Instagram is still one of the fastest growing social networks on the internet today, and it has been growing at an exponential rate since it was picked up by social media giant Facebook in 2012. A growth of 400% in four years should be a reason for every business to perk up its ears and pay attention, and Instagram is a marketing resource that no business can afford to ignore. Let’s take a look at why your business needs to be establishing a presence on Instagram, and some strategies for making sure you get found by as many users as possible.
Why Your Business Needs an Instagram
Starting at the most basic reason, Instagram has the tremendous benefit of being extremely easy to use. Additionally, it is not (as of yet) as ad-driven as Facebook or Twitter, making it a more cost-effective option for those organisations who are looking to spend their marketing dollars elsewhere. There is also the fact that Instagram is a visual medium, so capturing and maintaining user attention is far easier than the more text-heavy Facebook. Best of all, Instagram has a 58% higher engagement-per-follower rate than Facebook, and in excess of 120 times more EPF than Twitter. Bottom line is, the numbers don’t lie and Instagram represents a huge marketing opportunity for the smart business with the right social media strategies.
How To Implement Creative Instagram Strategies
Instagram is an incredibly creative medium for content, but it is wise to put some forethought and planning into place before attempting to co-opt the social network as a marketing channel for your business. In addition to the standard social media items like a well-written company bio with your embedded website URL, Facebook linking, and a killer profile pic, here are some other strategies to try.
1. Select a Theme for Posts
Develop a solid plan for what kinds of content you will be posting to your Instagram. This allows you to focus more on your target market as opposed to a more scatter-shot approach of trying to be all things to all users. Base your theme around your central marketing message or the product you are promoting, and then stick to that theme consistently. Choose a colour for users to associate with your brand, product, and message, and feature it in your posts. No matter what you decide, it is best to make sure followers and potential followers know from the get-go what to expect from your Instagram.
2. Write a Strong Instagram Bio
Avoid a pre-written bio used on other social media pages and write a fresh one specifically for Instagram. Make sure your message is consistent with the message of your theme, and present your company as the clear expert regarding the goods and services you offer. That confidence in your bio more than anything drives traffic back to your company website.
3. Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
It is absolutely vital that you make sure your company website is optimised for mobile web browsers if you are going to use social media to promote your products and services. Instagram users primarily access their content via smartphone, so you need to make sure that your site is viewable on mobile platforms, and that you include your URL in your bio and every post for ease of access. Good mobile optimisation helps improve click-through and conversions, so make sure you get on this ASAP.
4. Stick With Simple, Meaningful Image
The average attention span of a person on social media is approximately 8 seconds. Grab your audience’s attention immediately with concise, meaningful images that are easily recognised and require little thought on the part of the user to understand what they are looking at. Make them interesting, simple, and most of all inviting. Lastly, as most users access their Instagram on the go via smartphone, you need to avoid text-heavy images as they tend to be hard to focus on quickly.
5. Post Frequently
Content may be king on social media, but consistency is the queen. Post at least every day to establish some semblance of consistency for your users. More posts mean more followers and faster growth, and the biggest sites on Instagram average 4-10 posts per day. While that may not be attainable at first, sticking to the post per day rule to establish consistency is a good place to start.
6. Hashtags Matter
If you are a Twitter user, you know that hashtags are encouraged to channel users most interested in your content to your Twitter feed. On Instagram, however, hashtags are absolutely essential. In fact, the more hashtags you use on Instagram, the better received your post will be. The average hashtags per post are 11, but you can have as many as 30 on a single post. Keep in mind when hashtagging that not all your hashtags have to be in the photo description either, but can also extend to the comments section. #donotforgettohashtagyourposts.
7. Make Use of @Mentions
If possible, tag other Instagram users who are authentically connected to your post using the @+their Instagram username. It’s a great way to promote your content to other users’ followers, and so long as the connection with that user is organic and not done at random (Instagram flags/deactivates tag spammers), it really is one of the most useful features this social network has to offer.
8. Share Your Location
Turning on your location for posts is every bit as valuable as @mentions for boosting your account’s engagement.
9. Great Photo Content
Your photo content will make or break your Instagram engagement. You can use your own or subscribe to a photo service for stock images or free stock photo resources that are widely available online.
10. Customise Your Images
Once you find some images that fit your theme and content needs, customise them with something that makes them personalised specifically for your company. Product titles, famous quotes, new product/promo teasers, or even or product reviews are all good ways to add customisation. Regardless of customisation, though, be sure to include your logo and/or URL so it redirects back to you if the image is shared on Instagram.
Overall, Instagram is a great place for smart marketing strategists who are looking to reach one of the fastest growing markets on social media. Get on Instagram today, and start enjoying the benefits of its widely varied and highly engaged users.