In 2019, Instagram is set to become an even bigger focus for social media marketers, with an increasing number of brands and businesses looking to tap into the rapid growth of the image-focused social platform.
And that is an important note - visual data is processed up to 60k times faster by the brain than text, and with more than a billion people now active on Instagram every month, that's a lot of visual communication being conducted within the app.
But in the same vein, there are many different ways to approach Instagram as a business, personal brand or organization. To help you get started on the right foot, here are five Instagram experiments you should consider trying to help boost your Insta performance in 2019.
Hopefully these tips will help you start thinking about the various ways in which you can make the most of the platform.
1. Repurposing UGC found on Instagram
User-generated content (UGC) is all the rage, and has become a bonafide way to connect with audiences on a more meaningful level. In fact, UGC-based ads see up to 4x higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in CPC.
Audiences feel more represented when they see UGC, as it creates a greater feeling of involvement. Brands are moving away from a faceless business persona, and the lines between B2C and B2B are blurring, which is largely thanks to companies embracing UGC and making their audience part of the brand.
Instagram is one of the easiest platforms to utilize UGC to strike a chord with your followers. Take Airbnb for example; they successfully repurpose UGC by reaching out to existing customers and reposting their content (as above). The accommodation marketplace reaches out to users who've tagged them directly, or used the hashtag #airbnb, and requests permission to use the content in their owned feed.
And that is an important note - before you can repurpose UGC on Instagram (or any social media platform), you need to make sure that you have permission from the content owner. There are certain legalities that you need to pay attention to in regards to utilizing other people’s content, which is why it’s always important to get permission.
2. Making "old-school" techniques fresh with Instagram Nametags
As we head into 2019, more and more "old school" business tactics are becoming things of the past, relics cast to a bygone era. Sending faxes, using landline numbers - they’re all heading into the museum of how business used to be conducted.
Business cards, however, still hold plenty of weight, even in this new digital world - and last year, Instagram gave them a new layer of credibility. How do you get people to click that all-important “follow” button? Use Instagram Nametags, that’s how.
Instagram Nametags can be particularly beneficial if you meet the majority of your client base at business and networking events. The feature enables you to create a scannable name tag code, which new acquaintances can connect with via their own in-app camera, taking them directly to your Instagram account.
Instagram Nametags are also customizable, meaning that you can spruce them up and get people raving about your zany designs. You can even print them out onto a regular a business card and hand them over when you’re networking.
3. Live-stream with influencers
There's nothing quite like a popular influencer to give your brand some credibility, and 2019 looks to be just as crucial in the social media influencer world as the years that have preceded. Live video is very much in the mainstream now, and everyone loves the opportunity to watch and connect in real time.
Combine those live streams with a “personality” in your field of expertise, and you’re onto a winner. Research suggests that businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 spent on an influencer, on average, underlining the power of teaming up with a social media celebrity.
The key here is to give the influencer a free license to do what they do best - influence people. It’s not like traditional marketing, and there are no tight boundaries for which it is confined. Consumers are more clued in and like UGC, they want to see organic interactions, which is why it’s best to give the influencer free rein.
4. Boost engagement with stop-motion video
Stop-motion video can be a great, simple way to create engaging, interesting content with the Instagram camera.
Also known as stop frame animation, stop-motion captures one frame at a time, moving physical objects between frames. When played back, it creates the illusion of movement.
It takes time to create, but using stop-motion gives brands an opportunity to be playful and create short, eye-catching videos that can add an element of fun to the proceedings. With 85% of people watching videos on social media without sound, stop-motion videos become even more important for getting a message across.
Take Spanx, for example. The underwear maker utilizes stop-motion content regularly, adding simple movement to graphics and images. The end result, as you can see below, is simple, yet effective, and can help to stand out in feeds.
5. Get Visual With Your Podcasts
Podcasts are all the rage - everyone seems to have one these days, including your cat. Seriously, it feels like the entire world has jumped on the podcast format at some stage, and with good reason: 64% of Americans are familiar with the term “podcasting”, and there are now 630,000 different podcasts available.
But how do you make a podcast while bringing something different to the table? The answer is visual podcasts on, you guessed it, Instagram.
IGTV, Instagram's longer-form video element, provides people with vertical videos to promote their content, and visual podcasting is now high up on the list.
The way in which IGTV is set-up facilitates the needs of a mobile audience through streaming. Brands can use IGTV to their advantage by either giving people a snippet of the podcast or doing the entire thing live on IGTV. Either way, it helps to mix things up and provide your audience with different options for how they consume your content.
Jeff Staple, the founder of visual communications agency Staple Design, uses IGTV for his visual podcasts. In the broadcast he gives his audience a small sample of a recent interview, sprucing up the promotion with some neat animations. The viewer gets a snippet, which encourages them to watch the entire video.
Getting Ready for the New Year
As technology becomes more accessible, how people promote their content will expand, and provide plenty of new options. Brands that can stay on top of such trends, and those who are willing to experiment with new outreach methods, will jump to the front of the queue.
As noted, Instagram is now used by over a billion people. That number in itself is staggering, and the opportunities the app provides as a result are too much to ignore in your social media marketing considerations.
The five options highlighted in this post act as a good starting point for offering fresh, dynamic layers to your brand. From short, digestible videos, to UGC that comes direct from your audience, make 2019 the year where your brand advances to another level, and becomes an Instagram content king.