More than 1/3 of the United States uses Instagram, and 80% of those people follow at least one business. In the U.S., people are spending literal hours on social media every day.
Even more than other social networks, Instagram is social and personal; this makes it a powerful tool for increasing brand awareness, reaching and engaging more people, and creating genuine relationships with your audience.
On the other hand, there are also 25 million business accounts, and two million active advertisers.
In other words, if you are using social media for public relations campaigns and it isn’t working as well as it could, you’re actively losing attention to other organizations.
Luckily, the basics of using Instagram successfully aren’t difficult to master, and can quickly get you closer to your PR campaign goals.
Here are 6 Instagram marketing tips to focus on to maximize your impact:
1. Optimize your Instagram profile
Your bio is a chance to introduce yourself quickly – in fact, you only have about two seconds to make your first impression.
You only have 150 characters to work with, so taking the time to make them clear and concise can really make a difference in how compelling that first impression is. Your bio should provide a clear explanation of you and your brand in a way that appeals to your target audience and matches your brand voice.
It’s now possible to add hashtags to your description, which can be a helpful tool: users can find you directly through search terms for hashtags, keywords, your handle, and your brand’s name.
Your bio is also the only place on your account that you can place a clickable link. This is a prime opportunity to drive traffic to your site, campaign-specific content, or other materials off-Instagram.
If you promote various offers and find yourself repeatedly changing the links in your bio, it may be worthwhile to use Linktree or another tool which allows you to quickly add multiple links to your bio.
Finally, make sure that your profile image is a clear, uncut logo which is instantly recognizable in search.
2. Tap into the influencer community
The impact of influencers will depend on your brand and customer base; audience isn’t the same as influence, and it’s important to choose partnerships strategically and with caution.
As many as 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations for their purchasing decisions.
With the potential value of influencer marketing comes the potential for risk, such as influencer fraud, fake influencers, and letting an outsider represent your brand.
In short, influencers can be a powerful tool and are often overlooked by B2B brands who use social media for public relations. It is important to determine if influencer marketing is the right choice and to pick the right influencer for your brand.
3. Promote company culture
Instagram provides a window into the inner life of your company, allowing you to connect on a more personal level.
Stories can give followers an inside look at your company’s culture and people. You can also create company hashtags, depending on your audience and brand voice, for example to create inside jokes or highlight company events.
Employee spotlights and company news are also examples of topics which provide a personal touch and humanize your brand using the unique structure of the story.
4. Brand consistency
Visual consistency is aesthetically appealing, but it also helps make sure that everything you post is immediately recognizable as part of your company.
Simple elements such as color, framing, and font choices can all create a feeling of consistency. Coherence can also mean consistently posting similar image categories on a defined schedule.
Reusing the same hashtags also helps maintain traction and growth over time, especially if the topic is relevant for consumers to use as well.
Finally, your tone should be consistent with your other content marketing efforts and general brand voice. Image descriptions and tags should all stay on-brand.
5. Analyze what’s working
Any social media strategy or PR campaign works best when it can be adjusted over time. Instagram is constantly updating policies regarding likes, reach, and engagement which can all affect best practices overnight.
The basics stay consistent, but success requires being able to figure out which strategies are more effective for your specific industry and audience.
Since Instagram has some built-in analytics, you can also conduct your own analysis to track trends and improve your account’s performance over time.
Answering even simple questions – for example, which type of posts get the most engagement? How does changing the frequency of your post affect your numbers? – and then adjusting accordingly will make a significant difference down the road.
6. Build strong relationships with customers
Instagram is a highly social platform – even more than Facebook. This makes it a great chance to connect with customers on a personal level.
Old-fashioned social interactions are free and can be as effective or even more effective than paid ads.
In fact, an Advertising Bureau study found that 90% of consumers would recommend brands to others in their network after interacting with them personally through social media – that kind of social proof is priceless.
As a general rule, the more you can interact directly with people – through comments, likes, or following them – the better. This doesn’t take much time and ends up being an extremely cost-effective method to expand marketing reach and increase brand awareness.
When people comment on posts or ask questions, follow up – the point is to create a genuine relationship and connection that will support brand awareness and provide social proof.
Want more information or ideas on how to use Instagram for marketing and public relations?
Burrelles provides a full range of PR services to help you take charge of your media relations at every stage. Contact us to learn more.
Have you found Instagram to be an effective tool for your brand? If not, what challenges have you faced? Are there additional Instagram marketing tips you think make it more useful for marketing and PR? We’d love to know what you think!