It’s one of the fastest growing social media platforms. Celebrities, overnight celebrities and businesses are all leveraging it to find an engaging niche online. Facebook took note, too, and swooped this powerful social media network up for a cool $1 billion. It is, of course, as you might have guessed from the title, the amazing Instagram.
If your business is exploring social media and wants to create an engaged, dynamic following, Instagram is a good place to be. In fact, data from the Pew Research Internet Project showed that Instagram, as of January 2015, was the fastest growing social network out of the big five (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn). Here’s what your company can do to grow and thrive on Instagram:
Have A Pre-Determined Theme
It sounds like a given, but most brands don’t know where to start. We often hear people bemoan, “But my brand isn’t visual! What can I post?” Never fear, we have a number of ideas to help inspire your strategy. Consider, if you will, the all-in-one marketing and sales platform, HubSpot. Hubspot isn’t a visual brand, but the company cultivated an Instagram persona that speaks to its audience nonetheless. How? By doing the following:
- Consider quotes: Create informational or inspiring quotes that resonate with your audience
- Use familiarity to boost your presence: HubSpot’s trademark orange is featured throughout its Instagram account. Give your audience something to remember you by. Develop a certain style they can expect.
- Find your personality: Are you lighthearted? Informative? Sarcastic? Determine your personality and play it up with images on Instagram like HubSpot does.
- Mix it up: Too many company culture posts or quotes will become stale. Mix it up. Consider the purpose of each post. Company culture posts foster pride in employees and attract potential candidates, but you need content that also appeals to those who aren’t either of those populations – your clients and potential clients. We suggest creating four quadrants from which to share throughout the week. For example, 1) Company culture, 2) Information (showcasing your team’s knowledge), 3) Philanthropic efforts/community involvement 4) Promotional (information about your product or service)
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Some posts may flop–so be it! Chalk it up to audience research.
Useful Instagram Apps
Know your apps. Instagram is much easier if you have a few helpful friends, like the ones below, in tow.
- Camera+ is a favorite of many Instagram users as it allows you to add filters beyond the ones that Instagram supplies
- Picstitch lets you create a collage of images with multiple template choices
- Instasize is a useful tool for those pesky images that won’t size to Instagram’s dimensions
Grow Your Instagram Account Through Hashtags
You’ll notice that some larger brands, like Suja Juice, employ hashtags sparingly if at all. This is because the brand is already well known enough to garner comments, likes and regrams. For your brand to grow, and grow meaningfully, you will have to use hashtags. But it certainly shouldn’t be just any hashtag, cater them to your brand. For example, if you’re a shelter or pet supply store, consider hashtags like the popular #adoptdontshop or #savethemall. There is truly a hashtag for everything. It just takes a bit of searching to find the right ones for your company. Visit a competitor’s Instagram account to see which hashtags are and are not working for them. If you’d like to keep your account neat, consider posting your caption without hashtags and then commenting with the hashtags.
How to Engage in Follower Growth For Instagram
Hashtags alone won’t suffice as an Instagram growth strategy. Take time each day (if you’re posting regularly) to follow a number of relevant accounts. We like to use Instagram itself to do this, but others do prefer apps like Crowdfire. There are various reports of how many new accounts an account can follow per hour. Instagram hasn’t released data confirming this, though. A number of sites report that the cap for follows per hour is 160. We’ve found that if we use Instagram’s app, we can’t follow more than 50 people in a sitting (but we can follow more after about a five to ten minute hiatus). We’ve also discovered that apps like Crowdfire allow you to follow up to 100 people in a sitting. As you grow, follow at least 50 new accounts a day. Make sure the accounts are relevant to your account. For example, if you’re a local yoga studio, find businesses in your area that are also health and wellness focused and follow their followers. After a few days, unfollow people who aren’t following you back. You can use Crowdfire or Iconosquare to see which accounts aren’t following you back. Crowdfire also allows users to create a ‘white list’ of accounts to ensure you don’t unfollow accounts that don’t follow you back but you’d like to continue following (for example, the yoga brand Prana may not follow you back, but you may want to continue following them for inspiration).
Stay Up to Date on Instagram Changes – Like the New ‘Search and Explore’ Feature
Make sure you stay up-to-date on Instagram changes. Follow resources like Social Media Examiner, Jenn’s Trends, Instagram’s blog, and, of course, Organik SEO to make sure you’re aware of updates. This week, Instagram announced its new ‘Search and Explore‘ feature. Instagram explains that, “The new Explore now surfaces trends as they emerge in real-time, connecting you to events and conversations both near you and around the globe.” If your brand can create relevance around trending conversations and events (real relevance, no hashtag jacking!), this could be an opportunity to increase exposure for your company.
Learn More About This Topic
We discussed this topic during our #OrganikChat on June 25. The discussion featured insight from digital marketing pros, consultants, students and more! Read the transcript here and join us every week for #OrganikChat, Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. PT. Tweet to the hashtag #OrganikChat and follow @SamHosenkamp, @Nicole_Barbato and @OrganikSEO for questions.
And visit our #OrganikChat Facebook group to keep the discussion going.
If you found this information helpful, be sure to check out our post “Top 10 Tools for Social Media Pros.” Organik SEO is passionate about helping businesses grow by tapping into the power of social media and SEO. To discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us today.