Instagram is a popular photo sharing site that enables users to take pictures or videos and share them across multiple social networks. It currently has over 300 million active accounts as of December 2014. The site attracts both men and women mostly under the age of 35. It works very well for personal use and for large consumer goods companies looking to build a following and maintain (or even build) brand. Instagram is somewhat limited in its use for marketing and advertising. The platform strives to stay “spam free,” so-to-speak. By doing so, Instagram has built trust in its consumer’s mind by promising to not allow advertising and marketing to run rampant. This provides a more positive and enjoyable user experience.
Instagram is a little bit different than other social sites because there is no way to link back to any website from the individual posts. This makes it challenging to prove any ROI from the effort spent on this site. mRELEVANCE likes to prove ROI by tracking social media traffic to the main website, as well as leads from social media. The only place a link will allow a user to click through is in the bio of a page, so this site pretty much exists as a silo.
So what is the goal or value of using Instagram in a marketing strategy?
• The goal of an Instagram account would simply be to increase branding and grow a following. That is where it will be most effective. Instagram is a good platform for more relaxed, fun and user oriented content. Creating content for users in this way will give a “face” or a personality to your brand that consumers can identify with.
Here are some good strategies for increasing brand awareness and growing a following:
• Post more frequently. Don’t let your account go stale. Stay relevant, and pay attention to trends. Regular posting ensures that your audience stays visually engaged with your brand.
• Make sure your content is quality content that users will want to engage with. Quality content has multiple aspects: evokes positive emotion or reaction (such as happiness or laughter), displays novelty or creativity (i.e. something new or noteworthy), creates empathy or sentiment (“feel good” or humanity-type content) and offers incentive.
• Use trending hashtags. It is unlikely that anyone is searching for the hashtag #YourCompany unless, of course, you’re company is something like Microsoft, Apple, Nike, or something highly well known
• Keep your hashtags simple and appropriately descriptive of the picture or video posted. Do research into the types of hashtags users are utilizing with similar content.
What are some other good ways to market your Instagram account outside of the app itself?
• Cross promote Instagram content to other social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Increasing the number of updates about Instagram on Twitter and Facebook should help get the word out.
• Make sure that all of your staff are following the Instagram page and sharing it with their followers. Your staff can provide free advertising—utilize it!
• Implement an email marketing campaign. Send an e-blast that asks people to connect with you on Instagram.
• Follow local and relevant companies. By doing this, you will be able to find quality and relevant content, as well as simple and effective hashtags.
• Mimic like-minded/messaged companies, especially if those companies have a good following.
• Add an Instagram icon to your website.
• Place “Follow us on Instagram” signage in areas near and around your business. This will increase exposure.
• Encourage buyers to follow you on social media sites before they leave your business, and, if they do follow you, encourage them to leave feedback—especially if they had a good experience!
What are some creative marketing techniques that can be used?
• A mini Instagram contest that encourages individuals to stop by your business could be an effective strategy.
• Take a selfie near your business and tag your business’ Instagram page in the picture.
Utilizing these tips and allocating the right amount of time can produce an effective Instagram strategy that will result in brand awareness, credibility and engagement. After creating your Instagram account, be sure to follow us @marketingrelevance. If you have questions on how to effectively use social media as part of your marketing strategy, give us a call at 770-383-3360.