Brands have the opportunity to connect to their customers in an exciting, visual way by leveraging Instagram. They can take advantage of the fact that photos are among the most-shared multimedia on the web, and tell their brand story through the biggest visual social network there is.

However, many brands are afraid to take the perceived risk and jump into visual storytelling. While there are a handful of notable brands on Instagram, creating engaging and inspiring content that their audience loves, the majority stick to “playing it safe” – they post mundane photos, and they get an equally tepid response from their audience in return.

But brands don’t have to jump into Instagram blind. In fact, they can leverage the same powerful attributes that can be collected on Twitter, such as demographics and psychographics, to target their images to the right audience. This empowers brands with the knowledge they need to create images that truly resonate with their audience.

Here’s how:

  1. Know your Instagram audience

The actions that your audience take across the social web can be analysed, and used to develop a clearer picture of who they are and what images they want to see on Instagram.

Attributes like demographics, psychographics and habits can be gathered directly from Instagram, or compiled from across a variety of social networks. These attributes can then be used to segment your Instagram audience, and to come up with more fine-tuned strategies for each segment.

Once you know who you’re speaking to on Instagram, it’s time to develop your content strategy into one that will excite and inspire.

  1. Create content that speaks to them

It’s one thing to say “post good-quality, engaging photos” to Instagram, but another thing altogether to actually do it. However, knowing your audience helps provide the clarity you’ll need to get started.

If you know what types of photos your audience typically engages with, you can begin to push into that direction yourself. Do they like close-up, moody shots? Or are they more likely to Like scenic landscapes?

The theme of your Instagram account should be something that your audience values. And it’s not enough for the theme to be “product photos” – you have to combine the knowledge you have of your audience with your creative juices to uncover the right type of content.

  1. Go beyond the basics

Once you know your audience and have a working content strategy in place, it’s time to add the bells and whistles to your Instagram account.

Write up clear descriptions of each photo that reinforce your brand message while reflecting your audience’s values. Include hashtags that your audience uses most frequently. Follow those VIP followers and customers who are engaging with you on a regular basis. Repost the best user-generated content.

Instagram is a visual-first network, but the visuals are not the only component. By knowing your audience, you can develop a complete Instagram strategy that covers everything from descriptions to networking.

For more about Instagram marketing, read our article for tips on creating picture-perfect Instagram posts.