Part 1 of our blog series “Effective Social Media Marketing”
400 million daily users and 100 million daily photo uploads - anyone who has not yet been convinced that Instagram is a relevant platform for companies can perhaps be convinced by the clear figures. As more and more people turn their backs on Facebook or scale down their social engagement, the number of interactions on Instagram has skyrocketed in recent years. And even though themes such as fashion and beauty are still dominating the audiovisual network, more and more companies, brands and personalities are discovering Instagram as their “network to be”. As in all social media, there are unwritten and fixed rules for Instagram. Especially as a company, one should deal with the medium carefully in order not to scare off the (potential) followers by unauthentic posts. Here are seven tips on how to use Instagram as a successful marketing tool:
1. Establish a clear corporate identity
Instagram is a primarily visual and ‘intimate’ medium. Therefore, it is particularly important to develop your own picture and word language that matches your company’s needs and convinces the potential followers. If you want to sell beauty products for young girls, you should choose bright colours and a casual language with many smileys. If you advertise a fragrance for men, darker colours and a certain coolness are preferable. It is up to you to decide which colours, motifs and words are appropriate for the respective company. However, you should pay attention to high quality photos and videos and a consistent language among the posts.
2. Post regularly & correctly
Those who want to stay interesting to their followers should draw attention to themselves regularly - ideally by posting at least three times a week. As with Facebook, there are ideal times on Instagram, where you can reach most followers, or cause most interactions. In addition, a meaningful description of the image or video is the key to a successful post: the caption should always tell a story to what is seen and include relevant hashtags. On the one hand, an individual hashtag should be developed that fits the company. On the other hand, you should create a catalogue of hashtags to use with your posts in order to raise awareness. If you have trouble finding relevant hashtags, you can use apps like Tag O Matic to get inspiration and help.
3. Encourage interaction
Active interaction among posts not only leads to a better ranking in the feed of the followers but also has a more authentic effect. Therefore, it is important to address your own followers directly by e.g. asking questions, organizing competitions or promoting certain followers through user-generated content on your own Instagram page. As the name suggests, one should always respond to the comments and contributions of the fans and not only hope for one-sided interaction - otherwise one will soon appear inauthentic and disagreeable.
4. Use the stories feature
Since the end of 2016, Instagram has been offering the stories feature, which allows private individuals and companies to post photos and short videos separately from the normal contributions. The special thing about it is that they disappear after 24 hours, which makes them ideal for uploading entertaining or current photos and videos. As the name already says, you the feature is ideal to tell little stories. For example, you can accompany concerts and other events, or you can show the daily routine of an employee. Stories always offer a certain look behind the scenes and give the followers even more the feeling of being very close to the brand or person. With stories, it’s not a big deal if the quality of the material is less high - on the contrary: professional, reworked photos and videos look out of place and quickly have a promotional touch.
5. Integrate Influencer
One word that should actually be chosen as the Word of the Year is: Influencer. Everyone knows them, everyone loves or hates them and every brand wants to win them over. Influencer are people who have a very large reach in their target group through Instagram. While companies with 300.000 followers are already playing in the upper league, some Influencers with a reach of millions quickly make them look old. So it’s no wonder that companies are hiring more and more Influencers to carry their product directly to the relevant target group. However, be careful: if you decide to cooperate with an Influencer, you should be well informed and have money in your pocket. On the one hand, you should always choose a suitable Influencer and on the other hand, they often demand between 500 and tens of thousands of euros for a cooperation. Furthermore, you should be careful not only to choose an Influencer who would promote everything for money, but someone who is really convinced of the product. Because nothing is worse than an unauthentic Influencer, who is noticed to have been paid to advertise a product. The appropriate Influencer can be found on influencerdb.
6. Be on the legally secured side
Another important aspect to consider when working with Influencers, but also when advertising your own products, is to always make advertising recognizable. Only this year it was decided in a groundbreaking ruling that advertising on any social platform must always be directly perceived as such - regardless of whether one is paid for it or not. Until May 2017 it was still a gait and give simply to use the hashtag #ad as a mark of advertising content. However, as this can be easily overlooked by the normal user, it was decided that the advertisement must be more explicit and immediately visible. You are on the safe side if you insert an advertisement directly at the beginning of the caption. To make it easier for Instagramers, the app has recently added a feature that allows you to show a paid partnership prominently placed above the image. So if you advertise yourself or work with Influencers, you should always pay attention to the adequate labelling of advertising! Otherwise, one has to reckon with legal consequences.
7. Use Instagram Ads
Anyone for whom it is too complicated or expensive to work with Influencers and prefers to generate attention through advertisements can do so with a wide range of possible Instagram Ads. First of all, a distinction is made between Photo and Video Ads, which are inserted into the feed of a potential follower and only draw attention to advertising content by means of a ‘sponsored’ among the picture. Carousel Ads are similar to Photo and Video Ads, but here you can view several photos in a row, like in a photo album. Finally, as a company, you can also place advertisements in Stories format. In order to advertise on Instagram, you need to have a company profile on Facebook because Instagram belongs to it. The Advertising Manager can then also be used to define the budget, time period, appearance and target group of an advertising campaign. If you also have a company page on Instagram, you can easily and quickly advertise existing posts directly via the Instagram app.
If you follow all of these tips, or at least a large part of them, you should be able to establish Instagram as a successful and important marketing tool for yourself. Let’s go and get into the Instagram world!
Part 2 of the blog series “5 tips for successful Facebook marketing”
Part 3 of the blog series “Take the Cake with 7 Twitter Tips”
Part 4 of our blog series “Making your own YouTube channel successful”
Part 5 of our blog series “Converting YouTube Videos into Cash”
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