Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks, appealing to everyday people just as much as those with creative ideas and eyes for design. It’s an excellent platform for building your brand’s authority and can serve as a vehicle for increasing your business’s audience engagement and revenue. There are key strategies you can implement to establish your brand on Instagram – but also mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
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How to build brand authority on Instagram
In December 2021, Instagram hit 2 billion active monthly users, according to Statista. With that many eyeballs scanning posts every day, it can be challenging to make your business stand out. The tips below will help you establish your brand’s identity and authority on the platform.
Develop your Instagram strategy.
The first step toward establishing your brand’s authority on Instagram is to integrate social media into your content strategy and determine your approach to using Instagram for your business. A sound plan helps everyone on your team understand how your company will be presented on the platform. We’ve outlined five steps for developing a solid Instagram marketing strategy.
- Set your goals. Prior to using any social networking site, you need to have clear goals in place. Otherwise, you could waste a lot of time and resources with nothing to show for it. The goals of your Instagram strategy should align with your overall digital marketing goals. Examples of objectives you could set include increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, and improving the overall reach of your digital marketing campaigns.
- Find your target audience. Before you start sharing content on Instagram, you should have an idea of who your target audience is. If you’re not sure, begin by analyzing your current customers. Look at who already buys and enjoys your products and services. [Read related story: Ways to Make Money on Instagram]
- Research your competitors. You need to know what your brand rivals are up to on Instagram. It pays to regularly monitor their feeds because you’re likely targeting the same user base. Find out which of your competitors’ posts get the most traction. What kind of content do their followers engage with the most? What takeaways can you apply to your own efforts to set your business apart while still appealing to your shared audience?
- Plan your content strategy. Run tests to find the kind of content that drives conversions. Once you know the type of content that works best for your audience, create a content calendar. It’s also a good idea to experiment with your post timing. Find the times your followers are most responsive and schedule your posts accordingly. Have a visual approach that aligns with your brand’s personality, and stay on top of the trends and social events that involve your users. For inspiration, take a look at these great ideas for your brand’s social media content.
- Hire talented product photographers. Instagram is a visual medium, so the aesthetic quality of your posts has to be top-notch. But not everyone has the natural skills to craft posts that draw people in and resonate with users. Consider hiring talented photographers and other creative people to help you design the posts your brand and products deserve. The messaging and photographs should be consistent with your overall marketing strategy and brand.
Be consistent in style and theme.
Any time you’re building a brand on social media, you want to find a loyal audience that trusts you. To do that, your brand needs a unique personality that you can showcase through consistent, quality content. If you share arbitrary posts with an inconsistent style, you’ll confuse – and possibly lose – followers. Instead, choose a color palette that suits your brand and stick with a consistent artistic theme.
Use Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories are pictures and videos posted on Instagram that disappear after 24 hours. Stories are a good way to share things you don’t want permanently displayed on your company’s profile. They are usually fun, off-the-cuff moments that can humanize your business. This is a great opportunity to get creative – you can doodle, place stickers and write on pictures, which helps your followers experience your brand’s personality in a new way.
Make smart use of hashtags.
Trying out different filters or witty captions is important, but what’s more critical is ensuring people actually see your pictures and videos. To increase your views, use the right hashtags. When you add hashtags to the captions of your images, those images will appear in the feed where the hashtag is publicly aggregated. When you search for a hashtag, the popular tagged photos are shown at the top. If your pictures are hashtagged properly, they will come up when users search for a relevant hashtag.
You can use hashtags to indicate your geographic location or show you’re supporting a cause or charity. A hashtag can describe what’s in your photo, or you can use a category hashtag to specify your expertise or industry. You can also participate in ongoing trends with the help of hashtags.
Tip: Instagram will let you add up to 30 hashtags per post, but using that many is overkill. The ideal number of hashtags is 3-5 per post.
Work with influential Instagrammers.
To build your brand’s Instagram authority, identify relevant influencers for potential partnerships. They can talk about your company with their followers and increase brand awareness. You can use Instagram influencers for different promotional campaigns and product launches, too – it’s one of the top ways to use social media to grow sales.
Influencers, even those who don’t have massive audiences, build their followers over a long period of time and develop trust with them. When you collaborate with a micro-influencer on social media, you get immediate access to their audience. And when a trusted voice vouches for you, your brand gains more authority in your industry.
In this noisy digital world, where every company broadcasts its message through mainstream advertising, people develop brand blindness. Consumers often don’t pay attention to brand messages that they don’t willingly opt in to hearing or seeing. Since influencers are real people with a loyal following, they can amplify your brand’s message and help you break through that noise.
Instagram mistakes to avoid
One of the biggest mistakes many companies make when getting started on Instagram is trying to shortcut their way to success by buying likes or followers. This may sound like a good idea, but it can backfire. For one thing, you won’t learn how to build real engagement with your audience. Secondly, if it becomes public that you paid for followers, that can hurt your credibility and cause consumers to stop trusting you. Building an audience from scratch is tedious, but it’s worth the effort. [Learn the pros and cons of paid and organic social media.]
Another common misstep is posting too frequently. That may sound counterintuitive because if you don’t post often enough, people will forget about you. But if you post too often, you can start to annoy your followers. After all, you want to use social media to improve customer retention, not to lose potential clients because you’ve turned them off. Plus, when you post too much, the quality of your posts will start to suffer, and your team will burn out.
Here’s one more crucial no-no: Ignoring your analytics. What gets measured gets improved, so you need to find out if your Instagram strategies are working and adapt accordingly. Certain tools can keep tabs on different social media metrics and analyze what’s succeeding and what isn’t, much like you would track email marketing analytics. When you use big data as part of your social media strategy, you can gain a competitive edge. Forget that and you may get left behind.
Did you know? Some of the top email marketing services feature social media integrations so you can streamline operations and house relevant data in one place.
The best social media tools for Instagram
Most social media management and monitoring tools can make setting up, managing and analyzing your Instagram account much easier. Here are a few to try out.
- Hootsuite: Hootsuite is an all-in-one social media management platform. You can use it to schedule posts, message followers, track your analytics, and monitor advertising campaigns. It’s a great option for large companies with multiple users and accounts.
- Tailwind: With this solution, you can plan, create and optimize your daily posts for Instagram, as well as email and other channels like Facebook and Pinterest. Thanks to its scheduling function, the software will automatically publish your posts at the right time. The vendor even provides caption templates and sample themes for days when you’re low on inspiration.
- Brandwatch: This consumer intelligence and social media management platform helps you uncover essential metrics related to your Instagram account. It can provide you with information about your competitors as well. It’s a good social listening tool, meaning it can monitor posts, forums and blogs for mentions of your company name or other keywords.
- quintly: This is an advanced but easy-to-use tool designed to measure the social media metrics that are most vital to your business. It provides Instagram analytics for followers – both yours and your rivals’ so you can set competitive benchmarks. You can track engagement and interactions too.
Gaurav Sharma contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.