Well it’s definitely safe to say that if Instagram was a show on Netflix it would be ‘colourful is the new black’, and become the most popular show on the network. Starring over 400m users, it is a social frontier that is dividing alliances between the biggest social networks dominating our visual attention.
So if it really is the new black, then the question has to be asked, ‘is Instagram a marketing channel worthy of our attention or simply a platform for teenagers and socially savvy trigger happy photographers across the globe?
Of course the answer is YES…
With over 80 million posts a day it is fast becoming an essential customer touch point for businesses cashing in on the critical mass of users all wanting to get a piece of this visually attractive pie!
So how do we harness the power of Instagram exactly… think traditional visual merchandising that stops you in your tracks when high street shopping, but on a smart phone, albeit the ten metres of space designed to draw you while strolling has been reduced to a simple thumb swipe.
So let’s get downtown to the nitty gritty…
What are you goals?
The first step with any social media channel is to determine your goals. Most businesses have similar goals, and here are just a few examples of what goals we would suggest to begin with to get started:
- Increasing your ‘Brand Awareness’
- A place to showcase your products and services
- Gaining more followers
Use visually appealing images
Now that you have some clearly defined goals, you need to look at how you can achieve these visually through Instagram. First things first, it’s a no brainer Instagram is a visually appealing forum for people to share great images. So start by doing exactly that!
Wait… now I know what you’re thinking here, where do you find great images? Apart from igniting the inner photographer within you, we would recommend bookmarking the below sites to get your image on:
Ignite the inner photographer inside you!
Let’s face it, whether we like to admit it or not we all think we’re great photographers. Whether it is taking the ultimate selfie or scenery shot, I can safely say I definitely fall into this category, and find myself zooming in and out, and dropping to one knee more than once in my life to snap that great pic. It doesn’t matter whether you hail from a family of photographers or not, nowadays with the introduction of smart phones the way in which we amateurs can take a great photo has been completely redefined. If you’re an avid iPhone user here’s a handy guide from Hubspot on taking the ultimate picture: http://eaz.ee/PCNT0.
Use smart typography to capture the message
We would generally apply no more than a 20-30% rule with your text on an image. The idea of Instagram is to create a visually attractive image to share with your followers. Going overboard with too much copy can dilute the effect it will have on your followers. and subsequently lower the engagement with your brand. There is no right or wrong ratio here, so play around with what you think works and track the level of engagement. We would recommend sticking to your brand guidelines here for font types, but if you have that flexibility then choose no more than three font types to create that typography message impact.
If you need some inspiration and guidance on the perfect typography style, then this is a great article worth reading: http://eaz.ee/tLfgZ.
Creating the perfect schedule
Now that you have the right image, created your key messages, you need to think about when to post it, and at what time. Optimum posting times can depend on where you are based in the world, the types of followers you have, and the type of content you’re posting. There are too many factors that come into play when deciding the best time to post something. We would suggest taking the ‘trial and error’ and ‘logical approach’ to posting times. Let’s look at this rationally. If your followers are like you, and work Monday to Friday in a 9-5pm job (pfft gone are those days!) ask yourself how often do you get to check your phone whilst carrying out your daily duties at work?
Well if you like me, I would generally check my phone prior to work 7-9am, lunchtime between 12-2pm, and more likely in the evening between 7-10pm. So if I am your target audience then you’ll need to post that ‘wow’ factor photo between those times,. otherwise I might miss it! If you take the ‘trial and error’ approach, post away intermittently throughout the week, and then analyse your efforts. You should be able to see what post yielded the greatest engagement, and at what time. We are in the process of establishing some key Instagram metrics that will be available to our loyal social eazie butterflies. In the interim of this going Live try out https://pro.iconosquare.com/ and start understanding what works and what doesn’t!
What you should try on Instagram…
Team fun shot…
How to use #Hashags and why…
Hashtags are a powerful way to be found on Instagram. It is important to be brand centric, topic and goal orientated. The more relevant your hashtag is to the type of post, the stronger the chance your post will be associated with topics ‘trending’.
So what am I saying here exactly? Well if you are a real estate business for example, and post an image of a property, you could write something like this – Description followed by #topic #topic #brandidentity
So it would look something like this:
We would recommend using your own brand name with all posts to help promote brand awareness within Instagram. You can also use your handle (your username) or hashtag your #brandname.
When you start using your brands hashtag, the best thing is you can actually start following it. In Social Eazie you can follow your own #hahstag in your followed newsfeed, and many others. Then track it’s usage on a daily basis. Things to look out for with your chosen hashtag are its popularity, the followers reusing it, and above all, is it gaining followers.
As mentioned earlier, iconosquare is a handy tool for seeing the number of times your hashtag has been used, giving you real time data on your brands popularity in the world of Instagrammers.
#hashtagaway #getsociallysavvy #socialbutterfly #socialeazie
Instagram isn’t going anywhere soon, so if it’s an important cog in the social wheel (there’s no denying that it is) then look to embrace the more visual aspect of your brand. It is a growing and evolving channel that will allow you to humanise your brand and give your brand a personality.
Remember to show variety in what you do and how you do it. All businesses have a uniqueness about their brand. What does your company culture look like? What does your latest product look like? What does your team look like? These are simple questions that can be answered with a photo or two.
Instagram is an opportunity to grow and humanize your brand, recruit future employees, showcase your product, company culture, delight customers, and generate new business. All with images you can create and share!
Join in on the conversation, and stay up-to-date with our latest news here and here http://news.socialeazie.com/.