In December of 2014, Instagram announced it's user base had exceeded 300 million users. A feat that is even more impressive considering it had only recently weeded out millions of fake and spammy accounts. While many criticized the motion because of tremendous losses in followers, the action stood for one thing, and that is how Instagram will not stand for black hat marketing tactics.
At its roots, Instagram was built to be another way to connect socially, but that hasn't stopped the world's top 100 brands from using the applications power to increase their marketability.
Case and point: Instagram is exploding. It is now the fastest growing social network in the world. You might be asking yourself right now, "Why on earth don't I have one?"
Well, like everything in the mobile realm, the trend is somewhat new. But since mobile internet usage has officially surpassed that of desktop usage, the wisest direction you can take with your social marketing strategy is to the small screens.
People Love Instagram
Our current generation has become obsessed with instant gratification. We rely so much on the stimuli from our phones, that one study has found we check our mobile devices 150+ times a day. The same cannot be said for how often we pull open the browsers on our desktop.
So among this mobile trend, why do people love Instagram?
Many believe it's because the application is very simple and organized. Ultimately you have five options while using the application:
- Browse your subscriber feed
- Explore trending photos, accounts & hashtags
- Check your notifications for likes/comments/followers
- View and update your personal gallery
- Upload new imagery/videos
It's in this simplicity, people also claim to receive a lot more "love" on the posts they make. Unlike Facebook, Instagram doesn't use an algorithm to control what appears on your news feed. Whoever is one of your followers is guaranteed to see your posts as they appear chronologically.
Enter The Business Side Of Things
With 300 million users giddily gliding their news feeds, you can bet a strong percentage represents businesses who are keen to engage with their followers with no pressure to "boost" their posts. IG is essentially free advertising, but only if you do it correctly.
As a business you need to be honest with the fact you are a company who may be perceived as advertising in a social environment. Not many people want to follow an account that is constantly telling them to buy things, or has nothing interesting to offer.
That's why your IG account needs to be more than advertisements. It needs to be a personality. Focus on providing content that meets the following criteria:
- Visually Stimulating- IG is only pictures and videos so quality imagery is important
- Company Insights- Show people what you do behind the scenes, not just what you're selling
- Get Creative- Show people what your product or service can be used towards
Once you get the hang of posting, and develop a strategy for content, that's when analytics come into play.
Think of Instagram as a platform for your audience to continually see your name, while simultaneously showing them your a brand that can connect on a human level. The end goal is of course make tangible impressions, so here are some tips to make more impressions.
Tip #1: Pick a time to post and stick with it
Not only do IG users get accustomed to seeing posts from accounts they like at a specific time of day, users are actually on their phones more frequently at certain hours. According to a National Study, the best time of day to post is between 5:00-6:00pm weekdays. When you think about it, that's usually right when people get home from work and are relaxing browsing their phones.
Tip #2: Master The Hashtags
For those of you unfamiliar, hashtags are essentially keywords used to put your posts into categories where anyone can see them. This tactic is known to increase likes, and you can use up to 30 per post.
Pro Tip: Hashtags have a reputation for appearing cluttered, and at times spammy. If you choose to use all 30, put them as the 1st comment on your post and as soon as your post hits 4 comments they will be out of sight.
Tip #3: Like Others Posts, but only when appropriate
If you really think about it, having a business like your post might seem a bit weird depending on the content of the image. However, it may also feel cool to think someone in your community, or a big enough account chose to reach out to you.
Use your intuition, but be selective.
David Shiffman is Co-Founder and Brand Elevater at Brandamos, a Fort Lauderdale internet marketing company. A creative strategist with over 10 years of experience developing marketing strategies and guiding business development. An expert at translating brand objectives into creative strategies. Shiffman has worked with companies such as Polaroid Fotobar, Universal Pictures and Absolut Vodka. His internet marketing strategies and execution have resulted in millions of dollars in revenue for clients and his personal experience gives an advantage in elevating brands both offline and online.