Instagram is increasingly becoming the marketing platform of choice for everyone from small lifestyle bloggers to huge companies like Target or Starbucks. Although Instagram’s user-friendly interface and easy accessibility provide great marketing opportunities, it can nonetheless be tricky to navigate effective Instagram marketing without going overboard. Instagram wasn’t originally developed with marketing or corporate use in mind, which means there’s no direct A-to-B-to-C path towards a customer’s Zero Moment of Truth and utilizing it for commercial reasons can occasionally be frustrating.
When used effectively, it’s an important and valuable marketing tool with a growing built-in audience of everyone from soccer moms to investment bankers. Follow our advice and your current and future customers will be able to find and connect with you on the personal, authentic level that today’s consumer is searching for.
Don’t: Get Really, Really Personal
While customers love that Instagram allows companies to interject a little personal connection and personality into the company image, that doesn’t mean they need to know about everything you do. A photo of the employees’ children dressed up in their Halloween costumes is sweet and will likely garner many 'likes' and even some new followers. On the other hand, a post about your bad hair day, relationship problems, or the guy that cut you off in traffic, complete with a photo of you behind the wheel? That's a little too personal. It could chase people away, as they definitely didn't sign up to follow your company Instagram to know all about your feelings on local traffic patterns or romance.
DO: Post regularly on business matters, alongside a small sampling of personal photos. Did your company just pick up a brand new truck, painted with your logo? Take a picture and share with your followers! Challenge them to post their own photos on Instagram if they see the truck around town and tag you in it. Throwing a company birthday party? A photo of the cake is perfectly appropriate. Employees having a great time at work, a pile of lattes on the conference table after the morning coffee run, a heartfelt ‘goodbye’ when an employee leaves — all of these will help create a personal connection with your followers without alienating them.
Don’t: Rely Too Much on Hashtags
The hashtag symbol is an important part of social media marketing. Used on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, it’s a great way to grab the attention of potential customers who otherwise might never stumble across your company or your account. Unfortunately, it’s common to see companies on Instagram using way too many hashtags in an attempt to grab the highest number of viewers possible. Viewers who see a four-word caption with twenty-five hashtags are going to click away. Today's consumer wants quality interactions over quantity, so they'll sense that you're only interested in "selling something", not in actually connecting with them.
DO: Choose your hashtags carefully. Since Waypost Marketing has deep roots here in Upstate South Carolina, we often use hashtags like #yeahTHATgreenville (the official hashtag for our home city of Greenville, SC) in our posts. This helps others looking at that hashtag to find us and see what we’re all about, while knowing right off the bat that we're a part of the Greenville community. Sometimes we even create our own - check out our #WaypostLife tag on Instagram for more personal posts like birthday parties or the always popular bring-your-dog-to-work-day. The hashtags we do use fit our company and our personalities well, so potential clients who find us can get to know us for who we are without worrying about it just being another advertisement.
Don’t: Argue With the Internet
Getting into an argument in the comments section of just about any social media platform is a little bit like the old saying about trying to wrestle with a pig — you get covered in mud and the pig enjoys it. If you receive negative comments, whether they’re serious complaints from unhappy former customers or just “troll” comments, left by those who are just trying to get a rise out of you, do not argue with them. Real complaints should be answered with a simple request for a way to personally contact the customer in question so you can deal with the issue and make it right. “Troll” comments — those negative comments left just to incite a response — should be deleted and ignored.
Do: Have a conversation with the internet. While we suggest ignoring negative comments that aren’t based in any real legitimate complaint, we strongly suggest answering questions or positive comments. Spend a few minutes making sure questions are answered and further details are given when asked for, and you’ll have a customer base that knows you’re really listening. You may even find suggestions for new products or services out of these comments, as your potential customers let you know what exactly it is they’re looking for.
DO: Ask for Advice from a Company that Knows
At Waypost Marketing, we make it our business to stay up-to-date on the best ways to communicate with your current and potential customers. If you need advice on how to successfully use inbound marketing, Search Engine Optimization (or SEO), paid advertising, or even if you just have a few questions about Instagram… we’re here to help. Give us a call at (864) 288-6162 to schedule your consultation. We’ll take a look at your website and speak with you about the importance of responsive web design and what we can do to help you tell your story. Contact us today!