Are you keen to harness the power of the incredible imagery platform that is Instagram for your business? With the platform growing in leaps and bounds, there can be little wonder. Are you managing an Instagram Platform for your business already? Here’s Zebra 360 Online Marketing’s 5 top things to remember to help you boost your business to total Instagram success.

It’s All About Quality…

It’s very easy to get sucked into a world of strategy to boost your marketing. It’s important to remember that, while a properly constructed, solid marketing plan is an absolute essential part of your engagement with the platform, the quality of the content you are creating is critical too. Always remember that the ‘human factor’ of your posts should ALWAYS be your top priority – is your content interesting and relevant to your audience? Is your message put across in a way that is smooth and accessible for your followers, not just optimised using strategies? If you’re producing quality content, especially on a deeply visual platform like Instagram, then you’re well on your way to successfully boosting your business already.

For Instagram particularly, this means your content should be eye-catching and relevant to your marketing message for your target market. Avoid using too many stock images (users have likely seen them before), be creative with your brand and experiment with using a blend of image types (such as multi-image carousels and 60 second videos with a great cover image) to see what gets the right kind of attention. Ensuring the image has a clear focal point, and using contrast/balance and other ‘traditional’ rules to make images more attractive will help you too! An attractive image pulls people in, and keeps them coming back for more.

… And a Little About Quantity

How often to post on Instagram is a question everyone wants the answer too! Again, you don’t have to be a social media whizz or game the system to use Instagram successfully as a business. You just need to remember a few key facts. The current Instagram algorithm has been the topic of super hot debate recently, as users try to capitalise on the new limits on organic content. Initial visibility has decreased, but some have seen a rise in the length of engagement.

For larger brands, they may opt to post many times a day, ensuring fans see at least some of their posts. We’ve discussed how this affects their engagement below, but don’t worry – it’s not totally necessary to post with the same frequency just to get results! Consistency actually matters more than quantity – don’t start posting at a higher rate than you intend to continue, or it will affect you adversely. An average, realistic amount that many businesses find useful is a single post a day. Start here, and see where it takes you.

Keep Those People Engaged!

The whole point of a well-run Instagram marketing platform is to get that real, valuable engagement, after all. Does a high post rate correlate to lowered engagement, as with several other social media sites? The numbers don’t seem to suggest it – the same multiple-times-a-day posts we mentioned above do seem to keep consistent engagement with fans. At the end of the day, it’s essential to know how people are engaging with you specifically and that can only be done by having solid data to back it up. Consider investing in a quality analytics tool for Instagram, or harness the keen minds of dazzling experienced social media marketers like Zebra 360 Online to help you stay hip, knowledgeable and on track with the times.

Also, Keep It Real

Instagram, in particular, carries an aura of FOMO. Here’s where we go to see perfectly manicured models and celebrities living their best lives. Do you need to aspire to such levels of perfection to make it on Instagram? No – the answer is very much in the opposite direction, in fact. Keeping it real can be a critical part of success on the platform, especially for small, local business. The numbers are important, of course – but detach from them a little too.

Stay true to yourself and your brand identity. Filter the ‘noise’- negative opinions, nay-sayers and prophets of doom – and focus on the core ‘heart’ of what you do. Keep your tone constant, keep the feed flowing and always put that brand back into the pictures’ vine. Here’s a sneaky tip for keeping it as real as possible: a little imperfection here and there puts a human touch to your brand. Harness the power of not being perfect to keep your fans feeling your particular magic.

Don’t Forget the Hashtags!

Clever use of hashtags is what will help you stay visible, especially as a smaller business fighting for visibility on Instagram, so make sure you have a well thought out, killer hashtag strategy. Using trending tags can work – if done sensibly and PLEASE – they needs to have relevance to your brand. Don’t just hop on what’s hot if it’s irrelevant to you – that will be the start of your demise (don’t say we didn’t warn you!). Studies suggest that people find brands using ‘slang’ and hopping on the social bandwagon pretty embarrassing, actually. And, of course, you should always have a solid knowledge of the hashtags relevant to your niche.

Hashtags are a way of ‘filing’ Instagram content – making it searchable and visible to people interested in that subject. Know what your audience is searching for, and what your opposition are doing. Branded hashtags are a great place to start, but think beyond this too. You can even use hashtags to push users to add their own, user-generated content, promoting campaigns for your brand on the way.

Lastly, hashtags should always match the mood and of your images, too, so that they can work synergistically together. Keep it current, and check your strategy every two or so months to make sure that plan is still working for you and adding the value it was designed for.

Knowing how to use Instagram, and digital marketing, for your business needn’t be a minefield, if you have a clear social strategy… and Zebra 360 Online as your partner, of course.9