How-Tu Tuesday: Using Instagram As Part of Your Marketing Strategy

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

February 16th 2016

As one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world and surpassing 400 million users at the end of last year, Instagram is a network that you may want to turn your marketing efforts towards. But first, let’s check…

  • 53% of Instagram users are under the age of 30
  • Users are often younger than Facebook users
  • Users are mostly women
  • 45% of the community are university-educated
  • Users are more likely to engage with content
  • Users are more likely to shop via eCommerce than in-store

If this sounds like your target market, then Instagram is a channel of communication that should be incorporated into your marketing strategy and streamlined with the overall brand message.

Despite the exponential growth and popularity of Instagram, brands have taken their time to become au fait with this image obsessed network, which may be due to the fact that Instagram ads were only made available to businesses in October of last year and are still not open to all brands.

However, this may be a good thing if you’re thinking of joining; with only 32% of marketers currently using Instagram to promote their product or service, the platform is still relatively uncrowded, with minimal competition noise – although this isn’t predicted to last for long, so read and follow the steps below and start sharing your Insta-perfect snaps!

Does the copy matter? 

Although Instagram is a very visual platform, the accompanying text is still very important, not only for conveying your message, but also for people who aren’t necessarily following you and allowing them to find your content.

Instagram recently changed the length of a post that they will show. If your text is longer than three lines, then users will have to click to see the rest of the message. Those who are already engaged will click to show more, but many scrolling through their feed will choose not to. Sometimes this will be unavoidable when you are posting details of a competition or instructions/directions, but it is worth bearing in mind that being concise is now no longer just a concern with Twitter.

Another similarity between Instagram and Twitter is the power of the hashtag. Incorporating them into the post, whether that be featuring them in the flow of your message or at the end, can increase the reach of your post dramatically and help your brand gain likes, followers and be part of the wider Instagram community. They work in exactly the same way as Twitter and can either be used to highlight the theme/context/focus of your post or can be used to promote a specific campaign and encourage others to join and take part in the conversation. When creating a campaign hashtag, it should be as short and as easy to remember as possible to ensure maximum uptake and engagement.

Facebook Is Your Friend

Since Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012, the two platforms have become more and more intertwined. This integration can be seen in the recent advertising that has been brought in by Instagram; whilst creating an advert on Facebook, users can add Instagram to the campaign with the option of setting various target demographics. However, this isn’t a reason to be lazy. Adverts may not work across both platforms and should not be duplicated if the content doesn’t match both audiences.

Insta-Influencers

Instagram has not only become one of the biggest social media platforms in the world (in the space of five years), but it has also provided some people with their careers – and I’m not talking about the people who work at Instagram HQ. I am referring to the “insta-influencers” who have amassed huge followings and are considered by brands to have very valuable influencing power. They are considered “on trend” by their followers and experts in their field, enhancing both their popularity levels and value to brands. By researching the influencers in your industry, it is important for brands to connect and start to build relationships with these people. By forging connections, it allows companies to reach new audiences that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. Influencers are now considered the tastemakers of the web and to have them on your side could dramatically change your ROI for the better. 

Think: Cross-Platform

Being present on one social media channel will rarely cover your target audience so most brands put their efforts into at least 2-3 accounts. When brands do have multiple social profiles, it is important to cross-promote and always make your followers aware of your full social presence. You may not want to post the same content on every platform, but linking to your other social feeds and providing sneak peaks of the content you are sharing elsewhere can encourage people to follow you and engage with you across the different platforms. 

Measure Up

As with all social media activity, it is important to measure whatever content your are publishing. Monitoring people’s interaction levels across your various posts is important and essential for understanding what works and what doesn’t. For Instagram specifically, it is key for brands to be knowledgeable on the topics and hashtags trending, which will allow you to join the conversations which are attracting the most engagement and overall attention from the Instagram community. If Instagram is one of the most important social networks in your marketing then you may want to dig a little deeper; there are various platforms such as Iconosquare, which provides key metrics about your Instagram account and will analyse your overall performance… hopefully it’s an Insta-perfect result!

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