Instagram is booming, and it makes sense in our increasingly visual-oriented world. As the classic 70’s song goes, “a picture paints a thousand words…”
How powerful is Instagram as a marketing tool?
Allow me to answer that with a few quick stats:
1) Instagram has more than 400 million monthly active users. [Source: Instagram]
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In September 2015, Instagram celebrated reaching a new milestone after growing a community 400 million users strong and said, “what really excites us is the way that visual communication makes the world feel a little bit smaller to every one of us.”
That’s exactly what makes Instagram such a powerful marketing tool for brands across the globe. The ability for a brand to connect with its audience on a popular social platform fosters a connection on a personal level. Rather than thinking of a brand as an untouchable entity in some unknown location, Instagram compels your audience to view your brand as an individual they can interact with.
2) On average, more than 80 million photos are shared on Instagram per day. [Source: Instagram]
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Talk about being the hub of visual content! Not only is Instagram the ideal platform for sharing great shots—Instragram helps with building a stronger brand identity within any campaign you’re running. By selecting the same filter for images grouped into one campaign, your images retain a consistent look and feel, cueing your followers to relate that style to your brand.
3) 3.5 billion ‘Likes’ are given to posts on Instagram every day. [Source: Instagram]
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Being able to track and measure your growth and engagement on Instagram makes the social media platform a top-notch marketing tool. Based on your monthly performance, you can determine which methods and images most effectively attract your audience and then strategize a data-backed plan for future content efforts.
15 Instagram Best Practices for Marketers
1) Develop your brand Instagram strategy before you post and stay true to it. Posting all willy-nilly may earn you a few ‘Hearts’ at first, but over time you’ll fall through the cracks without a solid foundation.
2) Fill out your Instagram profile completely with a profile graphic, such as a brand logo. Since the profile graphic appears tiny as users scroll through posts, using a brand logo rather than an intricate image makes it quick and easy for your Instagram followers to identify your brand.
3) Research and create a list of at least 25 hashtags to pull from before you begin. Pro Tip: Categorize the hashtags into relevant themes, such as branding, promotions, or campaign-specific keywords.
4) When it comes to Instagram, quality trumps quantity. Pro Tip: Develop a ‘photo style’ for instant recognition and use it consistently.
5) Set a posting frequency schedule and stick to it. No matter how many posts you aim to publish per day or per week, the important thing is to maintain that frequency. Brands may lose followers if they suddenly decrease their frequency.
6) Use relevant hashtags, and a lot of them. According to QuickSprout, posts with 11 or more hashtags get nearly 80% engagement. Pro Tip: Find relevant hashtags using: Tagboard, Iconosquare or Websta.
7) Don’t be selfish: Occasionally Like and Comment on other photos. Pro Tip: Comment on industry-specific trending hashtags for added brand visibility.
8) Host photo contests using a relevant campaign hashtag to make it easy to find follower photos. Pro Tip: Promote your contest and hashtag on your other social media accounts for extended reach.
9) Regram user-generated content that reflects the brand. Like the Share button on Facebook or the Twitter retweet, Instragram allows users to regram content posted by others.
10) Occasionally use a URL in your description where it makes sense. Viewers will need to copy and paste the URL. At the very least, ensure a link to your website is included at the end of your Instagram bio.
11) Post at peak times to optimize engagement with your target audience. Iconosquare provides in-depth analytics based on your posting history to help you determine the optimal times to post your photos.
12) When someone tags your company on Instagram, share that post with your followers. Be proud of the love your company is earning!
13) Follow back your followers. It’s all about the Instagram courtesy and building a community.
14) Reward your loyal followers with discounts or promotions unique to Instagram. Promoting a unique discount code on Instagram will also allow you to track the percentage of sales your Instagram account is driving.
15) Track your Instagram analytics. This includes:
- Which hashtags harness the most engagement
- Most popular images
- Clicks on your bio link
Pro Tip: Use a bit.ly shortened links in your bio to accurately track clicks. Google Analytics doesn’t supply an accurate count of Instagram referral traffic at this point.
How to Keep an Active Business Instagram Account in a Time-Crunch
- Use automation tools, like Hootsuite, to schedule your content in bulk ahead of time.
- Crowdsource for user-generated content. Share quality images created by your most dedicated fans interacting with your brand.
- Hire a reputable social media marketing team to manage your account. Harp’s social media services are proudly among our top areas of expertise. Ask us about a social media audit to get started.