As you already know, the amount of time people are spending online is growing each year with the average person spending 6 hours a day online and almost half of those hours on mobile. This is of course only the average. Teens are spending even more time online at almost 9 hours per day on social and 60% of that time on a mobile device. While TV is still the most consumed media, social media is right behind it and gaining fast. According to mediakix.com the influencer marketing industry will be a 5-10 Billion dollar market within the next 5 years with over 1.6 Billion being spent on Instagram alone (2018). Having said all that, let’s look at how we can promote our brand on social media and position our company effectively for years to come.
Choose the right platform.
Your product or service, your budget, your target audience, and age demographic, as well as your content strategy, will all affect the platform or platforms you choose to promote your brand. For the purposes of this article, we are going to look closely at Instagram which is our all-around preferred platform for 2018. We are specifically keen on Instagrams ability to allow for the highest engagement and reach for the least amount of money and available strategies to build your audience via organic methods.
Your username or handle, like the name of your business, is the foundation on which all other aspects of your branding and marketing efforts will rest. Your name will represent you when people talk about your company and no imagery is available. It will signal to the search engines and social media search engines what your business and profile is about and help those looking to connect with you to find you. Ideally, your name should be as short as possible and consistent across all platforms. For instance, our name is Fivestar yet we use @fivestarbranding because it’s still short and also includes a keyword (#branding) that identifies what we do and populates our profile when someone is searching for that tag. You can use the free tool http://www.instagramavailability.com/ to check the availability of your name of choice before proceeding. If you are having a difficult time coming up with a name for your business we can help. Just drop us line at email@example.com to get started.
Profile photo or Profile logo
Having the right profile photo can significantly improve the number of likes, follows and engagements you receive. This is in part because aside from your name it’s the first image a potential connection will see. Due to the limited amount of time we have, people are looking for indicators to help them decide quickly which accounts and profiles are worthy of a deeper look.
Create the perfect Instagram bio
Instead of using your name or simply repeating your handle you should begin your bio/tagline section with something searchable. This is also your opportunity to let your visitors know what your Instagram theme is and why they should subscribe to follow you. It’s so important to know exactly who you are but even more important to know who your audience is. Focus on your audience and what their needs are as opposed to providing information about you or your company. Due to the fact that you are limited to only 150 characters, Emojis are a great way to enhance your profile and communicate ideas in a quick and fun way. That said, make sure the emojis that you use communicate the same vibe as the rest of your brand. It’s possible to come across as immature or cartoony depending on how many and which emojis you use. Lastly, end with a clear call to action. Remember, this whole section is searchable so include words and phrases that you want to be found for. As an added bonus, Instagram now allows you to include hashtags directly in your bio.
When it comes to content it’s important to post consistently with branded content that is relevant, attractive and engaging. Easier said than done, right? Let’s look at some strategies that will help you do just that. The first step is to choose a content theme. As you know, Instagram is a visual platform, so make sure if you are posting images of your products, quotes or even pictures of yourself they are of the highest quality you can afford. At Fivestar we often create social media templates for our clients that include colors, fonts and branding elements which can easily be added to any post to create a sense of consistency. These can easily be altered and updated using adobe illustrator or Canva. If you need help with this, don’t go it alone, pay an expert designer to help you get established. You’ll be amazed at just how much time this saves you and how much it will improve your overall image.
Another great tip is to leverage other peoples content. Curate images that you find which have a proven track record and when it’s appropriate, promote them on your feed. Make sure to give credit to the author. This is also a great way to make new connections and show your appreciation to other content creators. The key here is to select images and content that aligns with your brand and theme. If you post something and it doesn’t perform well or feels out of place, take it down. There is no shame in cleaning out your feed and or starting over.
While Instagram is primarily a visual platform, an eye-catching caption can be the difference between a viewer engaging with your post or simply scrolling on by. This can have a dramatic effect on your reach. The more likes and comments a post receives the more opportunities it has to be viewed and liked and commented on and exponentially more engagement and reach it will have.
When it comes to caption length, they should be brief. Instagram allows for 2200 characters however viewers scrolling by will only be able to see the first 120. This is reminiscent of the “above the fold” days of early web design which said that your primary design or content should always be above the point at which a visitor has to scroll. If you find yourself needing to share an extra long post, make sure to section out the content with line breaks. This can be done easily in a separate note application or by locating the 123 button on your iPhone to reveal a hidden return key.
For the tone of your writing try imagining a person or movie star you feel would be a great ambassador for your brand and channel their personality. If you choose to write in your own voice be sure the tone is consistent and that the messaging is not too pitchy. Emojis are also a fantastic way to add energy and personality to your content and often communicate more information than words. Also, this is a great place to remind readers to click on the link in your bio to learn more or be directed to a specific piece of content you would like to share.
Follow, like and comment
Follows, likes and comments are the currency of attention and the way in which we communicate our approval and appreciation online. Time is the most valuable commodity any of us has s,o by giving our attention away to others we communicate real value. Unfortunately there are programs and bots being deployed which dilute the value of these engagments. Being aware of this means in order to have an impact we need to be more intentional and engaging. Commenting on a post is possibly the most powerful way to do this. You do not need to follow someone to comment on their post unlike direct messages and your feedback is public which has the added benefit of social reinforcement. This method is also the most time consuming if done right. Don’t look for a shortcut here. Try to build real lasting relationships. Go deep instead of wide.
Instagram generates money by selling ads and promoting posts. They have made it very easy to pick an audience and desired action a viewer should take if interested. We recommend testing your ads or posts organically with your followers and hashtags first. If the post or ad performs well then it’s time to pour on the gasoline by paying to promote it. This guarantees that when you spend money on promoted posts they have the best chance of converting. Also, try promoting posts outside your country. Often times these markets are less saturated and less expensive.
If you are looking to increase your following, engagement and build consistency with your brand on social media, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 941-524-9088 for a consultation.