Branding through Instagram brings a new element to marketing! With the increased worldwide use of social media, it is unwise for brands to not use the available platforms to spread product awareness.

By using appealing images to capture the attention of your target audience. One of the most photo-savvy sites, Instagram, is no longer just a casual site for members of the public to post vacation pictures or photos of their cats. Branding through this site brings a new element to marketing by using appealing images to capture the attention of your target audience.

With over 700 million people frequenting the site, Instagram is a useful platform for a wide-variety of companies. Knowing how to properly market your products on this site is critical. The site and its user base are constantly evolving, so it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest tools and tips on how to properly market your brand on the site. As your brand awareness increases through the site (seen through your number of followers), your profits will rise.

This post will give you 7 ways to tailor your marketing strategy to ensure your approach aligns with the functionality of Instagram. By applying these tips, you will increase dedicated customer engagement, ultimately raising your profits.

1. Take Advantage of the Site’s Business Tools

As Instagram’s user base has increased in size, their own profits have increased by making it easier for businesses to use their site. Instagram has mirrored the strategies implemented by other sites like Facebook that include providing data analytics and allowing users to contact your company directly through Instagram. The data analytics provided allow you to better understand your customer base. The site notes, “You can select a target audience or allow Instagram to suggest targeting for you.” Better understanding your target audience will give you the proper tools to properly engage with your customers.

2. Be consistent with your Brand’s Image

You likely already have a strong company image that you present to your customer base outside of Instagram. The user base of Instagram may be demographically very different from the customers you are used to. When utilizing Instagram as a marketing platform, you may or may not have to tweak this image to fit with your target audience on the site.

With this potentially modified brand personality, it is important to remain consistent when deciding how to market your product(s). Posting without direction, or changing your image without warning, could result in Instagram users “unfollowing” your page. Consistently posting images that capture your unique brand will allow users to associate the qualities with your brand. That might mean using a consistent type of photography style, similar color schemes, or a similar-looking model in your photos.

3. Utilize Hashtags, but Don’t Go Overboard

Hashtags are often used by Instagram users to search for new material to follow. Understanding which hashtags to use and utilizing the right amount of hashtags with your posts, will allow you to increase your user base and potentially reach out to new customers.

Use the following rules to identify the best hashtags to use. Hashtags should be:

Precise / Direct / Appropriate / Original / Succinct / Attentive

Using these rules will ensure proper utilization of hashtags as a tool for engaging with your customers.
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4. Cross-Post to Other Sites

Instagram is equipped with a handy feature that easily allows you to share your Instagram posts on other social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook. There is evidence that posts that are cross-posted to Facebook gain considerable attention. Your posts on these sites should be related to, but unique from, what you are posting on Instagram.

Cross-posting some content will encourage your existing customers to follow or like your brand on multiple platforms. People are more likely to follow an Instagram account with a large number of followers. Because of this, it makes sense to encourage people who already love your brand, to follow you on Instagram as well.

5. Identify Your Social Group

By following pages, Instagram users create communities on the site. These groups overlap greatly, but overall groups of people who follow one type of page may be more likely to follow pages liked by similar others. Once you establish yourself in the Instagram community, you’ll be able to look more in depth at who your users are and what communities they are part of.

In order to further increase your following, you should identify your followers who have a large number of followers themselves. These people can become spokespersons for your brand and encourage others to become your customers. Look at your used hashtags and find which ones are commonly used by your followers. You can also take note of which of your posts are more often shared by your followers and tailor your posts to match that style.

By identifying the social groups that you have become a part of, your marketing strategy can be tailored to these groups.

6. Post Often, But Not Too Often

Posting unique content takes work, however you will be rewarded in retaining followers and increasing profits. With millions of photos shared everyday, you will need to find a balance between overwhelming your followers and getting lost in the mix. The only clear trend in posting is that whatever number works best for you,be consistent with it. If your followers like that you post two times a day, continue to post twice a day.

You may find that your followers want more or less content compared to other brands. By tracking the number of users that follow or unfollow your page, you will be able to better understand your user’s preferences. And don’t forget, that when you post is also important. Certain data analytics provided by Instagram may be the best option for assessing the best frequency and time to post content.

7. Interact With Your Followers

Putting the “social” in social media requires engaging with your followers. Make sure if users ask questions about your products, you are responding to them in a timely manner. You can personally message your followers and also publically respond to them in your posts.

One great way to retain and increase followers is to host contests. These may include offering to feature a follower’s photo on your account or giving away products when users share your posts. Incentivizing followers to share your brand rewards your followers, and provides free advertising for your brand.

Author Bio: Charlotte McCleary is a message-centric brand strategist who works with marketing teams of start-up & young companies to streamline their market positioning. She revitalises marketing & brand strategies with a fresh approach that puts the customer at the centre. When not crafting blue prints for marketers she is a key note speaker and personal branding coach.

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