It’s no doubt Instagram is amongst the Top 3 most popular platforms in the world at the moment — with users, Businesses, Personal brands and Influencers all in the fight for attention, the latest popular Hashtags and “The Perfect Feed”. Nevertheless, as a business, most of us can’t help but wonder and try to figure out what the best way of using this platform in their favour is, while fighting the changing algorithms and stretching their patience to the extremes.
If you are still pondering over the “right” and most effective way of using Instagram to grow your brand, we’re here to give you a hand as well as some of the latest tips and tricks. Let’s get straight to it!
Where should Instagram fit within your Marketing plan?
1. Instagram Marketing should be part of your content strategy
Where should instagram sit within your Marketing Plan? First of all, it should be an integral part and channel for content deployment. Always remember, most times your potential customers or followers won’t convert here, so try to direct them as much as you can to your website. You can also use Instagram as a platform for direct contact, where followers can get directly in touch with your brand — but make sure you move the conversation on the Email if it gets to business, as many times negotiating on Instagram can decrease your power, as well as your authority.
2. Instagram as part of your Paid Digital Advertising
It’s a fact — the platform is at the moment one of the most effective ways to engage with potential customers online, not only due to the high engagement of the young audience but also due to the native advertising features that allow brands to use highly-targeted criteria for reaching the exact type of audience they need . Whether you are looking to raise brand engagement, promote events or drive sales, if your audience in primarily young this is one of the best places to include in your initial “Channel Mix” of communications.
Instagram Posting strategy
When thinking about the content marketing Strategy, also keep in mind that your followers want to see as much as possible real-time posts from you. While it’s acceptable to have a few planned posts, out of — let’s say — 7 posts per week, try to have at least 3–4 published close to real-time. Also, make sure you make full use of your Instagram stories to strengthen the relationship with your followers, increase engagement and draw them into your brand. To increase discoverability, use the Location and Hashtag features within the Stories, which will bring as viewers people browsing for these specific elements within the platform (e.g. people browsing posts in London)
When’s the best time to post?
Generally, the best times to post are mornings and evenings — make sure the audience you target is in the same time zone as you, and if not adapt accordingly.
What’s the deal with Hashtags? How to discover the best for you?
When thinking about Hashtags, the most important thing to consider is the business you’re in. Important aspects to consider are: Do you need a Local Audience? What type of personality does your audience generally have? What are the hashtags your ideal customers are searching for? Try to think about these things and write down ideas — then include the relevant ones out of the results within your post. A trick here would be to not only include the hashtags with a giant number of hits, but also the more “niche but very relevant to your business” ones, that might not have millions of mentions. You have much higher chances to rank in the first results for one of these, therefore your discoverability grows in exactly the niche you’re interested in!
Instagram TV — or IGTV — is the new feature released by the platform in 2018, as “sort of” an “attack” towards Youtube — giving Instagram Users the opportunity to post long-length content on the platform. As a brand, this can be a good opportunity of showcasing even more of your culture and products. However, when thinking about the necessity of using this feature, your decision will, again, be based of the insights from the nature of your business and the type of audience you want to reach. Posting on Instagram TV can be a tough task if you are not used to producing Video Content or have very interesting things to showcase. Our advice here would be — try to offer value through the content you post, or don’t post at all! If you do have video content, or a video content production strategy in place, there are certain “tricks” you can take into consideration when you film Youtube or Facebook content to be able to repurpose it for IGTV as well. The most important consideration is to remember videos here are in a Portrait, and not Landscape format — so make sure your focus points and relevant content are right in the middle of the frame — and if the frame is cut, the viewer can still see the important bits. Talk to your videographer regarding this aspect too — he’ll be the best to give you advice specific on each planned filming scenario.
Influencer marketing on Instagram
Numbers don’t mean the world — however, they still count, and that’s especially true when dealing with — or wanting to become — influencers. Influencer marketing has picked up massively in the past year due to the more personal touch it brings to advertising, giving it a peer-to-peer feel while switching the communication from the brand to a “Trusted” or “Admired” person the customer follows online.If you are a brand wanting to use Instagram influencers, below are the two metrics you have to take into consideration when choosing your promotion partners:
Number of followers vs. number of engagements/post — this is a very good indication of how engaged the Influencer’s community is, which is one of the most important aspects you will have to look at when evaluating your expected results. It’s no benefit paying a higher fee for someone with 1 million followers, if their post engagement (likes, comments) is less than 5% (let’s say) — ultimately, that’s how many people will interact with the post sponsored by you, and that’s what should determine the price you pay.
Influencers vs. Micro-influencers — While influencers are nowadays considered to have higher numbers of followers, the latter group consists of Instagram personalities with — generally — communities of less than 50k. These are perceived as having a more engaged audience, therefore your sponsored post could have a bigger impact on their followers (growing the chances of conversion for you). It will also be less pricey to collaborate with them rather than a major influencer, as prices tend to increase with the size of their instagram community. However, always have in mind what we have discussed at Point 1.
When designing your packages, ensure you consider not only sponsored feed posts but also Instagram Stories. These can be great opportunities for your brand to reach the influencer’s engaged audience, that follows closely his or her activity, and you can also split Story Posts over a longer period of time (e.g. one post per week for 4 weeks) as part of a campaign.
Moreover, if the engagement rate proves to be higher for 5 micro-influencers — let’s say — that are very relevant to your niche, rather than a single more major influencer, it might be a good idea to invest in tapping into their communities at once rather than using your budget for a one-off promotion with a more popular personality.
As a final note, keep in mind there are nowadays many “Bots” increasing the number of followers for some of the “Wannabe” influencer accounts — always keep in mind to look at the Post engagement rate!
Wrapping up… Instagram remains a very cost-effective tool for advertising and bringing your brand in front of the right audience. Apart from traditional Sponsored (highly-targeted) ads, it also opens opportunities for Awareness and Engagement through Influencers and HashTags. Use it wisely and make sure you bring value with every post, while drawing your audience closer into your brand! Best of luck, and if you would like to explore further the opportunities for advertising and strategy on this channel, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be more than happy to help you double (or even triple!) your Marketing returns.