At its most basic, Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. From a marketing perspective, Instagram makes a strong business case with 800 million monthly active users. When compared among the major social networks, only Facebook and YouTube have more people logging in each month. Instagram provides a huge asset for visual content, which we all know is driving social like none other and has developed itself into a fully-fledged, global platform that allows brands to humanize their content, showcase their products, inspire their audience and promote their brand all in a friendly, authentic way without directly selling to your customers.
What’s good about Instagram?
- One of the best attributes about Instagram is that it greatly accomplishes its original goal: fast, easy, and efficient photo-sharing. Not only this but photos shared via Instagram are reaching a huge audience, thanks to steady user adoption. People engage better with visuals rather than words. It’s widely known that photos rule when it comes to marketing as photos make an emotional connection in a way that text cannot. They make your company and brand more relatable and of course, are fun and engaging.
- No Character And Caption Limit. While there are some limits when it comes to the bio and username, unlike some social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram does not have a character limit when it comes to the image caption. The description of every post can be as long as you want it to be.
- Despite being one of the most popular and highly used social media platform after Facebook, the number of local businesses making use of Instagram is still very limited – which is great as it means competition is still considerably low, unlike in the case of other social platforms like Facebook.
What’s not so good about Instagram?
- Since Instagram is a visual tool, you need to have appealing content to share to stand any chance of success on this platform.
- Instagram is a service that is designed to be used with mobile devices, such as tablet computers or smart phones. It has very limited functionality on desktop computers.
- Instagram is only an iPhone and Android app. If you have a Blackberry or Linux it won’t work. That means you won’t be reaching all your target audience.
Need to Know Facts, Stats and Tips about Instagram
- More than 800 million active monthly users
- More than half (51%) of the platform’s active users visit the site daily
- 35% say they check it multiple times a day.
- 60% of Instagram users say that they have heard first about a product or a service from this social media platform.
- 70% of Instagram users have spent time looking up a brand on the platform.
- Instagram, brands enjoy regular engagement with 4 percent of their total followers. On networks like Facebook and Twitter, engagement is less than 0.1 percent. (source: Forrester)
- 70% of Instagram users report having looked up a brand on the platform (source: Iconosquare)
- 62% of users follow a brand on Instagram (source: Iconosquare)
- Your audience engagement rate could be 15 times more on Instagram than on Facebook and 20 times more on Instagram than on Twitter.
- Brands on Instagram with a following of greater than 100K can grow by over 100% biannually.
- 75% of Instagram users who view brand posts act on the information in them.
Why You Need Instagram For Your Business
From the boom in popularity of Instagram Stories, to the very impressive stats of user adoption engagement and the recent expansion of advertising opportunities—it’s a good time to be using Instagram for business. Only if your business can thrive in this creative and inherently visual platform though.
Tips For Success
- Find an Interesting Angle: Find a creative angle for a photo to showcase your product in an interesting way. Think about whether you should show the entire product, frame the shot a certain way or include another item to accompany the product. Whilst you should experiment with different content, once you find the most effective angle for your products, make sure you prioritize that approach in your content calendar to maximize engagement opportunities.
- Focus on Lighting: The lighting in a photo can tell a story about your brand so whether photos are taken indoors or outdoors, good lighting is crucial. Even with careful tweaking, Instagram’s editing tools often can’t fix a photo taken with poor lighting. Therefore it’s vital to get this basic photography skill nailed down in every photo before you even think about using the advanced filters.
- Use a Filter: Each filter has a unique story and feel that it communicates. There is an array of filters at your disposal to communicate a particular mood for your brand and products. Whilst a ‘normal’ photo is the most popular choice people use and indeed there is an immensely popular #nofilter hashtag dedicated for that purpose, using artistically edited photos can add a lot to your photo. To use a filter, once you’ve taken or uploaded a photo or video Tap Next, then tap the filter you’d like to apply. Tap the filter again if you want to adjust filter strength up or down using the slider. The simply tap Done to save your change. The most popular way to upload an image or video is without any filter at all. But for those who do like to use them, Clarendon is the most popular option followed by Gingham, Juno and Lark. The Most-used Instagram Stories Face Filters are Puppy, Bunny, Koala, Genius and Love.
- Tell a Story With the Caption: You can give life to a photo with the caption and it’s important to learn what type of description resonates best with your audience.
- Create a Hashtag Campaign: User-generated content is one of the best ways to promote your community and products. Create a brand-centric hashtag campaign for your followers to use in their posts. Remember that engagement is a two-way street so follow and interact with your followers that are using it and like the posts that are positive and aesthetically aligned with your brand.
- Use a Call to Action: Ensure every piece of content has a purpose by adding a call to action to it which prompts customers to do something. It could be as simple as “Shop Now!” or “Download our app.” Whatever you choose, make sure the action is relevant to your post as this is a great way to gain new followers.
- Partner With Influencers: Consider partnering with influencers to create compelling content to promote your products and increase your reach. Influencers already have built-in distribution lists with large groups of followers and are trusted for their opinions on what products to purchase. By working with influencers, you harness their popularity and tap into their vast and relevant audience which will expand your own follower count and boost sales.
- Best Times to Post: Instagram is a mobile app so users are on the platform at all times of the day. However, there are a few studies out there that have found the optimal times to post on Instagram for peak engagement to be Mondays and Thursdays at any time except between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m and overall, users tend to engage with more content during off-work hours on weekdays. Simply think in the mind frame of your audience and work out when they are most likely to be looking on their phone. For example, if your target audience is a Teacher for example, they are most likely to be active during the evening when they are back home as opposed to during the day when they will be busy teaching.
- Link Instagram to Your Facebook Page: One of Instagram’s unique features is that it allows you to share your content seamlessly across other social networking sites. Linking your Instagram to your other social accounts like Facebook will increase the number of eyes on your posts and allows you to benefit from targeting both audiences.Be careful however as its not recommended to automatically link you Instagram to evry one of your other social platforms as what works on Instagram probably won’t yield the same results on other channels and it’s important to tailor your content to each platform. Note: Your Facebook Page will already be linked to your Instagram if you set up an Instagram business profile. To link your Facebook page to your Instagram account, start in your Instagram profile by going to the gear in the upper right corner. In the “Options” menu, scroll down to “Settings” and look for “Linked Accounts.” If you’re not already logged into Facebook on your phone, you’ll be prompted to do so, and then you’ll need to pick the Facebook Business Page you’d like to link. Next, you’ll be directed to the “Share Settings” menu. The Facebook logo should be blue to indicate that sharing is on.
- How to See Posts You’ve Liked: This is more of general useful little tip, but handy nonetheless! You can easily check out all the posts you’ve Liked in the “Options” menu of your profile. Press the gear icon and select “Posts You’ve Liked.” Then scroll down until you find the photo or video you’re looking for.
- How to Reorder Instagram Filters: To save precious time when uploading photos, Instagram lets you reorder filters so you can position the ones you use most often at the beginning of your options. To reorder or hide filters, begin editing a post like you normally would. Scroll to the far right in the filter options and click the “Manage” gear icon. Hold your finger down on the three grey lines and drag the filter up or down. To hide a filter, uncheck it on the right side of your screen.
- Hide Posts You’ve Been Tagged In: If someone tags your brand in a post, it will show up when you click the person avatar in right icon on your profile. To remove a tagged post, click the three dots in the top right corner and choose “Hide Photos.” Select the posts you want to remove and click “Hide Photos” again. This won’t remove the posts from Instagram, but it will remove them from your profile. If you don’t want to have to remove tagged posts, you can manually choose just to include the ones you do like. Click the three dots again and press “Tagging Options.” You can then choose to “Add Manually.” From here on out, you’ll be notified when someone tags you in a photo. When that happens, tap on the photo you were tagged in and choose “Show on Profile.”
- Utilize Available Tools: There are several useful Instagram marketing tools that will help you get the most out of your marketing campaigns.
Ones for Planning, editing, scheduling
Sprout Social: A complete social media management tool that offers access to a range of very useful areas from managing multiple Instagram accounts, to robust analytics and planning and scheduling capabilities. You can also communicate easier with your customers, monitor hashtags and track posts from Instagram locations.
Hootsuite: One of the most popular platforms for social media management. You can plan campaigns, schedule posts and analyze results of marketing campaigns for multiple social media platforms all in one handy place.
Ones for measuring performance and selling products
Crowdfire: This tool help monitor your account, providing useful insights such as those of your new followers or recent unfollows, it will also find the best moments of the day to post and the best and most suitable hashtags for your campaign.
INK361: This tool gives you a complete package that allows you to manage and analyse your account, as well as delivering useful statistics based on timing, hashtags, location, number of likes and comments.
Websta is a free analytics tool for Instagram that will help you grow your account, understand your audience, customize your Instagram feed, follow posts chronologically, explore hot brands, users and hashtags and engage with your followers.
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