Instagram is one of the, if not the most, popular social media channel at the moment. So, the two vital questions all small businesses should ask themselves are – whether you are making the most of it and whether you have properly engaged your target audience on Instagram? Addressing the proposition that Instagram is the best social platform for businesses, Rohit Fernandes, Senior Software Engineer at Google explains, “After the Instagram acquisition by Facebook, the program has been developed to target and attract more people on mobile devices. This is due to a better User Interface which makes your posts more easily accessible and allows for better engagement through its features.” Fernandes also added, “The right kind of posts will enable your business to define the market that you require to reach out to and this enables better engagement and cognition.”
Forrester considers Instagram the “King of Social Engagement” as it accounts for 58 times more engagement than Facebook and 120 times more than Twitter. Nielsen’s Brand Effect Norms suggests that Instagram has a 2.9x higher recall value than other forms of online advertising. Therefore, it is essential that you build a strategy for your brand to share the right kinds of posts.
To develop the right strategy, you must be able to tell a visual story. Instagram allows one minute video which has a greater functionality than the now-defunct Vine’s 6.5-second videos. Video is reaching its peak and your small business must make the most of it on your social media channels. Your small business should use this medium to drive traffic to your website and generate leads. Research by Buffer found that 30% of marketers were projecting increased budgets for Facebook Live Video. With the introduction of live video on Instagram, we can expect a rise in marketing spends here as well.
With Instagram Stories, your small business can loop photos of the last 24 hours of photos and videos into a short 10-second slideshow which users can fast-forward to get a quick view. Your small business’ Instagram Stories will appear on the top row of the main feed.
So, how do you get started? Use your smartphone’s camera app to take richer images and then upload it to the Instagram app using the filters and image composition. Use the photo capturing techniques like:
- Rule of Thirds: Divide your image into two imaginary horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines and capture your picture slightly off centre
- The Golden Ratio Rule: Use the Golden Ratio to roughly approximate an irrational number of 1.618 that includes Sweet Spots. By this, we understand that your picture must focus and intersect on spots along the gridlines to enhance the image composition
- Rule of Odds: This rule ensures that your image consists of an odd number of objects that are appealing and pleasing to the eye. You must visualise and organise these objects into pairs to remove the symmetry and everyday quality of the image
- Plan your Spacing: Leave enough headspace, a little space above your head and nose space, the space before the person’s face to ensure that you share the perfect image
Take as many photos as possible and share lighter images to increase your Instagram likes and follows. When you are capturing your photo, use natural light and have an eye for detail. With the grid feature, ensure that you turn on the composition feature and pay attention to colours, shapes and lines for the photos with the right balance.
Your small business must use these posts to engage and respond to comments and mentions by your followers. Share attractive offline images that are Instagram-friendly to attract attention to your small business’ events and location. Set up an editorial calendar with a content strategy that effectively communicates the brand message to your clients. Choose relevant hashtags that would resonate and help your followers identify your brand. When you are creating a series of images, you must review your content, combine and share photos of your customers at the event to enhance and build your engagement.
The images can be further emphasised through the use of captions that enhance your brand message. Your brand’s visibility depends on your business’s posts in follower feeds, character limit and call-to-actions. Develop keywords in hashtags and ask questions to allow your customers to respond with their personal experiences with your brand.
Instagram has over 500 million active users today and the visual story style makes audiences more likely to engage with content Instagram. Your small business must drive engagement and continually improve on your follower list by creating posts based on your brand guidelines and a social calendar. With crowdsourced images, you can create unique user generated messages developed by your loyal fans and share your brand’s vision and customer experiences.