Someone I highly admired in the past imparted onto me the wisdom that the key to achieving one’s goals is to contribute without expecting anything in return. Now, this notion is applicable to many aspects of life, particularly any aspect in which you share anything with other people, and it is especially true with regard to the use of social media.
It is also the reason why most customers find businesses that give free samples to be more tempting, however that information belongs in a different article. This philosophy of giving back is very important to keep in mind if you want to be successful on social media, and Instagram in particular. However, before we carry on with this series on chocolate marketing, there are certain fundamentals that need to be understood. In the first installment of this series, you will get some information on the fundamentals of chocolate marketing on social media.
The second part of the lesson will then focus solely on teaching you about Instagram. In the last part of this series, you will discover how to develop content that is not just an expression of your brand or personality, but also feels like a gift to the reader. Because Instagram is all about feeding the spirit and entertaining people via their eyes, the first thing you need to do is work on making yourself aesthetically attractive to your followers. After you have successfully captured their attention, the next step is to bring them closer to you.
It is essential that you capture and maintain the attention of your audience.
Interaction is Key
Interacting with your audience is the greatest method to establish a community that is interested in what you have to say, which is a basic premise of social media. Permit me to reiterate that communicating with one’s audience is the most effective approach to establish a community that is interested in something.
Encourage others to comment and like your posts, and make sure you do the same in return. This is important whether you have thirty followers or thirty thousand. Give, engage others, and ask for as little in return as you can get away with. Imagine that your Instagram account is a garden in which you sow seeds, nurture them with care, and tend to them with affection in the expectation that they will one day produce a harvest for you to enjoy. When you look at a tomato vine one month after it has been planted, you don’t find yourself wondering why it isn’t covered with ripe tomatoes, do you?
Give without expecting anything in return at all times. Even if you have a wonderful new idea or activity, you should still share it because it’s news rather than because you want others to re-share it or purchase anything from you. People will inquire about how they may assist you if they see you discussing topics that are lovely and fascinating and connecting with the contributions of others. The next piece of advice for using Instagram is to always keep in mind that the platform might be taken down at any time.
Your content’s reach (the number of people who view it) is determined by the level of engagement (interaction) with that content; however, organic reach has been declining for some time now. I can’t say that I blame Instagram for wanting you to pay money to enhance your postings. The attention that is being drawn to you is coming from their platform. They are the owners of the property on which you have planted your garden, and on occasion they will ask you to pay for the table that they have reserved for you at the local farmer’s market. Perhaps what was said just now was becoming a bit too meta, but the fact remains that social media is a free kind of advertising, and as gardeners, we pay for it with the time that we spend on it.
If, however, you are publishing high-quality material on Instagram, then even if the platform were to be discontinued tomorrow, your brand would continue to be known for the same things and people’s perceptions of it would not change. They will remember your Instagram account and look for you on other platforms, since there is always another location where people’s attention is drawn.
In the beginning, it was the town crier, then newspapers, then radio and television, and gradually, the emphasis shifted more toward social media platforms that are accessible through the internet. However, prior to this, there was no such platform where one could communicate with prospective clients in a cost-free manner. Before the advent of social media, your consumers had a very limited understanding of what your brand stood for or who was behind the firm. Their knowledge was limited to the highly polished sound bites that you put out in an effort to attract them.
Even if you paid for a billboard or took out an ad in the newspaper, your audience would not engage in any kind of reciprocation with you and your reach would be severely restricted. People who saw the billboard or commercial probably didn’t think of themselves in that way either, but those who clicked the “follow” button on your profile definitely do think of themselves in that way. They now participate, and you want to ensure that they continue to do so in the future.
Simply enjoying material may have a significant impact. You only need to double-tap the picture or click the symbol that looks like a heart, and then you may go on to the next one. This most fundamental kind of contact on Instagram is a method of demonstrating to the platform that you are an active user as well as to the people that you follow that you are interested in the lives that they lead. Simply said, it increases people’s familiarity with the brand. Likes bring your profile to the attention of others, but in a manner that is not very binding and does not need a response in kind.
So remember to remain consistent. Likes that are given to your own content are just as significant for your brand as likes that are given to other people’s work. This is because likes on your own content signal to Instagram that your content is of high quality and should be seen by a larger audience. If people like your images quickly after they are uploaded, more of your followers will see those photos when they check in to their accounts. The longer it takes for people to like your photos, the less people will see them. The publication of your picture at the best possible moment for your account is essential if you want to increase the number of likes that it receives.
Comments, much like “likes,” can spread awareness about a company. However, comments build up your reputation on a far more permanent scale, since they are instantly visible whenever a picture is tapped on. This gives comments a significant advantage over likes and shares. Your words will always leave a mark, and everybody who reads them will form an opinion about you based on that mark. You are able to make valuable contributions to discussions, provide help to others, and create connections with consumers and other people working in the business when you leave comments. Take use of this power and leave only comments that are helpful, encouraging, and inquisitive; anything too generic, unless it’s coming from a close friend, seems to be very spammy (think “this is fantastic” or “so nice”). I’m going to erase these remarks since they don’t appear professional, and you as a brand should never put comments like this on the pictures of other people.
On your own photographs, however, comments function in a manner similar to that of super likes, further propelling your material to the top of people’s newsfeeds.
There are a lot of different ways that direct messages may be used to damage the reputation of your company. You run the risk of having your account flagged as spam and being blocked as a result; you also run the risk of damaging any positive images associated with your company by sending messages that ask for something but offer nothing in return; or you simply run the risk of sending a large number of messages to the wrong people. On the other hand, direct messaging can also be used as a means of connecting with others in your industry, as well as with influencers and writers who might be interested in working with you or promoting your products. This is in addition to connecting with others who are already working in your industry.
I strongly suggest that you give serious consideration to the people to whom you send messages and think about what you have of value to offer the recipient before you even contemplate the possibility of asking them for anything. Take into consideration that these communications are similar to postcards; you don’t want to be the one that people promptly throw away in the recycling bin.
The Follow/Unfollow Game
This is a frustrating game that many, if not the majority of the individuals who are attempting to expand their followings on Instagram play. I detest the idea.
People that do this will basically start following someone, and then a day, week, or month later, they will stop following that person. I don’t do this; instead, I quickly scan the list of people who follow me on any given day, look at the profiles of those whose accounts appear to be related to chocolate, and then decide whether or not to follow back based on whether or not I like the content they post or whether or not I know the person personally. These days, I genuinely expect that ultimately more than half of the individuals who follow me will eventually unfollow, particularly those who have a personal website of some type that they are attempting to promote. This is especially true for those who have been following me for an extended period of time. There are a lot of programs available these days that can automatically follow or unfollow other people on social media on your behalf.
Because nothing is more damaging to one’s brand than making someone feel special just before they discover that you are apparently no longer interested in them and have unfollowed them, I cannot stress enough how much damage this will do to your company’s reputation as a whole. I cannot emphasize this point enough. It is a far better technique to persuade someone to look at your profile if you like numerous of their photographs and make a remark, especially if you actually enjoy what they have posted. If you aren’t sure that you want to, don’t bother following them. This method of like and commenting on other people’s posts works far better for your reputation, and it does not inspire other people to believe that you are interested in what they have to say. It takes a great deal more work, but it encourages a greater number of individuals to look at your profile who otherwise may not have been aware that you existed.
People build up their profiles on Instagram mostly via the usage of hashtags that are related to their content. You can simply inform your prospective audience what your material is about by entering “#__________” beneath your post, then filling in the blank area with a hashtag, and then repeating this procedure up to 30 times. This is significant since the only other methods that others may discover your photographs are via the usage of a location tag or the Explore Page (or Instagram stories, if you’re using them). However, if you are going to provide your location, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to additionally include one or two hashtags. And getting on the Explore Page is all about interaction with your material, which nobody will notice if you don’t use hashtags, thus engagement is the key to getting on the Explore Page. Are you getting the gist of what I’m trying to say here?
During the first whole year that I utilized Instagram, I never once used any hashtags. The next year, I decided to put a few on each photo. The third year, though, I utilized every single one of the permitted 30 hashtags, and I watched as my engagement skyrocketed. This was by no means the only manner by which I was able to spread the word; but, if I looked at the stats for my account, I could immediately see how many people discovered my material via the use of hashtags. Let’s take a look at some of the hashtags you need to be employing to improve your chocolate marketing game on Instagram now that we’ve established the significance of using hashtags.
- Chocolate, in every language around the world: chocolate, 초콜릿, チョコレート, 巧克力, schokolade, cioccolato, chocolat, ciocolată
- Craft chocolate-related terms: #BeanToBar #CraftChocolate #CacaoLove #Cacao #Cacau #Cocoa #OriginNameCacao #OriginNameChocolate
- Location tags: #YourCity #YourCountry #YourCountryChocolate #YourCityChocolate #ShopName
- Eye-catching food photos: #FoodPorn #ForkYeah #BuzzFeast #Foodie #FoodPhotography
- Potentially relevant large tags (more than a million posts): #ChocolateTruffles #Chocoholic #Bonbons #Organic #VeganEats #Travel #먹스타 (“foodstagram“)
- Potentially relevant small tags (fewer than a million posts): #FoodScience #Fermentation #ChocolateMaking #Chocolatier #EatMe
When you search for some of these hashtags, you’ll find that a list of other comparable hashtag searches that people often do will appear. Investigate those linked hashtags to see whether or not other users have posted material that is comparable to your own. You may want to think about adding some of them to your 30 hashtags, particularly if you’re stuck trying to figure out how to use the rest of your allocation.
If you find that everything is becoming too much to handle right now, just choose five of the most popular hashtags and add them to the next few photographs you post (adding them to earlier pictures WON’T help or make them suddenly look as if they were taken recently). Check the statistics for your account — you did claim your business account, didn’t you? — and check which of your photographs had the most likes and comments as a result of using certain hashtags. Start from there and work your way up, keeping track of when the most interesting and engaging photographs were uploaded.
The Best Time to Post
This topic, however, does not have a straightforward solution since the best time to publish changes from account to account. This is due to the fact that your audience in particular will vary, often depending on where you are from, where your product is distributed, where your readers are situated, and what language your captions are written in. It is essential to check at the statistics of your account to determine where the majority of your audience is located. You should then schedule your posts for the evening or around noon in the relevant time zones. Instagram used to provide a glimpse into when your followers had been online over the course of the previous week on an hour-by-hour basis; however, the platform now provides statistics in three-hour blocks and on a daily basis.
Consider the audience for whom you are writing, as well as the time of day when they are most likely to come across your work, before settling on the optimal time to publish. Is the majority of your group’s membership comprised of New York City-based foodies who spend their lunch hours browsing through Instagram? Are they chocolate producers and cacao growers situated in India who check their phones first thing in the morning but then ignore them completely for the rest of the day? It is vital to post when the majority of your followers are online since this shows Instagram that your material is attractive and they will then expose it to more people (both your followers and those on the “Explore Page”). Simply said, it makes it easier for more people to locate your profile, which in turn enables you to establish a community.
Take a picture of your new favorite product, making sure that it is both artistically and generally appealing, for instance. Which of these two instances, in which the exact same picture is uploaded at separate times, when only 20 people are online in the first instance, and 200 users are online in the second instance, has the greater potential to bring your work to the attention of others? If more than 25% of the people who see any one of my images like it, I know I’ve got a major winner on my hands. If more than 20% of the people like it, I consider it a win; however, everyone has their own standards and opinions.
If you don’t have much of an audience yet, you should think about the kind of people who might be interested in your content and publish with the possibility for increased participation in mind from the following three major regions: the Americas, Europe/Africa, and Oceania/Asia (China). Find out where your (ideal) audience is located, and then create content and interact with people when they are online in order to prepare for that audience. It is important to remember to disable robot accounts, often known as bots, when you discover that they are following you.
When you are first getting started, simply keep in mind that the information is not for you; it is for others who are reading it.
7 Key Takeaways on Engagement
- Reach and interaction are much more essential than the quantity of followers a profile has. If you have 1000 followers, but only 230 of them saw the material that you put out on your main feed, then the reason for this is that the information was not compelling or relevant to the audience that you are trying to reach. When you post anything on Instagram, you should always keep in mind the audience you are trying to reach. Because your posts should be relevant to your audience, at least one third of your followers should see each one
- Because initial engagement is the most critical for your post, particularly in the first 10 to 15 minutes, it is vital to be online and interact with the material that is being shared by others during this period.
- If you are not responding to each and every remark and direct message that you are receiving, then you are doing something incorrectly.
- Participate in the conversations started by the individuals you’re following; there’s a reason you choose them to follow in the first place.
- Make your profile more discoverable and searchable by using hashtags that are specific to the topics you cover.
- If you want to establish a following and a community on Instagram, you need to like and comment on photographs from users who aren’t following you; otherwise, those users will never learn that you exist. It’s similar to how some people put their Instagram username on their business cards (which you should). You can get entrants and followers by sharing the giveaway on other social media platforms, connecting with a relevant local influencer, or running an Instagram ad (we’ll get into this topic more in Part 5). Giveaways are another great way to initially build a following, and you can get entrants and followers by sharing the giveaway on other social media platforms.
- Followers are the ones that benefit from your social media presence, not you.
Even while Instagram has a plethora of other features—all of which you should undoubtedly make use of—it is quite acceptable—and even encouraged—for you to stick to using just the main feed. Regardless of the circumstances, there is still a chance for you to shine and make a connection with the people in your community and audience in a manner that conveys your gratitude to them.
Read Part 5 HERE.
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What is one thing you learned from this article that you’re now going to go apply to your own account?