Eric Dahan is co-founder and CEO of InstaBrand, the Web’s premier Instagram/Vine influencer platform.
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Now, in addition to choosing a filter, users have the option to straighten, adjust brightness (contrast, warmth, saturation, highlights, shadows), add a vignette, apply tilt shift, and sharpen an image. This is a big shift for the photo-sharing platform originally hailed for its streamlined UI and straightforward, user-friendly photo editing tools.
For brands hoping to utilize Instagram as an organic, grassroots means to engage new and existing followers alike, this new Insta-release means re-evaluating whether more customizability means more or less success when it comes to launching and maintaining profitable Instagram campaigns.
I’ve matched thousands of brands with top-tier Instagram influencers, driving organic consumer engagement by engineering viral content and original hashtags. As it turns out, brands can exponentially increase their reach by keeping posts simple and consistent, focusing on one or two key Instagram marketing strategies.
Here are five ways brands can streamline their Instagram presence to build better, stronger followings:
1. Establish one or two incentive hashtags
When brands utilize dozens of hashtags per photo, the result is an unfocused post that dilutes the message a brand sends its audience. Popular influencers will want to avoid multiple hashtags, because this can come across as “spammy” to their audiences.
A brand’s greatest challenge is communicating a sincere message to its followers with each and every Instagram post. A successful grassroots campaign prioritizes quality over quantity; therefore, while multiple hashtags will naturally yield higher potential reach, one or two incentive hashtags will generate better follower engagement.
2. Encourage your audience to post/repost brand images
A successful, incentive hashtag goes viral when followers are motivated to repost with their own photos. This kind of engagement can nearly double a brand’s following overnight.
For example, Revolve Clothing recently gained over 35,000 followers with its #REVOLVEme campaign, which encouraged followers to upload their own pictures of themselves wearing Revolve clothing for a chance to win $1,000.
3. Keep photo editing simple and consistent
Consistency is everything. Instagram, as a purely visual platform, is an opportunity for brands to establish their own atmosphere, with a distinct color palate and a unique energy. Brands are only attractive to consumers as they are reliable.
Brand loyalty depends on delivering a coherent, dependable lifestyle vibe that customers trust. If Instagram users can visit your account and quickly understand your brand’s image, then they’re more likely to follow your brand and engage with your content.
Staying consistent with filters, photography, and themes is a huge part of establishing a clear, focused brand “DNA.”
4. Post only relevant images
Lifestyle/aspirational brands (especially smaller brands) might be tempted to post broad-spectrum content outside of product images, such as selfies and photos of food and friends. While it might seem like a good strategy to engage your followers by familiarizing them with your brand’s “behind the scenes,” posts that are incoherent or inconsistent tend to hurt most brands’ overall image.
Very few established brands associated with famous faces (Nicole Richie, Rachel Zoe) will benefit from selfies; other brands should stick to focused, specific product images.
For example, if you’re a clothing brand, make sure only to post photos of clothing on models, look book photos, clothing on followers who have tagged your brand. If you’re a jewelry brand, make sure only to post close-up shots of hands, neck, and ears modeling items.
5. Team up with select influencers
Many brands assume the more Instagram influencers they can engage to promote their product/service, the better. But this isn’t necessarily the case. Instagram’s organic, word-of-mouth advertising platform makes it essential to communicate through influencers who are an ideal fit for your specific brand’s image.
Put simply, a few well-matched influencers are much more valuable to brands than a host of ill-suited influencers. The key is to hit your target market through precisely the right channels.
What are you waiting for? Get posting!