4 Easy Ways to Boost Brand Awareness with Instagram
Small business owners and entrepreneurs have been relatively slow to adopt Instagram as part of their social media marketing plan. It’s a missed opportunity, because there are a lot of potential customers on Instagram—more than 800 million, by last count. Some entrepreneurs skip Insta because they believe its user demographic is too young. More than half of all Instagram users are under 30, it’s true. But I’ve got news: Millennials have money, too. And if you aren’t reaching those users today, someone else is, shaping purchasing habits and choices that could last for years.
There’s another reason why entrepreneurs sometimes shy away from Instagram, of course. It’s because they aren’t sure how to use the platform, and aren’t interested in learning. After all, who (besides teenagers) has got the time? Well, allow me to let you in on a little secret: Marketing with Instagram really isn’t that hard. In fact, it’s actually pretty fun.
You can find plenty of articles online that prescribe expansive, third-party Instagram tools that will build your following overnight, or simply teach you how to create the exact right posts to become a viral sensation. The truth is, you don’t need and fancy software or dazzling digital skills to boost your brand using Instagram.
Do you already have an Instagram account? Congratulations, you’re halfway there! If you don’t have one yet, there’s no time like the present to create a free account that your customers can engage with. All you have to do is follow a few simple guidelines, and your social-media success will sort itself out naturally:
- Show off!
Showing off and standing out is the name of the game on Instagram. I’m not talking about bragging, I’m talking about exposure! Insta is a visual platform, which means you should be taking advantage of all of the different ways you can show off your goods, services, or company for people to see. Show your goods and services in action.
Add popular, relevant hashtags to your posts so that people can find them without looking hard. While you’re at it, run a quick search for accounts that post pictures of something you sell or do and tag them when you post your next photo. Let them know you exist! Then, comment and like posts by brands and members of your target audience. Just have fun and engage with them. This is how you begin to build a community that cares about what you’re doing.
- Highlight your brand’s personality.
Show people that there are actual human beings who do real, live human stuff running your business. Photograph the charming aspects of your company and your workplace and share them—the jokes, the décor, the pets, everything that people like to see on social media. Take people behind the scenes of your business, share your triumphs and struggles, and show them some of your authentic humanity before you try to sell them something. Give them something to relate to.
- Find your people.
Birds of a feather flock together—and do business with one another. Seek out your flock on Instagram! All those cute pictures, stories, behind-the-scenes interest, authentic engagement, and branded hashtags will help you get to know other people and other brands on Instagram. Cultivate these people into a little community of followers that understand and appreciate what you do. If you’re running a giveaway, pick out your favorite people first. Not everyone will be interested in your brand, and that’s ok—concentrate your attention on the people who respond to what you’re doing, and more will follow them.
- Start selling.
Once you’ve got real engagement happening with your Insta feed, start converting your followers into customers! Social analytics tool Hootsuite reports that 60 percent of Instagram users say they learn about products and services on the platform, and 75 percent of them take action, such as visiting a website after looking at an Instagram post. Make it easy for them! Share links to your products and your website using tools such as shoppable posts, video ads, and swipe-up links for your Stories. If they like what you’re posting, sell it to them.
To make the most of Instagram, it takes a commitment to engage, build, and grow. Don’t be afraid to give it a try. Remember, people use Instagram because it’s FUN! As long as you’re contributing to that spirit of fun with the content that you share, you’ll be accepted quickly as part of the community. So, take some fun photos and share them today. If you don’t, your competitors will.