Instagram is the most elusive of the Social Medias. It can suck out your soul before it starts to give you back.
But when it does, the rewards are great!
Instagram has been known to be the most successful organic lead generator of all the Social Media platforms for B2C.
It single-handedly gave rise to “influencers”, made it a common side-hustle for many and a commonly exercised resource for Brands to reach their Target Audiences.
So what makes Instagram so popular with influencers and brands alike?
1. It feels like the easiest platform to join. Unlike its peers like Twitter, which requires constant engagement throughout the day, and Youtube which requires considerable investment in the production value; With minimal effort, your Instagram account can post your favourite photos or graphics, and just as easily each of these can help you sell something and build your brand. A simple photograph can help you with Story-telling, Community building, Product showcasing, the potential of it feels endless.
2. Its a highly visual platform. It’s easy to capture your audience with an impactful image or video.
Which brings me to my first point: CONTENT RULES!
Instagram allows you to capture your audience via Graphics, Images, Videos, Short form Content, Long form Content which could be Professionally produced, impromptu and Live.
The variations and possibilities are endless.
You can play around with these to tell your brand story, involve your audience and eventually sell your products.
So how do we strategize for content?
If the focus of each post is to sell, sell, sell, I promise you that your account will not get far on Instagram.
The target audience should be able to come to your page, clearly understand what you offer, and at the same time, there should be enough visual appeal to capture him.
Let’s start with figuring out what your brand is about.
The identity, the principles, the story, the product or service and the USP. When we have these figured out, there are different types of content that can then be created to introduce your brand to the audience and eventually, the Target Customer.
Brand Recall is a powerful advantage to have over your competition, so try to make each post visually as appealing and unique as you can.
Create a strong Brand Identity.
With simple tools like Canva, you can create vibrant and innovative graphics to build your brand identity.
Or a photo from your phone can easily be edited using apps like Snapseed, Airbrush and Adobe Lightroom to give your photos a professional feel and fit the aesthetic of your brand.
Inshot, Filmora and other easy video editing softwares make it easy to create videos for stories, post and IGTV.
Try to have a consistent look and feel for your images and videos so that your audience can take one look at the image and know that it is your brand!
However, it’s not as easy to simply post and forget about it. Strategies are required to locate your target audience, and once you do, you can work towards capturing them.
This brings me to my next point ENGAGEMENT SUSTAINS.
The beauty of Social Media Marketing is that it brings the Brand closer to its customer like never before!
Rather than belting out ads in Newspapers and TVs that are speaking to no one, we can now actually have conversations with our Target Consumer! We can find them in their hangout spots, find out what they like and dislike, and even become friends with them!
Can you imagine the power it gives us as the brand to give our customer exactly what they want!?
On Instagram, you can find your audience hanging out at other similar pages. And how do you find these similar pages? Through hashtags!
Instagram is a platform where all your content is searchable with the help of hashtags.
The 2 different ways to make hashtags work for you –
1. Make your account discoverable:
Adding hashtags to your posts will make your posts visible within that hashtag. And you can add 30 of them to each post! That increases your chances of discoverability and engagement by 30 times!
Now, suppose you are an online Pet Store and you want visibility. #dogsofinsta #dogloversofinstagram #dogsarefamily #caturday #catstagram #kittycat #meowstagram Hashtags like these would serve you well.
A simple search on Instagram for #cats and #dogs brought up these suggestions and I used the ones most relevant ones.
A Pro Tip: The smaller your account, the smaller the range of your hashtags should be. When you search for a hashtag, you can see the number of posts that have used the hashtag. For eg, #cats has been used in 137 Million+ posts and #dogs in 111 Mil+ posts. In such a scenario, your pet store account post will be lost in a matter of seconds, drowned out by other posts. So if your account has around 100 followers, use active hashtags in the range of Maximum 5000 posts. If your account has 1000 followers, use active hashtags in the range of Maximum 20,000 posts. This way, your post will have a chance to be showcased on the hashtag.
2. Use them to look for your audience:
Suppose you are an Indian haircare brand for curly women.
Well then search for hashtags like #indiancurlyhair.
It’s important to look for hashtags that represent your target audience as closely as possible.
In this case, its super duper specific- We are looking for Indian women (geographical + ethnicity) interested in caring for their hair with a specific hair type.
Now, This is where your peers/competition is hanging out. So study their accounts, study their posts, and most importantly, look at the people liking and commenting on their posts, because that’s where your target audience is hanging out.
Pro Tip: Spend some time conversing with them and engaging with them, it will draw them to check out your account, perhaps even follow you and support your brand! It will help you increase the Know, Like, Trust factor.
Other than these, there are many other strategies to be applied that may be basic and advanced, but for a new page that is just starting out, these are a few you can apply to get results!
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Shraddha Bhalla is an Orthodontist turned Social Media Influencer and Podcaster. Her love affair with Instagram started 3 years ago with her Instagram Page Soda Pop Love. She worked with countless national and international brands, and earlier this year started her Podcast Five to Thrive in association with Hindustan Times Smartcast, which recently renewed for Season 2, She also consults as an Instagram Expert with various Brands and Startups.