Instagram has become a go-to platform for effective social media marketing for businesses. The platform boasts over 500 million active daily users and 80% of them follow businesses. It allows brands to blend creative visuals with self-promotion while gaining a following on the platform which can yield long-term benefits for a brand.

Whether your brand is seeking more exposure, tapping into a new demographic or engaging with its current customers, Instagram is a great platform to achieve these goals.

Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you start utilizing Instagram:


1) Do keep the customer in mind when designing content

Brands may get caught up designing content that promotes themselves that they forget what their customers actually want to see. The aim is to blend promotion into the content seamlessly rather than creating overt advertisements. Think about what users like about your brand and what they would like to see more of, then design content accordingly.

For example, Beauty and Essex, an immensely popular New York restaurant currently has over 20,000 followers. Their content is designed to give followers more of an insight into the brand (and restaurant) they love, and that is reflected throughout their feed. They balance visual elements such as their food and its location with more behind-the-scenes looks at their chefs to give their content more dimension and engage with followers.


2) Don’t stick to one kind of content

It might be tempting to just post images all the time, or perhaps post an Instagram story a few days out of the week and no other content to supplement. That strategy may not yield much engagement. Instagram allows for a variety of content, so take advantage of the offerings. Diversify your content with photos, videos, and a blend of more interactive and real-time elements such as Instagram stories. This allows your business to showcase more of what makes it unique while keeping customers and clients consistently engaged.

The commercial airline Emirates accomplishes this with their Instagram account. Their feed is designed to show you what makes their product and experience unique. Applying a mix of photos, videos, as well as more interactive elements, Emirates customers can engage with the brand in a multitude of ways.


3) Do set goals and benchmarks

Without setting your goals or benchmarks initially, sustaining a social media strategy can be difficult. Before dedicating resources to developing content and design for Instagram, establish what it is you seek to gain from the platform. This will inform the rest of the strategy, create a roadmap of what you would like to gain from this form of marketing and how you plan to accomplish that.

Is the goal to gain more followers? Is it to engage more with current followers? Or is it a combination of both? Once you have these questions answered, how will you measure this growth? Is there a certain acquisition rate you are targeting, or benchmarks of what kind of activity you want on the platform in terms of likes and comments?  These are just some of the questions that can guide your process.

Cartoon of using pin the tail on the donkey to set sales goals.

4) Don’t ignore your followers

At the end of the day, you cannot ignore your audience. Many businesses tend to operate their social media like it is a one-sided conversation, which is a mistake. Social media marketing is an opportunity to create a dialogue with your followers and learn more about what they like about your brand. You can then use the results to improve your brand, service or products.

Balancing promotional content with more interactive elements is essential, whether it is running a giveaway, soliciting feedback on product ideas and current practices, or just asking your followers questions. Instagram is a great platform to increase loyalty with your current audience while showing new clients the more human side of your business.

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is true when it comes to Instagram. Once you get started you will find that using Instagram for your business will build trust among your followers, build your brand’s personality and provide a great platform for interacting with your existing and potential customers. Social media is an important tool for your SEO so get started engaging with your customers and drive more traffic to your website.

If you haven’t already set up an account go here for instructions.

Still not sure about running your Instagram account? Let Blue Anchor Digital help you get started or manage your account for you.