Instagram is an important social network when it comes to building your brand’s online presence. Instagram is increasingly important for a number of businesses beyond the retail, restaurant and travel industry. It allows you to connect with and build a living, breathing community of users that are interested in your content.
In order to create a sense of community on your brand’s Instagram account, keep these four tips in mind:
1. Tell a story with your content.
Businesses have a unique opportunity to build an engaged following by sharing captivating imagery and focusing on visual storytelling.
“Quality content” is not a buzzword. Posting high quality content on a regular basis will undoubtedly increase your following and engagement. When you look at the Instagram accounts that experience the greatest success, you can tell they go the extra mile to tell a story with high quality, visually stunning content.
2. Drive engagement.
Engagement goes beyond a like or comment. You need to create a conversation in order to build a community. Ask your followers open-ended questions, be authentic (read: no spam!), and encourage them to tag their friends.
Let’s say you own a boutique and you’re in the process of deciding which sweaters to carry in the fall. Post a photo on Instagram of two sweaters side by side and ask your followers which one they prefer. It puts the focus on your customers and you’re receiving insightful information for your business by directly engaging with your audience.
3. Take advantage of hashtags.
Hashtags are the key to success on Instagram. Using and monitoring hashtags effectively is the quickest way to build a following on Instagram.
When you’re adding hashtags to your post, ask these questions:
What are the keywords for my business?
What makes me different than my competitors?
Ask your clients, when you think of my work, what words come to mind?
Use these answers and dig into Instagram’s search function to find popular hashtags that your community is following and using. But remember, popular hashtags can move quickly in search, so it’s important to include niche ones. For example, if you’re trying to market your social media skills, add hashtags like #instagramexpert or #twittertips in addition to a more generic hashtag like #socialmedia.
4. Reach out directly.
Direct messages on Instagram can be a great marketing play if they’re done right. They give you the opportunity to make your followers feel special. You can use direct messages to send an invite to your next event, contact the winner of a giveaway, supply a coupon or simply thank them for following you and provide a free downloadable resource.
You can also provide customer service through direct messages. If your customers are taking to Instagram to air their grievances, take the issue to direct mode to help solve the customer’s issue without having that potentially negative conversation in public.
What are your best tips for creating a community on Instagram?