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Business empowerment is a far broader challenge than it once was. The amount of marketing channels that any business is now expected to capitalise on, be it a multi-national corporation or a small corner store, has grown dramatically over the last decade or two.
The driver of this change has been the internet, and perhaps more specifically social media. Can you really be called a business if you don’t have a website, a Google account, a Facebook page and an Instagram profile? To the youth of today, no, you most certainly cannot.
Instagram is perhaps the most mysterious of these digital marketing channels, in part because of its simplicity. How do you best use a marketing channel that is so limiting?
That’s exactly the question that this blog seeks to answer. So, without further ado, here are five proven ways to empower your business through Instagram.
1. Offer high quality branded content
Images and videos are the foundation of your Instagram existence. Serve up trash and your performance will reflect that. Your content is the reason that people will follow your brand, so be sure to make it enticing. Ideally, you want to either entertain or educate – or indeed do both – with every post.
At the same time, you want to stick to a predefined brand persona – an aesthetic that your followers can associate with your brand. This may be as simple as choosing a particular colour scheme or filter to apply to every post.
2. Incentivise subscription
While the quality of your posts will form the major impetus for people to follow you, why not add a little sugar on top? Holding regular competitions on your Instagram page will add another lure to help get potential followers over the line.
If you’re a business that has a product or service which works as a giveaway then you’re in prime position to capitalise on Instagram competitions. For those who don’t, a more creative approach will need to be taken.
3. Share for share
You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours – on no other social platform do strategic partnerships work quite so well as Instagram. It’s where the hashtag #f4f (follow for follow) began, after all.
Shouting about your brand from the rooftops is one thing, but if people see a supposed third party also up there shouting, you’ll be far more likely to be taken seriously. The difficulty lies in finding a partner that fits. You have to steer away from competitors, and find a brand who you’re also happy to sing the praises of – this is a two-way street of compliments after all. Spotify/Starbucks and Apple/Hermes are great examples of brand partnerships that work.
4. Hire an influencer
Alternatively, you could just pay someone to sing your praises – although it’s far more nuanced than that. Using the services of Instagram influencers is an incredibly popular form of Instagram marketing, and that’s because it works. Whenever you see an Insta celebrity shouting out to a drink company or a watchmaker you can guarantee that it’s a sponsored post, yet the subtlety with which these posts are constructed is such that it goes over the heads of large swathes of that minor celebrity’s followers.
Your best bet is to start small – find an Instagrammer with a few thousand followers who aligns with your brand, and see if they’re open to a subtle shout-out for cold, hard cash.
5. Call your followers to action
The last step to brand empowerment via Instagram is to convert your followers into actual customers. This is by far the most difficult part of the whole exercise, and must be handled with the utmost care. A simple call to action is a great place to start. “Check out our website for our latest deals (link in bio)” or similar should be included in the text of every bit of content you post if you want to ensure that your Instagram efforts aren’t wasted.
The intricacies of Instagram run far deeper than we’ve delved here, but at a base level, these five tips will help to set a solid foundation for your brand on Instagram.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get empowered.