Unlike success in professional sports or theoretical physics, Instagram fame isn’t reliant on natural ability. The fact is that anyone can be an Instagram star if they have both the know-how and the gumption to do it. It just requires patience, research and an investment of time that many brands aren’t willing to make.
But many companies have put in the effort and can be used as shining examples of how to get your Instagram game going. The likes of Nike, Zara and GoPro have struck upon the formula for success, and their strategies are just sitting there, ripe for the picking.
So what do these successful companies do on Instagram that you currently may not? Let’s take a look.
1) A Complete Profile is a Sweet Profile
It doesn’t get much more basic than properly filling out your Instagram profile, which makes it all the more surprising that so many brands fail to do so. But truly successful Instagrammers won’t just fill in the required fields, they’ll optimise those suckers. A few traits of an optimised profile include:
- The inclusion of your company logo
- Images that fit with your brand’s look
- A link to your company website
- A brand-specific hashtag
- Your physical address and contact details
2) Use Instagram Ads
Instagram ads are effective because of the bare bones nature of the platform. They’re as native as a sponsored ad can be, and can reach a very specific target market due to the information that users willingly offer up to Instagram. For a minimal spend you can get a stunning amount of reach.
3) Don’t Be Shy to Follow
To increase your audience more organically you can’t afford to be thrifty with the use of the follow button. In fact, you should be proactive in using it, not just reactive in following back those that follow you. Use the ‘find friends’ function, the ‘Explore’ function, or manually search for users who talk to the same demographics as you. A regram from an Instagram influencer can be worth its weight in gold.
4) Be Smart with Your Hashtag Use
Hashtags are the engine room of any Instagram post. They make it easily discoverable, and smart hashtag use can result in a huge amount of extra eyes on each post. Try sprinkling a couple of generic (but relevant) hashtags like #love or #fitspo to attract a wide audience, use super-specific hashtags to attract a smaller but more relevant audience, and even toss on a ‘call to action’ hashtag like #follow4follow to hint that you’re looking for subscribers.
5) Post Quality, Not Quantity
A basic tenet not only of social media, but of life in general, quality over quantity is an obvious objective to have as an Instagram user. But what defines quantity? One study found that the most successful brands on Instagram post 1.5 times a day on average. But your ideal number will depend on your demographic; if your target market is heavy on Instagram use – teenage girls for example – this rate may need to be higher.
6) Post Variety, but with a Signature Look
As far as the quality side of the quantity/quality equation goes, you want your Instagram content to be entertaining, educational, beautiful, or a mix of all three. Be sure to post a variety of subject matter, but be sure to keep the look in line with that of your brand. Selecting a go-to filter for your brand is a wise choice.
7) Gain Insight with 3rd Party Tools
The minimalism of Instagram is both a blessing and a curse. It’s what has made the platform the giant it is today, but when it comes to tracking your performance it can be a real roadblock to success. Thankfully there are a host of third party apps that have been developed to solve this issue. The likes of Iconosquare, INK361 and Olapic offer varying degrees of engagement data and post management, and are a non-negotiable for any brand who is looking to increase their Insta reach.
While the 70 million followers that Nike currently boasts may seem some way off, the habits that got them to that number are eminently replicable. It’s not about natural ability or God-given talent – if you’re willing to put in the work, your Instagram numbers are sure to head north.