With over 400 million active users, Instagram has become a force to be reckoned with. And its popularity is rising, with more than 80 million images shared every day. This is an indication that interests are shifting from editorial content to imagery.
The millions of users scrolling through Instagram every day are not looking for pictures of products. They are searching for inspiration and visuals that excite them. As attention spans dwindle, users want more content in less time. So as a marketer, it is essential for you to give your brand the best chance of grabbing the attention of your audience in a short time span if you follow the below marketing strategy on Instagram.
Companies have understood the enormous potential of Instagram and have started tapping into its benefits. Making Instagram a part of your marketing strategy can have a tremendous effect on your engagement levels. However being successful on Instagram involves more than just uploading photos and videos.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are 7 Instagram marketing best practices that will help you make the most of its marketing potential.
7 Instagram marketing best practices
(1) Set up an Appealing Profile
The first step to Instagram success is setting up an optimized Instagram profile. This should consist of visually compelling content that appeals to your target audience and an interesting bio. It should also include a link to your website and a great profile picture.
A profile that is badly put together and devoid of interesting posts will not attract your target audience to your business. Your profile must inspire trust and compel visitors to follow your page.
An important aspect of this is to link your Instagram account to your company’s other social media profiles. This is particularly useful when you are starting off on Instagram, but have a strong following on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Doing this will allow you to publish posts to your other linked accounts automatically. This will also get you more followers, as your fans on Facebook and Twitter will seek access to Instagram- exclusive content. This is an excellent way to boost your ‘likes’ organically.
(2) Upload Pictures that stand out
The Visuals you post can make or break your brand’s success on Instagram. With more than 40 billion photos shared on the network, it revolves around great visual content.
People are constantly exploring all corners of Instagram, and great images and videos will engage them and send them to your profile. So it is critical to present your brand in the most visually appealing way possible.
It pays to use the right filters and colors in your Instagram photos for Instagram marketing. If you have the luxury of a design team, have them edit each photo or video before posting. You can also try using photo editing tools like Afterlight and VSCO. These have thousands of options when it comes to icons, fonts, and photo editing features and will give you the tools to make your photos and videos stand out.
(3) Leave Relevant Comments
If your post is successful, you will get thousands of likes. But you may still only get a handful of comments. It is much easier to press a button than to come up with something pertinent to say.
Because of this, you may not get a response from your prospects by simply liking their posts. It may slip past their attention, especially if they get thousands of ‘likes’ every day. Leaving a meaningful comment is a much better way of getting their attention. Most people will comment back and most likely even start following you.
The best way to go about this is by searching for the hashtags that your prospects are likely to use. When leaving a comment, make sure that it is something meaningful and not spam.
(4) Include Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are an easy way to make sure that your posts are viewed by more people. When you search for a particular hashtag, the result will show every photo or video on Instagram with the hashtag.
They are also useful in helping marketers join conversations and engage with their target audience. Adding the right hashtags to your posts will help boost your searchability and help potential followers find you on Instagram.
For example, if your company deals with gardening supplies, adding the hashtag, #gardensupplies to your Instagram posts will make it easy for people who are interested in gardening to find your content.
When opting for hashtags, it is important that you don’t over or under use them. A study by Piqora found that 73% of brands on Instagram use too many or too few hashtags, which means that they are missing out on engagement. Ideally, adding 7 hashtags per post can boost ‘likes’ by up to 23%. Use popular hashtags in addition to creating hashtags from industry-related terms, your company name and locations.
(5) Keep track of Instagram Trends and Changes
Instagram is a constantly evolving platform and new features and updates are continually being added. 2016 has been a year of many changes and major updates. Some of these include a new logo, video views, 60 seconds videos, and a new Instagram algorithm.
When formulating your Instagram marketing strategy, it is important to track these trends and take them into account. This will help you plan for the future, and you will also be able to collect useful data. Being aware of how Instagram functions, will give you an edge over the competition. You will have the ability to adapt better to change and make data- backed decisions.
(6) Post every day during Optimal Times
To stay top of mind, it is necessary to post often during the times of the day when your audience is most likely to be online. It has been found that Mondays and Tuesdays are the best days to post as you are likely to get more engagement. 3-4 pm on weekdays is a time when there is low engagement. Views and likes are typically high on weekends.
A good rule of thumb would be to post 3 or 4 times a day for effective marketing on Instagram. But it is important to remember that quality content is what keeps your audience coming back. So always opt for quality posts over quantity. Through trial and error, you can find what works best for your brand and develop a social media schedule.
(7) Make use of Instagram Analytics
There are several social media analytics tools available that can help you identify where you stand and help you make changes to your social media strategy. With the help of these tools, you can track post-performance, measure audience engagement, identify influencers and do much more.
It is critical to go beyond likes and views to understand how your audience is engaging with your content. Analytics can help you identify which aspects of your strategy works and which areas need improvement. Through analytics tools, you can track data and measure long-term performance to make smart marketing decisions.
Instagram is the hottest photo-sharing network, and many marketers have tapped into its potential. If used correctly it can help you boost brand recognition and sales. The 7 “Instagram marketing” best practices mentioned in this article, can help you formulate an effective marketing campaign and successfully build an engaged following.