Business, Marketing, Strategy
December 8, 2016
8 Ways to Make the Most of Instagram
8 Ways to Make the Most of Instagram

Instagram. When it’s done right, it’s a stunning visual representation of your brand. However, there are times where it just doesn’t have the effect that it should in building engagement with a brand’s target audience. What do you do? Do you stay away from the platform because you don’t understand it enough to make it worthwhile? Do you join the 50% of brands on Instagram already to connect with even a small part of the over 500 million monthly active users who are highly engaged on a daily basis?

While there isn’t one answer that will be best for every company, there are a few things to consider. If you are a brand that targets consumers directly (B2C) then you should definitely be on Instagram. If you are a brand that targets other businesses (B2B), then the answer becomes more of a grey area. Ultimately the decision is yours whether the platform is right for you or not, however, when you do make a decision consider where your audience fits in all of it. If your target audience is on Instagram, it’s likely a good investment for you because engagement with brands is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.

Here are 8 ways to make the most of Instagram for your business.

  1. Define Success: You can invest a lot of time and money into your strategy, but you will never know if your work is getting the results you want unless you figure out what it is you want. How will you know what success is if you don’t define it ahead of time? Set your overall objectives and goals for your Instagram strategy and figure out how it fits into your overall marketing plan. Once you do this, you can set up baseline metrics to measure your progress.
  2. Timing: While Instagram doesn’t move as quickly as Twitter, when you post can have a huge impact on your visibility. If you aim to post once per day (5 – 7 posts per week is average), figure out when your target audience is on Instagram. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to track the timing that works best for you. Once you find the best times to post with the most engagement, stick to a schedule and your audience will come to expect content at that time.
  3. Consistency: I talk a lot about consistency, but it will help you to be easily identified across channels. Your Instagram profile is no different. Your Instagram profile should be uniform in terms of the style of photography/design and the theme. You don’t even need professional photography as long as your profile has a consistent look. It can be as simple as using the same filter for all posting. Sixty per cent of the top brands use a consistent filter for posting to Instagram. Be true to your brand – and your audience – and you’ll find that you will get into your visual groove.
  4. Use Hashtags Wisely: Not only does using hashtags make it easier for people to find your content, using at least one hashtag will increase engagement by 12.6%. While using a million hashtags may seem like the right thing to do, make sure that all of your hashtags are relevant to the content. Using around 10 is usually the sweet spot for brands. Do your research – make sure your hashtag means what you think it does and you aren’t grouped in with a bunch of NSFW images.
  5. Be relevant to your audience: Users like upwards of 4.2 billion posts per day on Instagram, so make sure you are putting out content that will allow you to tap into that highly engaged audience. To ensure that your target audience sees your content, use things like location tagging, branded hashtags, emojis, and tag influencers that are relevant to your content. It’s important that you listen to the chatter from your audience and put out content that is in line with what they are talking about. Once you have been posting content for a while, look to see what content gets the most engagement versus what doesn’t get engagement and cut out what’s not working.
  6. Vary your content: Using a consistent brand personality and tone of voice, find ways to stand out among the sea of photos and videos. Don’t take the picture that everyone else is taking. Try to find a different perspective or storyline. Mix things up a bit by using both video and images and conducting contests. Users share on average 95 million photos and videos each day, so you need to work at inspiring people so they come back for more.
  7. Take an integrated approach: None of your marketing channels should exist in a vacuum. Cross promote each of your channels so you generate buzz in multiple places. That also means that you shouldn’t have the same content across all channels otherwise there is no point in following more than one channel! When you have a new blog post or a special deal, update your link in your Instagram bio so it directs people to a new place with each change.
  8. Aim for Dialogue: Like any other social channel, Instagram should be social, which means talking with people not just at them. Communicate both through your images as well as directly with your followers in the comment section and in the captions. Allow people to become emotionally invested in your content.

BONUS – HAVE FUN: Tell your story in a way that is unique to your brand!

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