5 ways Your Brand can win at Instagram

1.23-winningLet’s face it, there are many more than 5 ways your brand can win at Instagram. But whether you’re a large brand with an engagement tool or a small brand using a free tool like Iconosquare here are some quick and simple ways to amp up your Instagram strategy.

1. Respond to Questions and Comments from Your Followers (Quickly)

This seems pretty simple but how often do you visit a brand’s profile to see that they are completely neglecting their faithful followers? Make sure you are responding in a timely manner and the best strategy is to have your community manager monitor each post for at least 2 hours non-stop after it’s posted. Long trails on commenting and likes can last up to 24 hours depending on the location of your followers. Determine what country most of your interaction is happening to figure out the best time to post your content and how the interactions will flow in based on your time zone.

Sometimes it’s NOT better late than never. Your followers are there for you so be there for them. That doesn’t mean you have to answer every single compliment or comment but make sure you have a plan for differentiating which deserve special attention. Always have a plan for taking conversations offline if you need to have longer conversations. Set up a general social email address which customers can reach you at and don’t be afraid to list it in your profile.

If you don’t have the money to license an engagement platform like Curalate, we recommend using Iconosquare’s free tools.

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2. Know Where Your Followers are Located and Adjust Your Publishing Time to Their Schedule

Look outside of your own bubble. You may be based in New York but 50% of your followers might be in London. That means while you are busy publishing your photos at 7pmET it’s midnight where most of your fans are based. Test scheduling your photos at different times throughout the week on a sliding one hour difference to find the sweet spot for engagement.

Instagram still doesn’t have basic analytics but Iconosquare has very handy “Snapshots” including this global view of your followers.

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3. Return the Love

Do you know who your top followers are? There’s no better way to build relationships with your followers than letting them know how important they are to you. Perhaps you could surprise them with a gift from your brand or by asking permission to feature one of their photos on your account. There are so many ways to show fans you appreciate them. Last year Taco Bell pulled a bold move by surprising targeted influencers with “Taco Bell” rings.

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via @foodbeast

 4. Know Your Hashtags and When To Use Them

We all remember the Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake video from 2013 poking fun at everyone’s overuse of ridiculous sounding hashtags. To date the video has almost 28 million views and to social media managers it might be the holy grail of explaining why you shouldn’t use hashtags carelessly. A hashtag is essentially a label that creates a of gathering content, so if it’s not relevant to your  photo then DON’T USE IT. Make sure that your hashtags are relevant to your target audience and use them strategically. If you’re not sure which hashtags to use a quick search can turn up the more general uses along with other nice combos.

For example here is an Iconosquare search for #coffee. You’ll see that the #coffee has so many photos yours will probably just get lost in the shuffle. Look through the smaller hashtags to see if your photo might be easily discovered there and uncover the influencers who are commonly using these hashtags. You just may have found a potential new follower.

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 5. Find Yourself Somebody to Love

If you have a reactive Instagram engagement strategy you’ve already failed. As a brand your community managers should be searching for other hashtags where your brand advocates are sharing content beyond your branded hashtag.

For example, a search for #nikelove turned up more than 34,000 user tagged photos. Figure out the top user generated hashtags for your brand and make sure you’re there engaging.

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