With 104.7 million US based accounts (over 1 billion worldwide) and 72% of users reporting they made a purchase based on something they saw on the social network that turns 9 years old next July; it is no wonder 70.7% of US companies will use Instagram this year. eMarketer also predicts Instagram ad revenue will grow from $4.10b in 2017 to $10.87b by 2019. These guides and hacks will make sure your Instagram presence supports your brand and your Instagram efforts help your business.
Consistency creates credibility and here are 3 guides to keep your Instagram (actually almost any social network presence) on point with your brand for your audience:
- “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” From brand voice with tone and content to brand image with filters and imagery; leverage your organization’s brand investment and follow your brand guidelines to maintain the consistent look and feel your customers, partners and employees trust.
- “Plan the work and work the plan.” From posting on a consistent schedule to setting service levels and standards for private message responses and public engagement procedures; defining when and how you use the social network are extremely important to develop your audience’s expectations and maintain their interest.
- “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” From the basic use of hashtags for indexing your posts to defining a list of your most used hashtags to more easily cut and paste a consistent group of hashtags into a post; the time to add this social network utility in a consistent fashion will make your life easier and aid content to be found more readily.
While you will undoubtedly receive countless offers to grow your Instagram account’s following from solicitors, nothing will take the place of an earned audience that begins by informing customers and contacts of your Instagram presence and builds with off-line real-world marketing, on-line cross-promotion from the website, email and other social networks, and in-network activity that includes great content, community engagement and promotions.
That said there are hacks to improve your presence and boost your business’s return on Instagram investment. And in keeping with 3s, here are 3 hacks to help get noticed and 3 hacks to help be found and drive traffic:
- Make your profile stand out. You may use emojis inside the app or pick up a special font not often found in the Instagram community. Use a third-party site like LingoJam on your phone to create your bio or if on a web browser download a font from FontSpace to edit your profile.
- User white space. Use “Return” to clean up your profile. Not seeing “Return”? Press the “123” key in the bottom left-hand corner of the keyboard and the “Return” key will appear on the bottom right. Also, consider centering your bio by inserting spaces to the left of each line. This will take some trial and error to get just right.
- Hide the hashtags. After your caption is written, add a series of symbols — dashes, asterisks, or dots, each on a separate line. This will push the hashtags down and make the post neater.
Hacks to be found or drive traffic
- HashTags. HASHTAGS. Instagram allows for 30 but you should use 11 of them to be precise at least that is reported to be the optimal number to use. Keeping the hashtags within the guidelines we spoke to earlier, look to leverage popular hashtags to have your posts included for onlookers and consider creating a brand-specific hashtag like #ShareACoke or #TweetFromTheSeat (Charmin).
- Leverage the website box (the only clickable URL) in your bio to drive traffic. Change the field to the URL of where you want to drive traffic – your latest blog content, YouTube video, product, or offer. Then use the caption of your post to encourage people to visit your profile for a link. Instagram verified accounts have some additional clickable link features that may come to all accounts in the future. Additionally, business accounts can leverage Instagram stories to include links to external websites.
- Help yourself get found. The “Name” field in your Instagram bio is searchable. By including important keywords in your Name field, you can increase your chance of appearing in Instagram’s search when anyone searches for those keywords.
To learn more on how to leverage Instagram or any social network for your business join our next Center for Executive Development (CED) program. More details and course registration click here.
The course is taught by Steven Bellach and Nik Souris. Bellach is the co-founder of BottomLine Marketing, a strategic business and marketing consulting firm specializing in helping organizations build effective and differentiated marketing strategies and plans. Souris currently leads channel partnership enablement for Privoro, a mobile security technology company.