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7 Ways to Grow Your Brand On Instagram

Posted by rstapholz on
7 Ways to Grow Your Brand On Instagram

Are you looking to make the most of Instagram and want to use it to grow your business? Here are some clear tips you can engage with to do just that.

1.  Finding the right time to post

The time you decide to post your content is going to have a big impact on how it performs. The decision of when to post becomes overwhelming for most because there are 24 hours in a day and seven days a week, which means they have a lot to choose from. If you want to avoid going through all that, it is a good idea to do a simple online search because it is going to help you in figuring out your content schedule.

Many social media management tools and social media blogs have already done the research and determined the best time to post on Instagram. This allows you to start posting on Instagram feeling confident without spending a lot of time and resources researching on your own. You shouldn’t depend on what they have recommended; it is a good idea to put in a little time because the audience is different. There are times when the time is opposite because of the nature of the audience. The data should become the foundation of the schedule, then you adjust the times you post then see which times work the best. Fine-tune your schedule until you end up with something that works well.

When you are starting out you can buy Instagram followers, be sure to take this into account with your analytics. Buying Instagram followers can be a great way to give your brand that initial push and really kick things off. Trusted sellers such as Social Plus are a great place to start.

2.  Being smart with hashtags

Hashtags are great when you want to reach new audiences on Instagram. But it is not enough to just choose random and popular hashtags. The hashtags are going to do so much; the good thing is there is a type of hashtag that is going to help you grow your followers on Instagram.

This type of hashtags is known as “niche hashtag”. This is a hashtag that focuses on a specific interest. A photographer in Los Angeles can use the hashtag #losangelesphotographer in addition to the popular #photographer (this has been used on more than 168 million posts). When you put niche hashtags on your posts, you are going to gain followers who are interested in your content and also increase awareness of your brand.

3.  Going beyond the typical post

Don’t limit yourself to photos, there are a lot of features on Instagram that will help you create a great experience for your audience. When you use features like IGTV and video, your followers are going to have more ways of interacting with your brand.

IGTV is great for trying out long-form content on Instagram and you will know how your audience prefers engaging with your brand. Don’t feel like you have to start by posting seven-minute-long videos. Start by posting a video a week, then seeing how followers interact with the video compared to your normal posts. The findings from this will help you update your strategy and make sure you are up to date.

4.  Make use of geotagging

Location is one of the most important things when it comes to real estate, but it is also important for your Instagram strategy. The geotagging feature is good because it allows users to store content at a specific location and tags. The coordinates are going to be linked with your content. This is going to make the posts more visible to users searching in that given location.

Geotagging features can be used beyond the standard posts. You are also given the option of geotagging through Stories or Stickers. Are you curious about where the brand is talked about the most? The Instagram explore feature to search your brand name or physical storefront if you have one. Go to the “place” option. Through this, you get to know more about the followers talking about you are from. You will know the reach of your brand geographically.

5.  Upgrading your photos

Instagram is mainly driven by visual appeal, which makes it important to ensure your photos are high quality especially when you are competing with other brands. You don’t have to have a professional camera to produce quality photos, your smartphone is good enough. Your phone can produce quality photos, provided you use it correctly. Most people on Instagram use their phones to take photos and videos, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to do it.

There are some tips you can find online that can help you improve the quality of your photos. The camera on the back is a good place to start because it is easier to steady your camera and the quality is also better. Lighting is also important, make sure it is not too bright or too dark. It is best to use natural lighting because it isn’t too overpowering.

Play with different angles to make the photos eye-catching to users as they scroll, and also balance your photos using gridlines. Don’t over-edit your photos before you post because people can easily tell that the photo isn’t real. You don’t need to do a lot of editing when it is a good photo.

6.  Partnering with other brands

It might seem counter-intuitive to work with those you consider your competition, but working with others can help you gain access to a different audience. When you partner with a brand on Instagram, you are introduced to a new audience through their followers, which is going to grow your reach.

If you have never partnered with another brand or are new to Instagram, don’t worry. It is not hard to reach out, and it is going to be the most important step. Start by identifying brands that your audience is most likely interested in. Make sure you double-check their brand value so you can be sure that their values align with yours. When you do this, you prevent issues coming up later that could harm the partnership.

Once you find a brand you think is a good fit, reach out to them and find out whether they might be interested in partnering. If you partner with another brand, take advantage of the new exposure by creating content that is going to showcase both of your brands. You can create a hashtag specific to the partnership, or a giveaway to get the interest of the followers. The goal of such a partnership is to promote both brands, which results in new followers that could be converted to customers.

7.  Gathering feedback using Stories

Most people love feeling the brand cares about their opinion, and this same can be said about Instagram users. Instagram has made it easier for users to easily get feedback, and one of the tools is Stories. Polls are great when gauging interest or the question sticker when you want suggestions from your audience. You get to learn more about your audience. The engagement is going to improve when you give your audience the content they asked for.

When you get feedback from your audience, use it to improve your Instagram content and engagement. This will help you gain more followers on your account. Consistently ask for feedback. Instagram changes fast, and it is important to stay relevant by asking for feedback from your audience.

How Do Leaders Influence Followers? By Maureen Metcalf

Posted by Editor on
How Do Leaders Influence Followers? By Maureen Metcalf

This blog is a companion to the interview with Dr. Gama Perucci and Aldo Boitano on VoiceAmerica “Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations” on January 10, 2017, focusing on leaders moving away from the cult of personality and toward supporting the mission of the organization by supporting followers. This interview was conducted at the International Leadership Association Annual Conference.

We define innovative leadership as the ability to influence by engaging self, culture and systems equally. To me this means I am highly focused on influencing the people I lead and yet much of the leadership research focuses on the leadership qualities with the assumption that we are developing leaders that people want to follow. Is that an accurate statement?

I grew up in a military family and my dad talked about “fragging”. Per Wikipedia: The term fragging is used to describe the deliberate killing or attempted killing by a soldier of a fellow soldier. I imagine most of us can imagine a leader we worked with that we did not appreciate. Early in my career I remember a well-meaning boss yelling at me for a minor mistake. Our culture was one where yelling was the primary method of reinforcing our leaders were serious. As a leadership consultant, I can’t imagine coaching my clients to yell more to build follower confidence.

One of the key elements of effective leadership is the ability to inspire followership. In chapter 12 of Leader 2050: Critical Challenges, Key Contexts, and Emerging Trends, authors, Susan Cannon, Mike Morrow-Fox and I provided a list of seven competencies needed by highly effective leaders now and in the future. This chapter walks through trends that will impact the future and leadership mindsets and behaviors that are currently required and will need to be nurtured for leaders to be most effective. One of the key facets in this model is that it is designed to help leaders attend to the high level of volatility and uncertainty we all face. One of these seven competencies is the ability to inspire followership.

An example of a leader inspiring followership was one of my mentors, Paul. Years after we worked together, people still talk about our working experience and how what they learned from him impacted their lives. What I remember most was his humility and commitment to the team’s success. He did all the standard motivational stuff and seemed to have a spark of true desire to see all of us succeed. He took the roles others didn’t want to ensure we succeeded. These were often small gestures and yet they inspired a measure of commitment I have rarely seen in the last fifteen years since we worked together. When I do see it, it is easy to spot because of the environment these leaders create.

Now to dive in more detail into how we defined inspiring followership:
1. Has the special ability to connect with people at all levels of the organization to create a shared vision.
2. Intuitively understands change, the steps to managing change, and how to help the organization overcome its resistance to change.
3. Has an innate ability to diffuse conflict without avoiding or sidestepping the source of the conflict.
4. Has a great ability to use humor effectively to put people at ease.
5 Able to relate to a broad range of people and understand their motivators and stressors.
6. Innately connect projects to the individual goals while working to overcome barriers.
7. Able to provide valuable feedback to others in a manner that is supportive of growth and development of the recipient.

One facet that stood out to me during the interview with Dr. Gama Perucci focusing on moving away from the cult of personality was the idea that leaders \ succeed and inspire followership in part through their ability to diagnose the organizational culture and specific situation and identify which behaviors are required in any given situation. The focus on culture and context allows the leader to more accurately identify the appropriate action. This need for diagnosis makes intuitive sense and yet most of us have roles and behaviors that are more comfortable and less comfortable. I tend to prefer the middle – I don’t love command and control but I am also very particular about when I include people and who I include. Versatile leaders can diagnose where situations call for command and control or participatory leadership and everything in between.

Leaders who inspire followers understand where the followers excel and where to either build additional skills or where to share power with someone else who has stronger skills in areas we are not as agile. This behavioral agility is one of the important differentiators. How do you navigate understanding the behavior and when to let others to take the lead? Are you willing to share power? How do you enhance and expand that capacity in areas that are not currently either comfortable or strong? As a leader, it is important to understand the importance of moving along the continuum of behaviors ranging from command and control to participatory depending on your situation.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

About the author
Maureen Metcalf, CEO and Founder of Metcalf & Associates, is a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker, and coach whose 30 years of business experience provides high-impact, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership development and organizational transformations. Maureen is recognized as an innovative, principled thought leader who combines intellectual rigor and discipline with an ability to translate theory into practice. Her operational skills are coupled with a strategic ability to analyze, develop, and implement successful strategies for profitability, growth, and sustainability.

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