Updated 15 October 2020. These days social networking sites are an essential component of any marketing strategy. At the very least you need to embrace the popular ones and one of the very popular ones is Instagram. It’s different to Facebook and Twitter because it’s much more visual. That means it appeals to people who are too busy to read traditional webpages, and is a huge reason for it’s popularity with the under-30s. Let’s look at how businesses can better utilise Instagram as part of their marketing.
1. Make sure you have a detailed profile
Think of your profile as your Instagram foundation. When people want to know who you are they’ll turn to your profile.
- make sure it is complete
- make sure you keep it current
- avoid making your profile sound like an advertisement
- make it clear what your specialty niche is and why you are relevant
- make it sound personal rather than corporate
- use it to encourage people to visit your website or other social media accounts
2. Research trends
Like most social networks, Instagram is organic in that what is effective changes with time. What works today may not be as effective tomorrow. That means you need to use a search engine to research the latest guidelines on what is working now. Current analytics reveals what Instagram trends are dominating in terms of conversions:
- blue images seem to perform better than others
- desaturated colours are liked more often, particularly lighter colours
- large areas of block colours are more engaging
- lots of space in backgrounds appeal more than busy images
- edges and visual structures gain lots more likes
- images with faces increase likes too
- posting regularly is essential to success as is understanding the most effective times of the day to post for your target audience
If the above tips, don’t prove helpful, consider experimenting with posting on “unpopular days” as the days with the least number of posts might help you stand out and gain better recognition with less content saturation.
Research trends on Instagram
3. Engage with others through networking
One of the key ideas behind social networking is to engage with others. That’s a two-way process so you should be liking and commenting on others too.
- like or comment on images from people within your target audience
- consider hosting an image competition to generate interest and let people like pictures to enter
- show behind-the-scenes images—your staff, your workplace etc – reveal your fun side, not just corporate culture
- include 15 second videos of key moments associated with your products or services
- if someone is following you, follow them back. If they’ve commented on one of your posts, a reply can help develop further engagement
- reward followers by offering discounts and promotional offers
- engage with other influencers on Instagram. If they are popular some of their followers might find their way to you!
4. Make use of tags
Tagging is a very powerful tool and an important method of being found so embrace it!
- identify hashtags that are related to your industry and products
- identify which hashtags are currently trending and follow them. Each connection is a link back to you!
- if you have a physical store, don’t forget to use geotagging so people can find you!
- tag people in your images
5. Post relevant content
Remember, this is a predominantly visual medium so you need to think creatively.
- avoid adding long, boring captions to your posts
- meme-style images are fine but keep them relevant
- don’t use a “saturation bombing” strategy to market your products—for every marketing post there should be four or five relevant posts that are not direct product advertisements
- keep your posts fresh. You can see what your competitors are doing for new ideas and improve on them
- be entertaining as well as relevant. Include some fun images from time to time, while removing any that were less well received. That way you showcase the best of what you have posted
6. Make use of tools.
Finally, make use of some of the great tools that can help automate aspects of your Instagram marketing and provide you with new ideas and insights. Some of apps and tools you might consider, include:
- Gramfilters: a guide to image filters such as Mayfair
- scheduling tools, such as Later
- the Aviary photo editing tool
- marketing apps like Crowdfire
- commercial data analysis tools like Iconosquare
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