Beyond just being another social media platform, Instagram is a phenomenon that took the internet by storm, growing from zero to 100 million users in just a few years from its launch.
Perhaps its wide user-base and big potentials for marketing are what makes it appealing for more and more brands to build presence on the network. Yet, despite the competition, it’s never too late to join and master how to use the platform in a way to stand out from the competition.
Once you decide to create a presence on Instagram, it’s important to know how to make the most of the tools and features available on the platform to effectively build more brand awareness and community engagement. Use these Instagram marketing best practices to maximize your results.
- Determine if Instagram is right for your brand
Retail, fast food and construction are some of the top-ranked industries on Instagram in terms of engagement. But just because your brand is not in retail, doesn’t mean you can’t use Instagram for successful brand marketing. Many supposedly ‘boring’ brands are effectively using Instagram to boost their brand awareness and engagement. Just look at Intel and American Express, both top brands on Instagram, engaging their followers by creating behind-the-scene images, sneak peeks and employee and user submitted photos and videos.
Some companies, even B2B, also use Instagram to show the daily office life and to introduce their employees in order to give a “human touch” for their rather professional brand.
In addition to that, 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. If your main target audience falls within that age group, it’s already a big enough reason for you to build an Instagram presence. Define your audience and decide whether Instagram is the right platform for you –if your main audience is not there, can you use it to engage with new potential target audiences?
- Create content that resonates with your audience
Brands that are successful in making social media marketing work for them, do so because they focus on their followers. They are aware that it’s not about their products, but about what their audience wants. Entertain and engage with your followers by telling your stories in ways that you can entertain and engage with your community while communicating about your brand and products at the same time. Imagine what kind of pictures you like to see while browsing through your Instagram feed. Your picture can show an everyday situation, but your product can be a part of the picture – often a subtle presence is enough.
This applies even more on a photo-sharing network. Determining what your audience wants and letting them connect with your brand at a personal level pays off in the long-run.
- Leverage user-generated content
Getting followers to submit photos is a creative way to boost engagement, to get “free” content and to create social proof. Your followers can share photos or videos of them using your products, receiving a giveaway from you, sharing their experiences with your products, etc. Find the best way that suits your brand. Top brands are having success in encouraging their fans to submit content with a specific hashtag, by giving them credits or rewarding them. Often being featured on the brand page, or receiving a like from the brand is a big enough reward for many.
- Understand how linking works in Instagram
Note that on Instagram, links are not clickable except on your profile page. Whether you want to link to your site, pages, a contest, or a giveaway, your best option is to include a call to action in your posts, images or captions. Create compelling post captions with a call to action for your followers to click on the actual link on your profile bio.
- Include Hashtags, always
This should be obvious – hashtags matter on Instagram more than anywhere else. Use them! Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement. Including hashtags in your posts also helps you get found by your target audience; especially with the updated ‘Search & Explore’ feature on Instagram that has made it easier for users to explore images with specific hashtags.
Instagram lets you publish content on other social media sites with a click of the mouse. But aside from that, you can integrate your Instagram marketing within a cross-platform strategy and use Instagram in conjunction with your other social media accounts to publish content.
This helps you not only to get more eyes on your content, but also to use the integrated power of your presence on each social media site to your advantage. For example, include a call-to-action on your Instagram posts for your followers to check out your free offer on Facebook or a contest on Snapchat.
- Ask your followers to turn on notifications
Instagram released a feature earlier this year, which allows users to be notified whenever a brand or a person they follow publishes something. This is a great opportunity for marketers to make sure their top followers never miss a post. Don’t be afraid to be direct and invite your followers to click and turn on notifications.
- Analyze your performance and use the insights to do better
Monitor your performance and use analytics to define your strong and weak points as well as to optimize your strategy. Instagram doesn’t provide statistics yet, so you need to use a social media platform to get performance data on your Instagram presence: track your most engaging hashtags, your filters that are gaining more likes, the best time of the week or the day to publish, the potential influencers within your followers and optimize your strategy based on these insights to improve your performance.
What ideas have you used and worked for you? Have you created your Instagram performance Report with Allin1Social already?
Do you have some marketing tips to add to the list? Share your knowledge on the comment box!