It’s late at night. I’m already in bed, doing a last-minute scroll down my Instagram feed. I’m always amazed at how easy it is for us to believe people care about our pictures and lives, but here I am—liking a tender, cheese topped burger a friend from high school posted. If you can’t beat them, join them, right?
In 2014, Forrester analyzed and found that Instagram posts had the highest per-follower engagement rate, surging way past Facebook and Twitter. Much of this has to do with the way marketing has evolved. It’s not enough anymore to simply copy and paste text onto your business’s Facebook account. Marketing is changing, so should you. And with numbers like these, it’d be silly for businesses to skip this much loved social media channel.
So, What’s the Deal with Instagram Marketing?
Visual marketing isn’t just a buzzword. Well, it is—but it’s an extremely important one. Incorporating images and visuals into your campaigns will make your marketing strategies more compelling and sticky with your audiences. And that’s where Instagram comes in.
There are an estimated 300 million users on Instagram a month. 300 million users. That is an incredibly huge number, no matter who your target audience is. As a social media platform concentrating solely on publishing visual materials, Instagram offers businesses and organizations a pretty straightforward channel of reaching their audiences. Granted, it does take a lot of legwork.
(Of course, I should add an addendum: it’s not like print marketing is going anywhere. Creating engaging content is still crucial for successful campaigns. Just think of Instagram as a new branch of your content strategy!)
Creating visual materials that inspire and engage will be crucial to your strategy of targeting different audiences and gaining their support. Fortunately, being a photographer is not required. I’ve put together a handy list of tips and tricks you and your brand can incorporate today to boost your Instagram marketing campaign and build your audiences.
5 Tips for Successful Instagram Campaigns
Share Quality Images
It’s no brainer that quality images will generate quality engagement. But you don’t need to be a genius at photography to capture winning moments. There are just a few things you should keep in mind. First off—I know it sounds like a drain—but really take your time. Instagram users won’t respond well to images that are out-of-focus, blurry, have less than ideal lighting, or are just generally uninteresting. Taking multiple shots will ensure you have a good batch to choose from.
If you ever need some creative assistance, there are hundreds of third party editing apps that can elevate your images. Personally, my favorites are Snapseed for general correcting and VSCO Cam for more stylistic editing. A word to the wise: always err on the side of less dramatic editing; your pictures should look natural and clean. Think of editing apps as the cherry on top that will take your picture to the next level.
Tell Your Brand’s Story
The pictures you share should tell a compelling story about your brand’s identity. Because I work for a creative web agency that prides itself on work culture, and pictures I decide to post strategically reflect that story—whether I’m posting shots of team collaboration or summer grilling days. Don’t sweat, though. Highlighting your story isn’t just about sharing photos of the people you work with. If you are a product-based company, for example, Instagram is the perfect channel to showcase your products in a creative way.
Take GoPro: I love how they incorporate their products into, frankly, awesome photographs. You can really get a sense of who they are as a company and what their products represent. The things they post make me want to buy a GoPro—the ultimate consumer reaction.
No, hashtags aren’t just little phrases teenagers use. They actually serve an extremely important function of getting your pictures seen. There are two kinds of hashtags you should utilize: popular hashtags and industry-related hashtags.
Popular hashtags are “trending,” or topics that are most shared in the social world. Hashtags like #tbt (Throwback Thursday) or #photooftheday are excellent beginning points to get your posts seen. A quick search of popular hashtags will give you ample results, just make sure the hashtags you use are relevant.
Industry-related require more research, but will give you access to a more niched audience of people and businesses like you. On Instagram I like using the hashtag #agencylife to connect to other agencies and give them an inside look to what we are doing.
Aim for 2 to 3 Photos a Week to Start
When you are starting out, focus on quality over quantity. Although one study estimated you should post 1 photo a day, it’s better to concentrate your efforts to crafting great images and building your strategy, rather than rushing in. Once you find what works for you, then you can start increasing the frequency of your posts.
Like and Comment on Photos
So, the key to engagement is not just fantastic images alone. I know it’s a little strange, but think of your social channels as living beings. The things needed for strong friendships—communication, openness—are also needed for strong business-consumer relationships. Make some time during your day to like and comment on other people’s photos and reply when people drop comments on your own photos. Just be sure to explain to your boss you’re doing this for work!
Phew—a lot of stuff to digest, right? It may seem like a lot, but connecting a strong marketing campaign with your even stronger website is a crucial step to take for online success. Interested in getting a website redesign started?