#AskMeAnything Series – Branding With Instagram

In my last #AskMeAnything Series, I talked about travel, social media, email marketing and ice hockey. I chose these topics because they are some of the many things I have deep interest and understanding in. Since the session went well, I decided to host my second AMA event. This time, I wanted the session to focus on a very specific topic, so I asked friends and family what the next topic should be about, and the response I got was moving towards branding.

Ding ding ding! When I created yasminuurya.co I had plans to share this blog on my favourite social media platforms but there was always one that I’m particularly fond of – Instagram.

This week’s #AskMeAnything Series topic is Branding with Instagram. (Note: You may find one or two questions about content marketing for this blog, which I’m hoping could be useful to you too.)

Here are the highlights:

Cory Reed – How exactly does Instagram work that it helps businesses improve and expand their spread?

Since I started using Instagram, I’ve tried different ways to reach out to the right audience in my market niche. In my case, I wanted people to read my stuff on my blog and it was a no-brainer to use Instagram because the platform is driven by images and I had lots and lots of images. The tips I’m about to share are also tips I use to help my clients grow their brand on Instagram.

1. Post Images Daily. Say your goal is to introduce to your audience a new product. Your post can be in a form of typography or text designs or a really good picture of the product. To entice audience upon a discovery they’ve made on your product, its always best when your pictures are of good quality.

2. Caption Quality. If there’s an early bird promo, be sure to spell it out in the caption – creatively. Having a caption that speaks to an audience on Instagram is what entices people to dig deeper into your stuff. They’ll want to find out more details from your website or even DM you for a quick enquiry. (Be sure to be responsive). It’s got to be easy to read too. Instagram caption area is not exactly paragraph sensitive, so anything you write straight in Instagram will turn out to be clustered or rather crowded. Using your phone’s note app to write your caption and then copy and paste on to Instagram always works.

3. Posts Scheduling. Timing is everything. Instagram provides insights on each image you post. It tells you the number of impressions per post, it tells you gender and age distribution of your followers, location of your followers and average times your followers are on Instagram on a typical day. While the information can be useful, it may not be as accurate. You’ve got to be willing to test out your post timing every now and then to see what time of the day works best for your account. Alternatively, tools like Crowdfire, Schedugram and Sprout Social can help you work your Instagram efficiently.

4. Hashtag Strategy. Instagram’s algorithms can work like magic for your brand if you know how to use it. Choosing a random hashtag with millions of posts is not enough. Knowing how many hashtags you need to use, arranging them in the right order according to how many post each hashtag has and literally scrutinizing who on Instagram are using the hashtags could be a game changer when you want to expand your brand’s reach.  Tools like Websta helps you analyze your Instagram community and find potential fans. What’s neat about this tool is that you’re able to have access to hashtag ranking. Tagboard is another cool tool. It uses hashtags to search and collect public social media within seconds of posting on Instagram.

5. Engagement. So just because you’ve posted an image at the best time, with quality captions and quality hashtags, the right people may still not find your brand. After posting use the hashtags to find users that are in similar market niche. The people who like, comment and follow their Instagram account, are likely to follow, like and comment on your Instagram too. It makes sense for them to do so because you’re brand is selling similar products of your competitors.  So go ahead and follow away, like it and comment already!

 

RPrice – What are the pre-requisites for opening an account on Instagram?

Before opening an account, be sure you know what your market niche is. Are you in travel, fashion, sports, fitness, home design, beauty?

Think of an Instagram name that is both unique to your brand and if possible one that is simple to pronounce. You’ll want people to remember your brand forever.

Upon signing up, set your account to connect to other social media platform you own. You’ll want to spread the news about what you’ve posted on Instagram to other platforms where followers who are not on Instagram could be.

Be mindful of what you post daily. Every post must have a purpose and if your brand is selling a product, posting images with a straight forward message about the product is always good. It doesn’t have to only be about your product, it can also be about your lovely customers or a short tutorial video of how to use your product.

If your brand is already on other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, its also good to introduce your existing followers to your new Instagram account. Post a Facebook ad about your new Instagram or tweet about it on Twitter. Chances are your existing followers will become your new Instagram followers too.

 

Gregory Le – How does Instagram compare to promoting business via Twitter or Facebook?

Instagram is all about discovery and images rule this platform. In my previous AMA event, I talked about how Instagram is one of the world’s fastest growing social media platform. There are 600 million users on Instagram worldwide and on top of that 85% of the world’s biggest brands are on Instagram. With just one single still image post, you have endless supplies of people looking and scrolling by the second through hashtag feeds for some kind of confidence that “this is the product I’m looking for and want to get”.

Posting images on Facebook is ok. But the picture won’t appeal the same way it does on Instagram. With Facebook, its all about insightful content. Content that is useful and gives potential customers more clarity towards your business. I’m not saying that your images on Instagram are not useful, your images are useful and are just as important because it confirms how your product really looks like. Whereas Facebook, it can further validate your awesome pictures on Instagram with how-to articles, videos, articles about your brand’s top products or content on anything related to your market niche.

Twitter on the other hand is about little snippets of daily announcements. It’s a quick way for people to grab on information and eventually proceed to a website or Facebook page to find out more about your brand.

 

Hensley Mark – Are there any age restrictions at Instagram to prevent undue exposure of underage people to content not suitable for them?

Instagram has an age restriction. Any kids 13 years old and below are not allowed to open an Instagram account. But that doesn’t mean they can’t open one. Some kids open an account with their parents permission and some may even register with false birth dates.

While Instagram has privacy and blocking features that can help prevent unwanted strangers reaching out to your kids, it’s probably not enough to prevent them from being exposed to unsuitable content. It’s not hard to use Instagram’s explore feature and hashtags. Kids can easily find images from these features.

If parents allow their kids to use Instagram (or find out that they are using it), there has to be a set of strict rules and guidelines for them in order to protect their safety, reputation and inappropriate communications with strangers.

Here are some possible rules and guidelines parents can use with kids:

1. Set account privacy setting. This way anyone who wants to follow your kids account, will need approval.

2. Talk to them about posting images. Tell them to think before they post.

3. Advise them to call out on cyberbullying.

4. Be respectful.

5. Discuss with them the different ways that a stranger could come accross as harmful and dangerous.

Read Instagram tips for parents. These tips could lower the of kids being exposed to unsuitable content.

 

Thansen – How does Instagram help you grow your travel blog or spread its word?

I use Instagram to provide a snippet or a summary of the latest travel blog posts. Its a great way to inform people that they can click on the link in my bio to view the full version. Along with quality caption and relevant hashtags, Instagram helps target potential audience who could be interested in reading my stuff.

The work doesn’t just stop at posting. Engagement with followers and other users within a few minutes after posting is probably the most crucial step to making sure my latest post is known and visible.

Within those few minutes, users are scrolling through tonnes of other posts in the same hashtag I included in my post, and in that time I want to rank in the top three post in all my hashtags to increase the chances of people tapping my post first. It’s all about timing with Instagram.

 

Micheal – What are the advantages of using Instagram for business use as compared to traditional business tools?

Speed. Instagram is about discovery. People use Instagram to share everything i.e. what they eat, where they bought that t-shirt or where they took that epic mountain view. Then you have fitness junkies or yoga trainers striking a pose and snapping selfies for leg days. It seems that the majority of the world population are on Instagram and finding out about each other’s daily routines at the tip of their finger by the second. Being on Instagram is a 24/7 phenomenon.

If brands are seeking to grow their audience, being in front of an Instagram user’s face – fast while on the go, is what sets your product and services ahead of your competitors. You want your brand to be the first thing a person thinks of and there’s no better way than to leverage on Instagram’s user behaviour.

Traditionally, brands would run ads on tv, radio, bilboards and news papers. While these traditional business tools are widely used today, they are not nearly as speedy as Instagram or other social media platforms. To see an ad on a tv, a person would have to watch tv and will only probably get to see your ad after 3 or 4 other adverts. Technically, your brand lost to those other ads already.

By the time your ad appears, viewers might take a break and go to the kitchen to make themselves a peanut butter sandwich, or even look to their phone to see if their latest post on Instagram reached 300 likes.

Its the same with radio, bilboard and news paper ads. Using these tools for your product and brand takes time to reach your targeted audience.

 

TBrown – How do you support or promote products when Instagram uses pictures and a caption to spread work?

Today Instagram is not just restricted to pictures and caption. You can now use Instagram stories and it’s live video features to promote and support products. Use a teaser video to intoduce people of your newly launched line of mobile accessories or your new line of beauty products.

With Instagram story, you can even capture snippets of daily behind-the-scenes of how you make and produce your cool muscle tees or how you bake that red velvet muffin. And when you share these stories, you can even add a link of your websites and tag a customer who’s actually bought and use your products.

Then there’s the Instagram business ad tool. Run weekly single ads where Instagram allows businesses to set the ads with a “learn more” button or “email” button so people can easily find information on your product.

Pictures and captions will always be the heart of Instagram. The more quality image you have and with strategic daily posts, your work can definitely spread to the right audience.

 

Ryan Barr – What should a person do to attract the maximum number of visitors to their blog and increase site visits?

The most common challenge in content marketing is a writer’s block. To break through it, simply write about the problems facing your target customers. This means your content should be able to provide insights they care about.

In my case I write about anything related to travel. I also right about travel insurance and how people can find the right travel insurance to buy. Truthfully, people don’t really like insurance in general and I don’t blame them because, they don’t really know an awful lot about it either. The only way for me to change that is by educating them and providing insightful articles about travel insurance. In doing so, they will always remember to return to my travel blog anytime they need information about travel insurance.

Same with e-commerce brands or any other brand really. A blog section in your website should be the driving force to attract site visitors.

Take OKCupid for example, when they were trying to figure out a way to attract visitors to their site, they hired a PR company to rave about interesting stories based on OKCupid’s data – stories such as how higher gas prices lead to lower willingness to meet potential matches or how women found Eli Manning more attractive than Tom Brady. It didn’t work in a PR manner.

They found that it worked better when they presented these stories on their own blog and then pitching them to media afterwards. It was way more effective by keeping these kinds of stories in house.

Before they focused on content marketing using their blog, they were pretty much relying on SEO and viral marketing to gain traction. For them it worked – for a while. But it wasn’t untill they started creating content with their blog that their site traction improved.

To recap, think of creating strong content and having a blog on your site to improve traction. Then again this is no short-cut. For some brands, this may improve site traction fast but for others it may not work. At the end of the day you have to be willing to put in the work with some trial and error in the process.

 

Instagram is always testing out different things. Just recently Instagram plans to bring transparency to influencers and brand content deals with some pretty neat set of tools. The first tool they’re planning to roll out is what they call ‘paid partnership’ tag. It’s definitely something that brands should lookout for. As these changes happen, brands should not be discouraged, infact you’ve got to be willing to make some tweaks to your content strategy in order to take full advantage of Instagram.

Is your brand on instagram? If so, what has worked for you?

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