With more and more brands flocking to Instagram as a means for advertising, differentiating and building a successful presence is becoming increasingly challenging. The opportunity, however, is still extremely lucrative – as Instagram has made itself a pillar in the world of marketing for reaching an up and coming generation of powerful consumers.
The only way to succeed in the advertising business is to constantly be ahead of the curve. That means not only knowing your audience, but also investing in understanding them and their preferences on the platform.”
Sometimes little tricks can be just the difference you need to stand out. Here are 6 of the best tips for effectively advertising on Instagram:
1. Be Raw and Real
The biggest mistake that brands, especially big companies, make is over-investing in their Instagram game. What I mean by that is they spend their big enterprise budget resources on fancy things like unrealistic models and high class editing. What they do not realize is that their audience actually prefers raw and realistic images to over-edited pieces of spam.
Leveraging Instagram Stories is a great way to provide transparent, behind the scenes views of what it’s like to work at your company. Hosting a weekly “tour of the office” or livestreaming a question and answer event” is a great and sustainable way to engage with your audience.
2. Answer Every Comment
Answering each and every comment left on your photos is the easiest and most scalable way to show your Instagram following that you truly care about them. While it may be tedious (though you can likely outsource this task) – “humanizing” your brand, becoming more real, and igniting conversations with your audience will set you leagues ahead of the fake and corporate nature associated with big enterprise accounts.
Over time, building out rapport with your audience (starting conversations, asking questions, etc.) will associate your brand with being a friend rather than sales engine. People will always trust their friends over brands, any day – you choose which side you would rather be on.
3. Post Every Day
Lots of marketers out there, especially people new to the game, see the most successful brand accounts, like Redbull and Airbnb, and just expect success to come overnight. It is really easy to overlook the hard work and consistency that has gone into building the best brand Instagram profiles. While a viral post every once in a while surely helps, the real magic is the ability to execute on a social media strategy over a long period of time. When you are able to do that, you can build rapport and trust with your audience because they see that you are as invested in them as they may be with you.
Coming up with content that you can efficiently create, without compromising quality value, can prove to be really challenging. The best remedy for this is to create weekly series that you stick to. For example, start a Throwback Thursday collage that you post every single Thursday. Host a Q&A on Sundays, and a “Feature Friday” every Friday.
Creating systems around what you post, as well as when you plan to post, will help you stick to your schedule and keep you on beat. While it may take a while to see any return on this investment, realize that social media branding is a long term game. It may be some time before you see any results.
4. Gather Unique Audience Data
You will never grow your brand on Instagram by following a single playbook. If there was a prescriptive recipe you could follow to guarantee success, everyone would have done it. Rather, you must pave your own path by taking bets on data you believe to be true about your audience.
There are a few Instagram analytics for business platforms out there that help you gather unique data about your audience. You can use this demographic data to understand, in fine detail, exactly who is following you and what they are all about.
With that information, you can begin to formulate advanced targeting strategies that you know will go well with your specific audience.
5. Focus on Faces
Above all else, studies show that people like seeing faces of other people. Studies have shown that images with faces in them receive 38% more likes and 32% more comments on Instagram than those without. Smiling faces, above all others, tend to perform the best because they evoke positive emotions and feelings. People like to be happy!
You can be clever with how you sneak faces into your posts – for example it may be cool to have people wearing your gear in your shots. Better yet, have your audience send in pictures of them wearing your swag! This is a 3 for 1 – it makes your audience feel important, it accomplishes the goal of having more smiling faces in your picture, AND you are getting free content.
6. Listen To Feedback
Much easier said than done, but honestly listening and internalizing audience feedback will set you leagues apart your competition. Most marketers make “marketing” about them. They want their own ideas to succeed and let sunk costs factor into decision making. If you want to be an effective advertiser on Instagram, you should build feedback loops into your social media strategy. More than that, once you get feedback, you should be quick to adapt and iterate over your ideas. Put your audience first.