Instagram can be your best friend or your frenemy when it comes to your social media strategy. Instagrammers don't tolerate much in the way of selling or marketing, and they will unfollow you quickly if they feel you are cluttering their feed.
This unique social media network (which is actually owned by Facebook, in case you didn't know) boasts 300 million monthly active users and more than 75 million daily users. As of June 2015, it was estimated that 90% of Instagram users are under 35. That's an extremely definitive stat.
In other words, if your target market skews younger and creative, you need to be utilizing all Instagram has to offer for your social media strategy.
Like every other network, you should have a defined and specific plan for Instagram. This is a great platform for showing brand culture, lifestyle, and behind-the-scenes shots.
Here are the essential getting-started tips for how to begin filling up your Instagram with on-brand photos:
- Learn how to take interesting pictures - start with the Rule of Thirds
- Decide on a filter or editing program to make all your photos look consistent - like VSCO
- Come up with a brand-specific hashtag and a group of on-brand hashtags
What comes next is where a lot of brands fall short in their quest to build their Instagram following. The worst mistake you can make is posting random photos without a clear aesthetic, popping in a bunch of spammy hashtags, and waiting for people to come like and follow you. It won't work that way.
Posting beautiful photos with appropriate hashtags is only half of the equation. The other half of the strategy is all about you going out and engaging with other Instagram users and brands. You should be spending at least twice as much time engaging with other users and following complimentary brands as you do editing and posting your own photos.
I'm about to let you in on the most obvious way to find your target market on Instagram. It's so simple you won't believe you didn't think of it...
Find an account that you love and is on brand. For example, if you’re all about interior design, you might want to go follow Domino Magazine’s account. Search for them in the search bar and then tap on their profile and tap “follow”. Now, the chances of a huge company like Domino Magazine following you back is slim, BUT you now have access to all the people on Instagram who follow them.
To connect the dots even further – the people who follow @dominomag are also likely interested in interior design – so it follows that they are likely your target audience! Within their profile, tap on their “followers” link at the top. You’ll be directed to a list of their followers who you can now check out to see if you want to engage with them. Since you now follow @dominomag, when their photos come across your feed, you can also see which users engage with them often.
Have patience - Instagram is a notoriously difficult social media network for gaining followers. Stick to a strategy and engage far more than you post, and you'll gain momentum, I promise.
As much as this gold nugget of strategy will help, there is so, so much more to getting your Instagram right. Good news - I am rolling out a free (FREEEEEEEE) email course that will teach you everything you need to know to get your Instagram strategy on point quickly.
Sign up below to get on the list for first access to my course "7 Days To An Instagram Strategy", which is going out to my VIPs as soon as I'm finished making sure all the moving parts work correctly.