Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms. In September 2017 Instagram announced that they had reached 1 billion monthly active users. While that’s still not as big as Facebook’s more than 2 billion users, that’s still nothing to shake a stick at.
Also consider that the user base of Instagram tends to be younger and trendier than other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. So if you’re trying to reach a younger demographic with money to spend, building up your brand and following on Instagram can be very profitable.
Here’s what you need to know about building a successful brand on Instagram.
Use Eye Catching Images
If there’s one thing that is the most important for creating a successful brand on Instagram it’s having good images. That much should be pretty obvious but there is no shortage of brands that think putting something up rather than nothing is good enough. While it seems like everyone and their dog is an Instagram influencer now and days (or wants to be) that doesn’t mean making it big is easy.
You don’t need a big, fancy, expensive camera to take good pictures and videos to post on Instagram. A smart phone will do just fine. A tripod can be helpful depending on what kind of pictures/videos you’re taking but you can get those pretty cheap.
While you don’t need amazing equipment to take good pictures you do need some skills. Knowing how to use the equipment you have is key but you also need an understanding of the basics of design and how to take a good picture.
One of the easiest ways to make your brand look cohesive and seriously legit is by curating an Instagram feed that looks consistent. You can experiment at first to see what people respond to and what you feel fits with the look and feel you’re going for but once you’ve got that figured out stay on brand.
Write Engaging Captions
The other half of a good Instagram post is your caption. Don’t neglect your caption! While it might seem counterintuitive many brands and influencers have found that their most popular posts are ones with really long captions.
Your caption is your chance to connect and engage with your followers. You get to talk about you, so don’t pass that up! Help your followers get to know you better. It’s your chance to tell your story and that’s what people will connect with and keep coming back for.
Not only do you get to tell your audience about your story it’s also about building trust. As a small supplement business building trust with your followers is essential in order to convert those followers into customers.
Take a look at posts in your niche that get the most genuine interaction to see what their captions are like. And by genuine I mean comments that aren’t clearly spam comments. Your follower count and number of likes and comments don’t really mean much if they’re not genuine.
Get Involved in the Community
A great way to expand your brand and your following is by actually participating in the community of your niche. Getting active in your digital community will help show your commitment to it and again help build trust.
Gary Vaynerchuk recommends a couple of ways of getting involved and really interacting within your community.
Pick Relevant Hashtags
One of the most effective ways of getting discovered on Instagram is through hashtags. There are a lot of opinions out there when it comes to hashtags but the only thing that really matters is what you decide works best for you – whether that’s two hashtags or 22.
The most important thing that matters when deciding which hashtags to use is relevancy. The whole point of hashtags to get your content in front of the people who you want to see it. Avoid the shotgun approach of stuffing your post with the most popular hashtags no matter what they are.
Here are a few ways to look for hashtag ideas if you’ve run out.
- Industry leaders
- Influencers in your niche
Respond to Comments
First and foremost make sure that you’re actually interacting with your own followers and those who comment on your posts. Replying to people’s comments can be helpful if they’re asking questions but it’s also just a great way to build a relationship. It shows that you actually care and that you’re a real person, not just a spammy scam account.
Give Your $1.80
The other strategy for getting involved in your niche community is with what Gary Vaynerchuk has coined the $1.80 strategy. Essentially what you need to do is pick 10 hashtags and interact with (give your two cents) the top nine posts on those 10 hashtags (10x9x.02=$1.80). Make a genuine comment, answer another commenters question, share, like, etc. This can seriously help you boost your profile in your niche.
Pay for Advertising
On top of all of that you can also pay for advertising if you have the cash. This can be paying for Instagram ads or paying an influencer to promote your product. Some low level influencers with only a few thousand followers may even be willing to work with you in exchange for free products.
Paid ads can be a great way to quickly get sales but make sure that you have at least a few posts to get the ball rolling at first. You don’t want potential customers to click through to look at your profile only to see that you’ve only got a few posts. Remember you’re trying to build trust as well as a brand and people are hesitant to trust brand new companies.
When paying for ads you definitely want to take the time to play around, test and experiment before you start spending the big bucks. Once you see what is doing well you can start making more ads like that and keep testing and tweaking.
Building your brand with Instagram won’t be instant but if you use high-quality images/videos, engaging captions, relevant hashtags and you’re active in the community you’ll gain followers, trust and customers.