In a social media-driven era, it’s important that you know how to build, and maintain, your business’ brand on Instagram. Instagram is becoming an increasingly important avenue through which businesses need to brand build. Your brand is the first thing current and prospective members come into contact with. A strong brand is necessary for keeping current members happy, as well as for attracting new members.
With internet searches and social media on the rise, Instagram is quickly becoming the most forward facing representation of your brand. More people are joining Instagram everyday and Instagram is quickly becoming their preferred social networking site. With that in mind, here are some tips for how you can (and should) build your brand on Instagram.
1. Be Hungry
Follow, follow, follow. A great way to spread your brand and get important feedback is through interacting with followers and getting followers to react to your posts. Furthermore, many people are beginning to associate followers with legitimacy, so gaining even a slightly significant number of followers (100-1,000) can help your online branding immensely.
Many people are afraid to start following random accounts when they first get started, but it is a quick and easy way to start increasing your followers. Get three to five posts on your account, then start searching hashtags and users that you think would be interested in your gym, school or studio. Not everyone will follow back, but you will gain a significant amount of followers this way if you keep at it.
*A quick way to find accounts to follow is through following relevant hashtags on Instagram. Don’t worry about having a disproportionate number of accounts followed versus followers. For now, just keep following new accounts. Then, clean out the accounts you follow every week or two.
2. Use Hashtags
As mentioned above, users can now follow hashtags on Instagram. So use them. You can use up to 30 hashtags in any given post on Instagram. Make the most of this number and use many relevant hashtags on each post. Hashtags bring in new followers, so even if you’re nervous about looking like you’re trying too hard, you really do need to use them. You can even use a column of dots or emojis to hide your hashtags beneath the main message.
*It’s smart to balance consistent and specific hashtags on each post. In general, you should have five to 10 hashtags that you use on each post. These should be relevant to your business’ brand and should always be applicable. In addition to consistent hashtags, for each post, choose additional hashtags that are specific to that post (i.e. #christmas or #mondayfeels).
3. Stay Consistent
Instagram is not something you should start and stop as you please. If you want to appear professional and invested, and if you want to see any return for your effort, once you get going, you must constantly maintain and add to your online presence.
*Checking in daily, or even hourly, can be a major task for any fitness business trying to juggle multiple things at once. Your online presence can often come second to what is actually happening in your studio at any given time. To ensure that your online brand does not suffer during busy hours or days, download tools such as Hootsuite or Ripl to help you manage and pre-plan all of your posts.
4. Strategic Partnerships
Paid and unpaid versions of strategic partnerships play a huge role in growing your following and attracting new members. In addition to manually following accounts, pursuing strategic partnerships is a great way to increase followers and legitimacy. Whether you have the budget to pay influencers, or if you have to ask around and find accounts willing to give you a shout-out for free, getting “referred” on Instagram will not only increase your number of followers, but it will also increase trust in your brand and business.
*You are permitted one link in your bio. Make sure it is easy to find and that it sends people to the most important page on your website. As more people gain trust in your brand and get referred to your profile, you will see an increase in real clicks to your website.
Showing potential members that you are invested and care about their wellbeing plays a huge role in boosting your brand and attracting new members. A simple way to show potential members you care is through active engagement on Instagram. This can include going live on Instagram, and should include responding to comments in a timely manner. Get excited when someone comments on your post, or when they share your content. Express your gratitude and excitement through a quick and easy comment back, and see people’s loyalty to your brand grow.
*Monitor comments, tags and shares consistently. If you can’t monitor your Instagram on a regular basis, consider downloading an app that sends out automated replies to comments and shares. Either way, make sure you engage with your followers, as this will support your brand and increase loyalty to your business.
Content is king. Many people have become immune to traditional advertisements on social media. Instead of relying on paid advertisements to showcase your brand and attract new members, you must now invest in creative content creation to demonstrate your value. Standards are high, especially for fitness studios. With Instagram showcasing more and more at home “fitness gurus”, you are going to have to invest in some pretty special content. As more people try out home workouts, you should emphasize the benefits that your studio can provide that home workouts or other studios cannot.
Furthermore, engaging and creative content will result in more shares and tags, meaning your brand will reap more benefits from one post than a standard, boring post – even if both posts required the same amount of work. Increase the value of your time by ensuring that you are putting out creative content.
*To ensure your content is truly spectacular, dedicate a role to social media and content creation. If you do not want to hire someone on your team directly, look into freelancing a content creator. Boost your presence, showcase your value and build your brand through blogs, videos and graphics.
Instagram can seem like a foreign language when first starting out. It will take time to learn strategy and execution on the site, however, this investment of time and energy is extremely necessary for brand building in the current state of marketing.
Looking for additional marketing tips? Get your free copy of our 10-Step Marketing Guide for Fitness Businesses.