9 Ways to Instagram Your Organisation to the Top
In our social media-dominated age, people want interesting, original and creative visuals. These visuals need to tell a story. But how can you tell a good story as a business, brand or organisation?
Enter Instagram, the image-led visual story telling community. With over 400 million active users, the photo sharing app is not only a hit with personal users; since it launched over five years ago, Instagram has become an important brand-building tool for brands and businesses.
By its very nature, Instagram is about inspirational story-telling. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, and powerful images are a way to tell your story. An effective Instagram strategy can help you to build a dedicated following. This strategy can help you increase customers, connect with your audiences and get them to take action – whether that means buying from you, donating or just sharing your content with others.
As you can already tell, we’re big fans of Instagram here at Utterly Content. So here are our top tips for making the most of it as a business, brand or organisation.
Begin with a clear goal of what you want to achieve by using Instagram. Is it about increasing brand awareness? Building advocates? Driving sales for a particular product or service? Whatever your goal is, the message and story you get across must be in line with your overall marketing and communications strategy. And don’t forget, if you’re not sure how to set this strategy, we’re always happy to help
2) Do Your Research
Have a play around on Instagram personally before you start planning how to use it for your business or organisation. Are there any images or themes you’re particularly drawn to? Any brands, charities or businesses who seem to be using it particularly well? Doing an audit of any competitors using Instagram, what they are posting, how often and what makes the most impact is a good way to find your starting point. Then you can use your findings to start putting together a mood board of the kind of themes, hashtags and scenes you are inspired by.
3) Content is Key
What do you want your followers to think, feel and do when they see your content? Understanding your audiences will go a long way in developing engaging content. For example, let’s say you’ve just opened up a new restaurant. You want to attract foodies- those looking for real quality, maybe for some dishes they’ve never tried before. With Instagram, you can create a collection of images of your delicious looking food to get their taste buds tingling. Barbeque joint Longhorns in Newcastle are a great example of this, showcasing their menu in all its glory to get even vegetarians salivating.
But what if the stuff you sell isn’t so tangible? Visual content can be trickier to pin down if you’re a service or consultancy-based organisation or charity. But don’t panic, it’s not impossible. Instagram is a community of lifestyle lovers. Use your network to ask what people like to post and engage with on their personal Instagram accounts and utilise their overarching themes. Usually, it’ll boil down to pets, fashion and food.
Turn your everyday work life into great content. Do you have an office Bake Off or a trusty office dog to keep you on your toes? Have you just held an event at an intriguing location? Have you recently won an award? Play on the fun elements of your brand to create personality – everyone loves a ‘behind the scenes’ snap and it shows real personality behind the brand.
4) Keep it Consistent.
Not only is content key, but the way you present it is essential. Establish connective elements across your content, such as image size, colour, style and filter. Ideally, choose one or two filter styles and keep them consistent throughout all of your posts. Using the same colour palette for your posts builds a brand consistency that means your followers will be able to spot your content straight away.
An example of this is the knitting retailer Wool and The Gang. With dozens of knitting and craft Instagram accounts out
there, they ensure they stand out by using pastel pink and grey tones throughout all their simply presented images.
There are plenty of tools that can help you develop your visual theme too, such as VSOcam, Snapseed and Whitagram. Don’t be afraid to play around and take time to create your own visually unique identity.
5) Mind Your Language
As much as Instagram is a primarily visual social network, the text that accompanies your images should always add value. It is advised that you keep your captions simple, by giving more detail about the image, adding humour or providing news and information.
In terms of following and brand awareness, hashtags are what matter most. Rather than use your company’s name (which will very rarely take off as a hashtag), select a number of hashtags for your company to consistently use, that fit into your brand’s sector or image and so increase your visibility.
Let’s say you’re a city council, and you want people to share why they love the city. Encourage your followers to use hashtags like #LoveNewcastle or #LincolnLove, find those using similar hashtags and like or comment on their image to start engaging with them. This will encourage followers to use your hashtag when they feel they’ve taken pictures that match your brand message, and is a great way for you to utilise user-generated content.
6) Create a Following
Get following. Look at the leaders in your field, influencers and popular networks, follow your clients, follow similar themes and engaging users. Comment on their photos, join in on discussions and don’t be afraid to ‘like’ too many images (but don’t be spammy – only go for the relevant ones!). By interacting with others, you increase your brand awareness, get your name out there and let your presence be seen.
Don’t be afraid to follow your followers too and engage in their posts – they are most likely to have interest in what you do, and can be used as user-generated content on your page. This not only will encourage other followers to create content with your hashtag in hope to be featured too, it also avoids the dreaded salesy tone and is a less obtrusive way of marketing.
7) Make Friends
Using popular hashtags like #followfriday can help raise awareness of other companies or charities by mentioning them in your posts. This builds rapport, and may not only get you more followers on the back of their following, but they may also return the favour by mentioning you, further increasing your following and brand awareness.
8) Tell People How to Find You
Don’t forget to make the most of your other already existing online platforms. Add your Instagram handle to your website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn page, and don’t be afraid to cross post between channels (where appropriate) or embed your blogs and videos into your Instagram posts.
9) Know No Boundaries
Be as creative as possible. Think outside the box. With content, sometimes different is the most engaging. A great example of this is a 2014 Instagram campaign from the Ikea Catalogue. They turned their account into an interactive virtual catalogue- within their images of hypothetical ‘show case’ rooms, tables, chairs and lamps were tagged as separate entities, who then had individual accounts per item. Clever and creative.
Finally, an office favourite at Utterly Content is the Zoolander 2 Instagram account. The marketing team has excelled in utilising the photo sharing app with original and hilarious content, as well as giving important details and information in the run up to the film’s release on 12th February. On his feed we see the most superficial ‘fashionista’ Derek Zoolander himself challenge model Cara Delevigne on a ‘Walk Off’, alongside videos and photos with Katy Perry and Justin Beiber. A perfect and fun example of what can be achieved when you hone on your creative skills, think outside of the box and use other influential users to reap the rewards.
Remember, you don’t need a fancy camera or a professional qualification. Just enthusiasm, creativity and original ideas. We’d love to hear how you get on and what tips you’d share for budding Instagrammers, so please drop us a line and let us know!