Instagram is a very popular social media platform which you might want to tap into if you wish to grow your business, regardless of the industry you are in.

Statistics show that Instagram has more than 1 billion monthly active users out of which, 500 million use the platform every day. With this in mind, it would not be savvy to ignore the importance of social media platforms.

Though it started as a platform to share images, quite popular among the female audience and other photo enthusiasts, soon it grabbed the attention of small to medium-sized businesses.

Telling a story through the use of pictures is not something new. Most companies have done this in earlier types of marketing and advertisements. Instagram does the same thing but with a twist, and that twist is called “hashtags”

With the help of hashtags, a photo is made popular in certain communities thereby increasing its reach. The photos used, however, must be of high quality to cut through the competition.

In order for that to happen, you will require the right content marketing strategy, audience engagement, and tools which will dramatically improve the performance of your Instagram handle. 

Let’s look into the top 5 means with which you can leverage Instagram for your online business. 

Get your Audience to Supply the Content

No matter what business you are in, audiences these days are very tricky to please. They do not want fancy people talking about the benefits of using a certain product or service, they want to experience all this on their own. They want to come up with their own synopsis of the product. 

In that light, you cannot make it through the competition if you get a celebrity to advertise for your product on Instagram. You need real users who can talk about your business. 

Even the photos you take must be genuine. If it is a product then it is better to take a picture of it when it’s being used.

Feature your Employees and Take Behind the Scene Footage

Since customers are tricky to please these days, you need to be innovative to communicate with them. Not only do modern customers want the company to speak the truth about themselves, but they also want to be involved in the process. Customers appreciate if the company shares some form of a secret story about the product. They want to be involved in the process.

How better than sharing the “behind the scene” images on Instagram? 

When you share such images, you establish a human connection with the customers. You can do this not only with images. You can also make use of some cool camera tricks to click a slo-mo, video, boomerang all just to attract the attention of your customers. There are a lot of companies which have used these techniques with great success.

With such images and videos, you show the personality of your brand. In addition to the “behind the scene” images, upload images of recent office picnics and gathering.  You can also introduce the people who handle all the product and services. The idea is to develop a personal rapport with the customers through the means of a digital platform. 

Use of Hashtags

It should be clear by now, that Instagram is not just a photosharing site. While it can also act as a platform where you can share your personal photo and get tonnes of likes and comment, for a company it does not work that way. 

A lot of psychology goes into the entire process. When pictures and content are uploaded from a personal profile, the chances of getting a reaction to these are quite high since the personal contacts of the given person in some way or other, interact with the content. 

That is not the case when it comes to a company profile.  No one is going to react to your content just because they know you personally. For this purpose, you need effective hashtags. 

With the use of unique hashtags, you can promote or track Instagram campaigns. You can also use existing hashtags to improve the reach of the content you have shared already. 

A survey conducted on the popularity of Instagram posts showed that 70 percent of unique hashtags are used by brands to improve the popularity of their posts. 

However, the hashtags that you use must be relevant to the post you are going to share.  Do not pull back from using multiple hashtags for this purpose. A minimum of 11 hashtags must be used to enhance the reach of a given post. 

Do Not Ignore Filters

Instagram is a platform which helps you beautify your posts to a great extent. There are multiple elements that you can add. Additionally, there are beautiful filters that you can use. Or you can use an online tool to create Instagram worthy images and stories. Even if you have clicked a beautiful picture, it will be wrong not to use the filters. Filters give a sense of consistency to the pictures. When your customers see these pictures they know that it’s coming from your brand and they react to it almost immediately. 

Many studies have shown that more than 60 percent of top brands use some filter consistently which have given them a certain form of leverage over other brands who do not use filters.

Offer More to Your Customers

Engagement is what social media runs on. You must provide something worthwhile for your customers.  Posting only content on Instagram will not work out in that light, you must also take some time out to respond to their comments and inquiries. In addition to that, you need some time to interact and react to the posts of your daily followers. 

This will serve two purposes, first, the followers will know that you care for them and second, you will generate more ideas for your own Instagram posts. Followers feel good if you share their content or repost it. They feel important and it builds loyalty. 

As per the data collected by Iconosquare, 65 percent of the followers are honored if a brand shares their post and engage with the content that they provide. Thus stay active while dealing with comments and likes and reposts. 

Conclusion

Instagram can definitely be a strong tool that can help your business grow. However, it is crucial for businesses to understand how to use this medium to increase engagement and trust with their users. Social media platforms are not just like any other advertising tool, you need to invest time and be creative. If you do so, your brand will gain an incredible advantage against your competitors.

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