Instagram is a fun, beautiful and user-friendly social media app that was developed to put visual content centre stage. Beautiful imagery and stunning filters create photos that can drive sales, boost brand awareness and help a business acquire a following.
Purchased by Facebook, Instagram is much more than another Facebook app: it is a fully-fledged platform in its own right. The essence of social media marketing involves getting followers and likes. This elevates brand awareness and gives your business the opportunity to keep ‘talking’ to your audience via your social media posts. When it comes to social media campaigns, there are plenty of places to run one. However, some advertising goals are better suited to one platform than another. Business owners must make decisions based on their own brand. However, most marketers today would agree that Instagram is a key place to start.
In this article, we will outline some of the ways in which a marketer can use Instagram to take their advertising to the next level and reach the maximum number of followers possible.
What is Instagram and what makes it different from the other social media sites and apps? Facebook, Twitter and other sites all have their value, but Instagram offers something special. For one, it doesn’t limit characters as Twitter does. Also, Instagram has a lot of great filters and other tools that cater to a younger audience, and the site is designed for a fast-paced lifestyle.
Another fundamental benefit of Instagram is that everybody wants an app these days. Instagram was developed as a mobile application, and mobile rules at the moment. Its design and interface are centered on creating a fantastic mobile experience. While Facebook started as a website that was subsequently developed into an app, Instagram was created to be mobile, catering to the on-the-go smartphone crowd. It works seamlessly and flawlessly on any smart device and puts visual content in the forefront. Mobile visual content is what people are gravitating towards at the moment.
The demographic for Instagram is a young, hip, busy crowd who don’t want to have to wade through clutter. They want a sleek, streamlined social media experience, and that is exactly what Instagram offers. The reach and breadth of this site and its impact on our culture cannot be ignored.
Approximately 60 million photos are shared every day on Instagram within a largely female demographic, aged from 18-30. This makes the site a great choice for youthful lifestyle brands, particularly those geared toward women and girls.
Create your profile with a sharp marketing mentality. A company’s Instagram account is its visual representation of the brand. If possible, choose an account name that is similar or identical to your business name. Choose a striking and eye-catching photo for your profile photo that will draw people in and make them want to click ‘Follow’. Once you have done all of that, spend some time browsing and playing around with the application. Make sure to look at what your competitors are doing and scope out hashtags that are hot in your market.
Use the most relevant and popular hashtags related to your brand. You can search these on Webstagram and see what is happening within your brand’s niche market.
You will need to start out by simply posting and playing around, a period of trial and error to see what works. However, make sure you track your efforts (using a web application, of which there are plenty) to find out when people are engaging with your posts. One such app is Iconosquare, which provides optimisation tips, growth monitoring, community insights and more for Instagram users. Their focus is to help you understand how you are performing on Instagram, by providing user-friendly graphs and data exports. You can also track your Instagram traffic through Google Analytics by using Google’s URL Builder. Once you have figured out when your traffic peaks, these are the times and days you should target.
Play an active role in the online community surrounding your brand. Comment, like, ask questions, take polls, etc. People want interaction and enjoy the social aspect of social media. They also want to know that they have been heard should they have a question, complaint or concern. Social media is a great way to showcase good customer service and a commitment to excellence.
Make sure you are posting relevant, interesting content, and try not to post excessively. Most major brands post on average 1.5 times a day. If you post more often than that, expect a drop-off in engagement. Above all, be consistent in the frequency of your posts.
Familiarise yourself with what’s available. For example, use filters, hashtags and other features that drive clicks. Also, check out Instagram’s analytics capabilities, which are fairly new. Instagram is a growing and fast-paced company so keep abreast of what’s new.
Certain filters are better than others. This may change from time to time or vary depending upon your brand. However, become aware of which filters work best for you.
Find a successful blogger or ‘Instagrammer’ within your niche who is interested in helping you out for a small fee. Ask them to post a review, photo or image about your product, company or cause.
There’s no reason not to keep an eye on what the other guys are doing. As a matter of fact, you should be doing your best to borrow (or steal, for that matter) their followers. Keep up with what they are doing, how it is working and what you think you can use. Some people call it ‘inspiration’ while others call it market research.
Much like Facebook ads, Instagram ads can be purchased. They target specific consumers and can be purchased through the Facebook advertising interface, or through Instagram itself. Ad types include image ads, video ads and carousel ads, so your business can create a variety of ad content for your audience. They can also be used for different purposes including:
Many businesses are succeeding using this advertising avenue. One such company is Airbnb, which was one of the first companies to use Instagram’s carousel-style ad. It featured five real Airbnb hosts in their homes, and allowed multiple photos on a sponsored post, rather than just one, and a call to action button leading to their website.
Maybelline Australia is a good example of an Instagram success story. Maybelline realised that most women don’t worry about their eyebrows as part of their beauty routine. Their goal was to boost sales of a specific brow-defining cosmetic, which they did by highlighting the eyebrow as an essential aspect of the human face, and central to a woman’s beauty. Their striking photos of women applying makeup to their brows were successful in boosting sales and brand awareness for ‘Maybelline Brow Drama’.
In order to measure how successful your social media campaign is, take a look at:
1. Follower Growth Rate – How many people are following your account?
2. Engagement as a Percentage of Followers – How many likes and comments are you getting? How engaged are your followers? If you have 200 followers, then 100 likes in a day might be great. However, if you have 2,000 followers, 100 likes is not a cause for celebration.
3. Engagement Per Post – Which posts are getting the most follower interaction?
4. URL Click-Throughs – How many click-throughs are driven by your Instagram account?
5. Growth of Hashtags – Have you started a hashtag or is your company name used as a hashtag? How many people are using it?
6. Top hashtags by interaction.
7. Keep an eye on times and days when your page is getting the most interaction.
8. Monitor your competitors’ hashtags.
Social media is the way of the future. It is how we share, communicate, learn and grow. It is where we get a great deal of our media content and, therefore, frames and ‘filters’ how we see the world. For that reason, no savvy business owner can ignore the power or importance of social media advertising.
What sets Instagram apart? It’s the fact that it occupies an essential part of almost any young person’s day in modern times. You walk past people on the street, sit next to them in the coffee shop… and they are on Instagram. They are reading, clicking, commenting and liking away on all types of content and advertising. You need to be on their feed.