Instagram Marketing is Easier Than It Looks

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…Or at least that’s what people keep saying.

Instagram has emerged as the latest social media platform that’s allowing people to become “internet famous.”

However, this photo- and phone-based app is a whole different animal from Twitter and Facebook.

There are a few reasons for this:

First, Instagram’s photo-centric focus makes it a fantastic outlet for creative marketing, allowing companies a place to put all the photos they can’t fit on their websites.

Second, unlike Twitter, Instagram has no character limit. This makes it easier to say all you need to say in one post and add the ever-popular hashtag.

Third, Instagram builds highly loyal communities based on a series of factors–including hashtags, niche markets, and cross-promoting.

When done correctly, companies can take advantage of Instagram’s unique properties to drive customers to their website and have fun while doing it.

But how do we get started?InstagramMarketingisEasierthan_itLooks.png

Instagram seems to be the most intimidating of all, especially for companies that aren’t as well-known as Nike or Starbucks. While the big names may have the budget to create dynamic and engaging content on a daily basis, don’t underestimate the power of a phone and a great caption.

Here are a few ways to generate an effective Instagram marketing campaign and drive consumers to your homepage:

1. Great Content

Instagram is the perfect platform to put your creativity in the spotlight. Take pictures everywhere. Have before and after shots of projects, take photos at events and during the workday, and capture moments that surprise you so you can make a meme of them. The content that will make your followers loyal is the content that you create yourself. Interspersing this with funny or inspirational quotes and borrowed content from around the internet will keep things exciting and encourage your followers to consistently check your account.

Make sure your photos are edited. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a small-business account with terrible, low-resolution photos, or photos that are way too filtered. Create a balance for brightness, contrast, exposure and temperature, and then keep it consistent. If you don’t know where to start, look at your favorite accounts and emulate what they do.

Don’t stop at photos. Instagram has finally increased their time limit for videos, letting them last for up to 60 seconds. Use this improvement to create light-hearted or informative videos, time lapses or content from other platforms, and keep your posts fresh.

2. Great Captions

The great thing about Instagram is, unlike Twitter, you can add as many characters as you want to posts. While this can be a hindrance for those who really enjoy writing paragraphs on every post (don’t do that), it allows for posts that include a great caption as well as a call for people to answer a question or tag friends.

Captions should be short and to the point, directly connecting the image to your business, service or product. Following the hashtag, ask the people who “like” the photo to engage with the post and tag their friends.

Ask a question that requires follow-up.

The most effective captions will utilize hashtags in a way that both targets a specific demographic and speaks to a larger community of people. This is done by first researching which hashtags are either trending or most popular to use to get yourself into the conversation.

For example, #denver has 5.5 million posts, while #construction has 2.7 million posts, but #denverconstruction only has 145 posts. You can use all three in the caption of your photo to reach cast a very wide net and build a community for people interested in construction in Denver.

Hashtags should be used on every post and if you’re going to have an Instagram campaign through your website – like a giveaway or photo contest – you can create your own hashtag to generate interest.

3. Stay Engaged

Now that you’ve asked for engagement from your followers, follow suit. Be sure to respond to comments and tag the person you’re responding to. If you keep things personal, you’re much more likely to build loyal customer base.

Engagement also comes in the form of keeping your account professional. This applies to more than just content. Add the “Contact” option to your profile and make sure your page includes the link to your website.

Links DO NOT work in post captions, so it’s very important that the link in your profile page is always working.

Most importantly, constantly look for opportunities to work with accounts that are larger than yours. If you find a business with thousands of followers and their content has a high “like” rate, contact them for a sponsored post. While this will cost some money, you know that the post will likely reach the demographic you’re looking to attract.

To keep in their good graces, be sure to thank them in a post shortly after they get you more followers.

4. Shareable Content

Finally, make sure that your content won’t just sit there. Good quotes will be shared on personal accounts, which is great but not always effective. Instead, make sure other business accounts will want to share your posts.

For instance, if you take photos of a #denverconstruction project, tag the brands of products you used and the companies you worked with. This encourages them to share the post on their pages and attract more followers to your account.

Be courteous and do the same for them when they tag you in a post.

These tips are by no means the be-all, end-all of creating an effective Instagram account. However, following these will help you begin to establish an active and loyal following, as well as help you find your stride.

Remember: Instagram is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep your eye on the prize and keep up-to-date with the constant improvements that Instagram makes that are generally targeted to businesses.



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