Still trying to crack the social media code? Here's the combination.
You should also consider picking up a lotto ticket later.
You, after reading this post.
Social media sounds easy in theory. Posting pretty images on the reg to acquire an audience of fans that could eventually convert into customers doesn't really sound too hard. But in practice, it's a whole different story. There are so many variables that make social marketing a very tricky, multi-layered, unpredictable, and most of all, really hard activity.
That's right, spoiler alert: being successful on social is not an easy-said-easy-done endeavor. It demands a lot time, effort, and deep brand knowledge to create something substantial. Especially so on Instagram. Communication through visuals is not something that comes naturally to most people, yet it's a universal language that everyone understands once those message are well-crafted and out into the world.
We just recently learned how a brand can reach cult status by leveraging the right social media channel in a brilliant way, as well as how choosing the right brand partners can help you create magic. But today, we're getting into the nitty gritty of things, answering the age old question: what are some of the more rudimentary methods to ensure that you're on the right Instagram marketing path?
Use the following 10 pointers as a guide to visual branding on Instagram and beyond. If you're already hitting a few of them, that's excellent. If you're missing some, work them into your goals and inch away at them until you reach the stars. ✨
Let's do this!
1. Devise a Content Strategy and Keep a Content Calendar
This is a great place to start and should serve as your anchor. The importance of concocting a content strategy is a point that cannot be stressed enough. This where social media becomes more complex and not just about posting pretty images. Every visual you publish needs to tie into the content strategy that you've devised, which needs to derive from your brand strategy.
Once you've established a strategy, planning ahead is also a big key to success. Make a content calendar to provide some structure to your activities, but that is loose enough to allow you flexibility to be spontaneous. The Dash Hudson scheduler is the ideal tool for all of the above. Making a game plan is one of the best ways to ensure that your day-to-day runs smoother, and it's also the only way to make it so nothing slips through the cracks.
2. Create and Harbor a Community
We've talked about this a lot. Building an audience on social essentially encompasses your whole raison d'être, and it should actually be regarded as a community. The people who follow your account have congregated around your brand, and that is the common denominator that unites each of them.
Nurturing your gang members is going to help make them stick around. Interact with your followers, reply to comments when applicable, like their comments, like their posts, leave a comment under their photos, list goes on.
Pro tip: the faster you receive and reply to comments, as well as likes, the more likely you are to get prioritized by the algorithm and show up in people's feeds. Even better? The faster you garner engagements, the more likely you are to land onto the Discovery page. Exposure amplified.
For example, the team at @mydomaine writes engaging captions aimed at eliciting responses from their followers. This is a really great way to interact with their community.
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3. Experiment With New Features
When Instagram releases new functionality, they want users to start adopting those functions as soon as possible. So much so that they really reward the accounts that utilize them — something to keep in mind when experimenting. The more you experiment with all of Instagram's features, the more you'll get noticed by the algorithms, and the higher your potential to get in front of people.
Adopting new functions early on also renders you an industry leader and will basically give you the edge as everyone finally catches up a few months later.
4. Create a Feeling, Touch Upon an Emotion
Marketing 101: emotions lead people to loyalty. If you make your followers feel something, it'll create a bond between them and your brand, and that is priceless.
For example, Master Card has been hitting the sentimental strings solidly since their genius Priceless campaign came out in 1997. That's 20 amazing years of spreading feeling-filled stories that play into that core message. It has since extended nicely into a successful social media campaign for the credit card company that taught us to enjoy the little things in life.
5. Take Your Followers on a Journey
Close your eyes and think of your brand strategy. Now think of how that trickles into your social media strategy (see point #1👆), as well as how you can really create a branded world to expose your audience to with representative photos and videos. Think of Instagram as an extension of your company and an opportunity to take your followers on your brand journey.
Coca Cola is such an iconic company, complete with a rich branding history. Their message has remained consistent over the years and they've always been incredibly successful at creating that Coke world, never failing to transport their audience.
6. Be Consistent
This is another point that gets brought up often on this blog. If you're not hitting those frequency targets, you might as well
pack your knives and go bow out of the race. You want to get in front of your followers at least once a day to remain on their radar. If you don't, chances are they'll forget why they follow, and your occasional posts will serve as a reminder to hit unfollow. Think about it: brand-building is not a part-time exercise.
But consistency should be manifested in more ways than one. Posting not only needs to be a daily occurrence, but it also needs to be a cohesive one. It's important to hone in on a consistent aesthetic, and not to stray from your core message (i.e. don't put up a family pic). And finally, consistency needs to be applied in your brand voice, which is inherently attached to every piece of content you put out into the world.
7. Bring Your Audience Value
No matter what kind of company you are, you have something to offer to your followers. Bringing value to your audience is one of the best ways to keep them hooked on you. Whether you're being informative, sharing a really beautiful image, or turning a post into a teaching moment, your fans will be dispensing double-taps galore if you're proving to be a valuable part of their scroll.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is to leverage your link in bio. There are so many ways you can use your bio on Instagram to really reach peak optimization, to add value to your offering, and to continue the brand journey (see point #5👆).
8. Stand Out From the Pack
Having a beautiful gallery that derives from your brand strategy and tells a story is one awesome thing, but you can really kick things up a notch by being innovative. Some brands work in color schemes, pepper their galleries with boomerangs, introduce piecemeals, and other kinds of effects that draw in viewers. You can really get creative with the visuals you post on Instagram, something your followers will really appreciate.
For example, Amazon posted a super cute cinemagraph for Valentine's Day, creating a moment of delight for their followers, all while being timely and apropos.
9. Use Influencer Marketing
This is a controversial topic. It's also very polarizing. But here's the bottom line: in this day and age, the more your brand gets mentioned on social by cool people who you view as having an on-brand image, the more your clout will grow. Consequently, brand awareness will lead to sales conversions. It's simple to understand, but incredibly complex to execute.
Lucky for you, our influencer marketing best practices already exist and are there to help guide you through this crazy yet extremely efficient practice.
10. Showcase Your Personality, Add a Little Humor
When you combine all previous nine points, the one thing you shouldn't forget is to have fun with it and to not be afraid to inject a little personality into your feed. No one likes following robots, and displaying some character will play into your brand journey (point #5) and help ignite emotion (point #4).
Take for example the French Skittles account. It's primarily composed of UGC, but all of their posts are properly administered with a cheeky, fun narrative that perfectly represents the brand.
Having a firm grasp on your company's social endeavors is the number one key to being an industry leader. Now incorporate these 10 Instagram tips into your everyday activities and never look back.
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