Saturday, 20 February 2016

How To Promote Your Brand on Instagram





Would you like to get your products and brand seen by more people, grow a strong following of customers who really relate to your brand, and get paid? If so, then Instagram is your magic spell.


Now that Instagram has over 300 million monthly users (that’s more than Twitter!), many brands are finding ways to interact with the Instagram community and earn personally invested customers who keep coming back for more.
But it’s not just the numbers you should care about. It’s the people using Instagram.
If you post the right Instagram images, consumers soak up your marketing message without any hard sales pitches from you; hence, your magic spell for appealing to customers without “selling to them.”
Shoppers turn to social media for references. So the moral of the story is this: Instagram helps convert passive shoppers into confident customers.
If you’re new to the Instagram world, no worries. Everything you need to know to market your brand on Instagram is covered here. 
Let’s get started.

1. Set Up Your Optimized Business Instagram Account

If you’re going to Instagram for your business, your account must be separate from your personal one.
Keep in mind that marketing is all about the audience and not about you, so selfies and snapshots of your Costa Rica trip with the significant other should stay personal. They’re not relevant to your customers and won’t get you sales!
In fact, “you” should rarely appear on your brand’s IG page, or even not at all. We’ll get to more about what to post in the next section.
First, here’s the rundown on how to optimize your professional Instagram presence for greater customer appeal.

Include a Link to Boost Traffic to Your Site

If you dont have a website by now then go and get one. if you cant not afford to get one then get a blog. there are lots of platforms that can give you a blog for free. Just download my ebook above. "The Dashboard Of a Successful Blogger".
Your bio is the one place where your link is clickable, right under your name and description at the top of your Instagram page. Always include the link to your online shop or a targeted landing page in this spot.
Dollar Shave Club

Stay Recognizable with a Consistent Name and Photo

All your Instagramming will be for nothing if the pieces don’t easily fit together to show what your brand actually is. The key is to stay recognizable! Choose an Instagram name that’s the same as, or related to, your business’s name across other social media channels.
Keep your profile image consistent as well. All your interactions and engagement on Instagram will be accompanied by the little thumbnail of your profile pic. Make sure it’s something recognizable and professional!
madefreshly icon

Include an Informative and Interesting Bio That Hooks Followers

Before people hit Follow on your Instagram, they have to click through to your profile. So make sure the last thing people see before deciding to follow you is a catchy and informative bio. Convince them of the value and content you’ll add to their feeds.
Include your business name and a concise description of what you actually do.
Keep it light and interesting, and avoid a salesy tone. Instagram is a unique culture different from your online shop or even your other social media sites. Craft a bio that appeals to the IG community you want to reach and reflects the tone of the images you plan to share.
Sometimes you might want to include a hashtag in the bio. For instance, if you run a hashtag campaign (we’ll get to that a little later), then including the #hashtag you’re known for could be useful.
You can always change your bio to promote your latest campaign, sale, or launch. And, again, don’t forget a link!

2. Create Popular Instagram Posts That Users Want to Follow

You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, so let’s use this power to its full, customer-hooking advantage.
Analysts credit the growing popularity of Instagram to its image-centric platform, especially since other social media sites (for example, Facebook) get twice as many comments on posts that contain an image versus just text or links.
Our preference for images is bio-engineered into our brains. In fact, 90% of information transmitted to our brains is visual.
So let’s harness the beloved and effective visual world of Instagram and post some product photos that really make sales! But remember that while Instagram is full of shoppers, it’s not necessarily a shopping destination. Here’s a quick note on the Instagram culture and how not to annoy your followers:

Avoid Hard Selling to Appeal to Instagram’s Social Culture

Buyers report strong influence from social media when considering a purchase. While the number one influencer is their friends’ social media shares, a solid 38% say they’re influenced by a brand’s social media, and 35% are influenced by retailers on social media. So your brand has a lot of sway here!
That being said, let’s bring attention to the universal mistrust of the used-car salesman.
Visuals show your products without you yelling about how great they are (I’m picturing OxiClean commercials). Images allow viewers to make their own decisions without feeling pressure from your business, removing the dreaded used-car salesman from the scenario.
So walk the line between wielding your influence and coming off too pushy, which means you’ll need to get creative with your product photos.

Promote Your Products with Creative, Professional Photos

The power of product photos has always been essential to online shopping, and Instagram’s visual platform takes that power to the next level! 67% of consumers consider detailed images to be more valuable toward making their purchase than the product information or even ratings from other customers.
Don’t discount the damage a used-car salesman effect can have on your bottom line. Posting product photo and description after product photo and description is just going to come off salesy. And Instagrammers aren’t there for straight sales pitches.
Instagram is a social marketplace that directs traffic that turns into sales. How do you do that? You share photos that are attention-grabbing, unique, and full of personality.
DSW product photo
DSW spices up their product photo with some appealing color coordination.
Consider that your brand is on social media, like Instagram, to establish a relationship and culture among your followers. Do this right, and your followers will come to you when they’re ready to shop because they’re already connected with you.
Show off your brand’s aesthetics while also flaunting your goods. It adds variety, and it’s less used-car salesy.
santa sock
Santas_sock_central’s product picture tells a behind-the-scenes story.

Size Your Photos for Professional Quality

Avoid an awkward crop or blurred image that loses you professionalism points.
Instagram’s format automatically makes your images square, within a 612 x 612 pixels frame. Consider the square shape when choosing a picture, or the whole appeal of the photo might be lost (i.e., cropped out!).
Make sure your images reflect professionalism. That means they’ll need to be high quality. A safe estimate for preserving quality is to save your photos at double the resolution size.
In Photoshop, you can adjust the size of your image to 1024 x 1024 pixels, and the quality will remain crisp when reduced to Instagram’s parameters.
If you just can’t work with the square, free apps like Squaready and InstaSizeallow you to keep photos in their rectangular dimensions and still post to Instagram, which is great for panoramas!
squareready

Use Instagram’s Editing Tools to Stand Out

There are 70 million photos posted on Instagram every day. With so much visual competition, you’ve really got to post “look at me” photos that don’t get scrolled past.
Instagram offers a range of in-app filters to enhance the colors and moods of your photos. Just stay consistent so your photos can instantly be recognized as fitting your brand’s style.
Use your own eyes and judgement to decide what looks best. But if can’t make a decision, studies show that the Mayfair filter attracts the most interactions per 1,000 followers, on average.
FiltersGraph
Play with colors and patterns to make a unique and artistic image.
lightness
Lighter, brighter images generate 24% more likes than dark images.
dominant color
Images with blue as the dominant color see 24% more likes than images that are predominantly red, and images with a single dominant color see a 17% boost in likes.
urban outfitters
Urban Outfitters uses the blue and single dominant color tricks for visually appealing photos that earn tons of likes.

Create Unique Lifestyle Photos That Capture Your Brand Culture

Since your Instagram account isn’t a direct sales market, you’ve got to focus on adding value and appeal to your feed if you want followers to stick around. The ultimate party trick for injecting your IG feed with appeal is lifestyle photos!
What’s a lifestyle photo?
Use life-inspired backgrounds, scenes, and models to add a scenario to your product so users can imagine how great those earrings would look wearing them out on a date, or visualize those hiking boots powering through mud.
Research found that 60 percent of Nike’s posts in 2014 contained lifestyle content(as opposed to traditional product photos and calls-to-action), while Adidas shared only about 32 percent lifestyle content. Nike saw 8 times more interaction on social media (993 shares per post versus Adidas’s 122).
nike lifestyle
In marketing terms, by presenting not only your products, but also the culture and lifestyle that surround them, you’re strengthening your brand equity; that is, the feelings associated with the brand.

Offer Promotions and Exclusive Announcements to Followers

Pump up your followers’ feeds with bonuses, special offers, and insider announcements. Since 41% of Instagrammers state that they follow, or would follow, a brand to take advantage of perks and giveaways, give followers that incentive.
Text overlay lets you include your promotion right on the photo, which is a stylish and visual way to announce sales and discounts.
text overlay
Free apps like PhontoPicLab, and Over let you choose the font, message, and positioning of text right over your image, an eye-catching and informative promotion that fits perfectly within the visual square of Instagram.
Starbucks uses cozy autumnal images and the hashtags #PumpkinSpiceLatte and #PSL to announce that their popular seasonal drink is back on the menu. (We’ll get to more about hashtags in a bit.)
Pumpkin Spice

Case Study: Buried Diamond

BuriedDiamond Collage
Martha Porter’s online shop, Buried Diamond, attributes much of its popularity to its Instagram page. How does Porter pump value into her feed? She sends out exclusive announcements of new products and sales so her followers can jump on the trend before anyone else!
“By posting shop updates with item release times on Instagram, I allow my customers to plan ahead and be ready to purchase right when new items go live,” Porter says. “My shop sells out quickly when I list popular items.”
By including announcements and sales on her Instagram, Porter manages to sell out stock, sometimes minutes after it is posted online, while also offering exclusive information to her IG fans.

Promote Events on Instagram and Share Exclusive Insider Access

A seldom-used but surprisingly effective Instagram tool is geo-tagging. Only 5 percent of Instagram posts tag a location, but statistically, posts with a geotag get79% percent more engagement!
geo-tag appears above your photo and adds a location (street, city, or country) to show followers where you’re physically located. It’s a feature built right into Instagram. Geo-tags let potential customers know where they can go to find your products and buy. Plus, you can tap into local loyalty.
Many brands use Instagram to promote events, using geo-tags to share the location and invite followers who are near the area.
Brands like Toms have been latching on to the Instameet strategy, rallying Instagrammers behind a common cause, and setting up localized get-togethers to support their brand values.
Toms Instameet copy
Another value-adding event strategy involves backstage Instagramming at an industry event. This offers exclusive content that only your Instagram followers get to see and makes a great way to include your followers in your brand’s story. Here’s an example:

3. Reach a Larger Instagram Following

Even if you’re posting awesome images, you need a strategy to get people to even see them and start following you. Here are some techniques to grow your followers list and show off your brand to more potential fans:

Include Hashtags to Widen Your Discoverability

Instagram feeds change fast, and your content can get buried quickly. Hashtags are the only way to increase the shelf-life of your Instagram posts. They lump your posts together into communities linked by a keyword, remaining discoverable forever.
Most posts include at least one hashtag (88%), but don’t go overboard on a single post. Engagement has been shown to go down on posts with more than 5 hashtags. Plus, it’s a cluttered look and risks coming off salesy.
So How Do you Hashtag?
(1) Brainstorm keywords and phrases relevant to your brand.
(2) Research popular and trending hashtags.
Use data analysis apps like Iconosquare to research popular, trending hashtags. For example, you can look up whether #womensfashion or #womensstyle has more searches. Then scan through people who use those tags to see if your image fits that community.
iconosquare hashtags
(3) Collect a mix of big-hit tags and more specific tags.
High popularity numbers aren’t necessarily the best. Tagging something generic like #fashion (which has been used 146 million times) means your image is still going to be lost in a sea of content. Getting more specific with something like #bohostyle or #vintagedresses will narrow down your community and keep you on top longer.
(4) Create your own hashtag.
Creating a unique hashtag lumps all your content into an easily searchable collection. Plus, users can then place your unique tag on their own photos.
KitKat uses the tag #haveabreak to incorporate their fan’s photos under a tag that praises their catch phrase. The nearly 12,000 posts are right on target!
(5) Select around five hashtags to complement your post.
A really clever way to include tags without the clutter is to post the tags in a comment after you’ve published the photo. This way the tags don’t overpower the message of your caption. (We’ll get to the perfect Insta-caption soon!)
hashtags in comments
IterateSocial includes the #hashtags further down in the comments, so they’re less distracting.
Here are two innovative case studies where brands created their own hashtags to spread their reach:

Invite Instagram Ambassadors to Share Your Brand

Create a team of ambassadors who spread the benefits of your brand to all their followers. Encourage your Instagram followers to post photos and reviews, and you’ll reach many more users.
78% of consumers make purchases influenced by a brand’s social media, so the more people sharing and praising your brand, the more opportunities you have to convince customers to buy.

Share Your Followers’ Tagged Photos on Your Own Profile

Including your users’ content on your own feed promotes good feelings, which are then associated with your brand (65% of Instagrammers say they feel honored when a brand mentions them).
Plus, followers will keep checking your feed to see themselves or their friends.
Try apps like Regram for a speedy way to re-share a post and credit the creator. (Always credit the creator and even give a shout-out to their @IGname in the caption.)
regram
As a marketing bonus for you, this tagged content saves you tons of time, since it’s basically handing over awesome lifestyle photos with the tap of a screen!
chelseaclaire
Urban Outfitters shared @chelseaclaire’s lifestyle picture (and tagged her in the caption, too).
free people
Free People includes Instagrammers’ tags to show off their voile and lace trapeze slip dresses in use by actual customers.
These user-generated photos provide real-life lifestyle photos that will influence your customers’ buying decisions. So consider enhancing your site’s online shopping experience by incorporating these Instagram photos on your website.

4. Boost Engagement on Instagram to Strengthen Customer Relationships

So you’ve shared the content and you’re growing a following, but how do you solidify that following into loyal, paying customers? By engaging!
If an Instagram photo is shared with 10,000 followers, it will get an average of 331 instances of engagement. That’s a towering statistic compared to Twitter, which would receive only 7 interactions for every 10,000 followers who saw the tweet.
IG v Twitter Interaction
By closing the gap in communication between online buyer and seller, Instagram offers the opportunity to enhance your customer service, receive direct feedback from consumers, and create relationships that convert visitors into loyal customers.
Here’s how to maximize your engagement:

Write Active, Inviting Captions

Your image is the pièce de résistance of your Instagram posts, but without an effective caption, you might not get the full potential of engagement and response from your followers.
Many brands include a simple call-to-action or direct question to provide that extra invitation that opens up conversations about your post.
topman
Topman asks a question with the answers available in the photo, and receives loads of comments.
Practice the art of caption writing. Don’t repeat what’s in the image, but accentuate it.
Aim for “The Loop”: your follower sees the photo, reads your caption, and discovers a totally different angle that makes them take a closer look at the photo again.
Don’t make captions too long, or users will scroll on by. Be direct and interesting enough to hook attention, make ‘em think, and get them to participate.

Jumpstart Your Instagram Engagement with Contests

What does your business get out of contests? Well, you earn more followers, increase engagement, and reward your most loyal consumers. With 17 times the engagement of Facebook, Instagram has become a unique and ideal place to run contests.
In fact, 70% of Instagram users have already taken part in a contest, or report that they would.
Here’s your quick guide to running an IG contest:
Decide what you want to give away.
Give away one of your best-selling t-shirt designs, a bundle of popular gadgets from your collection, or a significant gift card for your online store. Make sure it’s something desirable and relevant to your brand.

Use Scheduling Apps to Cut Down Your Time on Instagram

Instagramming for results can take a lot of time, which is tricky when you have so many other parts of your business to keep up with. Apps like Schedugram andLatergram let you queue up posts when you have the time, and then send them out in accordance with your optimized posting schedule.
Here is an example of how to schedule a post with Schedugram:
  • Upload the image you want to post.
schedugram upload
  • Edit it to perfection and save.
  • Set the date and the time you want it to go out.
schedugram scheduling
  • Receive an email notification once the post is published. It’s as easy as that!

Pay Attention to Your Most-Liked Media

Notice which of your posts receive the highest levels of engagement. These are your most successful posts.
Why should you know this metric? Likes from your followers are direct feedback that you are posting the right content. Find similarities in the pieces of content that receive the best feedback, and you’ll know which posts to share with your followers.

Direct Your Instagram Strategy toward Realistic Goals

The most effective way to track your growth is to set goals for Instagram engagement.
TrackMaven posted a formula based on the ratio of followers to likes for Fortune 500 companies. For every 1,000 followers, brands receive an average of 37 likes per photo.
Keep that statistic in mind, and use this 4-step checklist to set your own goals:
  • Grab a pen and paper
  • Write down your current number of followers
  • Multiply that number of followers by 37, and then divide by 1,000
  • That’s the number of likes you should aim to get on your posts

Start Using Instagram to Create an Engaging Community of Loyal Brand Consumers

We’ve been through a lot of content, but you should have some great ideas and strategies for getting your business’s Instagram up and soaring.
To summarize, just include these crucial steps in your Instagram practice to see the most engagement, a growing following, and ultimately, more customers:

1. Set up your brand’s Instagram

  • Include a link
  • Write an effective bio
  • Keep your name and image consistent

2. Post content that attracts followers

  • No hard selling
  • Vary your product photos with some creativity
  • Keep images high res and visually appealing
  • Include intriguing lifestyle shots
  • Offer exclusive promotions
  • Promote and share events

3. Grow your Instagram audience

  • Research and include relevant hashtags
  • Invite ambassadors to share your brand
  • Try Regram and share user-generated content

4. Encourage engagement to form relationships

  • Write active captions
  • Run contests exclusive to IG followers
  • Respond to, shout out to, and like followers’ posts

5. Measure your growth

  • Use Iconosquare to see what’s working, and repeat
  • Create an optimized posting schedule around busy times
  • Set realistic goals for growth
Remember that Instagram’s social nature works to increase the more intangible aspects of marketing, such as buyer loyalty, brand equity, and lifetime user value.
The community and associations of your brand are just as important as your products, and Instagram is the tool to promote that brand identity. Soon, customers will be coming to you, not the other way around.
Happy Instagramming!

  2 comments:

  1. Awesome. Thanks for sharing. Hope your strategy will help me to earn money on ig. However, a strategy doesn't play the main role in promotion, cause you have to work off-the-clock for new followers without third pary apps, such as Schedugram or Zengram. These apps help a lot, cause even your time-management can't show the way to success. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex you are so right. the trick with many of these follower gaining strategies is that they require lots of time. and they can be really time consuming. but with the right hashtag you can get those quality followers.

      Delete

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