Instagram is growing at an exponential rate. In fact, since its inception, it has dwarfed every other social media platform except its parent, Facebook.
However, as with every other social media platform, this too has some traits unique to itself.
For example, most Instagram users come from outside the US. Also, Instagram is widely adopted below the age of 30. Add to that, teenagers love the platform and are most active on it and you will find that this is a very vital platform for your website to capitalize on.
And for very good reason too.
Why Use Instagram For Your Business or Website
In the current modern world of, not only interactive media but more specifically social media, Instagram is a necessity to your brand and your website is an integral part of the brand. A social media presence is very important in establishing yourself as credible, professional, relevant and accessible. An important aspect of branding is to keep consistency throughout your channels, and for each channel to deliver your message in a different way.
Instagram has around a billion users who engage with brands 84 times more than that on Twitter and 10 times more than that on Facebook.
This makes ultra-sense for you to capture this opportunity and brand your blog and business up here.
Social media trends are changing fast. What worked yesterday may not work now. People thought LinkedIn would overtake Twitter. It didn’t. Twitter suddenly bounced back and while it still may be worthwhile to try to focus on Twitter of Facebook, as their CTR is higher than Instagram, Instagram provides a benefit which the others don’t – and that is branding.
It is the visual extension of your brand and if you do it right, then your biz shall be on the path to success. In fact, if your business or website sells material products it would be a fatal mistake not to cement a brand for yourself at Instagram early on.
But how do you do it?
It may seem difficult but actually is not, which is why, I reached out to several Instagram influencers and marketers who have branded or helped in branding their web business on Instagram.
#1. Think Of Your Blog Or Website Or Social Media Account As Your Business
Simple. Your ultimate goal isn’t to be on Instagram. Your ultimate goal isn’t to gather followers for your Instagram account.
Don’t get me wrong. Having more followers is never a bad thing but your ultimate goal should be to brand yourself on Instagram and get die-hard followers who actually interact with your posts. Because, just about anyone can buy thousands of fake followers from bots in the Internet. Wouldn’t it seem odd if a person with thousands of followers has around 30 likes in each of his posts?
And, you should be able to convert these followers into helping you make money in the long run.
#2. Get Followers (Duh!)
Yeah! Yeah! I get it. This is the part you all waited for.
After all, you need an audience if you want branding in the first place. And that’s why you need followers. There are a ton of advice on the internet on how to get more followers on Instagram. Great sites to look at for info on this are NeilPatel.com, WordStream and the Hootsuite blog among other key websites.
However, I find most of the tips on the Internet to be generic and time-consuming. As such, I created this post on getting more Instagram followers using codes in just 5 minutes a day.
It contains methods wherein you can just use some codes which automate your Instagram account to like posts containing certain hashtags around your niche. It works pretty much like bots except that it is safer and free and also helps you build real followers who interact with your posts.
Try it – It’s dang awesome!
In fact, Lilach also has a similar post on her site where she shows how you can use a tool called Combin to automate liking, commenting and sharing others’ posts on Instagram. While I haven’t tried it yet, it does sound really cool. Here’s the article. Go and check it out.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can reach out to other Instagram influencers for a shoutout but I recommend doing that after you have generated at least a thousand followers, which shouldn’t be a big thing if you follow the above-mentioned post.
#3. Treat Your Instagram Account Like A Community Hub
Jay of Kettlebell Kings having the Insta account – @kettlebellkings with a follower count of around 100k showcases customer-submitted Instagram photos on our home page and product pages. They have made it a major emphasis of their brand from the beginning to build around their community of customers and users.
Part of their branding is the community aspect and sharing of our customer workouts and successes with their product. This is evident all over their Instagram account in which they repost customers and thank them for sharing so that when someone visits their website they see more of the community aspect of sharing their community base using their product with authentic captions by those customers themselves on their own posts. This builds a ton of trust and shows that they are not afraid to put their product out there. Add to it the fact that people love their posts being shared and that creates a ton of engagement as well.
#4. Keep It Real, Unique And Consistent
Leanne Wei of HoneyandVelvet.com thinks of Instagram as a micro-blogging platform and that as a vital extension of your brand, in order to create brand awareness, you should connect with your audience and tell visual stories. You can use IG to give sneak peeks of new products and content, announce exciting news and show previews of articles and events.
You have complete control over how you want to shape your visual identity and voice. Having a distinct and consistent brand presence on Instagram is vital to stand out in the oversaturated space today. Do it well, and you will cultivate a loyal following of customers, readers and communities that will reap your rewards by the tenfold and create long term organic growth.
Talking about, being unique and consistent in order to develop brand awareness, I guess I shouldn’t miss out on Crissy Bogusz (http://www.crissybogusz.com/), designer and Motion Graphics Artist for Vogue International’s Snapchat Discover channel, for British Vogue and Vogue Paris.
Here’s what she has to say-
At Vogue International we have individual websites for all of the Vogue markets around the world (Paris, Japan, Britain, Germany, etc) and each reflects the unique features of each of those magazines but there is a consistent style within design, content and the way those are delivered which gives users confidence that Vogue is a brand and oversees all of the markets.
But we have a new instagram channel to depict Vogue International as one separate entity, the channel reflects the ethos of Vogue International, which is a sense of community, diversity and inspiration. For this particular channel we have utilised the instagram platform for what it does best – bringing people together, highlighting important and interesting stories, engaging the user with the content directly.
We are not selling magazines with this channel, we are not needing to attract new users to the website, what we’re doing here is engaging an audience in a different way – which is what you should be thinking about when creating your social media channels, – asking yourself: what kind of people uses this platform? What do they use it for? How can we become part of that world for them? After you have established your place on a certain platform then think about how to best represent yourself up there visually – with your core brand identity.
The more you can reach audiences in a relevant way on social platforms, the more interest in your brand will be created and drive people to your website.
#5. Creating the Feel of Your Brand
Riz of Chocolates and Chai, (Insta account – @yamisohungry) believes that Instagram can be fantastic branding whether it be about cementing a brand’s already established identity or by using Instagram to establish a brand’s identity and culture. As a mostly visual medium Instagram is a great tool for demonstrating the “feel” of a brand.
However, he warns that if the brand website has no real online presence, Instagram alone is unlikely to change that as it is not traditionally a strong driver of organic traffic.
Post stories with swipe-ups – Utilizing this feature of stories on Instagram is a great way to promote your blog posts on Instagram. Candice (Insta account – @jadoredetroit) of J’adore Detroit (French for, I love Detroit) advises to share photos surrounding events you’re writing about. People love a well-crafted Instagram post. After editing a photo perfectly and coming up with a witty caption, you can link to your website on the bottom so that your followers can read more about what you’re posting. They’ll be intrigued by a gorgeous photo, and want to hear what you have to say about it.
Follow other influencers or simply some of those who simply follow you! This creates interest, causing the other account to check out your Instagram page. If they like what they see, and you have a website link in your bio, they’re more than likely to check out your other content as well. Exposure is key for promotion, and giving others that follow is a great way for them to learn more about you as well.
Kenny of Giant Squid Creative (Insta – @doughnut_time) considers that an eye-catching (“thumb-stopping”) brand will get noticed on Instagram given it’s visual nature. A strong cohesive voice and instagram strategy will help a brand to grow organically. Instagram is the new “word of mouth” for your eyes.
Here’s how he advises you to go about it –
In terms of “Instagram strategy”, a brand can just post pictures of their product, or food, in the case of my clients and that’s fine and will keep the brand in the minds of their customers, but it doesn’t actually grow a brand. Having an instagram strategy involves a cohesive brand voice, and partnering with influencers to spread the word about your product. It can be as simple as sending them a free product and hoping they like it and mention it (organic influence) to paying someone to promote it in an ad.
Maxine of Next Level SEM (http://www.nextlevelsem.com/) considers utilizing IG Stories as a good behind-the-scenes tool. However keep those real so as to show the humanity behind a brand. Include a link in bio (should always be a business account). Bio should utilize keywords, hashtags, and give a good, short explanation of your brand. For blogs, share an image on IG everytime you publish a new article. And on your IG post quote the article, or summarize it (treat like a very mini blog post) and reference the link in your bio to continue reading. (extra tip: can do this in your IG stories as well, and utilize the swipe up feature).
Also, don’t forget to use Instagram Live as it is a great tool in order to interact with your audience. Answer some questions from your followers and show some stuff that you are working on. It’s a great way to build a trust for your brand among your audience as well as to give a humane feeling to your biz.
Jomel Alos of Spiralytics (https://www.spiralytics.com/) also suggests using live Q&A’s to brand yourself as an expert in your niche. Apart from proving your knowledge on the subject, you will have a more personal interaction with your audience. Create posts on both your blog and Instagram account to announce the schedules of your live Q&A so that more people will tune in.
#6. Use The Classic Old Influencer Marketing Strategy
Brandon Chopp of iHeartRaves (Insta account – @iheartraves) has used influencers to grow their Instagram follower base as well as boost sales and create a solid branding for their business. Here’s what he has to say –
Our target audience includes fashion oriented people who attend music festivals and enjoy electronic dance music. We engage in influencer marketing in a variety of ways. We find popular accounts who meet our criteria for selection, and we start a conversation to gauge whether or not it’s a good fit.
Often times, we will send one of our products to an influencer for free, in exchange for an honest review that is posted to their blog or social media followers. In the case of Instagram, this leads to a ton of new followers for us, as well as sales.
For us, the most important element of an influencer package aside from cultural fit is the overall reach of their blog or social media accounts.
We measure our return on investment based on the number of new followers we receive, the number of impressions we receive, how much referral traffic we get, and of course – how many sales come as a result of the campaign.
#7. Giveaways and Freebies for List Building
Everybody likes free things. And what’s better than giving away free stuff in order to build your following? Well the answer is giving away free stuff to build your email list.
And the stuff that I am going to share with you here won’t even cost you a penny. All you got to do is create a sort of exclusive PDF or program or podcast series surrounding a post that you made recently that contains some exclusive additional information and create a giveaway at Instagram.
Alex of Unstung Media (Insta account – @unstungmedia) says – “Drive traffic to your website and collect emails by offering a free guide or PDF to your followers on Instagram, and telling them to click the link in your bio to get the free PDF.
-Post interesting excerpts from your blogs to on your Instagram and tell your followers to click the link in your bio to read the full blog.
-Provide your followers with valuable content through Instagram, and create a library of all your content on your website.”
Wrapping it Up
Sometime back, I had read this quote – “SEO is for bringing in an audience and Social Media is for retaining them”.
I don’t quite remember where I read this quote from but it stuck with me. Although there are quite a few geniuses who make it through social media but this quote applies to all bloggers and website owners at large. As such, branding is an essence to your biz – whether it is a blog or website or social selling platform.
Your goal should be to keep your audience at your social media platforms including Instagram. And therefore, I suggest embedding your Instagram posts on your blog or website or asking your audience to give you a follow up here. And when they are there use the above mentioned tactics to rocket your follower count, branding, traffic and sales!
Now it’s your turn. Share your thoughts down in the comments and if you have any queries share it too! Also, if you liked this article, give it some social media love!
About the author:
Adhip’s the founder of WinSavvy where he shares lots of cool stuff trying to make you a better entrepreneur and boost your marketing skills as well as take your startup to the next level! He has been featured in several cool websites such as Addicted2Success, Hubspot, FitSmallBusiness and Manta. Subscribe to his blog to receive the best of his content at your fingertips!