With 300 million active monthly users, Instagram has become a highly successful visual advertising channel.
One of the more popular social networks, this channel differs from the likes of Facebook and Twitter due to its visual approach, allowing users to captivate their audiences through images and videos alone, supported by the most appropriate hashtags.
Instagram plays a huge part in the visual marketing strategy for many businesses, especially eCommerce brands, to build and create awareness. It has been identified that visual content, including videos, are increasingly becoming the heart of most content strategies. Given that 40% of people respond better to visual images then text this presents brands with a huge opportunity to improve sales.
This highly targeted social channel can be extremely effective due to its greatest attribute; driving awareness with enticing and visually appealing imagery. Hashtags are also the linchpin of the channel, providing the key to engaging with your followers and making your photo more accessible to find through searches for those specific terms. Choosing the right hashtag(s) is key if you want to be engaging!
Posting an image on Instagram is not enough to get yourself noticed or to create brand awareness. Hashtags are a great way for users to find content, so if you want to get noticed then hash tagging is the perfect tool! Hash tagging has become a no-brainer for businesses that aim to be associated with industry-related keywords and trending topics.
Allowing for a maximum of 30 hashtags, you can hashtag as much as you like, but don’t go overboard, just remember to use the most appropriate terms that reflect your brand and the image you’re posting!
However, you can create your own hashtags to provide context for your fans to share photos. This will also boost your engagement and help to grow your following.
Like any social media channel, it’s key to interact, and Instagram is no different. To interact with other users on Instagram, some common tactics include; tagging other users in your photos, liking your follower’s images, commenting and responding to any comments that you receive.
When it comes to posting your images, it really is up to you what you put out there but the most important factor is to make it relevant to your brand! Most brands will follow guidelines, whilst others will try to be more imaginative to really captivate their audiences!
The standard rules of thumb that will be key to building your brand on this channel are to:
#Show off your products or services:
Remember with no physical store, you need to promote and advertise your products.
#Connect your channels:
Linking all your social channels is a great way to drive traffic to all your media outlets and expand your reach. Capitalise on Facebook’s integration of Instagram to reach wider audiences. Making your Instagram account visible on your Facebook page is a simple yet extremely effective method that will unify communities and increase the amount of engagement and sharing.
#Go behind the scenes:
If you have a new product being manufactured that has created much anticipation, go behind the scenes and provide a teaser approach before its release.
#Feature your customers:
Now this is a great opportunity to create more exposure for your brand…ask customers to show off their photos with your product. You can also feed this across other channels by tweeting and posting messages requesting customers to send a snap of themselves using/wearing your product with a bespoke # as mentioned earlier.
#Mix it up:
Don’t be afraid to post videos, whether it’s something quick and quirky or more marketing led. After all it has been proven that 40% of the most shared videos on Instagram were created for marketing purposes, according to statistics from Ad Week.
Remember that your customers want a personal experience that is engaging and accessible. So taking advantage of this social channel, will allow a brand to do this in real time whilst giving users a different experience than customers using other platforms.
If you’re still undecided as to whether Instagram could be an effective marketing tool for your company, ask yourself two questions: Is my target audience active on it? Are my competitors successful with it? If yes, to either… then make Instagram part of your marketing strategy to promote your product or service.