With over 800 million monthly active users, that’s slated to touch the billion mark in 2018 itself, Instagram is one social platform that cannot be ignored. If this number isn’t enough to make you sit up, let’s put things in better perspective. Instagram’s 800 million active monthly user base is twice that of Twitter and thrice that of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
That’s tough to ignore! So how do you get it right on Instagram? To begin with …
Understand your brand personality
What is the personality and tone of your brand? What are the values that your brand upholds? Is your brand adventurous, playful, bold? Does your brand take a stand? To understand all of that, you would need to ideally look at the personality of your customers – your relationship set, if you have been in the market a while. (New brand on the block? Start with defining who you want to have a relationship with as a brand). So if you are a sneaker brand, for instance, you could project an adventurous personality and maybe even be inspiring. Nike does this combination really well. It’s absolutely necessary that you understand your brand personality and speak as that personality on Instagram – in pictures, words, choice of hashtags and even in replies to comments.
Chart out your Instagram strategy
You don’t have to freeze at the word strategy. But then you can’t turn away from it either. It’s all about understanding your brand – getting to the soul of it and bringing that soul connect with your relationship set. Let’s understand this with examples. If you are a TV show host, have behind the scenes as your Instagram strategy. If you are a sneakers brand, focus on athletic achievements and inspirational moments. Sell bread? Your Instagram could revolve around preservative-free food (if your bread is really preservative-free) and the good life because of it. A beachwear brand? Have people who fall under your buyer personas featured with your product doing the beach in style. A yogurt brand? Show recipes and meals consumers created that use your yogurt as an ingredient. Clothing brand? Show how people live their lives wearing your brand.
Own a signature hashtag
Gatorade owns #WinFromWithin, a hashtag with which they weave a great brand story of athletes, their dedication, and their accomplishments. Always look for a hashtag that inspires and motivates your relationship set as well as allows you to weave content off it without fatigue setting in. This kind of a hashtag also allows people to be part of your brand story – with the result that you will profit from great user-generated content. Keep in mind that the hashtag has to come from within the ‘soul’ of your product. Anything superficial will not cut ice.
Carve a signature content style
Tiffany’s has a defined brand personality as well as a signature content style. But not everyone is Tiffany & Co. That doesn’t, however, mean that you can give the signature content style a pass. This is an extension of your brand personality and doing it well is important. Instagram is visual – so should your signature style be. Craft a visual content style that is instantly recognizable every time a user sees your post in their newsfeed. We are not talking ‘template’ here. We’re talking about style that will set your brand apart. When it comes to conversations on Instagram, find out what your profile must convey and fit all your conversations into this style. Some would opine that it’s also a good idea to stick to a certain set of filters while publishing your content. See how that works too. But keep signature style above anything else.
Be spontaneous, but also think like a publisher
This might sound like bridging polar opposites – being spontaneous and business-like. But it isn’t rocket science, really. A calendar is what keeps the conversations coming on schedule. (Take a leaf out of publishing). Spontaneity is what breathes honest life into it. So if you know that according to your calendar you have to publish a conversation every Friday, you will have your antennas tuned and instantly jump upon an idea that flits by or cease the opportunity to capture on camera a moment that perfectly amplifies your brand’s personality. You’ll be always tuned to find perfect stories. And that’s what makes for an interesting Instagram presence.
Create a story with every conversation
One way to do it is to showcase your product/s in real life settings. That’s a story in itself – if it’s real life settings in your customer’s own environment, all the better. Your product becomes part of their story. Now do you see why an inspiring signature hashtag is necessary? It will help generate and locate stories from users that you can share on your profile – if it amply reflects your signature content style and your brand personality. For your own conversations, bring personality into them so that visitors can imagine themselves with your product/s. Showcase your product/s in action in the most engaging manner, giving full attention to photography aesthetics. Show a culture and lifestyle around your product. There’s nothing that can really nail your Instagram presence than getting to do this.