10 Tactics: How to Build Your Brand on Instagram

I 100% know Instagram is a powerful marketing tool for many brands. What marketer could ignore over 400 million users? As a consultant, I recommend most companies start their social media marketing with only a few profiles. Build, Learn, and Scale. Typically this is Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Yet, this depends on where their audience hangs out. I’d never recommend replacing Facebook or LinkedIn. Swapping Twitter for Instagram could be a relevant strategy. In fact, for a B2C product company, this could be a great move if you have limited staff and 3 profiles.

Most of my business traffic comes from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I’ve experimented with Google+ and Pinterest as well. I’m developing an experiment with Instagram. I compiled a little research on Instagram Marketing. Melyssa Griffin and Courtney Seiter from Buffer have the most comprehensive guides to Instagram Marketing. Here’s what I’ve learned from both:

1. Have a defined goal or strategy

Don’t go into this blind. Like any other marketing activity, have a defined strategy. Is it brand awareness? Driving traffic to your site? Selling products? Instagram is different from all other social media sites. You can only have one link in your bio. Use it wisely and align it to your brand goals and marketing strategy. For me, my plan is to provide value and goal is to drive traffic to my articles. I’m a solopreneur with a personal Instagram account. For this fun experiment, I’m going to create a business account. The main reason for this … Instagram analytics! I love data.

2. Post Often

Your audience will check their IG accounts at different times. Post often, at least 1–2 times per day, but ensure you are posting at the appropriate times as well. Know your audience. When do they check their Instagram account? Plus, Instagram is rolling out a Facebook algorithm based timeline. Consistency is a key element to getting your posts seen and appearing at the top of the timeline. — Courtney Seiter — Buffer

3. Reciprocity:

Melyssa suggests “Liking Photos in Your Niche.” I totally agree. In business and in life, reciprocity goes a long way. By supporting and commenting on other people’s photos, they will return the favor.

4. Engagement:

As with all social media, you need to engage your followers. If they comment or like, thank them. Create ways to generate conversation. Interact and provide value.

5. Collaborate & Co-Brand:

Find brands, businesses, or users to collaborate with or co-brand. Think about it this way, a local business and charity joining forces to co-promote an event.

6. Create a Unique Hashtag

Of course you should have your brand hashtag and use it often. You can also create hashtags for specific events, contests, niches, etc. Which leads me to the next one …

7. Use popular hashtags for your niche

People get caught up on this. How do I find the right hashtag for dog walkers? Honestly, there are many different suppliers that charge money for research. You can also use this amazing thing called “Google.” Just throw in your search, “Popular Instagram Hashtags for Insert Niche Here.” You’ll find plenty of information. Read through a few articles and find the hashtags that fit your brand.

8. User Generated Content

Ask for, use, and give credit to user generated pics & videos. You can do this by generating a specific hashtag. Then “once people start using your hashtag (and YOU use it, too!), then you can repost images from your followers (giving them proper credit, of course!).” — Melyssa Griffin

9. Ask Your Followers on Other Social Media to Follow Your Instagram

This is simple, but sometimes a forgotten tactic. Your followers might not realize they aren’t following your Instagram. Or, they might not realize you have an Instagram. Either way, go out and ask them to follow you.

10. Run a Contest

I don’t know about you, but almost every day I see people on all social media sites sharing photos or posts b/c they might win something. Same concept here … people love contests! So find something to give-away that your followers want. Give them a reason to share, post, comment, etc.

Special thanks to Melyssa Griffin and Courtney Seite from Buffer for the great information.

“Courtney writes about social media, diversity and workplace culture at Buffer. She runs Girls to the Moon on the side and pets every dog she sees.” @courtneyseiter

Melyssa helps “heart-centered hustlers grow their audience and income online.” @melyssa_griffin

Has your brand had a positive experience with Instagram Marketing? What would you recommend to other brands?

Stewart Swayze

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Originally published at www.stewartswayze.com.