How to: Be on Top of your Instagram Game

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Instagram has become a playground for consumers, influencers, and brands alike. It’s a perfect storyboard for visualizing your brand, your daily life, and the passion points individuals have. It allows one to engage with others through a visual digital scope – and I for one love it myself. Sometimes it’s easier to capture a picture that tells more than words could describe. And it doesn’t hurt that people are more likely to share an image that grasps their attention than an article they just skim. So your brand has decided to join the land of images, but now what?

Instead of me continuing to tell you how awesome it is, and how it can benefit your brand, let’s break it down into an actionable checklist you can take away and reference as you move forward…

What you need to get started:

  • A strategy that folds up under your social content strategy overall and works with your other social channels
  • About a dozen or so photos to get started with with a cadence on how you’ll distribute
  • A profile photo and quick summary bio (including a link to where you’d like to drive your instagram audience – is your website? blog?)
  • Cross promotion across your other social channels, so people know your brand exists on instagram

Quick tactics that help your brand get embraced by the instagram community:

  • Research hashtags being used by your audience, competitive brands, and those with the passion points you are trying to reach
  • Unlike Twitter where hashtags are kept at a minimum, it’s ok to use a few more here (especially in the beginning when you’re still trying to gain traction)
  • Keep note of daily and weekly hashtags that occur that are connected to your brand and campaigns (ex. #throwbackthursday, #traveltuesday, #fashionfriday)
  • Like and comment on consumer / influencer photos
  • Reply to comments on your photos
  • Avoid filters and make your photos professional and appealing (photos that include the color blue, are more likely to be looked at and liked).

The ways you can use instagram:

  • Give sneaks peeks into new product lines
  • Show event photos
  • Behind the scenes action
  • Tell a story around a campaign
  • Allow an influencer to take over your instagram account for a day
  • Have a contest and do a fun giveaway
  • Integrate within your website and blog for more exposure of the content

The things you may not know, but should:

  • The ultimate compliment on instagram is a regram of another’s photo
  • As a brand you may want to ask permission first and you can through direct message if you prefer to do it privately
  • Links in comments are not clickable, so make sure to put the most important one you’re driving to in your bio
  • If you’re trying to sell retail through your instagram, consider style tools that help youmonetize your brand on instagram

Bonus:

  • My number one tip for almost all social channels – be human. Have fun. And see where the community takes you.

Note – I focused mostly on images here, but videos are a great way to use your Instagram account too. Sprinkle them in, but don’t make them every post, as Instagram is definitely more of a photo channel first and foremost. Have questions on how to get started or optimize your instagram as you move forward? Reach out in the comments below!

p.s. I instagram everyday because I’m a bit of an #instageek.

Image source: Nordstrom Instagram

 This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.

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