How do you optimize your Instagram channel if you are not a big name brand like Kylie Jenner, Shake Shack, or AirBnb?
It might help to emulate the way they run their feeds. Or not.
With Instagram’s explosive growth, brands are finding it more challenging than ever to get the celebrity-like attention that once came so effortlessly.
Bye-bye, nice and easy Instagram.
Hello, Facebook-owned and operated Instagram.
Success on Instagram requires more than random photos, quick filters, a few hashtags, and an emoji or two. While those items still count, we are now dealing with a more competitive landscape with Instagram’s rise from 500 million users to 800 million users in the past year.
The bottom line is your brand’s attention should be on the Instagram intention now more than ever if you want to get discovered by your audience.
1. Buyer Personas Swipe Right
Marketing savvy brands are “Virtual BFFs” with their audience. They know their favorite haunts, likes, hates, styles, and even the best times they are hanging out on Instagram.
Smart brands are feeding each buyer persona the doses of addictive content they are craving for when they need it most.
The romancing never stops.
Your buyer personas are loved, cherished, and swooned with the content they gave you at the first like and when they committed with the follow.
A well thought out group of buyer personas is the first step in optimizing for any social network including Instagram. This results in the difference between you having to find your audience and your audience finding you.
“Buyer personas are a critical step in reaching your audience through social media,” said best selling author David Meerman Scott. “This is often a skipped step by brands rushing to get quick results and not taking time to research and develop the needs and wants of the audience.”
So, you have your buyer personas and Instagram account, now what?
2. No Name Games on Instagram
Gone are the AOL days when it was cool to be mysterious or creative with your name.
Today its mission critical to use your actual personal or business brand name.
Your username is one of the few searchable items in Instagram.
3. Perfect Profile Images
You want brand recognition right? This is where you want to use a very recognizable image visually representing your brand.
Logos are best for a business brand’s profile image. The trick can be in fitting a horizontal logo into a 110 x 110 round image.
For example, Social Fresh took its horizontal logo and converted it into a social media friendly version that pops in the Instagram feed:
4. Savvy Instagram Stories
Just a little over a year since its debut, Instagram Stories feature is being used by more than 250 million users and is rivaling Snapchat.
Give your brand more visibility by using Stories and adding location or hashtag.
Your account will show up as new “rings” at the top of the Explore feed. Your audience will see Stories taking place near a physical location (e.g., “Orlando”) by hashtag.
Stories shared by public accounts may appear in Search & Explore.
If you’ve added a hashtag, location or location-based sticker to your story, it may also appear on hashtag or location pages, according to Instagram.
5. Link Love
First comes like, then comes link love.
Unlike most other social networks, links are limited on Instagram. Depending on how many followers you have there are two options for clickable links:
- In your Instagram bio.
- As part of your daily Stories (if you have more than 10,000 followers).
Rather than insert the obvious home page link to your website or blog to your bio, optimize your user experience and offer a link that leads to something of value to your audience.
A free ebook, webinar, consultation, recipe, or guide is a nice introduction to new followers.
“Give them some champagne for coming to your profile and following you,” said fashion stylist and Instagram pro Hilary Rushford.
The link in your bio is your chance for romance to convert your follower and collect an email address in exchange for your “free glass of bubbly” (a.k.a., your giveaway)!
Paleo Hacks, a brand dedicated to the paleo lifestyle including recipes, gives away a free Paleo beginners guide in their bio link. With more than 56,000 followers, Paleo Hacks is eligible for links in Stories and an opportunity to convert Instagram followers to customers. They share step-by-step recipes in their daily story ending with a link to the actual downloadable recipe.
Boosting your brand on Instagram to superstardom status isn’t impossible. Today, it just takes more of a strategic focus on optimization to rise to the top.
More Instagram Resources Here:
- 4 Instagram Marketing Ideas for Higher Engagement & More Followers
- 5 Instagram Tools to Boost Your E-Commerce Sales
- 4 Simple Tips to Get Traffic From Instagram to Your Website
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!