Instagram has been revolutionizing the way people perceive marketing. It is a robust social networking platform that has been taking the marketing privileges away from the press and ad companies. It is once again reinforcing the old school direct communication process. Instagram celebrities, models and influencers can reach out to their own followers directly. Big brands and even small ones are in charge of their own brand image. They do not necessarily need ad agencies and brand building services to monitor their social image.
Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner and Kendal Jenner are glowing examples of this process. They make millions of dollars each year thanks to their social presence and their millions of followers for Instagram, who buy their endorsed products. They are a few of the strongest influencers on social media, whom almost all makeup, beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands love. Gigi and all other have successful modeling careers outside Instagram, but they are more popular on social media that they are on the ramps.
How to reach out to a bigger and stronger audience?
The secret is a common one – create unique and exciting content. Include high-quality photos along with CTAs. Entice your followers and urge them to participate. It does not matter if you do not have a professional photographer or a huge photography budget. Check out indie brands on Instagram. Some of them are niche and yet they have over 10,000 followers. The number of active followers depends on the content and quality. Use the right angles, correct combination of light and shadow. Use square pictures and add filters which fare better for business accounts. Do your research before you start posting from your official business account.
iOS or Android?
Some businesses ask us which is better for Instagram marketing. Honestly, it does not matter. It simply depends on the resolution of your images. Your phone should have a good quality camera, which produces clear photos. No one wants to see grainy photos on his or her tablets or phones. Brands with unimpressive pictures and clashing aesthetics are unlikely to provide satisfactory service, or that is what most potential customers on Instagram think. There are a few micro-variations between the Instagram app versions for iOS and Android, but the changes are very minute. You can use any device you are more comfortable with.
How to monetize your account?
Monetizing your Instagram account is critical if you want to establish your market. Start with a new email id. It will keep your Instagram business account safe from phishing attacks. Link your account to your mobile phone number and connect your account to your Facebook business account as well. Bio is the only place you can add a link, so you can go ahead and add a shortened version of your website URL or add a link to your contact forms. Just keep the actual bio information short, sweet and exciting. Refrain from using emojis, unless you are thinking about reaching out to kids! Use target keywords in the bio to attract relevant traffic. Most importantly, to make money out of your Instagram account, keep it public.
How to post a picture?
Posting a picture is quite simple, or at least it should be. That is why we always suggest resizing tools for Instagram. Ideal photos should be square with a 1080 px width. If your image is below 320 px wide, the software will stretch your image to fit the limit. If the picture is large, Instagram will automatically shrink it down. Therefore, you need to be careful about your image size and your pixel resolutions before you can make an image official. The easiest way to conform to these dimensions is to start with a picture that is above 1080 px in width. Then keeping the proportions constant, resize it to supported dimensions using any resizing tool you like. You can also use Adobe Photoshop if you are more comfortable with it.
How to pick images?
Always choose images that reflect your brand. If you do not have the budget for a model, you do not need one. Start with still-life fashion or lifestyle photography. Currently, it is one of the most popular campaign techniques for fashion brands. Even models are posting well-composed pictures of their daily cosmetics, daily food or drinks and outfit assemblies rather than posing and pouting.
Never use a stock image to fill in for unique content. If you do not have enough content or enough budget, you might as well start to gather user-generated content, and you can start photo contests and hashtag contests to gain fresh content. It is a smart way to gain new insights and new material for new campaigns.
You can also find influencer images enticing. In that case, you will need to obtain permission from the particular influencer to use their images. You can send a direct message on Instagram or reach out to them via comments and personal emails. As long as you mention the original poster’s name, you can add watermarks and brand name to these images. However, never use pictures that someone else posted. You might face copyright infringement cases.
Hashtags and tags
Hashtags are when you use the “#” to describe the theme of an image. They work as keywords on Instagram. So always make sure to do your research on hashtags before you start your marketing campaign. You can use free hashtagging tools to understand the concept and trends of hashtagging. For example – the top hashtags of 2017 include #OOTD, #instafashion, #fashionista, #streetstyle, #instastyle, #fashionblogger, #vintage, #fashiondiaries, #streetfashion, #wiwt and hundreds more!
Tagging people on Instagram is quite similar to tagging people on Facebook. If you want new users and followers to notice a new photo, simply tag them to your new post. Tag accounts that show tags publicly. Once you tag these accounts, their followers will be able to notice your activities as well.
When you start Instagram from scratch, always start with at least 1-2 photos per day. You can stock up 40-45 photos in 3-4 days and schedule your posts in advance. That is the smarter way to save time and energy. Use Hootsuite and Latergram to schedule photos and stories. Do not forget to check your follower activities by using SocialRank or Hootsuite like tools.
Harris is a leading blog writer and content marketing professional with thousands of real Instagram followers for his postings.