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More than just a platform for the selfie obsessed, Instagram has become an important marketing tool in its own right. With more than 600 million users a month, it shouldn’t be underestimated. With its predominantly young audience, the image-based platform is a great opportunity to connect with a different demographic than is possible other marketing channels. Additionally, visual content is easy to engage with and is shared more often than text. Instagram allows you to create a more personal dimension to your relationship with your customers, sharing behind the scenes snaps or allowing your followers to tag you in their pictures. This makes Instagram an important tool in developing your brand image.

Develop a brand aesthetic

Instagram is, of course, a visual platform. This makes it the ideal place to develop a consistent brand aesthetic that will help your customers to identify your business and help to embed yourself in their visual memory. Develop a consistent brand aesthetic through your images, the colors and filters you use and the type of content you post.

Interact with your followers

It may seem obvious, but it is a step that is easily neglected: interact with your community. Take some time to read through your comments and respond to some. You never know, there may even be a complaint in the comment section, giving you the opportunity to solve a customer’s problem and demonstrate to other customers that you take them seriously and aim to please. Interacting with your followers will also keep them engaged and coming back for more.

Direct users to further content

Instagram has become one of the first places people turn to in order to understand what your company does, and users can indeed understand a lot about your brand just from your profile. That said, it’s important not to pass up the opportunity to direct your visitors, via your profile description, to further content that strengthens your brand. This could be a YouTube video (since Instagram still limits the length of videos), a blog post, or simply to your website so your audience can get to know your brand better. However, ensure first that you build your website according to mobile optimization standards – an easy way to do this can be found here. Otherwise, users who follow a link to your site on their smartphone will be put off if it doesn’t display and function well in that format.

Keep to a posting schedule

Posting regularly is another obvious, but important step to building your brand using Instagram. You should set up a schedule and use it to post regularly. Pages that don’t post for longer periods of time are easily forgotten by their followers. Some apps help you to set up a posting plan and allow you to precisely schedule when you want to upload your content.

Understand the importance of hashtags

Using hashtags is absolutely vital in getting your images notices. Know which are the most popular hashtags and use as many as you can, ideally 11-15 for every post. Websites like hastagify.me can help you to generate associated hashtags, so you don’t miss any of the important ones.

Use Instagram stories and live stream

how to use instagram to grow your brand
Relatively new to the platform, Instagram stories allows you to upload short clips that your followers can view and live stream lets you stream content live to your followers. Although these features may not be suited to every type of business, they can be a powerful way to connect with your followers, giving them an even more personal insight into your brand. Why not try hosting a Q&A session using live stream and answering all questions your customers might have? It will prove your engagement with your community and establish a personal connection.

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