What exactly is this trendy thing called Instagram? Some of you might think it’s just another social media platform, but it’s entirely more than that. While Instagram has only been around since 2010, it has been growing at an exponential rate since it was created, hosting 700 million active users in April 2017, according to Statista.
One of the most popular social networks worldwide, Instagram gives brands the ability to tap into their target market like never before. Further, Instagram is constantly upgrading to better compete against other platforms and to become more effective and efficient for users and brands. Features like the option to create a business profile, upcoming shoppable posts and the ability to utilize Instagram Stories (more details on all of these below) are just a few of the top reasons why you should have an Instagram handle for your brand.
Having a business profile is essential to a brand or business. It includes a “contact” call-to-action button allowing users to directly email, call or text that business for additional information — a handy addition for which we have Facebook to thank. Along with the contact option, business profiles give brands access to insights, including statistics such as post impressions and engagement rates. Using these figures, your brand can get an overview of what posts your followers are most engaged with, which can offer valuable insight into your brand’s overall content strategy. If your business still exists as a personal profile for your brand, your first step after reading this blog post should be to switch to a business profile.
The aforementioned ability to create shoppable posts is one of the most highly anticipated features Instagram has ever introduced. The only downfall is that it’s not available to everyone just yet — and many, especially marketers, are looking forward to completion of the current beta stage. Shoppable posts have only been rolled out to select large-business profiles, such as Kate Spade and Sephora. The feature allows companies to sell specific featured products with just one click. This is a great way to pull your customers in, increase brand loyalty and, at the same time, increase sales. Long gone are the days of receiving hundreds of comments below a post inquiring, “What shirt is that?!”
Instagram also takes the proverbial social media cake for personalization and authenticity when it comes to advertising placements. More and more, customers are becoming hesitant to trust traditional advertising; Instagram allows brands to speak to their customers on a more intimate and trustworthy level. Paid Instagram placements are seamless within followers’ timelines and essentially just become part of the experience of the app. This allows a chance for brands to create posts that will speak to their customers directly with imagery that both entertains and informs on a more personal level.
Yet another feature of Instagram that brands are latching onto — Stories. Instagram Stories allow users to post pictures or videos to a “story” that will disappear after 24 hours. [Wait, isn’t that the exact premise of Snapchat? Not necessarily.] The majority of bloggers, influencers and businesses already have a built-in network of followers on their Instagram pages, in contrast to perhaps a fraction of that visibility on Snapchat. This means Instagram’s Story option is allowing all of those thousands, or even millions, of followers to experience a smaller and more intimate glimpse into a brand or public figure’s everyday life in a quick, easily digestible, raw format. Instead of focusing on the perfection of a photo and caption, Instagram Stories allow brands and accounts to be much more authentic. An added bonus? You’re also able to add LINKS to your Stories. Hello, calls-to-action and social media-attributed website traffic.
Stories also help you maintain visibility in your followers’ feeds. The new algorithm that was set into motion a few months ago reduces the number of times you appear on others’ timelines. While regular posts have to compete for a spot on your followers’ feeds, the Stories you use will appear at the very top of their feeds with a colorful ring to indicate you have posted a new Story. People who don’t even follow you have the ability to see that little colorful circle dancing at the top of their Explore page, as well, which has the potential to boost your following if they enjoy what you’ve published.
Hashtag. Hashtag. Hashtag. This word is extremely powerful in the Instagram community, especially when promoting a product or service, and its importance CANNOT be overlooked when building an Instagram strategy. People can search your content with a simple little word or series of words after a pound sign, and it’s the most influential research tool when it comes to social media marketing. Do your research on the most popular, frequently used hashtags when trying to attract new followers and potential customers. Based on the industry you’re in, you can find or create a set of relevant hashtags. (A great resource is Hashtagify.me). Coming up with your own hashtags using your brand’s name or key brand terms is also a great idea. When trying out new hashtags, always make a note of which ones gained traction and which failed to generate a positive response.
Generating a consistent theme across your Instagram profile is a great way to grab attention, personalize your brand and create visual consistency. Our client Fish Hippie has a noticeable theme. They regularly use the same faded filter with a blue-ish tone throughout their feed and always stick to images that encapsulate their brand essence. Starbucks edits their photos to be very bright, fun and relatable to one another. If you’re thinking about starting a theme for your Instagram page, choose a filter that best suits your style of photography. It will really make your brand stand out, as well as look consistent.
We live in a technologically affluent era, and Instagram is a major social media resource, transforming the way we take in content. Here are a few tips when starting an Instagram account for your brand:
- Understand your audience.
- Take advantage of Instagram insights.
- Share quality content including a mix of photos and videos.
- Post high-resolution photos.
- Create a list of popular and relevant hashtags.
- Generate a theme.
- Utilize Instagram Stories.
Here at The Brandon Agency, we have an immense collection of talent and experience when it comes to handling our clients’ Instagram pages. Need an extra set of skillful hands to help take your social media platforms to a new level? Contact us today!