You could have the best product or service in the market that’s bound to change the world, but guess what — if it’s not on Instagram, it might as well not exist. With the said photo-sharing app amassing over a billion monthly users (that’s 1/7 of the world’s population), and 80% of those following a business account, it definitely comes as no surprise that Instagram has become the ultimate go-to space for businesses wanting to connect with their market, and for marketers looking to sell their brand.
Now before you dive into social media mania, hear this: where your audience is, so is your competition — 25 million of them, to be exact. It’s a tight fight, and that’s why you need to be armed with the right tools to find your followers and make your mark with your market. Sit tight; we’ll show you how.
The ‘Gram is all about visuals. If your post doesn’t catch your audience’s eye, they’re just gonna scroll right past it. So keep up and step up! When it comes to getting your brand noticed, you have to build and create content that’s creative and exciting.
So first things first: as long as you’re staying on-brand, go a little crazy with your visuals. Play around with angles, lighting, and setting. Create a snapshot that doesn’t just sell your product, but the lifestyle that it fits into. With the right composition and a fresh perspective, a plain banana could very well be the coolest crop everyone wants to cop. (Read more great tips on Product Photography here)
Why stop when you’ve hit the shutter? Take your images through post-processing by editing their brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows, and levels. Now if all this sounds a little too complex, fret not; not everyone is a photographer. Thankfully, there are filters for that.
Slapping on a filter on top of your image can drastically turn your post into something share-worthy, all with the tap of a button. Instagram has a few tried and tested ones you can use — but if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you could try downloading your own photo-editing apps. Instasize, for example, has over 50 filters and a number of layout tools for you to play around with, so you can forget you’re an IG rookie and spruce up your photos like a pro.
There’s more to Instagram than just pretty pictures — get into taking pretty videos as well. That’s because dynamic visuals allow you to show off your product from all possible angles (literally) and give people a feel of what your brand’s all about.
There are loads of ways you can create video content. Try your hand at video by creating up to 60 seconds worth of snackable content for your feed or Instagram Stories. If you’ve got more to say, you can share longer, in-depth videos through your IGTV channel. (Check this nifty IGTV marketing tutorial to get you started.) Or you can also make Boomerang clips, which are gif-like videos that can be a more playful alternative to your usual static content.
Now the tips on capturing amazing visuals apply here, too: get creative when and where you can. From framing to editing to filter to soundtrack — go ham. The cool thing with video is that, other than time, there really are no limits.
No one likes a one-sided conversation. So instead of just talking to your audience, start a dialogue. When you engage with your market, you gain insight on what they think — be it through likes, shares, or the comments they leave behind.
Your captions are the best place to start. Whenever applicable, invite people to respond to your posts. If you’re sharing a new kind of shoe or bag, ask your followers what they think. Invite them to share their opinions in the comments section. If you’re thinking of collaborating with an artist, get your audience to weigh in on who they’d love to see. Not only does this provide you with valuable research, it also helps build affinity between your market and your brand.
Posting teasers and holding promos are great ways to excite your market, too. Not only do these give people more reason to keep following you, they also allow you to show gratitude to your followers, which definitely puts you in a good light with the rest of your audience.
You can also source your content through your followers. Start by sifting through the posts of your followers with the most following or the widest reach, choosing a post that’s most relevant to your brand, and sharing it on your page (don’t forget to ask permission and to give credit, though). Or more simply, you can invite followers to share content for you to repost.
This makes your audience feel like you’re listening to them — and if your target market feels like you actually care about them, they’re more likely to care about you.
The most viewed things are sometimes the ones you don’t show, which is why Instagram Stories is perfect.
By default, whatever you post via IG Stories stays up for just 24 hours, so you can actually have more fun with this feature. Because you don’t have to worry about your posts disrupting the curated look and feel of the rest of your page, you can share quick and dirty content on the fly — great for product sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes shots of your brand.
Aside from allowing you to add doodles, text, and stickers to your posts, IG Stories also lets you hold polls and ask questions to your viewers, so you can gain insight from your market in an instant.
When it comes to Instagram, there really are no rules. At the end of the day, the success of your business lies in connecting with your market and always finding new awesome ways to blow up your brand. So if you keep having fun and keep experimenting, you’re sure to nail the Gram — and whatever medium comes next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. A weekly contributor on the site’s blog, Natasha tracks social media trends and updates the millions of “creatives” who are currently using Instasize to curate awesome online content. When she isn’t writing up the latest trend, Natasha is overseeing a team of 10 over at the Instasize HQ – ensuring that the marketing content on the apps various social platforms is ready to go. entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their influence, brand, product, or service on social media. Their product empowers individuals and businesses to create content that will amplify their social marketing effort and reach their business goals.