As a full-time entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, social media trainer for international brands such as The Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton and ViceRoy, he encourages others to reach their full potential through the arts and social media. He uses his successful social media presence and impressive network of followers to travel around the world teaching others how to grow their Instagram accounts.
Zach is also an award-winning dancer and was a finalist on FOX TV’s popular show, “So You Think You Can Dance.” He combines his passion for teaching, entrepreneurship, dance and travel to mentor people all over the world and help them grow, dance and improve their companies.
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Recently, Instagram hit a milestone when it was revealed that the social media application had become over 800 million users strong. Now, imagine getting even a fraction of those users to take notice of your business.
If you are new to the startup space, then you may not have realized just how vital Instagram has become to advertising. Your company can easily get involved, but a proper strategy is needed to become a real contender.
Pillar I: Growth
In order for your business to thrive on Instagram, you need to build a strong presence. Your initial goal is to obtain more followers because these individuals can quickly become customers, who can help increase brand awareness and sales.
A growth strategy
As with everything in business, you want to have a strategy in place. How many followers do you want to attract? What percentage of sales increase do you aim to achieve? Figure these numbers out first.
There are some general rules you can follow to begin building substantial growth, including effective use of hashtags, authentic engagement with other profiles (no spammy behavior), and staying active in the community by posting on a daily basis.
Starting from scratch
If your business is new to Instagram, then the challenge of growing your presence can seem daunting.
A novel method of achieving organic growth is by sharing and interacting with other businesses within your niche. If you specialize in fashion, find other fashion-forward companies and begin adding genuine likes and comments on their posts. In many cases, the other company will respond in kind. You can even approach the company directly and bring up the idea of working together to help one another reach the level of growth you have each set for your business.
Pillar II: Content
In the quest to achieve maximum growth, content is king. These two pillars are directly related because the more high-quality your content is, the more growth you will experience. In general, great Instagram content is made up of vibrant photography and engaging captions that often contain a question or a call to action.
Leave impressions with engaging videos
If they are well conceived, videos are known to make a big impression on Instagram users. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures.
Many startups take advantage of live videos that show a behind the scenes look at how products are made or offer a look into a day in the life of your employees. Customers tend to get a kick out of companies that have some personality, and they can sniff out those who are just faceless corporations looking to make a dime.
In the end, your content should challenge and elicit a positive response from your followers. Most users only spend a few seconds viewing a post before moving on, so make every second count.
Pillar III: Branding
When it comes to success on Instagram, branding is perhaps the most important pillar for businesses. When people first come to your page, you might only have their attention for a moment, so make sure your branding gives them a memorable first impression.
Effective branding gets an emotional response from the viewer, but it also works to satisfy a need. As a startup, you can increase your visibility by building a brand that presents a tone and a particular look and feel that draws the consumer in while not being too complicated.
Once you have that, use branding consistency to ensure that the memory of your brand remains well after a user leaves your page.
Pillar IV: Engagement
There is an accurate way to measure the effectiveness of your company’s growth, content and branding strategy, and it comes in the form of engagement. Essentially, engagement is how your followers react to your Instagram presence, along with how well you attract new users. And yes, it is possible to have a lot of followers but also have poor engagement.
This pillar is so crucial that Instagram has built-in algorithms that can detect and promote promising engagement and downgrade profiles that have fake engagement from bots and spammers. The platform looks at your page to see the comments that are left, the authenticity of your posts and the likes they receive, and the quality of the people and businesses that follow your page. The algorithms can tell when you are paying for likes and comments and favors companies that spend time attracting organic engagement with quality content.
Quality + consistency = Instagram success
While having a strong comprehension of these four pillars of Instagram success is paramount to your startup’s success on the platform, simply laying the groundwork is just the first step.
Remember that consistency is key. Take the time to make memorable content so your company stays fresh in the minds of your current and future followers. Though it can be more of a marathon than a sprint, success on Instagram is completely achievable through proper strategy and dedication.
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