The Goldmine That Is Instagram Marketing

Instagram marketing is becoming increasingly important for many organisations, especially those in highly visual industries, such as retailers, restaurants, entertainment, and travel companies. The channel has seen explosive growth since it first appeared on the scene in 2010, and is showing no signs of slowing. New figures published by The Guardian show the photo-sharing platform’s monthly active user base has more than doubled in size over the past two years, with 500 million people a month worldwide now using Instagram.

Here is a quick look on why Instagram marketing matters, how companies can increase engagement across the platform, and how they can measure their successes.

So, Why Instagram?

Simply put, text is on its way out. Our audience want to experience visual engagement through pictures and videos that take no time to digest.

Instagram revealed that the app has more than 400 million monthly users, 80 million daily photos, 3.5 billion daily likes, and lots of opportunity to marketers. Forrester named Instagram the “King of social engagement,” citing that top brands’ Instagram posts generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.2 percent. That is 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter! Instagram marketing is powerful as it allows our audience to visually consume ideas and make decisions about our brand without us being too pushy.

So how can we generate ROI from Instagram marketing engagement?

Step 1: Content First

First, we need to share interesting content that resonates with our audience.

Bahamas Ministry of Tourism is a Meltwater client that uses Instagram marketing wisely. They uploaded a stunning image of dolphins to showcase how they were named the #1 destination to encounter big animals while scuba diving. They could have simply taken a picture of their award, but instead they got creative and snapped one of the dolphins celebrating.

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Whilst it’s great to showcase our company successes, Social Media Today suggests marketers apply the 20/80 rule: 20% of posts should promote our products directly; the remaining 80% should promote our brand lifestyle. This means posts don’t have to directly relate back to our product, but rather what’s of interest to our audience, especially ones that will inspire them. Whilst the channel is primarily photo based, text based images such as memes and quotes are a great way to bring our brand voice to life. Take a look at Fit Tea’s Insta account, the herbal tea company has many famous affiliates helping to promote its message, including the Kardashian clan. And now Ryan Gosling is also on hand to lend some encouragement, apparently!

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Instagram marketing can also help strengthen brand identity by offering a behind-the-scenes peek into the culture and lifestyle that surround our brand. Showcasing employees is an easy way to add a personal edge to our Instagram marketing and maybe help with recruiting while we’re at it. Take a look at Meltwater’s Instagram account. We love sharing pics from special events along with office snapshots of #meltwaterlife.

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Also aim to get customers involved and ask them to show off photos of themselves interacting with the brand or using our product. Coco White tooth whitening oil is a great recent example of user generated content. Don’t underestimate the power of a double tap; it can go a long way!
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Step 2: Wise Words

Second, use captions wisely. If Instagram is all about a company’s visual identity, then the caption adds context to the visual. Don’t state the obvious, but share a story. Remember that people tend to read a caption once the image has their attention.

Also, don’t forget to include hashtags as they make for the perfect discover mechanism, as does location tagging! While Instagram allows for up to 30 tags, common consensus recommends 1-5 tags per post so we don’t #spam. If we want to include more, add them in the comments so they are searchable but will be hidden after more people start commenting. Before we start strategising on what links to include in our caption, we’ll want to know that Instagram does not allow them. The only place we can include a link (just one) is in our profile. We suggest using this space to link back to a company website. 

Step 3: Be Exclusive

Third, post exclusive deals or competitions on Instagram. Deals are a tangible reward for followers, and brands reap the benefit of having a network of people talking about them on their personal pages.

I’ve Increased Engagement.. Now What?

Once we increase our engagement, it’s critical to monitor our Instagram marketing efforts. Engagement analytics help marketers understand which types of posts our audience likes most, so we can can better focus our strategy. Not one to be left behind, Meltwater launched Instagram media monitoring this year, allowing customers to monitor mentions and keep track of engagement in real time.

In conclusion, remember that Instagram marketing is all about a company’s visual identity. Be true to the brand and promote the lifestyle. Engagement will follow.