The Power of Visuals for Your Sports Business
There are over 165 million users on Instagram that are sports fans. This highly visual network offers an incredible platform for you to promote and bring awareness to your camp, training program, facility, or other sports business brand. Since most fans desire to follow their favorite brands on social media, having a visible presence on Instagram will be a valuable asset to your overall social media strategy.
The challenge, however, is launching, growing and establishing an engaging follower base especially if you’re new to the Instagram scene. How can you successfully launch Instagram for your sports business and maintain an active following that is responsive to your content? Once you’ve setup your account, here are four proven ways on how you can grow your Instagram account and boost engagement from your audience.
#1 Hashtags Are King on Instagram
Hashtags allow users to find your content even if they may not have heard of your brand, or are not currently following you. This is one of the best ways to raise your following and popularity within your sporting industry. With hashtags, you reach a broader audience and create an opportunity to connect with new people.
Sites like Top-Hashtags.com and Hashtagify.me will help you identify what’s trending in your sports niche so you can strategically add them to your content. You’ll discover the highest rated hashtags and how many posts are using them. Also, see examples of how others are using these hashtags to gain ideas.
Another winning tactic to finding popular hashtags is by watching your influencers and competitors, to see what’s working for them. Check out their engagement levels and how you can tailor their techniques to your own strategy.
When publishing your content, a good rule of thumb is to use between 5-10 hashtags per post for better engagement.
#2 Leverage Instagram Marketing Tools
Instagram tools help you to stay consistent in your marketing, improve productivity, accelerate your goals, and gain crucial analytical data about your followers to bolster your strategy. There are a plethora of apps available that help with a range of tasks including scheduling your content (important), managing followers, discovering influencers in your niche and bettering your images.
Here are some suggested tools to enhance your Instagram marketing efforts:
- Buffer – This all-inclusive social media management tool will manage all your social networks including Instagram. The advantage is its Optimal Posting time feature that shares the best times to post your content for increased engagement
- Crowdfire – Perhaps a top Instagram tool, this must-have gives a list of new followers, those who have unfollowed you, and provides suggestions of other users that may be interested in your brand
- Repost - Build relationships and highlight influencers by reposting their content with this app
- SnapWidget – Easily embed your Instagram feed onto your website or blog
- Social Insight - Your analytic tool that monitors engagement, follower growth, interactions and your overall progress to gauge results and create success
#3 Host Instagram Contests
Ready to build fast buzz around your brand? Instagram contests are solid ways to quickly get people involved with your content while promoting your brand. The good news is that they’re simple to implement and can easily grow your audience to increase exposure.
We created an entire guide to Instagram contests for your sports brand. An easy one that you can host as soon as tomorrow is the “Like My Post to Enter” contest. Simply ask followers to like your post or follow you. Since the goal is to gain new followers and boost awareness, using niche-related popular hashtags is a must. Encourage participants to repost your content to their feed for an added entry (be sure that they include your branded hashtag so you can track it).
Finally, use an enticing prize that gets people excited about your contest!
#4 Maximize Instagram Stories
According to Social Media Today, people are spending three-times longer watching live videos on social media versus one that has been prerecorded. Live-streaming video has recently started generating massive engagement on social media and can be a huge asset to a sports business. You’re able to give followers a real-time glimpse into your culture, events and locker-room.
Instagram Stories allows you to take your audience behind-the-scenes and truly experience your brand. This builds transparency and trust, huge factors to getting people to like you on social media.
Here are a few quick ideas to using use live-streaming video with Instagram Stories to increase:
- Bring Instagram followers backstage to your live events, training programs, and camps that are normally closed off to the public
- Leverage Q&A sessions to answer questions and gain feedback from your audience
- Report breaking or trending news, ensuring your message relates to your market and brand
- Highlight products and give live demonstrations
- Discuss your services and programs in a “laid-back” setting
Building your Instagram presence can yield amazing results for your sports business including increased exposure, new relationships and connections, generating leads, and fostering new sales. The key here is to maintain an active presence. If your goal is to share two posts a day, be sure that you stick to that schedule. Consistency along with these top tactics is what will accelerate your social presence.