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Instagram (IG) has 700+ million monthly active users, with 400 million of those users logging in on a frequent daily basis.  33% of people that have Internet access are Instagram users, and more than 80 million people in the United States have Instagram accounts.  Instagram reports user engagement that outpaces Facebook tenfold – still think your social media marketing efforts are generating results for your business?

The average Instagram user spends about 25 mins a day on the app, viewing across mobile, tablet, and desktop app clients.  As a social network, the photo and video sharing platform has grown 5x faster than any other social network in the US…yes, even faster than Facebook.  Shockingly, 90% of Interbrand’s Top 100 Global Brands have Instagram accounts with killer engagement numbers – if Nike, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Starbucks, and GoPro are dedicating time and money to Instagram, then why aren’t you?

The problem is brands don’t really know what to post, how to post it, and when to share it.  As a photo and video sharing platform, Instagram is just as much about the look and feel of your posts as it is the content itself.  Follow along with us we detail some tips, tricks, and strategies to flesh out an Instagram page full of content that puts your best business foot forward.

Tell Your Story

Instagram is an interesting social media platform compared to other well-known sites and apps.  As a photo and video microblog, verbose copy and long text sections don’t really have home. Instagram users want to be enthralled with visual content that grabs their attention, with measured doses of humor, personality, and individuality mixed in.  Here’s some food for thought: your brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text – 80% of people remember what they see, 20% of people remember what they read, and 10% of people remember what they hear.  Keep that in mind when using text versus imagery when trying to tell the story behind your brand.

When it comes down to it, the best strategy for business Instagram accounts is simple: tell your story, visually.  Forget the nuts and bolts, the features and benefits, the specifications, the comparisons…that content is stale and motionless on IG.  Here’s your chance to focus on the solutions you provide, and how they affect your target customers  – abandon your traditional marketing brain and develop a content stream that walks alongside your potential customers.  Show internal processes, company culture, outreach projects, and user-generated content.

The products or services you sell take a backseat to the actual story that surrounds it; instead of looking at your business and offerings from your internal perspective, take the time to appreciate the customer’s problem, pain points, discovery, consideration, and purchase of a solution that closes the loop on this narrative.  The key on Instagram is uniting this story-first content with visual content that adds value to your brand, by looking pretty in execution.

Build the Community

Part of the power behind Instagram is the community aspect of the platform.  IG features like the explore page, hashtags, and follower suggestions provide a certain depth and richness to the end user to create their own community online.  However, as a business, you have an inherent duty to build an online community around your brand if you really want to grow your operation.

First and foremost, far too many brands and businesses approach Instagram with a “spray and pray” methodology when it comes to content engagement.  If your company isn’t in the mainstream consciousness that’s fine…you just have to start with a grassroots strategy to build your community brick by brick.  Engagement begins with a process of reciprocity on Instagram – follow the people that follow you (if relevant), comment on and like the very content of people that engage with your brand.  Browse similar related hashtags and follow relevant pages from there.  Reach out to related accounts and try to set up a content sharing/featuring agreement if it makes sense for your account.

A further note on comments and likes – obviously nobody has time to reply to every commenter on a busy business page in a 24 hour day.  However it is important to show some engagement and back-and-forth with your followers in the comments section.  It humanizes your company, giving people a personality and “vibe” to connect with on the account itself.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

One factor that spurred Instagram’s lightning-adoption was it’s content formatting and user interface.  Compared to other social media sites, IG is a clean design.  Photos and videos are constrained to the same sized “square” tiles, the profile biography is the only place you can put a clickable link, and each individual piece of content is designed to stand alone without needing spammy follow-ups or a million promotional links.

Knowing this, it’s important to take a look at your visual content from a branded, macro perspective.  When a user lands on your IG page, is it clean, connected, and consistent or is it an amalgamation of different color palettes, memes, and haphazardly posted images from the internet?  As a business on Instagram, you should make a push for consistent designs and templates that create branded consistency on your page.  Subtly add your logo to posts, develop a series of branded templates, and create a unique niche of filter settings and photo tweaks to make your content gel together cohesively.

All in all, Instagram is an incredibly powerful platform with the outstanding community numbers and metrics behind it.  As tech progresses to be more mobile and user-centric, don’t miss out on the opportunity to put your business in front of potential customers while simultaneously having conversations with them that could convert them into valuable customers.

Instagram still not making sense for you operation?  Give the IG experts at Digital Vitamin a call – you’ll be glad you did.

About Digital Vitamin

Digital Vitamin is a creative branding and marketing firm based in Los Angeles, California.  Whether it is brand vision, digital platforms, performance marketing and advertising, or social media management, we know how to grow your brand in a hyper-connected world.

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