There's a question on brand builders' minds:
Is Instagram right for branding my business?
The very first place to go for the answer to this question is your audience. Are they using Instagram to learn about brands, to connect, to build relationships and to share? If they are, then you'll want to consider using Instagram—especially if your business has…
- a product or service to sell
- special offers to share
- a personal brand to build
- a story to share
- a cause to support
- information to impart
- advice to give
- a visual brand identity
…and who doesn't have those? Or want to build and enhance those?
An Instagram business account gives you more control over the perceptions being created around your brand. You see, even if you don't have an Instagram business account, your business is likely being represented on Instagram when people use Geotags (automatic electronic tags assigned to photos and videos) and hashtags (manual tags created to assist in search…preceded by a #).
So would you like your brand identity and reputation to be built on the whims of passersby? Or by happenstance?
Or would you like to have a hand in your own branding?
I thought so.
Let's get started.
Branding on Instagram
Social media is the place where people go to learn about brands. Sure, they will look to your website to gather more details, but that's usually after they decide you're someone they want to do business with.
So what are you doing to help your ideal customers make that decision?
Instagram can help, and after you set up your Instagram business account, here's what I suggest:
- Tell Your Story. Telling your brand story isn't always about publishing a few paragraphs of content that convey the tale of how you got started. Often, it's more about the day-to-day story of how you're serving your customers, changing the world around you, enjoying it, and even struggling with it. Stories make us human and connect us to others in ways that dry facts can never accomplish.
- Build Trust. When people see before and after photos, evidence of the work you've done and happy faces around you, they begin to trust that you'll do a great job for them, too. When others tag your business in their photos, that builds trust Trust is the cornerstone of brand-building. Without it, even your ideal customers aren't taking the leap.
- Cater to Short Attention Spans. Instagram is a great way to reach those visually focussed customers who aren't taking the time to watch lengthy videos and read pages of content. It caters to today's modern consumer and offers you a method for engaging them in seconds. Keep this in mind as you communicate via Instagram: succinct, direct, quick, simple. That's why it's there and that's how you're going to make connections with the people who prefer using it.
- Launch Products. 60% of consumers find new products on Instagram. Instagram is about quick news, and therefore, it's the best place to introduce those things that you'd like your audience to learn more about. A photo of your new product (or a photo/video of your new service being delivered) is a great way to whet the appetite of your target audience members, and to get them to click on a link to find out more.
- Champion a Cause. A large portion of Instagram users are Millennials and Generation Z, and they just adore causes. Find a cause that authentically aligns with your brand's values and show your Instagram followers how you're supporting it.
- Inspire Your Audience. Instagram says that 75% of users take action after a post inspires them. Like other branding and marketing platforms, Instagram is not about mass appeal. It's about engaging your niche audience, and making them feel like your brand has been built just for them (because it has). Get your PhD in your particular audience, and then post the photos and create the captions that will inspire them, with specificity and purpose.
- Use Applicable Hashtags. What are your ideal customers searching for on Instagram? Find the answers to this question, and use the hashtags that appeal to them (and that are applicable to your posts) so they can find you.
- Share Instagram Posts on Facebook. This is simple. When you're asked if you want to share your posts to Facebook, say yes. This expands your reach, and that's always a great thing.
This will be enough to get you started on building your business's Instagram profile, to engage your ideal customers and build your brand.
As you become more familiar with how Instagram works, I invite you to submit any questions you might have in the How to Build a Brand Facebook group, and I will answer those questions, live, every Wednesday evening at 7 pm (UK time). Joining is FREE, and the benefits are countless.