Instagram is undeniably a hotspot for the business and brands to improve their face value. With a reach of billions of active users, the platform acts as a catalyst to link a global audience within reach of a few clicks. Aiming to capitalize on this factor, there are thousands of brands competing against each other, vying for their target customer.
With brands both big and small constantly striving to increase their visibility and sales, to stride forward among the tides, you must know how to channel the strengths of the platform. If you know it, you can do it, and you can achieve it!!
Know about the platform you are competing in
A visual venture
Instagram is all about giving a visual treat to the users. For a platform that is ruled by visual elements, you must find a way to bring out eye-catching visuals or stills to make sure you are competing at the same level with the other brands on the platform. The users highly appreciate pictures that convey the basic nuances and, at the same time, are capable enough to bring out the creative side of the creator.
Thus, whatever brand you wish to promote, make sure you are able to find a visually appealing angle to the business that can make the users stop and notice.
Consumer circle for you to focus on
The platform boasts a billion users. This means a billion possible consumers for you. But creating content catering to a billion users is challenging and most often an impossible task for brands that are just starting out. Hence, the best way to go about this would be to identify the niche you can target. Creating content targeting the base audience helps you get noticed faster and your business to grow exponentially.
Start locally before globalizing your product. Understand the market of your product. Certain product has a larger global appeal whereas others are better off at local grounds. Hence, compile the list and target accordingly.
Catch hold of the attention
As users surf through the countless post on their feed, if your content quality does not stand out, they will just be contributing to the added clutter. Yes, it is difficult to bring returns with each post, and most often, it is a slow process; the only way out is to experiment with the type of content that you put out. If a particular content receives more love than the other, retain it and explore other dimensions of the same.
Hashtag your way out!
Spread your content with the proper use of hashtags. Hashtags help your content reach a wider audience and also helps the users to trace back to your content. Hence, make sure you know the hashtags to use and them appropriately so that people can find you.
Outlets on the platform where you can find your niche!
Instagram, since its inception, has widely expanded the operating platform to give the audience a wholesome experience. Starting out as a photo-sharing virtual social platform, Instagram has expanded its arms to comfort audiences of all media. Be it launching its version of YouTube (a.k.a. IGTV) or the tik-tok alter-ego Reels; the platform strives to evolve with the changing times and changing consumer demands. As a brand understanding the potential of these platforms to deduce what proportion of your content each one should comprise of.
Though the basic starting point, it is hard to notice that compared to other media, these are falling short in the conversion rate of turning clicks into buys. Yet there is a silver lining, over 80% of the users find pictures more appealing than the videos (due to time constraints!). Hence, a picture that puts out all ‘know-it-all’ in one glance garners more engagements in terms of comments or likes than a video which takes a lot of time to send across the same message.
There is a long way to go before IGTV becomes a possible competition to YouTube, but this does not mean it does not have any takers. The only viable option to share full coverage to the short videos or behind the scenes or any video content that exceeds the 15-seconds mark. Cross over the initial inhibition of the users to click that lengthy video by sharing snippets and links to the content on other popular media to drive the users to IGTV.
A 15-second video-sharing platform that has boomed up in recent years is the reels. With catchy tunes, viral videos, and creative filters, the reels are a one-stop point for your entertainment. If you think this is just for the wannabe Instagrammer who put out hilarious content, then think differently. Be it tutorials, book suggestions, time-lapse on your work, or photoshoots…you can include it all to fit the 15-sec time frame if you brush up your editing skills and creativity skills. Almost 61% of Gen Z spend most of their time on reels.
To that 15-second video, add the lifetime. Yes! The fact that the video disappears after 24 hours makes them appealing and valuable to the users. Stories taking up the top spot on the platform, they have been detrimental for the visibility of brands. More than half of the people have discovered brands after stumbling across their stories.
Going live has been touted as the next big leap in marketing for the business sectors. With higher visibility and better engagements, a successful live session helps you expand your appeal and grow your brand. Going live helps you connect to your audience, exchange ideas, and spread the word across the platform. Collaborating using live sessions helps you to increase your appeal and visibility to the audience of the collaborators.
Post ideas that increase your engagements without disturbing the frequency!!
Aesthetically pleasing feeds
Start of by designing your feed. Choose the layout, the theme, and the hues you want to experiment with. When a user is directed to your page, they first glance through the feeds to get an overall idea about the brand you are and the ideologies you associate yourself with.
@cluse experiments with light themes to bring out the best contrast with their product ranges. Shifting between pastels to avoid the monotony of white, the pictures are schematically arranged, not being too jarring to the eyes.
@jokerandwitch keeps it simple and elegant by featuring its product against subtle hues of pastel shades.
@wildorangetree mixes n matches using bright pop shades across its feed.
Whereas @ferragamo switches between styles to suit the one desired.
Setting a theme helps you cross off the off-limit topics and focus on creating content that are in hand with the nuances you have carried out so far. Setting a line to go by does not mean limiting yourself to the box. It lies in your creative expertise on how much you can play with the theme without being monotonous.
A picture worth a thousand words
Well, in a world that is ruled by visuals, we cannot really deny the power of a perfect picture. Click pictures that can aesthetically give off the vibes of the product, making the viewers search or scroll more. Find the most appealing angle of your product and fit it in a picture-perfect frame. Now be it your dresses, the footwears, the potted plants, or even your
@vanillamoonshoes which capture the most beautiful angles to put their product in the limelight against the complementing background.
Another brand, @hannan.jewelry, promotes the product ranges by clicking them in the simple and elegant backdrop. Keeping it simple, giving their products the main focus, the brand lets the product speak for itself.
@windsorsmith keeps the post authentic by letting the shoes do all the talking.
@shopifeelsocool, you’ll find their cardigan range take center stage with each post showing the knitted product in all its glory.
Now, it is worth noticing that not all products can have equal photogenic value. Some areas like fashion and cosmetics tend to attract a large consumer base. Others have to work around to find a creative aspect to click their product.
Even though the pictures are worth a thousand words, complete them with captions that spell out the details of the product, making the work easier for the viewers. Appropriate hashtags and product tags on the photos will slide the feasibility and ease towards the consumer making the purchases simpler.
Bloopers or BTS
Bloopers and behind the scenes may give you and your viewers a good laugh. But the bloopers serve a purpose greater than bringing a smile on someone’s face. Even though everyone knows about the editing that goes into before the final product comes out, behind the scene footage gives a real insight to the authentic self of the brand or you as a person without the added oomph.
There are two added plus points for this: first, you need not worry about the videos being blurry or video content being not polished enough. Secondly, you need not search for content far away. They are tucked among your hundreds of shootings that you did to bring out the perfect one.
Like the one @gopiskirts tried. Posts that are downright filter-less, just showing themselves enjoying what they do.
Or @ramybrook used the video to show BTS of shoots.
Up your old content and serve them fresh. If you are up on Instagram for a long time, looking back, you must have found some photos that you would want to brush up a little or products that you want to return to the trends.
Recycle the contents and bring them out with a dash of a creative spell before serving them to the customers. You can also opt for a then v/s now video or show the evolution over the years. With a creative mind, there is no dearth of contents to resource from old materials.
Who does not like freebies! Giveaways are the best way to promote and increase your growth. The idea of winning gifts generates the engagements more swiftly than others do. Asking to follow and leave a comment or tagging others for the same. These don’t demand much from the users except for a few clicks, but the returns you get are huge. You are making the people surf through your content and hence proposing your products to possible consumers.
The giveaways are a big boost to the business, especially if you are starting out as a small setup. It helps the users try out your product, and if liked, they’ll help your business thrive.
Make it like @vintage_velvet_ holding a giveaway contest with their bestselling silk scarf as the prize.
Or how @o3plusworld arranged a giveaway by setting the participating condition being tagging three other individuals and making them follow the brand.
Or how @throwin.stones held a competition by asking the viewers to guess the weight.
Repost user-generated content
Your customers are your brand ambassadors. Make sure you spread the word about them. As your brand grows, so do your purchases. People tag your brands sporting the products they liked. Use this to make your next content.
Repost the users’ content and share them on your post. This interaction with the users helps create interest among the followers, with them looking forward to other covers. At the same time, you can flaunt your product without being too ambiguous about it.
Just like @clutchesbymansi did, sharing the gratitude messages from the happy customers.
Another fun way is to show the packaging of the products. You can take the viewers along with the packaging videos of the customer’s product.
Collaborate with others on the platform
Collaborating with the influencers or other businesses that have established their niche on the platform will help generate content for the users. Collaboration is a way to increase your reach and build your visibility; creating content with other Instagrammers who have build a market for themselves helps you become visible to their audience range; in turn, you share your customer base to their business.
Thus, in short, it is a give and take business with both the collaborators seeing additional growth.
At the same time, it helps you interact with the business’, know their growth struggles and challenges, and create contents worth multiple posts in return.
If you are a small business looking to collaborate with a business, try not to collaborate with a business that is in direct competition in terms of product. Because, though there is a chance of you getting their customer, there lies an equal probability of losing your customers to them.
Try like @jennifermillerjewelry, @crazystrong and @ramybrook collaborated to hold a giveaway.
Stand with the issues that touch you
Your brand is just not about the products that are launched. They go a step further and reflect the creator in terms of emotions and their stand point. Don’t hesitate to stand with the group that is facing atrocities, with the minorities who are silenced or the topics that are hushed under the carpet by the patriarchal society.
A brand has an ideology which it stands true towards. Make sure you promote it along with promoting your brand; this gives a humane touch to the works undertaken by the brand.
For example, @patagonia deeply shares concerns and strives to operate a business that does not harm nature. A glance through the feeds helps you notice the subtle theme they portray all along and the ideology that they want to send across.
Or how @scalrlettpoppiesclothing keeps it simple by schematically integrating quotes along with their merchandise.
However, this by no means means that you have to be vocal about every grievance out there. Start with the ones that truly matter to you and your consumers. Be vocal; be real.
Run a Q and A sessions
A simple way to get to know your users and allow them to know about you, a fun Question and Answer session is a good interactive post that will help you interact with the users and generate interactions with them.
The most basic one is interactions via the comment sections, where a simple question asked in the caption is answered by the users. Another way to go about it is to post the ‘ask me a question’ post in the story. Get series of questions, queries, and suggestions from inquisitive minds all over the world. However, the simplest way where you can have real-time interactions is going live. Set up the live studio and answer the questions popped in the chats.
However, make sure that you keep things professional and do not engage with the trollers. If you sense something is amiss remove them and report them on the platform.
Some examples are @knix, @benefitcanada, and @calpak.
Give a teaser of product launches
Product launches or promotions all deserve a teaser or post announcing their drop. You can put them out in your stories or use the regular post in your feeds to announce the availability of the product and the further details.
Top up the game by using bright background and fancy fonts to make things have a bigger appeal and make the audience look forward to it. Another fun way is to drop the countdown. Give a sneak peek with each countdown, culminating with the final reveal in the end.
Try out like @melorra_com by giving a peek at the collections and promotions.
If you plan to include a lot of promotional posts, then posting them on the story is much better as it does not disturb your fees, and at the same time, the stories have more reach with the users on the platform.
Learn from your competitors
Learning plays a big part in the growth. If you ever come across a stagnant period during growth, you know where to look for inspiration from. Successful brands, both big and small, have toiled the platform hard enough to come to the conclusion of what works best for the marketing and what makes the viewers convert into consumers.
This does not imply that the same thumb rule should apply to you, for there are various variables that you need to consider while learning from others, like the consumer they target and the product they sell.
However, surely there are some inputs that remain fruitful. Like how the company used the content to make their point. Or how they shifted between the contents to suit the taste of the target audience. Or how they integrated promotions in the contents.
Small insights like these will help you rewrite the trajectory of your plans and avoid the hurdles that they encountered. After all, learning from the predecessors is the only way to take the present to the future.
Constantly creating content is hectic and can lead to creative blocks, especially when you are running the company by yourself. Instagram can be quite a competitive place if you do not find the right niche to promote your brand. Hence, it is best to take a step back and view as a consumer to see what you would expect next from the brand. The simple post ideas might help you take a breather for a post or two. But carrying on, you must constantly look for what the consumers want from you.