Instagram for Business? Be thoughtful…

“You don’t need a bazillion followers on Instagram for it to be a worthwhile platform to use, the value is in actually connecting with however many (or few) followers you have… You need to find a thoughtful way of reaching your audience, and nurture a relationship that you both benefit from having. Realise this, and each unique follower can be more valuable than 1000 regular followers.” 

(David Cowan, Little Ape’s Digital Guru and self-proclaimed prophet for the day, Thanksgiving 2018.)

Instagram – the multi-media sharing social media platform with more than 1 billion monthly active users – shows no signs of slowing down, meaning your business should probably be catching up.

Maybe you are already pretty active on the platform, maybe setting up your account is on the to-do list, maybe you are wondering what the heck a multi-media sharing social media platform is, whatever stage you are at the thought of how to get the most out of Instagram can be pretty daunting. So, in the nature of being helpful little apes, we’ve compiled a couple of our top tips to get you on the road to Instagram glory…

 

SETTING UP A SOLID BRAND PROFILE

Have this done and dusted? Great! Head on down to A Profile That’s Personified in the next section. But for the newbies out there, here’s a breakdown of what your profile needs to portray:

Profile photo: Definitely go with the company logo here, so people can easily identify your brand.

Account name: This should be your business name, and also identical to your other social media profiles (unity is key).

Username: Business name again! Your username can’t have spaces between letters, so squeeze those words altogether.

Website: Instagram only allows one clickable URL on your profile page, so make sure this leads to a page of your website that will really captivate Instagram users.

Bio: Time to capture that attention! Slap down your brand slogan here, describe eloquently what your business does, or be the hype-machine that encourages website click-throughs. Keep in mind what your audience on Instagram will be (and thus what text they are most likely to connect with), and portray yourself in a way that will get them intrigued.

All good? Once set up your profile should look similar to what is inside the misshapen oval below, an example of one of our favourite brands, Patagonia. 

A PROFILE THAT’S PERSONIFIED

Get creative with how you craft your profile; the more you can create something uniquely you — which showcases your core values — the more authentic users will perceive your brand is. This can build trust, respect and loyalty; valuable pillars that evolve in meaningful human connections. These are the foundations of great friendships, and similarly are the roots that sprout long-lasting customer relationships.

This concept of relationship building is something we really want to hammer home, as Instagram is a worthy platform to nurture this. Having a profile that coherently portrays your brand message means no one gets confused, meaning followers could confidently tell their friends what your brand stands for. After all, building these relationships is where you turn followers into educated advocates of your company – your own *free* brand ambassadors – who can’t help but talk about your brand to their peers. Sounds wonderful right? Oh yeah it does. To do this effectively, we need to…

CREATING A MEANINGFUL BRAND NARRATIVE

 

 A quick look at the bigger brands on Instagram and you will notice they have established a clear and concise brand narrative. They are storytelling: the story of who their brand is; what their brand stands for; and how they want Instagram users to interact with their brand.

Nike shows us emotive branding done right; celebrating empowerment and positivity, with a brand narrative that resonates with their consumers’ lifestyle and aspirations.

If we think about what the majority of users actually use Instagram for, it’s to connect with people; to get a glimpse into their lives through visual snapshots, while also showcasing their own snapshots and stories. If this is what users primarily want to see, then let’s give them this with the creation of a thoughtful brand personality.

You don’t need to be a master storyteller to create an engaging brand personality, just let your videos, pictures and captions do the talking. Showcase your brand message and values in your captions. Showcase your tone of voice. Keep the visuals aesthetically aligned. Think about the story you want to tell, and start telling it.

A VISION OF YOU

When it comes to posting images/videos, consistency is key; each post should further cement the follower’s understanding of your company, so it’s vital that they flow harmoniously. Whether it’s a mix of professional product shots, candid images or videos a customer has uploaded to Instagram (this is called UGC – meaning user-generated content), by creating a consistent theme in the visuals, you can help followers tightly grasp your brand personality.

Airbnb do an excellent job of recycling UGC, using striking, high quality images. They deploy a narrative that strikes the follower’s imagination, enticing them to visualise an experience Airbnb could offer them:

 

Airbnb also display an exemplary profile of consistency, continuously using soft, warm tones in their imagery, highlighted below: 

LETTING INSTAGRAM DO THE WORK

Once your account is up and running, Instagram’s native analytical tool Instagram Insights will start gathering performance data. The data includes follower demographics and actions, and insight into your content and profile’s performance:

We love these insights. They are a free market research tool that not only influence our actions in organic social media strategy, but aid in our paid social media strategies too (cutting unnecessary ad-spend in the process). To show how, let’s look at follower demographics:

  • Gender
  • Age range
  • Top locations (cities and countries)
  • Online times (hours and days)

We can use this information to pinpoint our high-engagement follower (eg. Female / 26–35 years old / NYC-based / most active on Instagram on Monday-Friday 6–9pm), and iterate our content so it is tailored to this audience, while ensuring we post when this audience is most active on the platform. The demographics data may pull up a customer profile which you didn’t consider a primary audience, which can be used to your advantage. Instagram may allow you to open up your consumer pool to a larger audience base.

You can also use these insights to create cost-effective targeted Instagram adverts. Identifying your high-engagement followers means we can tailor adverts to this demographic (similar to our organic posts above), yet more importantly means we can create target audiences to send the ads to. Having this ready-made optimum demographic ensures ad-spend can be budgeted towards audiences that interact best with your brand, saving you time (and money) figuring out who you should target for your initial ad campaign.

This is a snapshot explanation of a small part of the insights you can utilise. So get the analytical cap on, it’s time to use Instagram to your advantage.

SEE YOU ON INSTA!

Well that’s our 2 cents on Instagram for business, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. A blog post simply cannot suffice in uncovering the magnitude of the platform’s opportunities for businesses (and unfortunately we cannot dedicate the time to a book… yet), so if you would like hear more of our thoughts, just get in touch at: shout@littleape.co

On a final note, remember this is an ever-evolving social media platform, thus your strategy should follow suit. Measure your performance, refine your narrative, iterate your brand personality, harness your insights and continuously make your brand message stronger, clearer, and easier to spread for those who follow you, and those who soon will.

Well, all this talk has got us apes eager to scroll our Instagram feeds. See you there?

 

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