What is Instagram?
Instagram is a photo-sharing app that launched in 2010 and now has over 600 million active users! Instagram users have shared over 40 billion photos to date and share an average of 95 million photos and videos per day! This is a social media channel you cannot afford to ignore. It can be a valuable asset in helping communicate your brand’s stories visually and engaging with your customers.
Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012 and you can now integrate your Facebook ads with Instagram. Facebook also changed the algorithms which means that your posts don’t automatically show up in the feeds of those who follow you – this way they ensure that more brands need to advertise. However, it doesn’t mean you have to, it means like Facebook you have to take this into account and also ensure your content is engaging.
Before you start, do an audit to make sure that your target audience is on Instagram and that you can create interesting and relevant content for them. Remember that this is a highly visual and creative community.
Ensure your username is consistent across all your social networks – keep it short and memorable. Then set up your profile picture and biog, start posting straight away to fill up your profile. Use hashtags to find and connect with your audience – use hashtags that will mean a lot to them and that they use frequently – and follow those who follow brands similar to yours.
Read Instagram for Business for ideas and news.
Developing a strategy
Your Instagram audience is likely to differ from your other social channels – understand how it can add value and be integrated into your wider social media strategy. Remember that the image of your brand needs to be consistent across all marketing, including offline. You can’t suddenly present a different face on Instagram. Ensure your channel is present across all marketing (including website and newsletters) and use your existing social media to promote your presence on Instagram.
Consider the following:
- Understand your audience: Review typical profiles of your users. Create four ‘personas’ – include age, gender, location, types of sites/social pages they follow and what they interact with on Instagram
- Define your goals
- Assess your competitors
- Define content strategy: type and frequency of updates, hashtags, tone of voice, establish clear brand guidelines for themes and types of images. Test different types of content to see which ones work best for your audience – examples include audience led content -encouraging them to upload, competitions, employee/company-centric (show the human face of your brand) or product focused. Instagram offers a real opportunity for brands to show their personality. People also enjoy being offered a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at brands on Instagram. As with other social media, create a content calendar to use as a framework.
- Determine KPIs for success; do you want to build followers or engagement? Interact with current customers or build new ones? How will you measure success? You can use Google Analytics Traffic Sources and the Multi-Channel feature to show visits and conversions.
- Practicalities; who will be managing the account, how much time will be dedicated to it?
Building your audience
- Promote your Instagram channel across other social media channels
- Consider advertising – test the water to measure the impact of this
- Use competitions
- Identify and partner with influencers on Instagram for endorsements (this is not a quick fix and takes time and planning – be selective – they have to fit in with your brand)
- Add calls to action and promotion codes, ask questions to encourage engagement, get people to tag their friends in posts. Consider co-branded posts
- Search hashtags relevant to your brand and mentions, follow and engage with those people. Reach out to advocates
As with all social media channel, don’t expect results overnight. You need to build a following and be committed to a long-term engagement strategy. Focus on being honest, authentic and engaging with customers, provide original and thought provoking imagery and video that fits with your brand and your audience will respond.
We hope you find Instagram a fun way to interact with your customers. If you need any more help with reaching your audience on social media then please get in touch here.