Wednesday, 3 August 2016

5 Ways to Get the Most from Your Instagram Page

So you finally caught up and created an Instagram account for your brand. You’d read so much about why your business is missing out on reaching tons of customers. And even though you wondered what the hell you would post, you’ve gone ahead anyway. After a week and a couple of photos of your company stationery, you are completely stumped as to what to do with this channel. I’ve been there.

If you are a brand with no obvious personality to front up as the ‘face’ it can be a challenge. Especially if you don’t sell extreme sports, luxury goods or impossible lifestyles.

Say instead, you are a website but don’t exactly rank as the coolest site in the world. Or you sell hardware and your audience is middle aged dudes. It’s difficult.

Fear not! It isn’t quite time to go throwing all your marketing pennies at Facebook Ads. You can still take advantage of Instagram’s greater audience reach. But be warned, it will take effort, time and above all else, a wee bit of imagination.

I’m talking from experience too. Working in Corporate Comms and Marketing can sometimes do for creativity what Donald Trump does for Mexican-U.S relations. It is easy in social media to find yourself morphed into a content churning monster. So, before you go all green and scaly, read these five suggestions and get creative!

Use Hyperlapse and Boomerang

These two apps from Instagram are your first port of call. If you can’t create something fun from Hyperlapse or Boomerang you need a big fat slice of fun cake pronto.

Hyperlapse allows you to create a timelapse video (everything goes super fast). So, you could painstakingly draw out a cool design (architecture, floor plans, quotes, fashion...anything) and your followers will be able to see the whole process in a fraction of the time. Perfect for the attention span-less social media user.

Boomerang is a micro-looping app. Basically, it will loop about two seconds of activity. So you have to give it a bit more thought than Hyperlapse, and timing is crucial. Let’s say you are showing off how to strike a nail into some timber (feel the manliness), this wee bit of looping could be a cool way to show it off. Or maybe you just have a group shot of your colleagues and you all leap into the air...insta jumpy madness. Social gold.

Take advantage of Snapchat filters

Snapchat lets you download your filtered, edited snaps. If you are unfamiliar with the channel; you can take a pic and add various acid inspired (probably) overlays to yours or someone else’s face as well as throw on some text and emojis.

Naturally then, if you want to a) appear relevant and b) show off a more fun side to you and your business, this is a good way to go. And if you’re comfortable with it, you can also ask your brand followers to follow your own Snapchat channel.

Best used for selfies or teamie pics.

Instagram Stories

Instagram has just launched its own version of Snapchat. It doesn’t (yet) have as many options by way of funny faces and geo-filters BUT it is native to Instagram so you have to make use of it.

The premise is that you take pics or vids and they collate to form your ‘story’, which will delete after 24 hours. So, as above, you want to use this to creative effect. Although, it might be fair to say that Instagram has a broader customer reach than Snapchat, which is pretty much about goofing off with your buddies. On Instagram, I’m thinking there could be stuff like mini-tutorials, day trip diaries and just about anything else you could imagine...that team day out at paintball, anyone?

Get pics from events

Are you headed off to a big glitzy awards do? Or maybe a plain old run of the mill trade show? It’s the perfect opportunity to get plenty of pics for your page.

Show off your stand, get some pics with you and other exhibitors/guests, give your followers some insight to your day or evening by using the video recording function.

Social media users love to be nosey, so give them what they want. Make sure you tag whoever you photograph and add your location so anyone else there can find you through location search. All the little details go a long way.

Use Hashtags

This is a no-brainer. People use hashtags to focus in on a particular topic, find other pages to follow and get inspiration. Instagram also uses hashtag click activity to highlight similar content to users based on how much they interact with those hashtags.

Therefore, it is absolutely essential that for every idea mentioned above (except Instagram Stories - you can’t), that you include hashtags in the text of your post. You can add in a whole load of them too as you don’t have the same character restriction as on Twitter. Include; the place, the topic, the subject, the guests, the theme, anything ironic, anything funny, sarcasm...anything. But don’t just throw in any old words or trending phrases. It has to be relevant or you’ll quickly look like a bit of a git. And people get turned off by gits.

The long and short of it

People trust people. If you approach Instagram with an endless stream of banal brand logos and products, you’ll only get so far. Show off your personality, even if that means getting in front of the camera occasionally.

You only have one spot for a clickable hyperlink in your user bio (which, by the way, you should update regularly to highlight new offer pages etc. And yes, that is six tips) so don’t worry about getting tons of web conversions from your posts. You’re playing the long game here; building relationships, trust and affinity. Be cool and eventually people will gravitate to what you have on offer.