10 top tips to improve your Instagram presence
Instagram’s popularity has risen in recent years thanks to new additional tools including Instagram Stories, view-to-buy adverts and the ability to take live video’s. To fully maximise the benefits of using Instagram, we’ve devised 10 tips to compliment any marketing strategy and reach your followers at the ideal time, in the ideal way.
Social media can be a powerful ally for small and large brands when trying to grow a presence online. In 2017, Instagram reported it had 800 million users, but here’s three more interesting facts:
· Organic marketing reach (non-paid posts) on Facebook is down 63% in the last 4 years, while Instagram’s has risen up to 115%.
· Instagram has 58% more engagement per follower than Facebook.
· 68% of Instagram users say they regularly engage with brands, while only 32% of Facebook users say they do the same.
1. It’s all about the visuals, period.
Using Instagram efficiently and effectively is not about just taking a photograph, adding a few hashtags and a comment and firing it up. Remember, you’re fighting against other users to grab someone’s attention, so be creative and be unique.
There are two basic rules here:
- Create visuals that are consistent in style and quality
- Don’t overcrowd your images and certainly do not use have chunks of endless text in the caption – Instagram is for imagery, not essay’s.
If you get this right, followers will soon immediately recognise your brand and are likely to pay closer attention to what you have to offer.
If you feel that your images are not capturing enough attention, take a look around to see what styles or content would work for you. If you’re really struggling, consider hiring the services of a social media marketing expert.
Psst – Have you ever had the headache of perfectly maximising your images on social media to perfectly fit each channel? This social media image size cheat sheet can help.
Hashtags are a really useful way of discovering posts and accounts on Instagram. Before you fire all-sorts of hashtags you think will bring you visitors and engagement to your posts, the maximum you can add per post is 30, but we recommend no more than seven.
You can utilise hashtags that you think reflect your products or services, popular hashtags that you think would be useful for you, or you can create your own. Hashtags don’t have to be clever or catchy, if your brand deals with hairdressing, #hairdressing is perfectly valuable. Creating your own hashtags can be useful when running competition as a way to track engagement – searching your brand name can be useful too, as users may be posting content about you.
3. Be Entertaining / Inspirational
As we’ve mentioned, you’re going to be competing against other content to catch a user’s eye as he/she scrolls through their feed. Your followers or potential followers need to enjoy your content without feeling a constant sales pitch. Be entertaining, inspirational, motivational and relatable.
It’s worth analysing how well your content is performing by using free tools such as Simply Measured. This will let you see the metrics of how well content is doing, how the hashtags you use are working, how effective posts are at certain times of the day and if you really want, benchmark them against your competitors.
Consumers love to share ideas and suggestions on social media about what they’d like to see from their favourite brands. Be the brand that listens!
You won’t be able to act on every suggestion, but you may discover a concept that you may be able to develop. Nothing shows how much you value your customers than listening to them and implementing them into new products. This is an excellent way to build engagement and have your fingers right on the pulse of the market.
Simply reposting something from a customer can go a long way too – this is also useful for those who are yet to purchase something from you, as it acts similarly to a review or testimonial.
This could be the most overlooked element of utilising Instagram, but think about it; If you’re only posting on your own channel to the individuals who follow you, how are you going to reach new followers and potential customers?
At the end of the day, you have to be social! Engage with the world, take the time to follow a few hashtags that are relevant and ‘like’ / comment, it will go a long way.
Engagement could also take the shape of networking with influencers, bloggers and brand partners – posts on other channels promoting your brand are a great way to reach new customers.
6. Biographies – make them punchy!
Remember that links on Instagram posts aren’t clickable, so don’t add them – nothing looks worse than a long, unclickable URL in the caption. There is one place however that you can use them, that’s the Bio section.
This 150 character space is the area under your name on your profile page. While you should use this area to say what your business does, it should definitely showcase what a great brand personality you have. There’s also one opportunity most brands really miss on using a link on their Bio – they just use a link to their website homepage. We recommend you change this frequently to your latest content, or during promotions.
7. Business profile
Instagram gives brands the option to switch to a business profile, now while Facebook’s algorithm seems to prioritise content from friends and family, there is not suggestion that Instagram is doing the same.
One of the main benefits is access to analytics and insights, which lets you see how your content is performing. A Instagram business profile also lets you create paid Ad’s and add contact buttons so people can get in touch with you without having to use a search engine or find your website.
8. Call to action
Whether your posting organically or paying for adverts, you should have a call to action to direct users to your products. Similarly to what we mentioned in point six, you should use shortened URL’s (Use tools like Google URL) because traditional ones can be lengthy. Call-to-action’s can be anything from instructions within images or directions in comments. Instagram’s Ad’s are also quite unique and are worth a look if you’re looking to pay to reach new customers, as it allows you to add clickable links in their carousel posts.
9. Instagram Stories
Instagram’s story feature can be used as an interactive extension of your feed. The beauty of this element of the channel is that your stories don’t have to be as ‘polished’ as the in-feed content. It allows you to post photo’s of video’s that are really ‘clean-cut’ and perhaps of a more real nature.
Instagram has reported that this feature has encouraged users to stay on the channel longer and visit more often. Instagram also says that users under 25 spend more than 32 minutes per day on the channel, while those of a slightly more mature age spend more than 24 minutes a day.
If you’ve not seen any Instagram Stories before, look out for the circles at the top of your feed. Tap one and you’ll see that user’s Instagram story for the day in 10 second increments of video of photo. To make one, you can either take a photo or record a video directly in the app, or chose one you’ve taken from your library. Posts last for 24 hours and will then disappear, while Instagram will tell you how many people viewed each segment of your story, as well as who those individuals or companies were.
10. Develop an Editorial Calendar
Our final tip may sound like a simple one, but it’s one that can make life so much easier. Simply existing on social media channels isn’t enough. It’s important you think about your strategy and who you want your target audience to be. By organising and planning your content, day by day, it allows you to have fresh imagery ready to be published.