Instagram Visual Marketing Pt.2: Best Practices to Gain Loyal Brand Consumers
Once you’ve created your profile, it’s time to build a solid follower base. Whether you're a large, well-known brand, or just beginning your Instagram journey, most likely you have a burning question: “How to get more followers?”
First, let me say that there are two ways to gain more followers: a fast one and a smart one.
The fast solution is to install apps that help automate the process of building your follower base or, even faster, to pay for a bunch of new followers. However, these schemes focus only on quantity, not on the quality of your audience.
The quality, real followers are those who made a decision to become a part of your community after learning about you and your brand. And it’s they who will comment and tell their friends about you, thereby contributing to your Instagram account development and business growth.
The smart solution will take a little time and patience. But the benefits you’ll see in the long run will far exceed the costs. Below are the most effective strategies to steadily grow your quality audience.
Give your Instagram a voice
Originally, Instagram started as a photo-sharing social network, but it has evolved beyond just static images. Now you can show your personality and true glimpses of your business through videos. In fact, the average engagement for videos is growing faster than the average engagement for images! Create captivating videos by using various formats and filters, streaming live events, answering FAQs, creating how-to videos, entertaining, and sharing knowledge with your audience. In summary, engage your existing followers and attract new ones by direct contact.
Create exclusive content
Give your potential and existing followers a reason to stay on your page! Make sure that the information, pictures, and videos you share aren’t the same on all your social media sites. Make your Instagram account a source of unique content offering exclusive promotions and discounts, useful tips, and knowledge sharing.
Passively waiting for newcomers is not a strategy! Seek out followers. Peruse what hashtags your ideal followers use, search those hashtags and spend some time liking and commenting on their posts. Later you’ll notice that some of those people start popping over to your account and following you.
Show your commitment
Engagement is now more important than ever. Just posting appealing pictures with reader-friendly captions is no longer a strategy. Your activity matters! If you want to maximize the benefits of Instagram in your business, interact with your audience. Try to respond to all comments, ask for feedback, and invite followers to join a discussion through the captions . Be open and active with people who stay with you. And follow people! Instagram is about bilateral relationships.
Entertain your audience
This advice may surprise you, but don’t be hesitant to have fun! I’m not kidding. The best thing about Instagram is that it’s the ideal social platform for showing the fun side of your business. See a funny moment or blooper around the office? Snap it and post! This is the easiest way to get closer to your audience and help them know you and your business a little better.
Craft perfect captions
Some say that it’s better once to see than hundred times to hear. But don’t ignore the force of a good caption! A well-thought-out caption will add context to your image or video, helping you show your brand’s personality, and encouraging people to take action such as following you or visiting your website for further information.
Know your audience
It’s crucially important to know who you are speaking to. The better you know your followers, their interests, needs, and expectations, the easier it is to tailor your marketing strategies. Ask yourself a few questions to determine who your customers are. How old are they? Where do they live? What jobs do they have? What are their hobbies? When you find answers to these questions, it will be much easier for you to interact with them. Find out the best language to use so that your customer will understand what you are speaking about.
Experiment with hashtags
Make your content more discoverable by using hashtags. There are two major types of hashtags on Instagram: branded (they are specific to your business and contain words related to your brand) and community (they are more general and help build your follower base). Monitor hashtags relevant to your business to find those who may fit the picture of your ideal follower. Also, you can study your competitors and top influencers to find trending hashtags and tie them back to your company. Finally, here is a tiny, yet significant bonus tip: use no more than 5-10 hashtags per post. According to studies, “overhashtagging” irritates people, and you do not want to lose potential clients, do you?
Encourage your followers to take action
Back to engagement. Use calls-to-action! This is the greatest way to grow your engagement – through direct messages. Ask them to buy your product, tag their friends, visit your website, or get in touch with you. Also you can create a sense of urgency with calls-to-action such as “for a limited time only” or “available to the first 20 customers.” This is an effective way to make people act immediately.
Mix it up a little
Experience has shown that there is always a part of audience that tends to be responsive to outright sales tactics. Running a promotion campaign is one of the best methods to extend your Instagram reach, but mix it up with non-sales content. For example, share “behind-the-scenes” shots to personalize your brand.
The best Instagram accounts aren’t free-flowing. Successful Instagrammers do not post spontaneously. Their posting does not depend on their mood. Instead, they are great planners! Typically, they have up to 15 types of content available to post in a rotating pattern, which is a fool-proof way to not run out of ideas. For example, you can use content types including how tos, customer testimonials, audience engagement questions, FAQs, tutorials, and behind-the-scenes videos.
Post at your best times
It’s truly said that time is money. Timeliness of a post is one of the main factors in the Instagram algorithm. If you are not a newbie on Instagram, you might have already noticed that some posts receive more likes and comments than others. Why is that so? The activity of your followers is likely to depend on the time you are posting. To find out when it’s best to post so you can reach the maximum number of your followers, go to Insights, then tap Audience and see which day of the week and which hours of the day your audience is most active.