Instagram is here to stay! We have talked a lot about using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for social media marketing purposes, and the value of these to brand building and overall consumer engagement can’t be understated. So too, are some other social media platforms incredibly worthwhile investing your marketing strategy’s time and effort in and, when it comes to visual content marketing, you can’t afford to ignore Instagram.
If you are part of the fashion or food industry, you will in all likelihood have already embraced Instagram marketing, yet there are many other niche areas that can benefit enormously from visual content marketing via these social platforms.
Instagram – premium visual marketing
Instagram is perhaps the most well-known mobile photo-sharing app, which was launched in 2010. It was bought by Facebook in 2012 for USD $1 billion. Unlike many other social platforms, Instagram is entirely photo and video based, and works in its entirety only on mobile (sign up and some other features are not available on a desktop). Personal and business accounts are created and function identically. Instagram accounts can operate stand-alone or linked to Facebook profiles.
Instagram now has more than 400 million global users. Forty-nine percent of Instagram users visit the platform on a daily basis, with only a quarter of overall users visiting the platform less than once a week.
19 INSTAGRAM TIPS TO MAKE THE PLATFORM WORK FOR YOU
- Content is key! Showcase your products and services, spotlight on your employees and partners, share behind the scenes snippets, post exclusive offers and promotions, and ask your customers to share their own content relating to your brand. Keep all content you post relevant to you and your brand.
- Use relevant hashtags on Instagram to help other users find your content; this is extremely effective. As with Twitter, it’s best to keep to a maximum of two or three concise hashtags per post. Just because Instagram will allow up to 30 hashtags per post is not a good reason to use that many! The fewer you can use to encourage a positive response, the better – and the interactions will be from users who offer value to your business.
- Avoid using extremely popular hashtags if they are not specifically relevant to your brand – this can be annoying or even overwhelming to other users. You don’t want to appear to be too desperate for followers! (Examples include #selfie #nofilter #tbt and #toofunny).
- Include shortened links to your website in your profile.
- Tag other users or interact with them via @mentions for greater engagement.
- Like others’ posts in your niche – and comment where appropriate.
- If others comment on your posts, reply so that the interaction is two-way. This shows you are present, paying attention and that you care about your business and your followers.
- Use the direct messaging tool for more private one-on-one conversations in the Instagram platform.
- Add your location via the geotagging tool, particularly if your business is travel or tourism related, or if your business is active across many locations. This is great for interaction and gaining relevant followers.
- Gain inspiration from others in your niche – both on post content as well as hashtag use. This can help you understand what works and what does not.
- Advertise via photo ads, carousel ads or video ads.
- Embed your Instagram posts on your website.
- Use your Instagram feed to share gift ideas, offer a reading recommendation, provide inspiration for redesigning your home or office, and to showcase contests with a call to action.
- Be consistent, and spread out your post frequency – in other words, don’t ambush the platform with a huge number of images at once and then remain silent for any protracted period of time. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience or allow them to forget you. Spacing your posts and varying your post timing will help you build a loyal and engaged following on the Instagram platform.
- Ensure every image is well captioned and high in quality and appealing to the eye.
- Link images to a relevant website.
- Informative posts enjoy significantly more engagement than any other type of post – so share instructions, advice and how-to infographics as much as appropriate to your business and brand.
- Use keywords in your image descriptions.
- Connect your Instagram profile to your other networks and add the Instagram button to your business website.
When is the best time to post on Instagram?
Always a subjective topic as it really depends on where your audience is located, my audience on Instagram is global so suggesting a ‘best’ time for a global audience is almost impossible. However, if your audience is mostly in one country, you want your posts to be seen, right? With the vast number of social media posts that constantly occur, particularly on Instagram, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. For this reason, it can be wise to post at times when overall posting volume is lower, yet when users still regularly take a moment to have a little peek at their feeds.
With this in mind, publish your brand’s Instagram marketing posts in the morning between 6 am and 12noon. You will reach a sizeable audience, yet there will not be as much competition for users’ attention. As a primarily mobile platform, Instagram is going to be seen by users anytime – but it’s recommended to avoid posting on Instagram between 3pm-4pm. Video content performs best when published on the platform in the evenings.
Aim for at least a few posts a day, depending on the amount of unique and high-quality content you have to share – but only post if what you have to share is valuable and relevant to both your brand and your audience. These posts should be spread throughout the day. Saturdays are also a great time for posting on Instagram (as well as other social sites) as it represents the prime time for user interaction.
Specific types of posts do tend to perform better on certain days:
Monday – fitness
Tuesday – gadgets
Wednesday – inspirational and motivational quotes
Thursday – fashion
Friday – amusing GIFs and memes
Saturday – travel
Sunday – food and craft
To a large extent, your post timing will depend on upon your target audience’s demographics, industries and personal goals. Do they work full time, or are they homemakers? Are they likely to be active on social media late at night? Or are they up early in the morning?
- Don’t post images that are unoriginal
- Don’t post without an overall strategy
- Don’t post uninspiring or boring product images
- Don’t post images of poor quality
- Don’t oversell
- Don’t post too often
- Don’t fail to interact with others
- Don’t overuse or use inappropriate hashtags
A word on Facebook: Instagram’s big sister
Don’t forget your imagery on Facebook. While not predominantly an image-based social media platform, Facebook is still an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to visual content marketing. Image-based posts receive by far the most engagement, and this is something to keep in mind when designing your social media marketing strategy.
HOT TIP: Even Twitter’s analytics show that an image-based tweet will perform better than one that is simply text-based.
Images matter – they up the ante of your marketing campaign and no more so than when marketing on social media. Identify your target market and understand who they are and what they want. Post what they want to see, when they are most likely to see it. And don’t forget to track the success of your marketing campaigns with analytic tools.
Most importantly, have fun!
Want some more information on how to make Instagram work for your business? Check out our blog, 9 steps to build your brand with Instagram
Read all about it: More info on the top platforms
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