If you aren’t using Instagram as a customer branding tool, then you are really missing out. There are currently over 600 million active users on the site. It has been growing by 100 million users every six months over the past two years.
Many brands recognize the benefits of using Instagram to build relationships with customers, but few are doing so effectively. If you are having difficulty forging strong relationships with customers on Instagram, you should follow these tips.
Give a Behind the Scenes Look at Your Business
Customers don’t want just want to follow you on Instagram to see you share pictures that were posted on other brands’ accounts. Jim Squires, Director of Market Operations at Instagram told Inc. that they want a more personal view of the brands they follow.
“On Instagram, small businesses will also continue to take customers behind the scenes to tell the world how the business operates,” Squires stated.
Providing images of your products, offices and employees is a great way to build a more personal rapport with your followers.
Be More Authentic
For decades before the advent of social media, brands presented themselves as flawlessly as possible to their customers. Customers have become more skeptical of brands that won’t acknowledge their shortcomings. Part of this is due to the transparency that social media has created, while a growing distrust of corporate brands has also played a role since the collapse of Enron and other scandals.
If you really want to build a close relationship with customers on Instagram, you need to start by establishing trust with them. You need to begin by being authentic, which means revealing flaws in your images.
Curalate points out that Instagram filters shouldn’t be used to hide blatant aesthetic flaws in your images. You will earn more respect from customers by being transparent.
Monitor Customer Behavior With Marketing Automation Tools
I can’t overemphasize the importance of marketing automation tools. There are a number of tools that you can use to automate your Instagram management and monitor customer behavior:
- Sprout Instagram Contact View & Engagement History
These tools have a number of uses. They allow you to schedule future posts, easily reply to messages and monitor follower interactions. These tools streamline your Instagram marketing efforts and make it easier to build strong relationships with customers.
Respond to Customer Comments as Timely as Possible
Too many brands treat Instagram as a platform for sharing pictures. While that is obviously a major aspect of the site, interacting with your followers is equally important.
You need to monitor your account regularly and respond to customer comments as quickly as possible. Always provide insightful responses.
Follow Other Users Selectively
When you are running a business, your goal is to use Instagram to build a stronger relationship with your customers. As obvious as that sounds, many businesses don’t keep this in mind when managing their Instagram accounts.
The biggest mistake they make is following back everyone that follows them. They want to build a close relationship with everyone in their network.
Before following another user, make sure they are relevant to your business. Do they live in your area? Are they following similar businesses? Do they have a profile that shows they are interested in what you have to offer?
If you can’t answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you probably shouldn’t follow them back. Here are some reasons why:
- You will be wasting time engaging with users that will never convert into paying customers.
- Analytics from your split-testing will be off, especially as you build your follower base.
- You may have difficulty monitoring the overall ROI of your Instagram marketing, because you are probably expanding resources on uninterested followers.
- Your feed will be filled with content that has no relevance to your business.
Follow users selectively. Don’t worry if they unfollow you if they aren’t going to become customers anyways.
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