Instagram has grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. Pew Research Center reports that 26% of adult internet users are on Instagram, up from just 17% at the end of 2013. Additionally, 53% of the 18-29 and 25% of the 30-49 age groups are tuned in to the online photo streaming social network. Brands and influencers have jumped on board, too, trying to reach this growing number of users to build their audience and brand loyalty.
Make the most of your marketing on Instagram by following these ten tips:
1. Post Frequently
Posting photos once a week isn’t going to cut it. To really drive engagement and followers, many top power users report that you need to post at least once or twice per day. Make sure the creative team is ready to back this up with valuable content.
It’s not enough to constantly post product shots. You need to cultivate a brand personality and post lifestyle imagery, too. Try posting photos that include tips or quotes – be helpful and entertaining to your audience. Develop an overall theme and look/feel for your collection of images. Allow your photos to tell a brand story. Make sure they are creative and visually appealing.
Don’t just post, but engage with your followers, too! Like and comment on their posts and start conversations. Do this regularly, at least a few times each day. Keep your audience tightly linked to your brand by allowing them to see that there are real people behind the company. And while most users take to Twitter for customer service complaints, if you do catch them on Instagram, by all means respond immediately!
Use contests or sweepstakes to drive engagement and hashtag promotion. Solicit user-generated content or launch a scavenger hunt. Follow the metrics to select winners based on the most likes, or select winners based on submissions. Whatever the method, contests can be a great way to drive engagement on Instagram and frequently increase the rate at which your hashtag is utilized. Great prizes push the biggest responses. Ben & Jerry’s launched a campaign that asked users to post photos that capture the experience of eating their ice cream, and they garnered a 22% lift in Instagram followers during the contest!
Consider integrations between Instagram and other channels that will allow for an even deeper experience. Start a campaign to allow your audience to opt in to additional alerts based on their Instagram activity. Once opted in, you can then trigger an email with additional product details based on someone having liked the photo. This is the best time to really do the selling – allow the Instagram posts to cultivate that interest and let the email get them shopping. Marc Jacobs Beauty pursued this type of integration and saw awesome results!
To provide the right content on Instagram, it’s so critical to really know your audience! Explore what your followers are posting and liking. Use that to get a sense of what gets shared and interacted with the most. Model your content strategy off of these key indicators of what your audience wants to see.
7. Show Some Personality
Tell that brand story with a personality behind the name. Show off what matters to your company and the lifestyle or feelings your brand evokes. Use this personality not only in your general content that shows off your products but also by showing the face behind the brand, whether that’s promoting your fearless leader or showing company employees engaging in activities.
If you have brick-and-mortar locations, make sure you are geo-tagging photos of your business! List your business as a location on FourSquare and Facebook so it appears in the locations list when searched by Instagram users, allowing them to geo-tag you as well. This allows your business to be easily searched and also contributes to your brand’s photo map.
Don’t leave out the details on your Instagram page – fill out the Bio section with engaging info about your brand. Reference the other social networks you’re a part of and cross-promote on other social channels as well.
Follow what else is trending on Instagram (and other social networks as well) and see where your brand can get in on the buzz. Use popular hashtags on images you post when appropriate. Try interesting and creative ways to connect your brand with top news and events.
Does your brand have a powerful presence on Instagram? Drive followers and increase conversions by trying the simple tips outlined here. Let us know how they’ve worked for you by commenting below!