White Media Agency knows that images have the ability to stir memories, create an experience, and provide a glimpse into the heart of business. Sounds lofty but true. A picture is worth a thousand words so what is your business saying to the world?
Utilizing a photo image based platform like Instagram gives you an opportunity to fine tune and deliver a compelling message to the public in a way that best reflects what you offer and the type of experience that anyone could expect when engaging with your business.
So what can you do with Instagram? Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that allows you to take pictures or video and share them on the app or via other social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
Why is this important? Businesses must reach their audience wherever their audience congregates, and these days that is heavily on social media. Your audience is very visual in the information it retains and the information it seeks. Instagram puts you at the forefront of capturing their attention because:
1. Instagram can foster a creative and engaging experience for your audience
Using images and video to demonstrate your brand keeps you in control of the content but also allows your audience access to “you” the brand in a more personal way. Posting lifestyle or brand casual photos invites the viewer to step into your world and participate. Encourage comments and likes but also reciprocate and respond to comments and have a conversation with your audience. Engagement leads to more loyal viewers and potentially consumers.
2. Create brand loyalty and establish a “stake in the ground” for your brand
As mentioned, engagement creates loyalty behavior in the viewer when they feel they are invested in your purpose. Sharing images and videos on Instagram is an important tool in branding your business and setting the tone for what a potential consumer can expect from you. Instagram also provides you an opportunity to break away from the pack and show what makes you unique and establish a recognizable “stake in the ground” or clear differentiation between you and a similar business.
3. Grow your audience and build relationships with your audience
Instagram is a two way street. As you would like viewers to engage and have a positive experience with your site, you must too also engage right back and provide them with a positive experience as well. Building a reciprocal relationship takes time and attention to what content your viewers like the most, share the most, and engage with the most. Your audience will be your biggest advocate for sharing your Instagram site and growing your reach. Leverage the relationship to reach more eyeballs!
Instagram is not only a platform for sharing snapshots and video musings. It can be a great way to reach your audience and keep them captivated!
Social media is visual and reaches an audience with nice, crisp images. Some images are better than others so taking the time to post the right ones is essential to creating a high end, competent brand image. Look for these traits in any image you post:
Create Lifestyle Images
Photos have tell a story in one snapshot are one of the best ways to capture the essence of your brand or company image. Think of natural scenarios that might reflect a personal feeling about your brand. Using models, outdoor settings, action oriented situations or real life customers are great ways to create a lifestyle scene with extra punch. People are more adapt to relate to your product or business if they see something of themselves in the photos you post to social media.
Properly Edit all Images
Start by using high resolution photos for your posts. Crisp, clear photos look more professional than blurry, fuzzy looking images. Make sure the images are cropped and sized. Use a tool like Photoshop to resize images without losing resolution.
Square Photos are Best
Sites like Instagram will automatically load your image as a square but if you can edit it beforehand, you lessen the risk of the platform cropping out important sections of the photo when it is uploaded.
Your brand is reinforced with great photography so choosing and curating the right images for your social media sites is key. Pay attention to the pictures you post and give your followers something truly interesting reason to come back and see you again and again.
Social media is a landmine of mistakes waiting to happen. You can minimize those mishaps by taking extra care in how you navigate your social media presence. Start by taking these situations under consideration:
Platforms Not Integrated
Having multiple social media sites is great but it doesn’t help your brand if those sites feel disconnected. Integrate your brand across platforms. You don’t have to have the same images on all the sites but all of them should look like they belong to the same brand. For instance, if you sell shoes and handbags, your Facebook page shouldn’t have only images of handbags but it should have a product mix that appeals to that platform. If you have a dressed down Instagram page, you may never get another chance to entice those followers to check out your Pinterest page because they will think it will be just as boring or uninspired. You could miss an opportunity to get in front of them again.
Not Posting Enough Content or Relevant Content
Social media is a beast that must be fed. Posting once a week is probably not enough. To engage current followers or to add new followers, they need to see fresh content on a consistent basis. Put together a schedule of content so you can easily post 2-3 times a day.
Unprofessional Interactions with Followers
The first reaction when finding an unflattering comment on your site is to be angry or dismissive. Rise above it and think about the root or source of the comment. Is it possible the writer has a reason to be dissatisfied? Even if you think the negative comment is without merit, don’t air your feelings online. That could erupt into a war of words that only hurts your reputation and standing. Ignoring the post makes you look out of touch and like you don’t care about the situation. Instead, take the high road and apologize for any ill treatment or dissatisfaction and offer to involve the commenter in the process of making it right. Offer to talk to them personally, refund their money or some other form of consideration. How you react reflects on your brand so make it a positive reaction.
Social media can be a positive and rewarding experience for your brand or business. Take the time to interact correctly and you could see a pay off in the end.
Facebook added the feature of live streaming to its platform and you may have noticed friends and family and tons of businesses using it. You might wonder if this tool is right for your business and the quick answer is “of course!” It works well for any type of business or service but first you need to decide what you have that is worth viewing or talking about. Here’s what you need to know:
Facebook Live is available on a personal or business page, within a Facebook group or within an event page. To make sure you have it, look for the Live icon which is a human silhouette located in your status bar.
When using Facebook live, set up a broadcast description. That tells the audience the topic or content of the broadcast. Use creative, inviting language to get potential viewers to drop in on the broadcast.
Facebook live requires a camera so make sure you have one on your device. Position the camera to capture what you want it to. Think about the background if you are in a stationary position or what activities are going on that the viewer might find interesting.
Once you go live, you can see comments during the broadcast. Feel free to tell the audience who is with you, what they are saying and generally engage with the camera like those people are actually there with you!
Ask viewers to sign up for notifications of future broadcasts. Keep in mind that your video can be viewed after the session has ended so you have an opportunity to reach an even wider audience even after the broadcast has concluded.
Facebook Live can be used at a promotional event to show activity, new products or folks gathered to have a good time. Use it as a way to discuss new trends in the market, interview influencers or basically instance in which you would normally do a video, use Facebook Live and capture it in real time.
Using Facebook Live for business is as simple as logging in and clicking the icon. To find out a step-by-step process for getting on Facebook Live, you can visit the easy tutorial created by Facebook to help you get set up at https://live.fb.com/tips/. Test it out before broadcasting it to a wider audience.
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Hashtags fall into this category. Social media platforms are searchable by hashtags and keywords so it’s easy to think that the more hashtags you use, the more you are searchable. But the downside is a post with too many hashtags can be a drawback. Here are some do’s and don’ts on effectively using hashtags:
Use hashtags! Make them relevant to your business and to any trends that are relevant to your business or area you operate in. Hashtags are a great way to find you or a subject your audience is interested in viewing.
Create a hashtag for a specific promotion or one that is associated with your brand. You could even take your tagline and make it a hashtag which directly correlates with your brand.
Research what is trending right now in hashtags and consider including them in your posts. Trending means just what it sounds like. Taking a trending or widely popular hashtag and including it in your post draws awareness to your post when anyone is searching using that specific hashtag.
Don’t go hashtag crazy! Too many in one post looks junky and not well thought out. It could like you are trying to be all things to all people and very sales oriented. Stick with 3-4 hashtags that are consistent with the content and brand.
Don’t forget use a hashtag. At the other end of the spectrum is not having any hashtags means you have wasted an opportunity to reinforce your brand and message. Use your hashtags to get an additional message out there like a promotion or show your savviness about what is hot right now!
Don’t use generic hashtags. Be specific with your hashtags and avoid ones like #fashion or #food. Those are very heavily used so you won’t stand out in the sea of results that come up in a search. Don’t be a plain Jane with your hashtags!
Don’t forget to track the success of your hashtags. There are lesson to be learned from evaluating the success or lack thereof. You can learn a lot about your audience when looking at the data and use it to create better, more sticky hashtags. You may find after tracking that not all platforms have the same response to certain hashtags.
These tips work across media platforms so work a hashtag into all of your posts. #HappyHashtagging!
Just because you set up an Instagram account doesn’t mean followers will fall into your lap. That takes some work and creativity. With a little time and effort, you can grow your Instagram following and impact your brand awareness. To start making the most of Instagram, focus on these three objectives:
Where are My Followers?
To boost your audience on Instagram, make sure followers can find you through relevant hashtags. Think about what your audience is interested in and might already be following and tailor your content and accompanying hashtags to increase awareness and find you easier. For instance, if your business is a publication, you can hashtag your name as well as the type of content you promote like #fashionnewyork if you are a lifestyle and fashion publication or #cookingvegan if you are a food publication.
Communicate With Your Audience
Instagram is not a static platform but requires engagement not only through fresh content but by actually engaging followers. Respond to comments, acknowledge a new follower and start following those who follow you. Definitely communicate with followers who are influencers. When you show up in their feed, it attracts the attention of their vast audience.
Create a Schedule
Posting on a consistent basis gives your audience something to look forward. Create a schedule of when and what times you want to post. Keep track of that data to determine the best times to post. You can find out quite a lot about what content your followers interact with and what time of the day is the highest visibility time to post. Strategically use this information to improve content and encourage engagement.
Having an Instagram account is not a “set it and forget it” activity. Spend a few minutes each day viewing, responding and engaging to your audience and reap the benefits of new followers and better brand positioning. Happy Instagraming!