Want to make your business more memorable on Instagram? Looking for tips to boost brand loyalty with your audience?
In this article, you'll discover five tips to ensure your Instagram account stands out.
#1: Give Your Instagram Copy Personality
When developing an Instagram business profile, most companies focus on the visual aspects of their brand. That approach is certainly understandable considering Instagram is the most visual social network.
However, it's also important that your communication style reflects your brand's personality. The moment people read your copy, they should know who you are.
You want your followers to embrace and approach your Instagram in the same way they would if someone were inviting them into their office or home. Give them a glimpse of who you are and what's hiding below the organized appearance most people see on the surface.
If you do that, your followers will get to know your brand on a human level that they can relate to. If they feel like they know you, they'll gladly repost, share, and interact with your brand through their comments and likes.
Your Instagram style guide should convey your brand's communication style and personality so every content creator and community manager on your team is on the same page.
In your style guide, you want to define:
Your persona: This is what will inform the tone of voice and wording in your content. In casual communication, a young tech enthusiast and 40-something movie buff won't necessarily sound alike, and the same should be true in their Instagram captions. Make sure to craft a few examples for your team and have a real-life human being look them over.
Your tone of voice: Do you want your audience to hear positivity reflected in your captions? Ingenuity or innovation? Something else? Define what you're trying to convey and use examples to make your approach easier to understand.
How and where you'll use copy on Instagram: Some brands prefer to keep the text short and limited to the photo caption. Others use text in their imagery as well. Seth Godin recently started publishing mini-books (yeah, you heard that right!) on Instagram.
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Some travel bloggers write long descriptions of the places they've visited in their Instagram stories, which their followers gladly read because they're interested in that type of content.
Keep in mind that crafting the perfect persona doesn't necessarily mean your team will be able to execute it perfectly from the beginning. Whether you're a one-person show or a team of 10, there's bound to be some trial and error. Or you may need to get outside help to give your Instagram the time and attention it deserves.
If your content isn't performing well at first, don't assume the research and planning that went into creating your persona is wasted. Give it time, and whatever you do, don't give up!
Need a practical example?
TheSkimm is the perfect success story. Two friends built an empire out of their passion—being in the know—from their dorm room. However, one has to wonder what helped them get the traction and recognition they did. Aside from hard work, the recognizable way they communicate with their audience has been effective.
The Skimm's posts are direct, funny, and relatable. No matter how serious or silly the topic, they stay on brand. Even as the company has grown well beyond the two founders and others are almost certainly managing the Instagram account now, their personality still shines through.
In fact, that personality is so tangible in their posts that you can almost see the 20-something professionals giving you their take on the news with a glass of wine in hand.
Their secret ingredient? They're human.
#2: Establish Communication Guidelines for Instagram Comment Moderators
Once you've fully developed your brand persona, make sure you stay on brand even when replying to your followers' comments. In fact, staying true to your brand personality is crucial in these interactions because they're more memorable to your followers.
All of the regular advice about responding to your users' comments on social media still goes.
Put together an FAQ sheet so you know what to expect and how to respond. But also make sure you understand what the user is really asking and adjust your message accordingly. You don't want to be accused of copying and pasting messages or come across as a heartless robot responding through automation.
Remember: People connect with people, not corporations.
Writing your initials at the end of your responses isn't the only way to show a human side. If you're communicating from a first-person perspective and using a relatable voice, you already sound human. If there's a problem, don't default to the standard business lingo; make sure to communicate empathy and care in your answers.
One of my all-time favorite brands is Frank Body. It's another success story of a small entrepreneurial effort going global due not only to the quality of their products but also to their killer marketing. The persona behind Frank Body is Frank, a carefully crafted image of a good-natured guy with really bad pickup lines.
Their Instagram posts are a blast! There's an abundance of jokes and pop culture references, but they never fail to communicate the value of their products. The usage instructions are hilarious, but also useful.
Frank Body uses the same voice when answering user comments as you can see in the screenshot above, hearts and winking emojis included.
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#3: Use Instagram Direct Messages to Personalize Outreach
Most companies do their best to answer user comments in a timely fashion and quickly resolve issues. However, being reactive in your Instagram efforts can only take you so far. While working on your next Instagram strategy, think of ways you can be more proactive.
A few days ago, a local influencer shared an interaction between herself and a local furniture brand in her story. This Instagrammer was moving into a new place and struggling with unpacked boxes, which is something most of us have experienced at one time or another.
A local furniture store decided to respond to her story with a suggestion on how best to furnish her living room so she could take care of the mess faster and have a space for all of her stuff. As you may have guessed, she was delighted with the advice and shared the interaction with all of her followers!
Rather than spend all of your time fixating on the number of your story views, venture into the unexplored storyland and see what's out there. Chances are, the people you follow are already potential users of your products and services.
I'm not suggesting that you spam everyone you follow with your products. Instead, make sure you're providing real value and helping people in a completely non-intrusive manner.
And if the opportunity presents itself, be ready to be proactive and offer a helping hand.
#4: Stay True to the Values of Your Company
One of the best-kept secrets of social media managers is that we all have a calendar somewhere with all of the relevant dates for planning our editorial content. You know what I'm talking about; I saw all of your #NationalDogDay photos. But occasions like this help us do more than generate content ideas.
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Next time you start preparing content for a specific event, have yourself and your team answer these questions:
- How is this connected to our brand?
- What is this post saying about our company?
- What values are we communicating?
Seemingly small gestures and ‘unimportant' posts can say a lot about a company. The photos in the post above work because they reflect on the company's culture and work environment.
However, you should do more than follow a prefilled calendar of fun dates. Stay on top of what's happening in the world around you. Know where your company stands on important issues and take part in the conversation. Even if you don't state your position, the way you talk about current issues will communicate your values.
Now more than ever, younger generations appreciate brands that take a stand on important issues facing the world. Although not known for brand loyalty, 89% of Gen Z buyers prefer to purchase products and services from businesses supporting social and cultural issues.
Lush Cosmetics, a company that built its brand on fighting animal testing and using all-natural ingredients in their products, often plays to the strength of their values.
#5: Remember, Published Is Better Than Perfect
Nikola Tesla famously said, “Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.” In other words, once we embrace our failings, we can actually show who we are as human beings.
You may have noticed that the visuals in the examples highlighted in this article are distinctly not difficult to create or design.
One of the greatest misconceptions in social media is that any videos you post must have serious production behind them and that all graphics have to be professionally designed or retouched. On the contrary, what really makes an impact is the story behind the video or image. A great idea is the most crucial thing to have. Everything else comes second.
If you're a small business with a limited marketing budget, don't be discouraged. Simple posts and visuals with a great message are more than enough to connect with your audience. After all, few things are as popular as memes and they're easy to create.
Career Contessa is one of the most popular online resources for women professionals. Their Instagram posts are visually simple to create but highly engaging. They reference pop culture or use humorous content from other media and then tie them in perfectly with their content.
Other times, they share long-form content and turn it into actionable social media content that will communicate the key message and still invite their audience to read more.
When it comes to video, behind-the-scenes content you capture with your phone will still look great. In fact, the imperfections will make your video more authentic and engaging.
So when planning your Instagram content, don't let the idea of perfection limit you. Stay focused on the key idea behind it.
While the tips and tricks in this article relate directly to Instagram, the underlying philosophies—keep things simple, focus on good ideas, and make your brand more relatable—will work on any other social media channel.
The hardest thing is letting go of the pre-existing idea of what business communication is in the first place. You don't need to be formal to be professional. As you embrace the imperfections, remember they only make your brand more human and even more appealing.
Once you have that conversation with your team, you'll be able to take the next step toward finding your voice and engaging with your target audiences online in meaningful ways.
What do you think? Which of these tactics will you try with your Instagram profile? Do you have any tips of your own to offer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
More articles on Instagram marketing:
- Find out how to write Instagram captions that improve engagement.
- Discover four tips to improve your Instagram photos.
- Learn how to create an Instagram content plan for your business.
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