Instagram is a mobile app where users share their life stories and events using only photos with cool filters and captions. Instagram is now owned by Facebook and as of June 2017 has 700 million monthly active users.
Similar to Facebook, photos are posted to a feed where followers can see what is being shared and leave comments or click on a heart symbol to “like” the photo.
Similar to Twitter, users can view a feed of the most popular photos around the world from other public-sharing users or only view the photos in the feed of the people they are following.
However, Instagram does have a certain type and profile of user that uses the platform which you and your business will either literally ‘click’ with or not.
Instagram also offers an Instagram Stories feature, which allows you to share your photos in a slideshow format or your videos. It only lasts 24 hours but allows users to engage with each other on a different level and is a direct competitor to the Snapchat format. Read more on this in our Snapchat blog.
Your Instagram Profile
1. Add your name
2. Upload a profile photo
3. Write a description
4. Include a link in the description
Image Size Reference
Images are auto-sized from your photo-taking device and are determined by the Instagram app on your mobile device.
Top Tips for using Instagram
Regularly post new photos to your stream.
Ensure all of your posts include text. Cool photos are great but use the text area to convey context or communicate why you posted something.
Use hashtags – this is probably Instagram’s key feature that allows users to search for new material by clicking on hashtags that are relevant to them. Conversely do not overuse hashtags as this will attract spammy comments from robots. Take a look at this Sprout Social article on using hashtags on Instagram for some recent insight and advice.
Do use social sharing – the Instagram application allows you to share across Facebook, Twitter (see note below), and Tumblr, as well as email the link to others.
Be consistent – it is good to experiment with subject matter, filters and editing, however once you have ‘found your visual voice’ i.e. a visual formula that works for you and your potential customers, then be consistent and generally stick with that formula.
Do Follow others – as this can be a useful tool in understanding the marketplace and your customers. What do they like posting? How does your product fit into that context?
Like and Comment what other people are posting – (obviously) moderation and relevance are key, but interaction with other people is key to building a strong, loyal following. It is also a good way of engaging with what we call “influencers”, Instagram accounts with large followings.
If you are building up a steady stream of photos and followers make sure you advertise your Instagram account on your website and email footers. If you are a really avid fan of Instagram and strong visual presence is good for business, maybe consider having your Instagram stream feature in part of your website…
Make the most of your profile – complete your profile as detailed above and make sure interested followers know who you are, what your business is about and can click on a link to get to your website!
Notes on Social Sharing
The Instagram application allows you to share your Instagram postings on other social networks, which is great however on Twitter the image is posted as a link rather than the image appearing in the stream – which is kind of useless! Instead create a tweet through a mobile Twitter app with the photo embedded in the tweet – the edited/filtered photo will be in your photo stream on your mobile device.
Monitor your effectiveness
As with all of your social media activity you should monitor the effectiveness of your efforts by analysing your Google Analytics for the level of referrals from Instagram, the bounce rates and ultimately the number of conversions/goal achievements from this channel. This gives you the actual data on whether the hours you spend on this particular social media platform is worth doing.
- If you are not already on this social platform, register an account.
- Get your profile fully up-to-date and seeded with 5 – 10 updates or postings.
- Make a genuine commitment to posting good content on a regular basis. Start with weekly and then more than once a week.
- Prepare some good quality photographs and images to use on postings – make it a part of your marketing activity.
- After a few weeks start looking for this social channel in Google Analytics referrals. What are the trends?
- Interact with others – make friends on this channel and expand your existing network.
- Check out your competitors and learn from them. Who do they follow? What sort of content are they posting? Are there any gaps in what they are doing?
- Have some fun with it, this is a great visual platform and a good source of ideas.
As ever, get in touch if you have any questions…