In October 2010, Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger opened their online mobile photo-sharing app to the world. Within hours, it crossed 10,000 users, Systrom said in this Inc. article. This was the start of something big in the social media world.
As a search engine optimization and social media marketer, I’ve seen Instagram transform into the ‘it’ social media channel. Due to its popularity, more and more brands are considering adding the channel to their social media marketing mix.
By 2017, eMarketer predicts that companies with 100 or more employees will use Instagram for marketing activities, surpassing Twitter. Last year, Simply Measured noted that Instagram adoption is at 85% among top brands.If you’ve been considering using Instagram for your business, there are a few key areas I urge you pay attention to prior to getting started. Click To Tweet
These tips are part of a larger Instagram marketing strategy but provide a solid foundation to help you maximize your time and money.
- Learn who uses Instagram and if the demographics include enough of your target audience.
While Instagram is trendy, it might not be right for your business. The first step toward figuring out if it is (assuming you have a good grasp of your target audience) is to understand Instagram’s audience.
The following data from Pew Research Center is based on adult Internet users who are 24% of the entire adult population and the percent who use Instagram:
- Men: 24%
- Women: 31%
- White, Non-Hispanic: 21%
- Black, Non-Hispanic: 47%
- Hispanic: 38%
- 18-29: 55%
- 30-49: 28%
- 50-64: 11%
- 65+: 4%
- High School Grad or Less: 25%
- Some College: 32%
- College+: 26%
- Less Than $30,000/yr: 26%
- $30,000-$49,999: 27%
- $50,000-$74,999: 30%
- $75,000+: 26%
- Urban: 32%
- Surbuarban: 28%
- Rural: 18%
It’s likely your target audience falls someplace within those demographics, but you have to consider if the size (or lack thereof) is worthy of investment.
- Understand how people are using Instagram.
Everyone seems to be a photographer these days – all you need is a smartphone. People love sharing ‘artsy photos’ and viewing them. Instagram makes doing so on the go easy.
But Instagram users are not online to just post cat photos or check out their ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend – they want to shop and are looking at the latest product releases from their favorite brands, commenting when it resonates with them.
According to Social Media Examiner:
- 70% of Instagram users have already looked for a brand on Instagram.
- 62% follow a brand simply because they love it.
- 41% follow or would follow a brand to take advantage of perks or giveaways.
As far as engagement goes, HootSuite noted:
- Photos and stills generate 36% more likes than videos.
- Instagram photos with faces get 38 percent more likes.
- On average, posts that include another user handle in the caption get 56% more engagement.
- Create a page that captures visitors’ attention instantly.
There are three main parts of every Instagram profile:
You get a few minutes to grab and hold a visitor’s attention. Make each part of your profile count.
- Name: Use your company’s full name whenever possible.
- Bio: You only get 150 characters. Get to the point and let your brand voice shine through. Be engaging.
- Feed: Every post is a new opportunity for brand awareness, lead generation, and sales generation. If you don’t have the time or experience to consistently create engaging content, hire someone who does.
- Integrate search engine optimization (SEO) into your Instagram strategy.
If you already have an SEO strategy, then you have a list of keywords. If you’re new to digital marketing, learn how to choose keywords to reach your target audience. When it makes sense (feels natural) integrate your keywords into your bio and captions. A common approach to using keywords on Instagram is to use keywords as hashtags.
When you’re writing your captions, I also urge you to look at Instagram as a search engine. In a Quick Sprout article, Neil Patel said, “Social is the new SEO … change your idea of SEO to include search engines.”
- Make ‘social’ media social.
Social media is meant to be SOCIAL. But all too often brands forget it, never or not nearly enough, creating content that shows the people behind their products.
Posting product based photos are okay to an extent but on a platform like Instagram, unless you are an already establish brand with a football stadium of loyal followers, posting product photos is not enough.
On an app where photos come before text, visual storytelling has become an art and it’s imperative to:Make social media social. Feature the people behind your products in your posts. ~ James Owen, Click Intelligence ~Click To Tweet
This does not mean you always need to feature internal staff, but you could include models or even better – your customers.
Brands that get ‘social’:
Ready to get started using Instagram for your business? Before creating an account, look at your overall business strategy and develop an in-depth Instagram strategy that includes short and long term goals. If you end up finding that it’s not something you can tackle on your own, contact me for assistance.
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