Article written by Matt Foster, Content Strategist, Distinctly
After being introduced in 2010 Instagram has become one of the most popular and most used social media sites, competing with Twitter to be one of the key platforms for business users. So how can Instagram benefit you as a flexible workspace operator or SME?
In December 2016 Instagram boasted over 600 million followers, opening a world of potential clients and customers to small businesses that were not necessarily within reach before. Instagram is often used by big brands to great effect, while many smaller businesses assume it will not work as well for them. This simply is not true. Here Matt Foster from UK marketing agency Distinctly shows how to raise brand awareness and reach a larger customer base as an SME on Instagram, one of the most popular and engaging social media platforms.
Target Your Content
After setting up an Instagram account it’s time to post content, but where do you start? The key to success on Instagram is knowing the type of content you are going to post to capture the attention of your audience. It is important that as a small business you know who your target users are and then tailor the content to meet their interests.
Begin by looking at your current customer base and decide who they are in terms of age, location and gender. Once this information is clear it is much easier to know what to post and what is popular amongst that Instagram community in terms of hashtags.
Hashtags and trending topics are important on Instagram and many will be relevant to you. Taking advantage of these when they are popular is a great way to reach a wider audience, and engage with your current followers. Hashtagging the new content you post means it can easily be found; the same goes for posting content that is relevant in terms of current trends. Both techniques are a good way to not only gain followers, but to generate brand awareness within your target market.
Keeping your Instagram content related to your brand is important and it can be done through choosing a niche theme to target. This allows followers to know what to expect and that they can rely on you for posts they are going to enjoy and find interesting.
A woodworking business based in Georgia, USA – Sons of Sawdust – reworks reclaimed wood to create new products. By taking photos of their projects and posting them online, the company has created a popular online portfolio showcasing its work and giving a behind the scenes look at the process. To ensure this is seen by interested parties, Sons of Sawdust has used relevant hashtags – #Carhartt, #diy, and #wood, for example – to put the images in front of a relevant audience.
Engagement is Key
Engaging and being active is one of the most important parts of having a successful Instagram account for your SME. You can post great quality and interesting content but if no one knows you have an online presence you will struggle to have it grow.
Start by letting your current customers know you have social media accounts by putting a link to your Instagram account on your website and advertising it on other mediums like Facebook and Twitter. Plus, include all social media links in your email signatures to drive more traffic.
Consistency is key to having a successful Instagram account and content should be uploaded frequently. The more active a small business is on Instagram, the more engagement they will see in return.
There are optimum posting times for Instagram so try and post during these and with a routine. Social Insights and Iconosquare are both tools available to help you find the best times to post for maximum engagement, and both offer analytical tools to guide you.
Another way to gain a larger Instagram presence is to collaborate with another local business or organisation that has already established itself on Instagram. Working together can promote you to their following and expand your audience base.
“Instagram has become the social platform for influencer endorsements. Do research to identify an influencer who shares your product, service, or target audience on Instagram, and build the relationship through engaging, ultimately enquiring about them promoting your business.
You can approach and offer between $20 and $100 they will promote your product or brand to their followers. There are plenty of research tools you can use to target the right influences for the size of their following in set niches, although be aware this must be matched with high levels of engagement of their followers when they post content.” – Alasdair Inglis – Marketing expert in residence at the British Library and We Are Grow.
Be Unique and Stand Out
In order to create an engaging Instagram account, it is essential to stand out from the crowd. So where do you start in terms of generating unique content? Your business likely offers a product, service, or experience that is sold to customers through having a unique selling point and you can use this to attract followers.
The London Helicopter, for example, has unique access to bird’s eye views of the London skyline every day. The company’s USP lies in offering an experience that people want to see something that very few people have. As a visually led platform, Instagram is the perfect place for the company to showcase these unique views of London and share them with their followers.