Updated: Feb 23
Instagram is the second-largest social network in the world in terms of active users, behind only its owner, Facebook. More than 1 billion people use Instagram every month that will generate a revenue of $12.32 billion in 2020 (eMarketer).
Considering all social networks, in terms of size, Instagram ranks fifth – behind Facebook, YouTube, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and the popular Chinese social network WeChat.
When we talk about social media growth in Canada, Instagram numbers are impressive. According to eMarketer, by 2020, even with the Snapchat resurgence and the rise of TikTok competition, the platform will grow by more than 6% reaching over 12 million active users, which means almost a third of the entire population of the country. Another survey, conducted by Santista in November 2019, found that 54% of Canadian users are predominantly female between 25 and 44 years old.
Given the vast social media opportunity available, many influencers and brands struggle to make a mark. Establishing a valuable presence requires a smart strategy best designed with the expert guidance of a result-driven agency to avoid falling behind competitors.
Audience Quality Over Quantity
Would you rather speak to an audience of 10,000 people across the globe who are barely interested in the stories you tell or perform for an audience of just under 1,000 who are noticeably dedicated and engaged? The quality of your audience is as essential as the numbers that follow. You must focus on building a community that celebrates your brand, with real people who are interacting, saving, reposting, and helping to promote content due to genuine interest and shared love.
It is worth considering how far your followers are reaching by evaluating how many people they speak with daily. Composing your community with influential people will help to connect your brand with a much larger universe and enhance organic reach. This effort is the first secret to continue organic growth sustainably.
The Compelling Profile Photo
In his book, Face Value – The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions, psychologist Alexander Todorov explains our bias for judging people by their faces. In social media, this is not different. According to Todorov, people have an impression of others in less than 30 to 40 milliseconds. When you add this immediate review to the small version of your profile picture, things can get complicated if you fail to have a compelling photo.
Unless you are profiling a well-known brand, it is best to show your face as a profile picture. People are more open to connecting with human beings than with an unknown brand. Look for natural light or a clean environment in addition to a neutral background. For best results, hire a professional to assist you.
It is certainly best to look professional with the right clothing, but what is much more impactful is a smile. An authentic smile is not only friendly and inviting but encourages trust and increases likeability. Research shows that 69% of customers tend to purchase more from sellers they trust.
Though a picture is worth a thousand words and your face is your best business card, a medium to a large business should opt for a formal logo as a profile representation. On the other hand, a small business or a self-employed individual may use a professional headshot as a means to humanize the brand and establish a memorable identity.
A “WOW” Description for Your Bio
The way you present yourself in your bio is a crucial part of the Instagram presentation. It is through a biography that an audience can understand your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The best results are derived when you explain what you have to offer and what transformation you can make. Remember, when describing your brand through a social media profile, you are not talking about yourself, but rather what you can deliver.
You need to know how to build a description that synthesizes what you offer, and that creates an immediate connection with your profile visitors and followers. It is also vital that you highlight your business differentials against your competitors. What is exceptionally unique about your Instagram that makes it worth following?
Contrary to popular belief, using hashtags in your bio does not allow profile discovery. Instagram shows hashtag search results as strictly posts, not profiles. Not only does using a bio hashtag fail to deliver new audiences, but it will take new audiences away from your profile and onto the general hashtag collection.
Add the CTA Button
Instagram also offers different Call To Action (CTA) alternatives – called “Action Button,” which enables a more curated capability so people can find out more about your products or services in the right way. Buttons such as “book an appointment” or “reserve” are possible. Currently, there is a list of several partners that have integrated with Instagram (Eventbrite, OpenTable, BeautyDate etc.). However, to add this button, you will first need to create an account on the third-party service you want to use.
Explore Instagram Highlights
Instagram Highlights work just like pages on your site, use them to separate your content. Story posting is gaining more space on Instagram. It appears people have put aside the regular posts (Instagram Feed) to bet on Stories. The intention sheds light on what happens in the present moment and keeps content on air for only 24 hours.
Also, those who follow a brand or personality carefully tend to search Instagram Stories to peek behind the scenes, what is trending, and “real-time” insight. Use this feature to establish a closer relationship with your followers. Remember that videos have a longer exposure time than static photos, so take advantage of the video, animation, and interactive features offered by the platform.
By following these essential tips with the help of an expert, you and your brand can build a professional profile with ease. Gain followers who are genuinely interested in your content to help establish brand identity and increase sales.
Andre Havro, MBA