Since it’s debut in 2010, Instagram has evolved into an exceedingly popular social media platform. When first launched, the app focused on allowing users to edit their photos and share them with their network. Now, Instagram offers a wide variety of features, such as filters, stories, geolocalization, direct messaging between users, Facebook integration, and more.
Creating an Instagram page for you business and properly using its features is a fundamental addition to your company’s digital marketing presence. A well-curated Instagram page will increase your business’ appeal, especially to younger demographics.
According to the Instagram Press Page, the app has more than 700 million active monthly users and over 400 million daily activities, and those numbers are ever-increasing.
Instagram is rapidly expanding and increasing in popularity as most younger users prefer Instagram over Facebook and other social media tools. As of March 2017, 59% of people aged 18-29 regularly use Instagram. Arguably, Instagram is the most efficient digital marketing tool to use for reaching young consumers.
The app has a wide variety of features that can be extremely helpful marketing tools if used correctly, making it essential to know how to take full advantage of them.
Here are our tips for making that happen!
1) Understand your home page
Your home page on Instagram displays your bio, followers, pages you follow, posts you’ve made, and a grid of all of the photos you’ve posted. Make sure that your bio is short and informative and includes a link to your business’s website.
This link can change in conjunction with specific actions or promotions that you’d like to highlight, spurring a “link in bio” that you may see accompanying others’ posts. Remember: the link in your bio does not always have to be to your home page. You can even change it for specific promotions.
2) Create a unified and attractive “look”
A unified and visually appealing page will encourage users to look at your posts individually and interact with them. Keep your page’s overall aesthetic in mind when posting, but also make sure that your post gets noticed when users are scrolling through their feeds.
To increase your chances of catching attention, make sure that your photos are of high quality, are well-proportioned, and are edited for optimal appearance. Regarding filters, whether you prefer Juno, Ludwig, or Hefe — choose a favorite and stick with it for all photos to enhance overall page continuity. The most-liked filters, according to Canva, are Clarendon, Gingham, and Juno.
People are psychologically drawn to the use of harmonious color palettes and tend to remember images that have fewer color combinations and show a high contrast between the background and focal point. Another strategy is the incorporation of your brand and logo colors into your posts so users begin to mentally link those colors to your brand.
3) Pay attention to posting frequency
Strike a balance between posting too frequently (which may annoy your followers), and too seldom (which can decrease activity on your page).
Many studies have sought to answer the posting frequency question, all with varying ending statistics. Realistically, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. For example, on average @NatGeo (81.7 million followers) posts 65 times per week, while @Nike (74.6 million followers) posts about two times per week. The top two brands on Instagram by size could not be more different in their frequency of posting.
There are, however, general guidelines that tend to work for businesses large and small. According to Union Metrics, how often you post doesn’t matter as long as the frequency stays consistent. Whether it’s twice per day or twice per week, a drop in engagement only tends to occur when that number changes drastically.
Ending result: experiment with a posting frequency that works for you or your brand over time, and stick with it.
4) Familiarize yourself with platform features
Instagram has added various exciting tools that have transformed it from a simple photo-sharing app to one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Piggybacking on the success of Snapchat, Instagram Stories is one of the platform’s hottest trends. Stories allows users to post photo or video content that disappears from their page after 24 hours and won’t appear on their profile grid or in feed.
Every time a user opens the app, the current stories of all of the accounts they follow appear at the top of their dashboard. Currently, they can be found on a user’s main page on the main icon in the left-hand corner.
Stories can be a fantastic marketing tool if used properly. Businesses can offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the company, showcase a current event, or let users know about a current promotion. Regarding content, don’t be afraid to get creative! Stories are an ideal way to experiment with content and don’t have to be as polished as the rest of your feed.
Geolocalization and geotagging
Other useful features for businesses are Instagram’s geolocalization and geotagging elements, as posts tagged with a location receive 79% higher engagement than posts without one.
For each post that you make, you are able to add a geolocation. When selected, this brings you to a map feature. iPhone users have the option to open the tagged location in Apple Maps; Android users in Google Maps. This saves an extra step for potential customers.
Users can also search by location. When they do so, your tagged posts will automatically appear in their search. Geofilters are the geolocalization equivalent to your story. Users can directly click on the geolocalization button that you’ve added to your story and it will bring them to the same map.
Hashtags, the short links preceded by the pound sign (#), may seem baffling or unnecessary to some. Though people’s affinity for them can be polarizing, hashtags are an extremely useful marketing tool and are crucial to growing your Instagram account. In fact, posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without them.
A great way to begin incorporating hashtags into your content is to search for hashtags that both your audience and competitors often use. Once you have a solid list, choose hashtags from that list that fit the specific content that you’re publishing. You’re currently able to use up to 30 hashtags per post.
After you’ve started to regularly use hashtags, look back to posts that you’ve had the most success with. Observe which hashtags you’ve used, and then do an Instagram search of top posts with the same tag. Take notice of new hashtags accompanying those posts and add them to your personal tag bank. Staying on top of your hashtag game can keep your posts appearing fresh and bring new and different users to your content on a regular basis.
Search & Explore
Instagram is one of the few social platforms that offers a feature allowing its users to discover new and relevant content. According to the company site:
Search and explore posts are selected automatically based on things like the people you follow or the posts you like. You may also see video channels, which can include posts from a mixture of hand-picked and automatically sourced accounts based on topics we think you’ll enjoy.
Search and Explore is especially useful for businesses since it offers a chance for them to be featured there, granting higher exposure. It’s also useful in the search of hashtags (mentioned above) and discovering influencers to collaborate with.
In 2015, Instagram opened the doors for advertising, ushering in fantastic opportunities for businesses large and small to reach their target audiences using the Facebook advertising system.
Why advertise on Instagram? According to TechCrunch, 60% of Instagram users say that they learn about products and services through Instagram, and 75% say that they take actions such as visiting sites, searching, or telling a friend after seeing an Instagram post.
When creating an ad campaign, it is important to strike a balance between standing out and blending in. Your ad should look similar to other non-ad posts that appear in the users’ feeds, but should also incentivize your target audience to want to learn more about your business.
Research the different types of Instagram outs available, determine your objective, create a goal for desired outcome of the ad, choose your budget, audience, and placement, and carefully analyze the results once your ad campaign ends.
While all of these features may appear overwhelming when maintaining your page, they can be extremely useful if used properly. Instagram is an exceedingly dynamic platform that frequently adds new features, so it is an important social media tool to keep updated!
We’d love to hear about your experiences with Instagram marketing in the comments. What strategies have worked for you, and what aspects of Instagram do you currently struggle with?