Instagram: Sell Your Business’ Personality, Not Your Products

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Instagram-content-strategy-consultingSince launching two years ago, Instagram has grown to over 130 million active users. Over 45 million photos are uploaded everyday! Instagram has become the darling of Social Media users because it’s easy to use, simple to navigate and it’s fun! How can local businesses tap into this visual community and bring value to an already crowded arena?

While it doesn’t possess the depth and breadth for marketing campaigns like Facebook does, your business can enjoy a potent punch from Instagram. Especially if you’ve developed a winning Instagram content marketing strategy.

If you’ve never used it, Instagram allows users to upload photos instantly from their mobile device. They add #hashtags to aggregate specific content, add geotags to show the location of photos, and captions to describe photos. Other users can share, like or comment on your photos, thereby starting conversations around your content. You can tap into existing audiences to gain new followers. It starts with discovery and continues with engagement until that prospect is ready to buy.

Last week, a client asked me if I could review some of the recommendations a “SEO/Social Media” provider had strongly suggested they implement. What he recommended were the “buzzwords” and very little substance. He suggested flooding the web with indiscriminate content (pictures and videos of my client’s products) on basically every platform imaginable (even those that’ve lost their luster). All with no back story, no solid content strategy from which to build from.

Today, it’s not just about getting to the top of search. Once you get there, it better be useful, engaging, and relevant content or people will just click away.

Across all stages of the buying process, people are interested in what’s behind your brand. They search the web. They read reviews. They check Social Media sites.

Whether you’re selling cars, clothes, cabinets or carnations, people need a story to connect with. Good marketing evokes emotions. Tell them a story with your Instagram content strategy and you’ll paint a picture of your business that they can feel connected to. That’s what moves you to the top today.

Instagram allows you to tell a visual story about what it’s like to do business with you. When I speak to large groups, very often someone will raise their hand and ask about Instagram. Their struggle stems from wanting to be there but not knowing where to start. It can be difficult for those that are new to Social marketing. I always ask a question back, “Why do you want to be on Instagram?” Most respond, “Because I heard it’s the new place to be.”

Before you spend any time, effort and money on marketing, you must first have a solid Instagram content strategy. Every Social platform you’re on needs to be consistent with your overall message. It must be relevant to your customer, and speak to each stage of the buying process they’re in.

Promoting your products without any forethought can mark you as someone to avoid instead of interact with.

A good illustration of that is the “SEO/Social Media” provider above. He’s attempting to apply old, out-dated advertising tactics to new media. It simply doesn’t work. You can’t skip over the the work to win the prize.

To attract leads, you must develop a solid Instagram content strategy. Show a side of your business that’s consistent with your “personality”:

  • Content that unmasks a more intimate or fun-loving side of your business.
  • The genesis of your business is a great place to start.
  • It’s perfectly ok to showcase your products and services but do it in a way that doesn’t annoy.
  • Get advice on your business’ specific, unique content strategy from a Social Media coach.

Humanize your brand by using Instagram to introduce your fans to the people who make your company what it is. It’s a great way to show your brand personality. So go ahead, take some pictures of the team when they’re hard at work or having a sociable evening out. Tap into the personalities that make up your customers’ overall experience. Show employees and customers in their “natural habitat.”

Instagram can be very beneficial to your business as an integral part of your overall Social Media marketing strategy.

My business helps clients rethink their process and develop strategies for Social Media and online reputation. Let me know the questions you have in the comments below?

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  • Ralph M. Rivera

    Great stuff.

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  • Siodhna

    Interesting piece. Would love to hear of a good example of a business – SME or bigger brand – using instagram to connect and tell it’s story. It’s an area of interest of mine.

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  • David Sharp

    I’m not sure how I missed this piece but I can tell you I really appreciate it. I have knocked around the idea of Instagram for our dealership group but didn’t really know what to do with it. I think that to start I am going to create my own personal account and “poke around” a little. That way I can see some examples of what others are doing and see if they have ideas I want to utilize or if they are doing things I want to stay away from.

    Do you think that is a wise choice? Do you have any recommendations on some peoples Instagram places, sites, accounts (whatever they are called) that I might take a look at before jumping in with both feet?

    Thanks for so much helpful information Kathi, again, I do appreciate it!

  • Danielle

    Interesting points. I have a small company and have kept everything more on a formal basis up until now but I think putting my personality into my brand, especially on social media, could prove to be a positive move.