Even though mediums for marketing, like social media, are continually expanding and evolving, the true marketing paradigm has remained the same. As CEO and cofounder of Pura Vida Bracelets, I’ve learned along the way best practices for building a following online. In particular, my brand has hit a stride with speaking to our audiences on Instagram. How can you, too, build your personal brand or business on Instagram? Here are my top five tips.
1) Find your niche
Every person or brand must have a niche– a way to set yourself or your business apart from everyone and everything else. Without a niche, you will blend in and become lost in the social media noise. Finding your niche is creating your personality. To get started, first ask yourself: what am I good at? What do I enjoy doing? What is my brand’s main purpose? You need to not only be unique, honest, and sincere, but also somewhat mysterious. Be sure to keep your purpose and persona clear but always strive to have people wanting to know more. If people are confused at what you do in the first few seconds, you’ve lost them for good.
As shown above, we brand ourself as a bracelet company. With the natural looking wood, no shoes, and ripped jeans, you can instantly understand the “vibe” we are going for through our content.
2) Find your influencers
Once you’ve found your niche, the next step is to find your influencers. An influencer on Instagram is someone who has power, reach and authority among their followers. Pairing your brand with the right voice is the single most important force in getting the word out. Who do you want talking about your brand and sharing your story? Start with people who have between 5k and 25k followers and classify them as your “content producers” or entry-level influencers. Usually these types of people will exchange high-quality photos for products of their choice. This would be considered a “win-win” for both parties since each are gaining from working with one another. It’s rare in marketing to exchange something of value for value, but in this case, it is the true unique beauty behind social media marketing. They are also looking to build up their own portfolios, so working with smaller brands is a win for them as well. The next tier is people with 25k – 100k followers. This group usually charges for their work because of the amount of followers they have. The top tier consists of accounts with 100k followers or more. These types of influencers will require a payment and a product exchange for their services. They are commonly known as “Insta Celebs” and will definitely work with you, but for compensation. One thing to note here is to make sure that these “top tier” influencers promote your brand naturally and organically to their followers. It’s very easy for fans to tell when an influencer is doing a “promoted post” for the money versus their true passion for the product.
As shown above, you can see how CocoHo, who is a professional surfer and big name on Instagram, gave us an “organic feeling” shoutout in her post.
3) Find your product photographers
Once you’ve found your potential influencers, you need to find product photographers. These Instagram users are similar to influencers, but you are not looking to them for outreach purposes, you are looking to them for high-quality lifestyle or product photos of your brand in action. They are extremely important in building your brand because their photos demonstrate the quality of your product. Using iPhone-only photos to sell your product on social media is a thing of the past. If you want to compete with Amazon or any other top online retailers, high-quality product photos are a 100% must-have. But, also keep in mind that fans want to see high-quality “organic” looking content on Instagram, not just crisp product photos shot on white backgrounds.
This is a great example of a “product photographer” on Instagram. She is putting the product front and center while maintaining that simple, lifestyle look and feel. The perfect balance between product and lifestyle photography on Instagram will be get you the highest engagement among your fans.
4) Send out samples
Once your list of influencers and photographers is finalized, the next step is to send out samples. To do this, first draft up a very simple and to-the-point email to these Instagram pros. These days, anyone can detect a “spam” or templated email from a mile away, so take your time to draft up a unique email that caters exactly to the person you’re trying to target. Remember, these influencers are sorting through hundreds of emails a day just like you, so your first go is very important. If you mess it up in the beginning, it’s unlikely they’ll want to work with you. Additionally, take your time to look over their account, personality, and overall vibe to truly understand how they would be a good fit for your brand. When they agree to work with you and give you their email address, phone number, and address, send them some samples. Make sure you send out samples that either they ask for specifically or ones that you feel fit their page and dynamic.
Creating a “system” and repeating the steps above is key to growing your brand on Instagram. “Scouting” and pairing your brand with the right influencers and photographers is a very time-consuming process. If possible, you may want to hire a couple of people that can assist with building your presence. It takes a lot of searching and hunting through endless Instagram accounts to truly find the right people for the right price to work with your brand. Once your influencers and photographers receive their samples, make sure to maintain an ongoing relationship. Let the influencer know that you’re not a-one-hit-wonder and that you truly care about creating a long-lasting and mutually rewarding relationship. Reach out to them a month after the deal to get more content, or even agree on a post swap where both accounts “shout” each other out on Instagram. Keep repeating this process and your brand will soon blossom on Instagram and find its way to the newsfeeds of millions of new people each day. There are no shortcuts to success. If you put the quality time in, the platform will reward you.
[By Griffin Thall] [From Forbes] [Read More]