The user base on Instagram shot up to 1-billion (yes, with a ‘b’) monthly active users as of June last year. Just a year earlier, the platform could only boast 750-million-ish per month (source).
This social media platform has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years, and it’s only going to get bigger, as social media users make the shift from listening to what soccer moms are making for supper on Facebook, to actually just cutting to the chase and looking at a picture of the darned thing on Instagram!
Instagram is the cool kid in town and she has lots of branding opportunities to those of you who choose to keep up and stay informed on all her best practices.
Here’s 3 stellar tips to kill it on Instagram like the pros do:
1. Up your posting frequency
A Quintly study published less than a year ago revealed that the average Instagram account posts once every day. This might seem reasonable to most of you out there, knowing full well that effective social marketing on other platforms like Facebook and Twitter can thrive on such a schedule. However, that same study found that Instagram accounts with the most followers were posting 3 or more images per day.
Keep in mind that bigger celebrity brands, like the third most followed user @arianagrande can get by posting much less frequently and still kill it as far as branding goes. However, before assuming you can get by on less too, ask yourself if you’re really in her league as far as star power goes.
Unlike other platforms where posting too often will most certainly annoy an “unfollow” out of your followers, Instagram users are hungry for photos and the more the merrier. More posts will certainly lead to more engagement and better branding for your company. It’s a lot easier to post lots of creative and engaging photos than it is to create high quality blog or vlog content multiple times throughout the week.
2. Use images that don’t require descriptions to convey your message.
This is going to be a tough tip for most marketers out there to swallow. However, you’re marketing on an image-based social media platform, not putting out a $10,000 full-page spot in a leading industry magazine. Prospects in the digital era are over reading ads written by the Gary Halberts and Bencivenga’s of the world.
Visitors will be turned off if they constantly have to expand every post description you put up, only to find that it’s nothing more than an over-aggrandized shameless promotion for your products and/or affiliate links to other people’s products. Take a look at Honest Company CEO and the world’s most beautiful actress @jessicaalba and how she lets her pictures do the talking for her products instead of making visitor’s read a novel in the description.
This one’s easy. Take pictures that convey meaning and show the user what they want, instead of trying to post a half-page “print” ad in the description. There’s nothing wrong with providing a product link though. Something like “If you like this/these you can buy it/them #(here).” Something simple like that. If your pictures aren’t telling a story and getting followers jazzed about your brand and products, you’re using the wrong images – period!
3. Use the most effective hashtags – Always!
Everything you link to needs to have a hashtag in the form of a link. Whether it’s a product, event, prestigious person, place of interest, etc. Without hashtags, your brand is quite literally dead in the water when it comes to attracting new followers and marketing new products, ideas, events and so forth.
Please be aware, though: You not only need to include hashtags for your business and products, but also include the most relevant popularly searched hashtags currently used on the platform, to attract people who aren’t currently following you that are searching for the them.
Some of those popular tags that can attract more followers include:
…and many others.
A lack of hashtags are like Instagram kryptonite. Look at any successful account on the platform and you’ll see several hashtags used for every post. With celebrities, those hashtags tend to be other celebrities – which makes for uber effective branding for all involved. When it comes to business, you have to leverage the most popular hashtags for both business marketing and attracting followers. Don’t, and you’ll get left in the dust by your competitors.
If you’re not seeing an ROI from your Instagram marketing efforts, it’s time to step into 2016 and start making changes. The platform is growing at an exponential rate. It’s taken over the second coveted spot on the social media engagement ratings that were held by Twitter for so long.
With user numbers predicted to double by as early as 2017, there’s no telling just how much money you’re leaving on the table if your Instagram game isn’t up to par with the competition.