The following is a guest post by Lucas Miller. Lucas is a young, up-and-coming Wizard of Public Relations. When not writing, running or studying, he’s working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the “World’s Greatest Pompadour.”
As far as social media is concerned, few are the channels which can compete with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In recent years, with the advent of Pinterest and the growing popularity of visual consumption, Instagram has successfully managed to solidify itself as a social force to be reckoned with. No longer is Instagram only for the young and self-absorbed, but for businesses of all sizes and success levels.
Statistically speaking, it seems that social fanatics from all the world’s corners can’t get enough of the network. Within a month of the app’s initial launch in October of 2010, the platform exploded with over 1 million user downloads. Five years later, the groundbreaking app currently lays claim to over 300 million active users, 70 percent of whom aren’t even from the United States.
Still not impressed? According to IconoSquare, 61 percent of users like at least one photo or video each and every day, with 30 percent of users liking upwards of 10 of them. The most important part of it all, however, is found in the fact that 32 percent of all Instagram users follow at least five brand accounts. Due to such stunning success, America’s leading brands have taken notice and are tapping into the smartphone app for marketing success.
Same Old Strategies, Same Old Results
It seems that most marketing agencies have the same set of rudimentary strategies for pushing their products or services through Instagram. Truthfully, there’s nothing wrong with what’s being done and, overall, when implemented on a regular basis, the results are nothing but positive.
Images and videos featuring product demonstrations, behind the scenes footage, employee hijinks and company culture are smart, yet commonplace methods for amassing followers and building a reputation on Instagram. Taking things a step further is the stuff of advertorial genius.
Says Kevin Johnson, a Social Media Strategist at Fusion 360, “For social media to really work for both advertising agencies and clients alike, social scheduling can’t become the be-all and end-all of a marketing plan. Everyone’s doing just that. To break away from the proverbial pack, something new has got to surface.” In order to more fully separate yourself from other industry-specific accounts, a series of lesser known tactics can make all the difference.
1) Debut Teaser Videos Through Instagram
Though Vine has successfully managed to corner the social video-sharing market, Instagram has made a dent in the powerhouse’s audience devotion. As opposed to Vine’s 6.5-second video platform, amateur video production specialists on Instagram are allotted 15 seconds worth of air time to spread their respective messages—small and large businesses included.
Seeing as corporate and Internet videos are a key component of any digital advertising blueprint, marketing agencies produce them in droves for their clients. Instead of debuting a new product or service video on YouTube or Vimeo, release a teaser clip of sorts on Instagram to help build intrigue with the public.
According to SimplyMeasured, 73 percent of brands post at least one video per week. With multiple teaser videos being published each week, by the time a video is properly debuted in its entirety, a sizable audience will be both present and willing to share on their own individual social outlets.
2) Promote Your Brand Through Booming Social Trends
Believe it or not, there once was a time when Twitter’s #FollowFriday seemed innovative. In today’s day and age, there’s a hashtag for each day of the week. Observe:
• Monday - #ManCrushMonday
• Tuesday - #TransformationTuesday
• Wednesday - #WomanCrushWednesday
• Thursday - #ThrowbackThursday
• Friday - #FlashbackFriday
• Saturday - #Caturday
• Sunday - #SelfieSunday
On Instagram, the aforementioned hashtags garner quite a bit of public sway and allow for brands like yours to become an integral part of meaningful conversations.
Once again, through social research conducted by SimplyMeasured, it’s been reported that 91 percent of posts by Instagram’s top business accounts have between one and seven hashtags. Oddly enough, though most people are completely unaware as to the literal function of hashtags, for brands that use at least one of them wisely, posts receive an average of 12.6 percent more user engagement than those which don’t. Case in point: using hashtags to promote your company through social trends is well worth your time and effort.
3) Use Image Analytics to Better Understand Your Audience
Even though there’s usually a price tag associated with image analytics tools, the payment pales in comparison to knowing which image and video types resonate most with your fans and followers. Curalate and BlitzMetics, for example, are industry leaders in the ways of social listening on Instagram and Pinterest.
Speaking of Curalate, Tim Peterson—a staff writer for AdWeek—says, “Curalate is able to track an Instagram post’s likes and comments so that a brand can see how that popularity translates into added followers, but also capitalize on the popularity. Denim brand 7 For All Mankind used the platform to identify that an image was resonating on Instagram. It then pushed that out as a Facebook ad, resulting in the brand’s most engaged ad on that platform to date….”
Needless to say, if your business has yet to have experimented with social media, your missing out on all that the digital age of communication has to offer. Instagram, more than most social sites and apps, is excellent for increasing market reach. When applied, the aforementioned suggestions not only help businesses build a larger social following, but promise to provide for improvements in the ways of customer loyalty, brand identity and industry influence.