They say first impressions matter the most. Instagram can be a great visual tool for your business, but is your feed leaving a lasting impression on your customers? The number of companies using the Facebook-owned app for marketing, e-commerce, and branding doubled this year, and projections say it will surpass Twitter next year. Add to that new advertising tools like sponsored posts, live video options, and an improved commenting system, and your business can’t afford to not be on the platform.
ATL Bucket List‘s Alyssa Fagien has grown her brand’s following to nearly 80K followers in a little over a year. “It started as a digital documentation of my adventures through a (then) new city,” says Fagien. “But my passion for social media drove me to make it more than that.” Through improved photography and consistent posting, she was able to create one of the go-to accounts in the city. Here, the social media maven shares more insight on what worked for her and how you can grow your brand on the network.
What makes you stand out?
“Figure out what makes you as a brand stand out and – more importantly – how what you are doing can help people,” says Fagien. “Once you figure it out, provide something useful to your followers and they will most likely become customers, too.” From using call to actions to showing a behind-the-scenes video on how your product works, be authentic in your posts and earn their trust. “Trust will be your biggest asset when it comes time to sell. It is much easier to convince a friend to buy than it is a stranger.”
Create a posting calendar for your brand’s Instagram account. Consistency is key to keep your following interested and thinking about your brand’s upcoming posts.
Create a realistic brand voice
While Instagram is the king of visuals, be sure that you’re showing more casual, real life photos than in your website — from your products to your team. It will allow your company to connect with your customers on a personal level, furthering your level of trust. “With the addition of Instagram Stories, give your followers a glimpse into what goes on in your life – or your company – on a daily basis. Give them sneak peeks and exclusive “insider” information. That’s what will get people coming back for more,” says Fagien.
Once you do, stick with it
Again, consistency! When posting, always ask yourself if it fits your brand’s mission and voice. Any sign of hesitation may indicate that you shouldn’t post it. “Consistency is important in a few different ways: voice consistency, imagery consistency (colors, themes, etc.), and posting consistency,” says Fagien.
My second photo for #shareacokewithatl is taken at Piedmont Park. This skyline view is pretty incredible. 😍🏙 Can’t wait to see all of the Atlanta influencers photos at @worldofcocacola in January! Happy Friday! ❤️ #cocacola #skyline #piedmontpark #atlanta #atl #weloveatl #whyiloveatl #chooseatl #discoveratl #igersatlanta #atlbucketlist
Interact with your followers
Don’t let a comment sit unanswered for weeks before replying — interact with your current and potential audience by answering product and/or business questions. “The biggest mistake brands make is thinking that once they post, they’re done. Creating great content is important, but I could argue that what you do after is what really sets the great brands apart,” says Fagien. Reply to comments (and now, you can even like them!), follow back, and ask for opinions on features or upcoming releases.
Quality Over Quantity
When it comes to small businesses, your team may be on the small size. If that’s the case, posting to Instagram may fall way down on your priority list. When manpower is an issue, create a content calendar so you know when and what to post on a moment’s notice.
If you have any enough content (and it all aligns with your brand), feel free to post multiple times a day. Each post should be informative and help your customers in some way. Your mission should shine within each post. It’s okay to post once a day or 5x a week as well. “The key here is to keep it consistent. I strongly advise against posting five times one day and then nothing for the next three,” says Fagien. Find the right posting schedule for you and when you can, create an archive of evergreen posts related to your brand, just in case.
Instagram is a community
Fagien says that the number one thing to remember is that Instagram is a strong community. “Figure out who you are, what you stand for, and how you want to help your community and everything else will fall into place.” Approach outright selling with caution, instead show why your product stands out from the rest. “The second your account becomes overly promotional, people will begin to drop off,” Fagien adds.
Looking for something fun to do in Atlanta? Follow ATL Bucket List for the best recommendations, from food to happy hours and activities. And for a glimpse into what the biggest cheerleaders of the Atlanta tech community are up to, check out Hype on Instagram!