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Understanding the ‘Gram


Instagram – It’s not just a pretty picture platform for picture. Infact, it’s a highly-targeted,
visual advertising channel for your brand.

Rebecca Hoskisson

Posted 5 July 2016
by Rebecca Hoskisson

Getting the most out of Instagram for your business.

In a recent study it was discovered that Instagram provides brands with 25% more engagement over other social platforms. This mean that Instagram is a prime channel to build your digital brand. Here are our top 5 tips:

1. Looking Good

So you’ve set up your Instagram account – Step 1 success! But no-one’s going to follow an empty profile.. so where to start?

Instagram is a visual platform, so it’s the place to hold your brand’s visual identity to show the Instagram world your true style. If you’re a business, it’s most likely you have a brand identity of some sort – so there’s a good starting point. However now’s the time to extend it further into the land of the Gram where fresh, new and unique content is king. Not everyone holds the creative gene, so don’t be afraid to seek help in creating a mood board to showcase your brand-style. But if you’ve got it sorted, here are some tips to keep in mind:

The 3 C’s: Consistent, Cohesive & Clear

Consistent – Be consistent with your image style and editing. Does your brand lend itself to rich, saturated colour or grainy, subdued hues? Whatever it is, stick to it. However, be sure to vary your content imagery whilst keeping this editing style. The best feeds have a complimentary variety of subjects and compositions that are evenly spaced out. No one wants to see a page with 10 selfies in a row.

Cohesive – Step back and look at your Instagram wall – your posts should fit together to tell a visual story. One off-brand, out of place image can break the flow and lead to loss of brand identity.

Clear – Keep your images clutter-free and appeasing to the eye. Studies have shown that images with plenty of negative space and single dominant colours receive the most likes.

It’s important to understand and communicate the aesthetic you’re going for so people understand your brand and it’s story. If it’s not on brand – don’t post it.

2. Follow the Leader

Now you’ve got 15-20 awesome posts up, we need people to actually see them.

An easy starting point is to reach out to your existing friends and followers from other social networks. Since those people already know you, they’re far more likely to become a follower.

If you have a large following on another social network such as Twitter and Facebook, you can cross-post your Instagram photos to these social networks. That way you’ll be building your Instagram following while sharing your photos with people who want to see them anyway.

The other easiest (and most effective) way to build your following is to simply start following a lot of people/businesses yourself.

They’ll get a notification saying that you’re now following them, and many of them will check out your profile. Start with company’s and profiles that:

  • Are in your target demographic
  • Have the same interests
  • Are in the same or related industries
  • Are geographically in the same region
  • Use similar photography styles
  • Use the same hashtags. Which leads us to…

3. #Join the Crowd

Hashtagging your photos makes it easy for people to find your photos that are searching for those specific terms.

It’s important to do your ‘keyword’ research to make sure you’re using the most relevant hashtags that not only describes your brand/product/service/profile, but is also being searched for on Instagram. Build yourself a hashtag keyword list of anywhere from 10-30 hashtags to use with relevancy going forward.

And when we say “relevancy” it must be relevant! If you start hashtagging your posts mad with loads of keywords that are not relevant to your post, yes you’ll reach a greater quantity of people, but not of great quality.

Take a look at your competitors or industry-related users that have a large following. Note their hashtags and whether they’re relevant to your list. If they are, add them.

4. Build the Relationship

One of the best ways to further build your following is by seeking out your closest competitor’s Instagram accounts and engaging with their audience. These people have already shown some level of interest in the products you carry simply by following your competitor’s account.

To help find your not-so-obvious competitors, search your keywords. This will not only show you the related keywords, but it also shows you the top Instagram accounts that feature those keywords.

There are several ways to engage with Instagram users, and predictably, the more work you put in, the more followers and return engagement you’ll get out of it.

The three types of engagement on Instagram are:

  • Follow a user
  • Like a photo
  • Comment on a photo

Social media is just that – social. No-one wants to engage with an account that feels clinical or pretentious.

Keeping your followers happy and engaged is equally important if you want to build a relationship with them and get the most out of your Instagram experience. Responding to their comments with anything as simple as a ‘thanks’ is great for your brand morale.

And in reverse, if you follow loads of accounts and don’t like or comment on any of their photos, you may then become what’s referred to as a ‘ghost follower’ which are often seen as scam account.

A good idea is to engage with the posts of the people you start following early on – that way they’ll know you’re a real person.

Ensure you post regularly to stay top of mind – however not too often to avoid spamming your followers! No less than twice a week, and no more than once a day is ideal for a business account.

5. Spread the Love

Got something really good to show off? If you really want to make an impact, you need to post to other, larger accounts in your niche, exposing your brand to a wider audience outside of your current following.

There are a couple of ways to do this…

The most common way is to create an ad via Facebook’s Ad Manager. Instagram is owned by Facebook so you can run your promotions or campaign through both channels simultaneously using this tool.

This is especially effective when administering a promotion or competition and looking to spread the word far and wide to the Instagram world.

You can filter your audience your post goes out through location, age, language & interests to target the most relevant people who are likely to want to engage. You have full control over your daily or lifetime budget and can track and analyse your campaign with simple reporting.

Another way to promote yourself is through direct relationships – some successful blogging-style accounts are open to sponsored posts (especially if you note they have their email address in their profile). If your product/service/brand is relevant to their followers and seen to be good content, you can approach them to sponsor your post and add it to their feed. If you’re selling a unique and original product, you may also want to send them your product to review and post. The more natural and less advertisement-like the image, the greater the engagement and response.

So there you have it, the starting pointers for a successful Instagram account. If you have any questions or need some help with your social media, don’t be afraid to contact us. Happy Gramming!

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