Though just 9% of businesses market on the site, Instagram is moving to make serious inroads in business adoption, and bring in more ad revenue. They recently announced a new business-partnership program, and are trying to make running a campaign on the site as hassle-free as possible. However, there are two other updates that could change how businesses market on the site - a limit on caption display and the advent of multiple accounts. These two updates may seem piddling, but they both could drastically change how small businesses market on Instagram. Current and potential business users, then, need to understand how these changes affect social marketing on Instagram.
Stopping the Scroll
Marketing on Instagram means competing with a lot of good, engaging, visual content. And when you're in an industry that doesn't translate that well visually, it's hard to stop users from scrolling past your post. So, before this new caption limit, some marketers stuffed as much as they could into their caption, and hoped that block of text and hashtags caught the eyes of their followers. But Instagram is a visually-driven site, so too much text muddies the user experience. With this recent update, effective marketing means using better visuals. Customer-centric photos - basically pictures involving, or taken by, your customers - tend to do the best since people like to share their own work. Basing your visuals around a specific lifestyle, image, or aspect of your locality is a tried and true tactic as well. Just ask what makes your brand unique, and focus on that, instead of stuffing text below.
Crafting Your Copy
Losing long captions, however, does not mean you should neglect your copy. Text is still important; in fact, it may be even more important. You're given less space to make an initial impression, and that constraint requires careful and deliberate writing. Visuals always lead, so text must fall in line. Monitor trending hashtags both locally and within your target market and see what people are talking about. Then use the text to foster engagement by asking questions, fostering conversation, and creating calls to action. The idea is to get users to click 'more,' without relying on click-bait copy, and then hopefully getting them to engage with the post by liking, sharing, and tagging other users in the comments. Your initial copy defines the scope of any possible conversation, and questions or calls to action are easier for users to pick up.
Mining New Markets
Multiple accounts are currently a beta feature, but they'll be rolled out across the board soon enough and the usability of this feature by marketers is a hotly discussed topic. Honestly, at least for small business, creating another account just spreads your brand too thin. Businesses need a good reason for that secondary account, and the best reason is to mine a new market or offer a wholly new product - a tailor that decides to start making custom dresses, or a business-news site expanding to cover entertainment. Current followers may not respond to such a dramatic shift in posted content, so creating a secondary account, and building a new following behind it, makes a lot of sense. Otherwise, though, running multiple accounts is just a quicker way to burn through content.
Small businesses are not flocking to Instagram because they have to tailor content specifically for the site's user base. But there is a good reason why brands see engagement rates on Instagram that are fifty-eight times higher than Facebook's - people respond to custom content. Instagram is all about visual content, and their recent changes simply highlight that fact. Define your brand - are you known for customer service? High fashion? Informative content? A particular lifestyle? Use that to guide your content, and to seek out relevant, user-generated visuals. And, if you have more than one, coherent brand, consider spanning your presence over multiple accounts. Just remember that Instagram is all about engagement, and successful marketers build their presence, write their copy, and choose their visuals intending to engage their target market, rather than to make a sale.