HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM TO PROMOTE YOUR BRAND AND DRIVE SALES

Would you like to get your products and brand seen by more people, grow a strong following of customers who really relate to your brand, and get paid? If so, then Instagram is your magic spell.

Now that Instagram has over 300 million monthly users (that’s more than Twitter!), many brands are finding ways to interact with the Instagram community and earn personally invested customers who keep coming back for more.

But it’s not just the numbers you should care about. It’s the people using Instagram.

Instagrammers are shoppers. Iconosquare’s 2015 Instagram study shows that 70% of IG users report having already looked up a brand on the platform. Plus, 62% of users follow a brand just because they like it!

If you post the right Instagram images, consumers soak up your marketing message without any hard sales pitches from you; hence, your magic spell for appealing to customers without “selling to them.”

Stay Recognizable with a Consistent Name and Photo
All your Instagramming will be for nothing if the pieces don’t easily fit together to show what your brand actually is. The key is to stay recognizable! Choose an Instagram name that’s the same as, or related to, your business’s name across other social media channels.

Keep your profile image consistent as well. All your interactions and engagement on Instagram will be accompanied by the little thumbnail of your profile pic. Make sure it’s something recognizable and professional!

Include an Informative and Interesting Bio That Hooks Followers
Before people hit Follow on your Instagram, they have to click through to your profile. So make sure the last thing people see before deciding to follow you is a catchy and informative bio. Convince them of the value and content you’ll add to their feeds.

Include your business name and a concise description of what you actually do.

Keep it light and interesting, and avoid a salesy tone. Instagram is a unique culture different from your online shop or even your other social media sites. Craft a bio that appeals to the IG community you want to reach and reflects the tone of the images you plan to share.

When in doubt, follow this trusty bio-writing formula: who you are + what you do + a pop of personality.

Keywords and hashtags won’t really matter since they aren’t searchable when they’re on your bio.

Sometimes you might want to include a hashtag in the bio. For instance, if you run a hashtag campaign (we’ll get to that a little later), then including the #hashtag you’re known for could be useful.

You can always change your bio to promote your latest campaign, sale, or launch. And, again, don’t forget a link!

Create Popular Instagram Posts That Users Want to Follow

You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, so let’s use this power to its full, customer-hooking advantage.

Analysts credit the growing popularity of Instagram to its image-centric platform, especially since other social media sites (for example, Facebook) get twice as many comments on posts that contain an image versus just text or links.

Our preference for images is bio-engineered into our brains. In fact, 90% of information transmitted to our brains is visual.

So let’s harness the beloved and effective visual world of Instagram and post some product photos that really make sales! But remember that while Instagram is full of shoppers, it’s not necessarily a shopping destination. Here’s a quick note on the Instagram culture and how not to annoy your followers:

Avoid Hard Selling to Appeal to Instagram’s Social Culture
Buyers report strong influence from social media when considering a purchase. While the number one influencer is their friends’ social media shares, a solid 38% say they’re influenced by a brand’s social media, and 35% are influenced by retailers on social media. So your brand has a lot of sway here!

That being said, let’s bring attention to the universal mistrust of the used-car salesman.

Visuals show your products without you yelling about how great they are (I’m picturing OxiClean commercials). Images allow viewers to make their own decisions without feeling pressure from your business, removing the dreaded used-car salesman from the scenario.

So walk the line between wielding your influence and coming off too pushy, which means you’ll need to get creative with your product photos.

Promote Your Products with Creative, Professional Photos
The power of product photos has always been essential to online shopping, and Instagram’s visual platform takes that power to the next level! 67% of consumers consider detailed images to be more valuable toward making their purchase than the product information or even ratings from other customers.

Don’t discount the damage a used-car salesman effect can have on your bottom line. Posting product photo and description after product photo and description is just going to come off salesy. And Instagrammers aren’t there for straight sales pitches.

Instagram is a social marketplace that directs traffic that turns into sales. How do you do that? You share photos that are attention-grabbing, unique, and full of personality.

DSW spices up their product photo with some appealing color coordination.

Consider that your brand is on social media, like Instagram, to establish a relationship and culture among your followers. Do this right, and your followers will come to you when they’re ready to shop because they’re already connected with you.

Show off your brand’s aesthetics while also flaunting your goods. It adds variety, and it’s less used-car salesy.

Size Your Photos for Professional Quality
Avoid an awkward crop or blurred image that loses you professionalism points.

Instagram’s format automatically makes your images square, within a 612 x 612 pixels frame. Consider the square shape when choosing a picture, or the whole appeal of the photo might be lost (i.e., cropped out!).

Make sure your images reflect professionalism. That means they’ll need to be high quality. A safe estimate for preserving quality is to save your photos at double the resolution size.

In Photoshop, you can adjust the size of your image to 1024 x 1024 pixels, and the quality will remain crisp when reduced to Instagram’s parameters.

If you just can’t work with the square, free apps like Squaready and InstaSize allow you to keep photos in their rectangular dimensions and still post to Instagram, which is great for panoramas!

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