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For any small business or new brand, Instagram can become a very important part of your overall marketing strategy. At this point, nearly every industry has its share of Instagram influencers, and if you can tap into this active community, it can be solid gold for your brand. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to make Instagram marketing work for your brand.
#1: Use hashtags
The conventional wisdom now is that hashtags are more important than captions. So, next to the images you are posting, the single most important thing to keep in mind are the hashtags. In fact, feel free to use as many as 10 hashtags per photo. Some of them can be general hashtags (e.g. #love or #tbt), while others can be brand-specific.
#2: Post at least one time per day
If you are going to use Instagram effectively, you will need to commit to it. That means posting at least one time per day. And, in fact, some studies now show that the optimal frequency for posting is 1.5 times per day, so you can interpret that to mean that even posting 2 times per day could be effective. It really all depends on engagement – if your first photo of the day does well, why not try a second?
#3: Become part of the Instagram community
Remember – Instagram is a social network, not just a place for you to post gorgeous photos of your products. That means you need to treat it like a community and make an effort to become part of it. If people follow you on Instagram, follow them back. Comment on other photos in your Instagram feed. And become aware of trends as they appear on Instagram, so that you can get in front of them.
#4: Use Instagram tools to track your success
Just like any other social network, Instagram has a variety of tools that brands and small business owners can use to track success. For example, some of the favorite tools are Piquora, Iconosquare (formerly known as Statigr.am), Gramfeed and Keyhole. These tools can be used to track engagement, as well as to find photos of key influencers in your industry.
#5: Create Instagram Stories
While posting the daily photo is a great way to get started on Instagram, you should also be aware of all the new additions to Instagram over the past 18 months – including Instagram Stories, where you can curate several photos and videos into a story. This helps you to create simple “day in the life” narratives for your brand, which can be very useful any time you host a major event (such as a new store grand opening, or a special product demo).
To get the most out of Instagram, quality is better than quantity. You’re not going to have a lot of success if you try to blast out several images a day, without any thought to how they impact your overall brand identity. Instead, spend time to get one perfect photo, add a few hashtags, and be ready to reply to any comments or questions that people might leave on your new photo. That will set you up for success on Instagram over the long term.