Over the past half-decade, social media has become one of, if not, the easiest and most effective ways for brands to reach their consumers on a wide scale. In particular, Instagram has proven highly effective with a wide swath of people, especially users falling into the 18-34-year-old age group. As of January, there were 400 million active Instagram users per month posting 80 million photos per day on average.
As far as follower engagement goes, Instagram blows away its parent company, Facebook, as well as its close competitor, Twitter. The photo sharing site boasts a follower engagement rate of 4.21%. For perspective, that is 120 times what Twitter can accomplish and 58 times more than Facebook. Take this along with the fact there has been a 115% increase in marketing reach on Instagram, and you’re looking at an outlet that is imperative to take part in if you’re managing a brand.
Reach and Resonate With Users
So what are the best ways for your brand to take advantage of Instagram’s ability to reach and resonate with its users? As you do when you’re first approaching the overall marketing of your brand, you’ll need to develop a content strategy. Remember, while Instagram began as an app geared towards photos, users are now able to post GIFs, videos, and graphics. Even the video runtime has been raised from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. You have a ton of options, so you want to be sure to balance the types of content that will work best for your brand and generate the type of engagement you want.
Create an Instagram Style Guide
It might serve you best to create an Instagram style guide for your brand. Many people think that effective posting means loading your captions with hashtags and throwing filter after filter on poorly shot photos. You must consider if your brand’s aesthetic calls for actions like watermarking your logo, including your website in each caption, choosing graphics or stock photography, and more. This a chance for you to showcase your brand’s style in ways that all people can and want to understand. Choices like color palette and filters should be worked out long before you ever press the Submit button on your first post.
Hashtags are your best friend when it comes to energizing your consumer base around a central idea or theme. Users can easily reference your hashtags in the Search menu to see how many people are using it, you can include up to thirty of them in one Instagram caption, and they translate seamlessly into other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
Interact With Your Followers
One of the best ways to interact with your followers on Instagram is to solicit user-generated content from them and feature it on your feed. We all know that people are more likely to champion something they feel they have had a hand in, so imagine how someone might feel if you used their photo or video to make them “Instagram famous for the day.” Of course, you always want to make sure use of the content is cleared. You also want to make sure you like, comment, respond to comments, and mention your customers in posts. Remember, the end game is to interact with your customers and create a dialogue. So once you have it, use it!
With all good comes some bad, and there are aspects of Instagram use that can hamper your ability to connect with your followers. Aside from being highly annoying, posting too much on Instagram can raise concerns that your account may be a bot, one of the automated services that spout poorly edited captions with terrible photos. If you want to make sure you’re not flagged as spam, you have to keep your post numbers to a respectable minimum. In that same spirit, writing a novel for your caption is not only frowned upon, but it is also highly ineffective for communicating your message. While you have a massive 2000+ character limit, captions are shortened after three lines of text. If it isn’t essential, edit that statement down to its necessary parts.
Instagram is growing and only getting better in its use as the days pass. Being owned by Facebook means that it has access to that platform’s network, and they are currently using that user data to get advertisements to the people who’ve subconsciously been building their preferences online for years. In addition to this, Instagram has developed and released its business suite to assist brands in deciphering and utilizing the data they’ve now been able to collect. While this feature is only available for sponsored posts, it nods to the immense opportunity that exists in properly making use of your brand’s voicing and communicating your brand message to your consumers. Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words and Instagram is putting the power of the conversation in your hands.