“Social media is not about the exploitation of technology, but service to the community.”
– Simon Mainwaring
Are you on Instagram? If not, the next question is this: Why? Authors and entrepreneurs must take advantage of social media across the board. It opens the floodgates and allows you make connections with your audience. Instagram is a social network that focuses on visual content. This may be either videos or photographs, but the key is to mix it up. Whether you’re an author or entrepreneur (or both), study the content types below and use them to supercharge your brand.
# 1 Quotes / Inspiration
Think about the core values of your business. What’s your company’s origin story? Tie your brand into the quotes and/or inspiration which you post on your Instagram page. These may be catch phrases, such as your brand slogan. The quotes may be pulled from motivational speeches or from blog posts written by company employees. Quotes may also reflect the niche of your brand. Let’s say your business is landscaping. It would be fitting to post generic garden or landscaping quotes. If you posted an off-the-wall quote, however, your audience may be confused as to why it was posted on your page. Get creative with quotes, using different fonts against colorful photographs.
# 2 Start a weekly series
After a while, you may notice your photos get a wide variety of likes and comments. Instagram makes it simplistic to track your analytics on your account. Click on a photo and then click view insights. It reveals how many likes your photo has received, impressions are people scrolling through their Instagram feed and seeing your photo, the reach is how many people actually saw your photo and engagement shows how many people interacted with it. Instagram also allows people to save your photo into a collection. Users cannot download any photos, however, even if the photos are on their own account.
With all these analytics, it’s important to start a weekly series. Authors usually focus on a grammar-related series. Spelling rules, punctuation and writing tips are a few series you could start. Commit yourself to this series and people will start following your content. They’re going to like and comment your photos as often as you post them. Make this content relative to your brand. How can you use it to market products? How can you implement this content to rally your audience and boost sales? All these answers are going to affect what kind of series you post on your Instagram page.
# 3 Behind-the-scenes
Many authors work from home. At the same time, others work out of commercial offices or at a different location each day. Give your audience a glimpse into your world. Do you write under a shade tree with a tall glass of iced tea? Take a picture. Snap a picture of your floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in your oversized office. These pictures are going to stop your audience. They are going to make your viewers pay attention to your content. Do you have more than one staffer? Profile them on your company Instagram page. Let them show their true personality. Allow your employees to be goofy and be themselves. This is going to boost the followers on Instagram and make your brand more personable.
A call-to-action is a fantastic way to promote your business. If you want your customer to do something, you have to ask them to do it. Here are some examples:
- Click on the link to get a coupon!
- Pre-order the book and get a free gift!
- Sign up for our e-mail newsletter and get a free entry to the sweepstakes!
There are two parts to a call-to-action. The first action is what the brand wants the customer to do. For example, the customer has to “click the link.” But now what? Part two of call-to-action is the incentive. What will the customer get as a result of clicking the link? They get a coupon! Oh—now that is worth it! When customers know the incentive ahead of time, they are more likely to follow through, otherwise known as the website conversion. Each conversion should automatically land on a landing page, which gives the customer more information. It’s here that the customer may turn into a lead (meaning they are becoming more interested in your product or service). It’s that’s simple, and yet it’s that hard.
# 5 Promotions / Giveaways
Customers love bargains. Post promotional content on Instagram, but try not to post this content every day. You don’t want promotions to outshine your Instagram photos. While your audience will be thrilled about giveaways and promotions, posting this content too often will drive them away. Instead of focusing on promotions, post behind-the-scene photos or quotes. Post photos related to your series or photos that ask the audience a question. Try to post a promotion, coupon or giveaway every other day. This is going to help keep the followers engaged and focused on your product. You don’t want them going astray to your competitors. Rather, you want them to stay with your brand. Find the best method that works for you and perfect it.
# 6 Creativity with books
If you’re a fellow author, this one is for you. More than likely, you sign books and ship them off to readers. You may attend book signings or seminars at which you sign the book in person. Instead of taking pictures of your books, however, snap a photograph of the customer with your book. How genius is this? Have them write a short book review, which you can include in the description of your Instagram photo. Not only does this market your book, but it speaks well of you as an author. It drives sales to your book. Don’t forget to include the proper hashtags as well. You can post your book in creative settings, too, as long as someone is reading or holding your book. Make sure the book cover is showing, or show a picture of the inside. It’s going to be great publicity for you, and it’s free!
# 7 Videos
Live video is starting to get popular on Instagram. Take customers on a tour of your company or sit and have a casual chat. Customers will tune in so they can hear what you have to say. If you visit somewhere, film a video on your phone and upload it. You can post Instagram videos that are up to a minute in length. These two options are yet another way to reach out to your audience. Make connections with them. Find out what problems they need to be solved so you can create the products. Viewers of the video can write their comments directly in the chat and you can respond in real-time. Live video may very well take your business to a whole different level. It’s terrific to use if you have promotions or products that are new to your brand.
Everyone forgets. Customers are not likely to remember that you ran a promotion three weeks ago. They have forgotten the promotion was for your latest novel and that the giveaway will be this weekend. They’ve forgotten they have the opportunity to win books from your entire trilogy. This is why your audience needs reminders. Send reminders in different increments of time as the event gets closer. If the event is happening a week from today, send three reminders: a reminder today, a reminder of three days and a reminder the day before. This way, the reminders don’t seem spammy and they are fresh in your customer’s mind. They are more likely to attend the event instead of forgetting about it all together.
What other Instagram photo trends have you noticed? Leave them in the comments.