A growing number of business owners are now leveraging Instagram to attract new customers or engage their current fans. This is not surprising given that Instagram has over 400 million users, translating into a whopping 70 million photos and videos uploads each day, according to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom. But with the mushrooming number of brands on Instagram, how can you make your brand stand out from the crowd? Here are five easy yet creative ways for you to enhance your branding without any cost!
1. Give your customers a shout out! ($0)
First, think of a hashtag which is relevant, easy to remember and unique to your company. Then, encourage your customers to snap a photo while using your product and upload their photos with the hashtag.
Sieve through the photos that are tagged with the hashtag, and repost high quality photos on your official account. Not only does the hashtag allow you to see which products are popular amongst your followers, but it also makes your fans feel valued when you give them a personal shout out! Check out some brands which has done it well: local online shop Love Bonito (#LBootddiaries) and Adidas Malaysia (#Adidasmygirls).
2. Tell your brand story with behind-the-scenes moments ($0)
Instagram is not a place to merely push promotions. Instead, use Instagram as a platform to tell your brand story – what does your brand stands for, how would you describe the users of your brand, and so forth.
This is the opportunity for you to get creative! Are you self-made baker who became an owner of a cafe? Share your passion for food with behind the scenes photos. It could be you buying the ingredients or even you trying out new recipes that mixes different flavours! These moments will depict your brand as one that is fun and experimental.
Get inspiration from Norwegian-Dutch author, blogger and baker, Manuela Kjeilen (@passionforbaking) or Singaporean cupcake expert Ms Nursyazanna (@fluffbakery) and emulate how they communicate their brand stories.
3. Start a #30daychallenge! ($0)
This is the best way to engage your fans and boost your branding in a single month. Find an activity that is fun and relevant to your brand. Some of my favourite challenges are the ones set by American fitness instructor Cassey Ho (@blogilates).
Each month Cassey creates an exercise targeting a specific body part like the #30daythighchallenge, and fresh workout calendars which encourages her fans to watch her YouTube videos. And guess what she’s wearing while working out – her own Blogilates outfits! So not only did she manage to get people moving, she also markets her products by showing her fans how they can have access to her stylish outfits.
Collaborate with influencers ($: you could barter your skills)
Do you follow influencers whom you think complements your brand? Why not approach the influencer and spice things up with a collaboration? Collaboration not only brings out new ideas, it also introduces your Instagram profile to the influencers’ network of fans.
A great match between brands and influencers can produce great results. Check out photographer Melvin Ho (@multifolds) who works with model cum influencer Melissa Koh (@melissackoh) to showcase his wedding photography skills. With great chemistry, they managed to produce breath-taking shots that garnered thousands of likes.
5. 5-3-1 rule ($0)
So you have cool and high resolution photos that you painstakingly shoot and post every week. Yet, your number of followers is not growing. Why not try this simple 5-3-1 rule of engagement? Regularly look through your newsfeed and identify people who would relate to your brand. Minimally like 5 photos, comment on 3 photos and you will increase your chances of gaining a new follower soon after. This, however, requires a long term effort so do not give up! Be consistent in posting, liking and commenting on photos. Finally, there is no hard and fast rule in improving the marketing of your company’s Instagram account. So be bold and experiment! That’s the only way to learn what works and what doesn’t.