Instagram is one of the big four social networks, alongside Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It took what people loved most about Facebook, sharing photos, and turned it into a global phenomenon. An average of 55 million photos are uploaded to the platform every day, which means a lot of users and a big opportunity for brands that can harness Instagram’s power.
Four ways to get your Instagrams noticed
Use hashtags. Hashtags are the glue that binds the Instagram universe together. They provide common links between users and uploads to group posts together and help like-minded people find each other’s pictures. There is an art and science to using them effectively, and while large brands can simply use their name as a hashtag, confident that people will be searching for Gucci or Apple, smaller businesses need to be savvier and tap into what is trending. There is a lot of room for lateral thinking to link your business to trends and find new clients.
Involve your followers. One of the key elements of successful branding is creating advocates out of customers. Appeal to their vanity and they will disseminate your brand faster than any traditional marketing push. Feature your customers by getting them to submit photos of their success with your product or service and use a hashtag that customers will strongly associate with your brand. Incentivise participation with a contest to increase the numbers who will engage with your Instagram feed.
Launch new products. Its photo-centric platform is ideal for creating eye-catching visuals that will increase recall and provide more cachet for users than traditional channels. People love to feel like they are on the inside and, while Instagram has grown in popularity and uptake exponentially, it is still underutilised when it comes to marketing. This can provide a channel of leads that remains untapped by your competitors.
Create interesting content. The most important consideration are the photos themselves. Posting bland product pictures won’t help your customer engagement, and will probably see you lose followers. An Instagram is a piece of copy without the words. This means that you need to take the same care to create the perfect photo and adhere to the same guidelines. Good marketing solves problems and in writing this is about creating situations where customers will see genuine benefit to their lives. When showcasing a product with a photo, you should aim to create the same sense of essentiality by showing it in the context of the life around it.
The other way to engage is with photos that aren’t focussed on selling. Behind the scenes pictures are a great way to bring customers into your world and build the approachableness angle of your business.
Tools to track your stats
Measurement and analysis are key to the success of any marketing strategy. Instagram has a number of dedicated third party tools to help you look further into your results and gain a greater understanding of what is and isn’t working, and why.
These are some of the most popular paid tools around.
There are also a number of free tools that can provide great insights, however they do have the types of limitations you would expect from not paid services. The most useful ones include: