If we say, “social media,” do you think “Facebook?” While the platform still boasts the most extensive user base, its growth is slowing. Instagram, however, is thriving.
In 2018, Instagram’s user base exceeded the 1 billion user mark. Not only that, but more than half of them use the platform daily.
As more and more young people walk away from Facebook, they increasingly turn to Instagram. Younger users make up 71 percent of Instagram’s regular user base. This makes it the best place to target young individuals with advertising strategies.
If you’re advertising, you are probably on social media already. The question is, are you using Instagram? And if so, are you making the most out of this popular, growing, and vibrant platform?
If you’re not active on Instagram, your competitors most certainly are. 71 percent of US businesses are active on Instagram. They are all attempting to connect with this huge consumer resource. That means if you’re absent from Instagram, you’re probably losing out to your rivals.
Winning marketing strategies must include Instagram
You may think that Facebook is serving you well enough but think about all the potential that Instagram has to offer, particularly if you want to tap into young consumer markets. The bottom line is that Instagram cannot be ignored, and your marketing strategy needs to include it.
First impressions count. The key to kicking off Instagram success is getting your profile to look both professional and inviting.
Here are some simple ideas and practical advice to help you use Instagram to the fullest.
Setting up your account
- Try to use a username that is the same as the name of your business. If it’s already taken, don’t be tempted to choose something bizarre. Use something similar to your business name so that your organization remains easily identifiable.
- Use your logo as your profile picture. You need to keep your brand consistent for it to become increasingly recognizable.
- Fill in your bio. On Instagram, this should be a short, sharp description of why people should follow you. Keep it to the point. You only have 150 characters! Make each word count.
- The bio is the only place on Instagram where you can place an external link. Be sure to add your website URL in this section.
- Finally, in the settings, ensure you click to “switch to business profile.” This is crucial for accessing business tools and analytics.
Understanding the content
Now you’re set-up, you’re ready to start posting. There are three ways you can post to Instagram
1. Images – Instagram began as a simple image posting platform. Businesses quickly realized the power of an image and used them to strengthen their brands.
While it’s tempting to simply post product photos and leave it at that, the secret to a winning Instagram profile is posting a variety of useful and engaging content.
- Lifestyle shots
- Behind-the-scenes images
- Informative posts
- Motivational images
- Reposted employee content
- Reposted user-generated content
- Influencer-endorsed posts
- Images that coincide with trending events and holidays, such as Pride, Thanksgiving, and St Patrick’s Day.
2. Videos – Instagram also allows you to post short videos. This is a fantastic way to launch new products. Exclusive behind-the-scenes footage or mini-movie versions of any of the image types above are all popular with Instagram users. Read more about video marketing on Instagram and promoting your business.
Don’t forget, Instagram videos play on mute as a default, so use subtitles or let the images speak for themselves.
There is also the option to live-stream in real-time — a great way to report on exciting events.
Instagram stories offer users a way to post frequently without clogging up people’s newsfeeds. The unique thing about a story is that it disappears after 24 hours. This option is great for more candid, raw footage, and images.
Tips on posting
Now you know what you can post, you need to devise a strategy for posting. Follow these golden rules.
- Decide which image types will work for your brand. Keep them consistent.
- Post regularly but not too often. Around once per day is the perfect amount.
- Don’t push the sales vibe. Users tend not to respond well to the hard sell.
- Be authentic, human, and humorous.
- Unless it’s specifically related to your business, such as a political organization, stay away from politics, religion, or anything else that’s going to stir up trouble.
- Keep promotions to a minimum. While you might feel like you’re offering value, too many promotions can irritate followers.
Through Hashtags, you can associate words and short phrases with your images. This practice helps allow your content to appear when someone searches for those words or phrases.
Another tactic is to create your own unique hashtag. Encourage your followers to use it whenever they post something concerning your brand. It can also be effective to develop a hashtag to use for your competitions and promotions.
Encourage user-generated content
There’s no bigger endorsement than your followers posting on your behalf. Encourage your fans to post images and videos of themselves using your products or reviewing them. This gets your brand in front of new people and spreads the word about your products without you having to do a thing.
Invest in targeted ads
Just like Facebook, Instagram allows you to reach very specific audiences and advertise directly to them. Set the parameters of your targeting and your ads will appear in users’ newsfeeds.
Reply to comments and engage with your audience. Add a human voice to the content you post. Instagram users love being acknowledged.
It will take time to learn Instagram and all its intricacies, but the result is more than worth it. Develop and curate the right content to share with your Instagram followers to build a loyal fanbase that will buy into your brand and promote it too.