, increasing the chance of receiving a greater number of likes.

Bear in mind that too many hashtags on a post can make it look unprofessional and untidy. You can overcome this by picking only the most relevant hashtags. Also, you can put a few hashtags in the comments section, as well as the post (like Topshop do as shown above). According to Social Times, using 6 Hashtags is the optimal amount. They also advise to not use spaces, special characters, slang, numbers at the start or just numbers alone.

Topshop is a great example of an Instagrammer that consistently uses its brand name and a variety of Hashtags to increase the reach of their post, and brand awareness.

You can conduct research into which hashtags are searched the most often and are the most popular, and use these to increase your reach even further. You can use Iconosquare, to see the most popular hashtags currently being used on Instagram.

Examples of popular hashtags which are currently trending:

• #love – Currently the most popular hashtag.
• #nofilter – Popular for aesthetically appealing photos that haven’t been edited with a filter.
• #instagood – A highly popular and universal Hashtag
• #photooftheday/#picoftheday/#Instadaily – Used to display your best photos on a daily basis
• #tbt - Meaning throwback Thursday, this is often used on photos from the past.
• #follow – Regularly used to achieve new followers

Many users will wrongly just apply the most popular hashtags to achieve higher reach. You should think smart however and differentiate your post with hashtags by not only adding some of the popular hashtags, but also including hashtags personal and relevant to your post to make it appear more human. By adding relevant and descriptive hashtags to your photos, you are more likely to achieve long term followers and higher engagement, than just by adding popular hashtags alone.
Make sure to check that the hashtags you decide upon are succeeding and are currently active, but don’t overdo it.

 

3) Connect with Influencers

A great way to build brand awareness is to enforce the help of an influential Instagrammer relevant to your industry. Instagram profiles which have a high number of followers carry a fair amount of influence, therefore joining forces with these type of profiles can be highly beneficial. For example you could give away your product or service to them in the hope they will endorse you to their many followers, with a photo or review, and put your brand in their radar. It can also increase your brands credibility when endorsed by an industry expert who has already built the trust of their followers. Partnering is also an option, so decide what sort of partnerships would be mutually beneficial and make contact with the relevant influencers.

Below is an example of how Davidoff partnered with Instagram influencer Jesse Wald, who currently has over 57,000 followers, to increase their brand awareness.

Once you have reached one influencers, many others will follow, therefore we recommend reaching out to a variety of influencers to spread the word to a greater audience and increase reach. Make sure to conduct your own research into which influencers would be best to target specific to your market. The followers of the influencers you choose will most likely have similar interests and could be potential leads for you.

 

4) Build your Credibility

You can build up trust with your potential customers by providing valuable information and becoming a trusted source in your area of expertise.
A great way to do this is to post visual testimonials on Instagram, to enhance your credibility and gain the trust of your followers. A visual testimonial is an image which combines a written testimonial, typically with a photo of the customer who is endorsing.

This post by Jordan Alannaa is a great example of a visual testimonial for Benefit Cosmetics where she endorses the product and adds credibility to the product and brand. Benefit Cosmetics have responded to this post and awarded her a prize for her efforts. Offering an incentive is a great way to encourage customers to post a visual testimonial.

 

The impact of a visual testimonial, with a human face, is a lot greater than just text alone, as it shows that it was written by a real person. Visual testimonials are a great way to share your customer’s successes with your products or services and can motivate your potential customers to make a purchase, by being believable and gaining their trust. You can also ask customers to endorse you on their Instagram profiles showing their appreciation of your products or services, with a hashtag to link it to you. Customers with reservations about purchasing from you may have their worries eased when viewing your visual testimonials or endorsements, as they are both highly engaging and photos really do speak louder than words!

Instagram is also a great tool for viral marketing to create interest, gain momentum and build brand awareness by grabbing the users’ attention. It is all about creating powerful content that will captivate attention and build a relationship with users.

Instagram holds endless marketing opportunities if you think creatively and give it the dedication it deserves you can. Reap the benefits of optimizing your Instagram strategy to drastically improve your brand awareness and tap into a platform of potential leads and customers

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