Instagram is one of the most powerful and engaging social media platforms today. With more than 700 million users all over the world, Instagram has an average engagement rate of 4.21%. No wonder it has become one of the most important platforms for startup marketers to grow their business. Here are 6 ways startups can use Instagram to grow their companies
1. Create your own hashtag
Hashtags are one of the most important tools for Instagram marketing. Photos that use hashtags in their description get a lot more likes than the ones that don’t. So create your own hashtag and use it whenever you post photos about your business. Over time, people will become familiar with it and organically start using it themselves, whenever they talk about your business on the social media platform. For example, the website Dirtbag Darling usesits hashtag #DefendersOfFun in a great way to encourage followers to post photos of their outdoor adventures. It not only enhances audience participation but also allows them to leverage their fans’ Instagram feeds to market their startup.
2. Give a Sneak Peak of behind-the-scenes action
Instagram is a great place for startups to tell their stories – who they are, what they do, and how they help change lives with their business. This enables marketers to build a brand personality about your startup and engage with your target audience more effectively. As people get to know your startup, they’ll be eager to explore it in more detail and begin to associate themselves with what you do. Eventually they’ll spread the word within their own networks and help you build brand awareness. The motion picture startup Camp4Collective does a great job of posting behind-the-scenes photos of their films & commercials. For example, they not only show the beautiful locations that are used for shooting their movies but also post about the actual on-set injuries they incur during shoots. Such behind-the-scenes visuals combined with emotional messaging can create a great story for your startup.
3. Create an Instagram Product
If your startup creates physical products like t-shirts, mugs, etc and has a reasonably good following on Instagram, you can easily use your customers’ Instagram photos to create actual products that you can then up-sell to your customers. For example, the startup Blurb creates beautiful calendars and photo books from its customers’ Instagram photos, whereas Ink361 uses them to create tattoos. Coastermatic uses photos to make coasters and NailSnaps uses them to create nail wraps.
4. Post photos that look Yummy
If your startup is related to the food and hospitality industry (e.g, cafes, restaurants, food delivery services, or grocery stores), you should definitely try posting Hi-resolution photos of your products. Better still, post photos of your customers using your products, or even relishing them. For example, checkout how a new sandwich shop called The Melt does an amazing job of posting Instagram photos of customers enjoying their sandwiches, as well as lavish pictures of delicious meals. In fact, even a simple photo of their cheese fries gets hundreds of likes.
5. Leverage Great Outdoors to build brand personality
You don’t need to be an outdoor company to be able to use scenic locations and beautiful natural light for your Instagram photos. Even you can post photos of your products with an outdoor backdrop, as long as they convey a relevant message. For example, Greenheart Organic, an organic juice making company, posts photos of its fruit juice bottles at various outdoor locations such as beaches, flower fields, forests, and even canoes. It totally drives home the message that you can take their juices with you, wherever you go.
6. Don’t Shy Away from being artistic
Most startups don’t have the obvious visual advantage of a film company that can post photos of beautiful mountains, or a restaurant that can post pics of delicious sandwiches. If you are such a brand, then you should definitely look into using artwork to tell your story. For example, Four Barrel Coffee does a great job of posting interesting black & white photos of people living their lives, each with an engaging story that connects them to their brand. For example, one of their photos is about an old man working on a farm, with the message “We’ve been buying his coffees for seven years, and the quality just keeps getting better.”
Hopefully, these tips will help you tap into Instagram to build your brand personality and meaningfully engage your target audience to grow your business.
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