Instagram — the once trendy, now unstoppable network — has become so much more than a place to share basic photos of your lunch and daily selfies. With more than one billion active users each month, Instagram is a world where brands are as alive as your friends are. They have personalities, share experiences and communicate with you in real time.
As with all social media channels, as fast as Instagram grows, the trends also change. But here are four that we think are here to stay:
Showcasing a Lifestyle
By now you know your followers, their likes and their interests. Your Instagram channel should reflect the aspirations of your ideal audience in a mix of lifestyle videos and photography. You want to keep your feed interesting and relatable — followers want to be able to envision themselves living the brand or wearing your product. When posting about products, find the interest angle of the item. Is it a new arrival? Has it been featured in magazines? Was there a celebrity sighting? Fans follow brand social media to become part of the brand and to get firsthand knowledge before anyone else. For added effect, be sure to share behind-the-scenes photos, depicting things like meetings, events and assembly lines.
Not sure what to share? Watch your followers and mirror their shares, or download a Repost app that will credit the original post and share the follower’s content. Chances are, if you find it interesting or funny, your followers probably will, too. Make your followers part of the team!
Instagram is visual. Think picture first and content next. There are a number of free and paid apps available to edit your photos into professional, branded masterpieces. Filters can add interest to any photo, but don’t go so far as to make the picture unrealistic or unrecognizable. When taking photos, keep in mind that Instagram photos are square. You may want to adjust when shooting the photos or optimize them with an editing app.
Many brands and high-performing pages create a “theme” with their Instagram feeds, supporting a cohesive and consistent brand feel. By using the same filters, similar color schemes or relatively consistent subject matter, it is easier for followers to recognize these brands when mindlessly scrolling through their feeds.
TBA Outdoors Client Page: @froggtoggshunt
Branded and Industry Hashtags
Hashtags, although not acceptable in conversation, are worshipped on Instagram. Here’s why: They add exposure to your post and encourage sharing across other platforms, like Twitter. They encourage fans to share your products and content, but also tag you in photos that they consider your brand’s personality. Hashtags also give you the ability to track all of the content that has been tagged.
Our suggestion: Think of one branded hashtag that can take on a life of its own. Launch the # as a graphic, incentivize followers for using it, and watch it take off. Follow along as your followers include you in their everyday lives. Here’s a great example of users’ shared Instagram posts utilizing the campaign-driven hashtag #LoveDaytonaBeach.
As an opportunity to bring your brand story to life, integrating more video content into your Instagram feed is extremely beneficial. Head to the Explore tab in your Instagram app; how many of those featured posts are videos? Chances are, the vast majority. Video increases engagement among followers, but also accounts for an increase in shares across platforms, such as Snapchat, YouTube and especially TikTok.
Long gone are the days when overly produced videos are the only option; use your smartphone, capture a moment, and include your online world in the story. Or, if your brand reflects higher-resolution content, invest in high-quality videography and break up your Instagram feed into short, digestible clips that fit into your theme.
Need some video content inspiration? Check out companies that are doing all the right things in the video world: GoPro, BuzzFeed Tasty and Saturday Night Live, to name a few.
Here are some Instagram stats to keep in mind.
- More than 95 million photos are uploaded every day.
- 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day.
- 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily.
- Brands post an average of 2.5 Stories per week.
- About 25 million Instagram profiles are business profiles.
- More than 33% of Instagram users will make a mobile purchase.
- About 33% of marketers invest assets in Instagram ads.
If all else fails, watch what others are doing. Social trends are easy to spot, but sometimes overlooked. Take the time to notice — you won’t regret it.
#GoodLuck, and happy posting!