Since its founding in 2010, Instagram has grown to over 300 million active users across the globe. For businesses, this means that Instagram hosts a large audience of potential consumers, ready to engage with your brand. Evidence tells us that prospective customers are already present and active on this social app.

Combine that with the fact that it shows no signs of slowing down, and it becomes critical that your business has an ‘Insta presence’. Once you’ve created a business account, it’s important that you understand the fundamentals of this social platform while implementing effective practices to create a buzz around your brand.

Post Dynamic, Relatable Content

Put in the simplest terms, Instagram should be treated as your brand’s lifestyle magazine. The content you share should be a visual representation of your brand’s voice. In order to keep your followers engaged and interested (and more importantly, attract new followers), your content should be eye-catching, original, and relatable.

While it’s important to share pictures and videos of your product in action (refer to next tip), your content should NOT be limited to this. Not varying your content only guarantees that the number of likes and followers you have will plummet.

The key is to keep your followers engaged with your brand; they should look forward to your posts. Behind the scenes photos, sneak peeks of what’s to come, quotes, humor, and photos from events are various content types that will help you achieve this. Keep harnessing that connection with your followers, and listen to what they’re telling you. Evaluate what type of content is getting the most engagement – likes and comments – and keep those posts coming. They’re getting those numbers for a reason, and numbers don’t lie.

@Starbucks, @MTV, @VictoriasSecret, and @TheEllenShow are great examples of brands that have mastered the art of dynamic, relatable content.

Show off Your Product(s) in Action

Via Pinterest

You know how the saying goes: actions speak louder than words. Rather than telling your followers why they should purchase your product(s), show them! Sharing original photos and videos is a great way to show prospective customers the functionality of your product and what makes it stand out with regards to competition. For example, @GoPro’s photos and videos justify their claim of being the world’s most versatile camera… see for yourself.

Engage, Engage, Engage!

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It would be nice to think that once you post a photo or a video, you can just sit back and watch the likes come in. In order to solidify your Instagram presence and extend your reach, you must engage with your followers as well as other brands. Ideally, whoever is running your business account should be consistently monitoring any activity that comes in. They should be familiar with your brand’s FAQ’s and have direct access to personnel that could help in answering any questions they are unable to answer themselves.

Take for example @TheWetBrush, an international brand with over 18,000 organically grown followers on Instagram: You can also utilize your followers to create conversations. Ask questions in your posts and be sure to reply. After all, a conversation is a two-way street, and your followers want to know that they’re being heard. You also want to make sure that you’re participating in significant or trending conversations. Iconosquare is a great tool for searching hashtags that are relevant to your brand. Liking and commenting on photos and videos will establish your brand awareness and make your ‘Insta presence’ felt.

Host Contests/Giveaways

Via ForRent.com

As stated in 6 Tips for Instagram Marketing Mastery, delivering perks to followers in the form of giveaways and contests will form a buzz around your account and help establish a priority to review your page.

In other words, without hosting contests and giveaways, your account will likely be considered #BORING (and that’s a conversation you don’t want to be a part of). Aside from the buzz created around your brand, there are many perks of hosting contests and giveaways:

– Establishing Brand Awareness

– Generating Brand Loyalty

– Real life testimonials

– An increase in followers

As is the case with anything in life, it’s all about planning. Take the time to plan your Instagram contests to ensure that they are properly executed…and successful! In today’s competitive market place, if your business does NOT have an Instagram account, you can officially consider your brand irrelevant. With that being said, having an Instagram account and an Instagram presence are two entirely different things. A successful Instagram campaign takes time and effort, but the rewards are invaluable. By implementing the abovementioned practices, and properly executing them, you’ll be on your way to Instagram stardom!

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