Using Instagram to Boost Your Brand

This blog was origianlly published in July, 2017 but has been updated with more current content.

Instagram is more than just a fun platform to share your vacation snaps or the occasional aesthetically pleasing food picture. Now with more than 1 billion monthly users, Instagram has become an essential business platform that gives you the power to build and promote your brand while also connecting with customers from all across the globe.

Having a successful Instagram account allows your company to not only advertise and promote products and services but to actively engage with thousands of current and potential customers as well. From hashtags to customer service, here are some of the best tips to get the most out of this brand-building app.

The importance of a streamlined profile 

Your username, profile picture and bio are the first things customers see, so make them count. While you want them to be eye-catching, you also want to keep them simple and streamlined. Take Nike for example, the iconic company has over 113 million followers on Instagram and they boast a simple black Nike symbol as their profile picture, a short bio of “ If you have a body, you are an athlete. #justdoit ” and a link to their website. That’s it!

While your company may need to build its following a little more before competing with Nike, it doesn’t hurt to take tips from the big guys and keep your online brand simple and striking. Also, while it’s imperative to have a variety of pictures to show the versatility of your business, choose one filter at the beginning and stick with it. A cohesive feed without too much visual contrast is much more likely to attract new followers.

Make your followers feel special

Whether it’s giving your followers a behind the scenes look at your office or an exclusive preview of a new product, it’s important to give your customers a reason to follow you. This also can include exclusive giveaways or discounts, which not only make your current followers feel special but will entice others to follow as well.

Instagram is also a great place to show what makes your company unique, beyond the products or services you produce. By showcasing the causes you support or the philanthropy and service events you partake in, it both displays your company’s social responsibility and helps build your brand image.

Let your customer service shine

Instagram is a great opportunity to show off your amazing customer service. If a customer is expressing their concerns or complaining about a product in the comment section, don’t delete it, but rather use it as an opportunity to showcase the personal side of your brand through thoughtful customer service!

Companies such as Nordstrom, Zappos and Amazon have built their brand off of assuring that “the customer is always right” and it has paid dividends for them in the long run. How you interact with your customers in person and online often says more about your brand than your actual products and marketing campaigns do. So be sure to monitor your comment section carefully, and provide helpful information when appropriate.

The power of a good hashtag

Understanding the potential power of hashtags is essential for launching a successful Instagram marketing campaign. Hashtags not only make your post stand out, but they also drive new people to discover your page and increase customer engagement. When trying to build a consistent follower base, using a multitude of hashtags can be extremely effective. In fact, according to Instagram, photos with 9 hashtags result in the highest engagement. The hashtag could be the name of your company, your slogan or just creative sayings and key words that relate to your post.

The company GoPro has a great use of hashtags on their Instagram, using #GoProTravel for all travel and adventure pictures on their feed. Customers have caught on to it as well, leading to the hashtag being used over 200k times, effectively spreading the GoPro brand of being a necessary adventure companion.

On the other side, it’s important to keep quality over quantity when using hastags. Posting an image with 50 hashtags that have no relation to the photo won’t encourage the effective engagement you’re looking for, and could even drive away some of your current followers.

Embrace User Generated Content (USG)

Your customers can be your best marketing asset if you know how to foster User Generated Content. Create a hashtag for your customers to use or ask them to tag you when they post pictures of your products and it could create heaps of great usable content for you! Start a USG Campaign that encourages your customers to be creative, just as Starbucks did with their White Cup Challenge. Repost pictures and captions from customers (of course always ask for permission and give credit) and you will kill three birds with one stone by getting free promotion, making your customers feel valued and also having great organic content for your followers in the form of peer recommendations, which are often the most trusted form of advertising in the eyes of consumers.

If you’re looking to build brand awareness on Instagram, consider adding some fun and unique promotional products to your marketing strategy. We offer thousands of products that your customers will love to share online.

AboutReid Smith

Reid Smith is the Marketing Communications Specialist with Proforma. He brings with him experience in copywriting, editing and content creation for print, digital and social media platforms. Reid graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising. In his free time, Reid enjoys playing football, reading fantasy novels and cheering on his Cleveland Browns!

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