Marketing on Instagram

Many of our clients admit to being confused by the social media landscape and regularly ask us how they can use Instagram to promote their brand. The truth is, although online opinions and recommendations friends greatly influence purchasing decisions, Instagram isn’t suited to all brands.

 Instagram is the fourth most popular social networking site, behind Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, with 14,000,000 UK users. It’s a visual platform that is based primarily around the sharing of image and video content, but also includes functions such a boomerang and AR (check).

80% of Instagrammers follow a business. Aesthetically pleasing posts are liked, shared (check) and commented on. Brands can hashtag content to reach a wider audience and grow followers. Once a follower, brands have a captive audience, to showcase their images and videos to. These can include product shots and how-to videos.

Who Does Instagram Work Best For?

It goes without saying then, that brands who are more visually appealing to their customers, are more suited to Instagram. This includes restaurants and bars, musicians, artists, clothing brands, cosmetic companies and homeware brands. Many businesses within these industries have successfully used Instagram to grow an online following, but other industries can still have some benefit, with a good content strategy.

Here is a breakdown of the Instagrammers by Industry:

Beauty and Fitness 43%
Food and Drink 42%
Shopping 34%
Home and Garden 25%
Arts and Entertainment 23%
Sports 23%
News and Media 22%

Using Instagram to Your Advantage

Whether your business falls into one of the above industries, or you are game for using Instagram for a tough industry, here are some tips to follow:

  1. Plan your content

Posting for the sakes of posting stinks of desperation. You need a strategy behind your content, otherwise you are just going for a scattergun approach and seriously limiting your ROI.

Plan your content strategy this around your business objectives. Who are you targeting? When are they most active? What sort of content might engage them? What’s the messaging around this? Focus on what your product does to solve a need to your target market, rather than the product itself.

Map out what you want to post and what you want users to do. Are you adding a link to a special landing page on your website? Are you encouraging them to call from information in your Instagram post? 75% of Instagram users take action after visiting a post so if your product is visually appealing, post it!

  1. Make your photos/images sing.

Quality is everything. Instagram users are used to seeing enhanced content that appeals to them. Low res, poor quality content will do you no favours and may score you an unfollow. At the very least, you have a plethora of free filters to enhance the content quality, along with Instagram apps. Use the same tool for each, to achieve consistency.

If you’re taking your own pictures or videos, use quality devices. If you’re using stock images, make sure you have permission. Use photoshop to get the correct sizing, resolution and colour quality.

  1. Use hashtags

Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement!

Hashtags are essential if you want to drop right in to a trending topic. They make you more discoverable. If you think of Instagram as a room packed with people talking about different things, and you’re looking for some engagement on, say, classic cars, hash tagging is the equivalent of someone in the room holding up a card saying “hey, I am a classic car guru”. It enables you to identify, connect and then build a relationship with that person. It’s a great way of getting under the noses of Instagram users, who currently don’t know you.

Don’t just hashtag what’s trending, although if it’s relevant, go for it. Similar to keyword optimisation in SEO, hashtag the keywords that people are most likely to search under that subject. #howtousehashtags would be an appropriate way to hashtag this tip. #instagramtips would be a perfect one for this blog.

  1. Network

The nature of social media is networking; growing your followers in a range of different ways. Targeting, having engaging content and hash tagging are all helpful, but you need to network too. If your post involves another brand or individual on Instagram, mention them with the @ sign. If they don’t know of you and your post is compelling, they might well follow you. It won’t show in their feed in the way it does on Twitter, but if they become a connection, users do have visibility over who they follow and who follows you. This is often how users look up new, suggested people to follow.

  1. Understand scheduling

Timing is key. If the average user has 200 followers and each of them posts twice a day, that’s 400 posts per day. That’s a lot of content to scroll through so it’s easy for people to miss posts if they are offline for a while. Rather than flood Instagram, schedule when you post. The best times for engagement on Instagram really depends on your industry, but as a guideline, posting on a weekday (more specifically Monday to Thursday) during waking hours tends to be more successful, in terms of engagement. Times for spiked traffic include 7am-9am and after 6pm.

In terms of how often you should post, top brands post 4.9 times per week on Instagram—making them twice as active as in 2015. Aim to post good quality content five times a week to become a top brand on Instagram.

You can schedule your posts manually by posting at the times you have predetermined. However, there are tools out there that can help you to schedule your week’s post automatically, leaving you free to do other social or digital marketing activities. Buffer is a great example of this and you can schedule random posting times that don’t look too over-engineered.

Need help with your social media marketing strategy? Whitefish Marketing agency in Kent work with businesses in the south east to improve their online visibility. Call us on 01303 720 288.

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