Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing
It was reported at the end of 2015 that Instagram had more monthly users than Twitter. The platform now boasts 800 million monthly active users, 63% of which log in daily! Furthermore, 50% of users follow brands.
In this blog, we’ll be covering all things Instagram marketing, from how to set up your profile, what to post, how to increase engagement & more!
Setup your profile properly
Just like all of our social media profiles, we should ensure we use a branded profile image to assist brand recognition and include a short bio that confirms exactly what it is we do. Instagram also allows us to add a link in our bio – this is the only place we can include a link within the platform, so don’t forget to utilise this feature… and wisely.
Fashion Revolutions Instagram profile
Use hashtags to expand your reach
When used well, hashtags can significantly expand the reach of our posts. Don’t just take our word for it, you can measure the ROI of using a hashtag yourself using a media monitoring tool such as Meltwater. Such tools offer a variety of metrics to measure against including hashtag media exposure, the sentiment of engagement, top posters (they could potentially be collaborators of ours?) and more!
Did you know that posts with at least one hashtag receive an average of 12.6% more engagement than posts without?
…But use hashtags in moderation
Due to the reach hashtags offer, it can be easy to get carried away and use as many as possible. Be cautious of this, Twitter recommends using up to three hashtags per post and while Instagram users tend to use more, don’t go overboard!
A media monitoring tool can support us when picking the most appropriate hashtags. For example, we can search trending themes within our industry to ensure we’re talking about topics of interest to our community. We can also take a look at the popularity of the hashtag before including it.
Note: Just because a hashtag is trending, this doesn’t mean that we should get involved. Using hashtags such as #likeforlike can look like spam and make us seem unprofessional. Our community should follow us because they see value in our content, not because we’re offering a ‘like back’ as an incentive.
Check out our last blog for more details about using hashtags!
Using geo-location is another way to expand our reach on Instagram. We can post a picture tagging the location where it was taken, or even where an event of ours is going to be held. Much like hashtags, our post will appear when somebody searches for that specific location. People new to an area may use geotagging to discover shops, cafes, events and landmarks. So if we’re at an expo or running an event, tagging our locations can help promote our brand.
We might also be able to discover images that we aren’t tagged in but feature our brand.
When should I post?
Ah, the ultimate question! So generally, posting at lunchtime and evenings (when people aren’t working) is a good way to reach as many people as possible. Sunday evening is commonly thought to be the most effective time to post, as is Wednesday and Thursday evening. We should also consider whether our account is aimed at a national or international audience. If the latter, then think about posting at a time when both time zones are awake.
Upload great images
Instagram is a visual platform. Use high resolution, well-edited photos to attract followers. Try to avoid obvious product photos and tell a story instead.
- Show off brand culture
- Repost user-generated content (making sure we credit the original poster)
- Images showing how diverse the product is
- Behind the scenes at our offices/warehouses/events
- Events we host or attend
Now, Instagram isn’t just for B2C businesses, but also B2B. FedEx and CBRE have strong Instagram profiles- they use colourful, visual images that tell a story. FedEx could have simply posted pictures of parcels, but instead they have shown their couriers in beautiful locations.
Stay up to date with new features
Instagram is constantly launching a new feature. More recently, we’ve seen Boomerang attach itself to the social channel’s app. Boomerang is a feature that allows us to shoot mini videos that loop back and forth. Such platform features provide us with alternative ways of displaying our content, keeping things fresh for our audience.
Keep an eye out on Instagram’s blog. It’s filled with posts on new features, how to guides and lots of top tips. They’re currently running a feature called ‘Weekend Hashtag Project’. Instagram’s Community Team chooses themes and hashtags each weekend, where we can post something around the theme with a chance to be featured. Using these hashtags is a great way to increase reach and can provide us with inspiration of what to post.
They also have a dedicated blog for businesses featuring information about advertising, audience studies, case studies and ways businesses can use Instagram in their marketing efforts.
Use your customers to create content
Don’t underestimate the power of user-generated content. Encourage the audience to tag their photos using a branded hashtag. For example, #shareacoke received over 235,000 tweets using the hashtag in 2014. The campaign encouraged users to post stories, selfies and photos with a personalised coke bottle. Not only will this expand the reach of our brand (as our product will appear on the timelines of our audience), but it will also create a community surrounding our brand once the image is made discoverable amongst our audience’s audience.
Finally, we shouldn’t forget to analyse our efforts. Track the success of our Instagram posts and social media campaigns by analysing media exposure, sentiment and social reach. We can use our analysis to improve our strategy and create content that our audience appreciates. We can even use media monitoring to find inspiration for content. By searching for trending themes and topic momentum we can discover what is trending surrounding our brand, product, event or topic.