Is your business’s Instagram account not seeing the response you were hoping for? Instagram’s unique platform doesn’t offer as many different features as Facebook or LinkedIn, but Instagram’s simplicity (upload a picture, slap on a hashtag, and wait for the likes to roll in) leaves more room for interpretation and creativity than you may first expect. When done correctly, your Instagram account can result in some dazzling relationship building with followers of your brand.
However, if you’ve been diligently updating your Instagram only to see a handful or so of “likes” on post after post, you may be starting to wonder to yourself whether it’s even worth it.
Well, spoiler alert: it is. Check out these stats from Instagram’s blog.
“[In the past year,] we welcomed a new brand identity and the community grew to more than 600M globally.
We now have 8M businesses using business profiles, with the greatest adoption coming from the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia and the United Kingdom.
We also have more than 1M monthly active advertisers—up from 200K this time last year—and, in the last month, over 120M Instagrammers visited a website, got directions, called, emailed or direct messaged to learn about a business.”
Pretty impressive, huh? Instagram describes their platform as a place where communities can rally around passions, which “extend to brands, with 80% of Instagrammers following a business today.” But if your account isn’t quite capturing the attention you dreamed of, you shouldn’t give up yet.
First things first, you need a plan. We believe that success is rooted in strategic marketing. So where do you start? Hootsuite recommends determining SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) goals before you hit the ground running with your account.
In order to determine your goals, you should look inward. What makes your company unique? How can you further your brand presence by using Instagram as a platform? What do you want followers to understand about your company after scrolling through your page?
Once you know what you want to achieve and you’ve decided on measurable, achievable goals, you’re ready to dive into the nitty-gritty details. To ensure quality and cohesion, you need a plan. How are you going to source content? How will you ensure the quality of photos? Are your captions going to focus on witty calls to action or in-depth stories? What resources do you have to devote to content production? How will your content tie into larger campaigns or business goals?
Depending on your answers to these questions, there are many different ways to manage your content creation. You may opt to have one person in charge of coming up with ideas, finding quality visuals, and putting together the posts. Or, you can display your company’s unique identity and culture by leaving the field open for employees to send in photos, stories, and observations, which can then be curated and posted on the account. You can choose to use your account to show a wide view of your organization and what it does, or you can keep your account laser-focused and organized around a single purpose.
Your photos are the bread and butter of your account, so they should be a priority. There are many different ways to catch your viewers’ eyes—unexpected angles, hand-drawn art, daring typography, beautiful lighting, dramatic views, and more. If your product lends itself to showy visuals, you have an easy place to start. However, others may need to rely on more creative approaches. Either way, you don’t have to stick exclusively to one “genre”—but you should make sure that your content creates a cohesive theme and message.
A perfect example of cohesion is Reynolds (they’re also a great example of a narrowly-focused account). This maker of aluminum foil takes advantage of Instagram’s format by posting recipes along with individual photos of food that combine on their main page to create an “endless table.”
Another vital component of your Instagram post is the caption. Because Instagram isn’t subject to extreme character limits (hello, Twitter), it provides practically limitless opportunities to share information. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to write a novel on every post.
If you choose to keep things brief, you may look to brands like Applebee’s for inspiration. Their casual, short, clever copy is a perfect match for their brand because it reflects a casual and welcoming atmosphere. They don’t try too hard and let their visuals stand almost alone, pairing photos of food with minimalist, slang-filled, millennial-targeted captions like “Fomo is real.”
Other brands, like General Electric, use that space to pack in statistics and links that reveal a story behind their stunning photography. General Electric has a broader focus than Reynolds or Applebees—rather than showcasing one specific type of content, it produces a broad range of content that reveals new faces of their multifaceted company.
However, don’t focus too much on your brand. I know, that sounds counter-intuitive. Your account’s purpose is to showcase your company or product, right? Well, that’s true, but you want to focus on your followers as well. Make sure you’re thinking about what they’re getting from your page. Is it recipes, great pictures, craft ideas, touching stories, a good laugh? What keeps them connected to your brand and to each other?
If you don’t have any good answers to that, you should think about ways you can engage your followers. Consider incorporating user-generated content or contests for your followers as potential ways to get people interacting with your brand instead of scrolling past it.
Finally, while it’s vital to have a plan in place, you also have to know when to change it up. Social media is constantly evolving, and staying on the ball is necessary to avoid becoming obsolete. Instagram is always creating new ways to connect with your followers, such as the recently-added Instagram Stories function—so be sure to keep up with updates and avoid missing those newfound opportunities!
We hope this post helps you as you plan for your new-and-improved Instagram page. If you liked our thoughts on strategic approaches to social media, you’ll love the other stuff we do. Creative Spot is a full-service marketing and advertising agency in Columbus, Ohio. We would love for you to contact us and learn more about how we can help your organization with strategic marketing.