Instagram is a popular channel for social media marketing. Done well, it can foster engagement, visibility, and score major points for your brand reputation. In order to make all of that come to life, however, you need to approach your company Instagram page with the right tools and strategy.
Social Media Manager is a favored title among ambitious new grads at big companies. In the mid-2000's, it was also a synonym in middle management for “young person who does something I don’t understand.”
And that works—as long as your social media manager is good at what s/he does.
With that in mind, here are some indispensable tips to launch a winning Instagram page or determine whether or not yours lands the mark.
Instagram was one of the first social media platforms that was founded on user-generated content, front and center. MySpace, Facebook, and countless other offshoots always placed user profiles and various features alongside the opportunity to share pics, videos, and music, but Instagram started first and foremost for pictures.
The platform has evolved, as has its user base, but media is still the main focus on Instagram. Random stock photos and walls of text are not going to make an impact here. You have to focus on imagery that stands out.
But before you send your intern to hit the town with her smart phone ready to snap, take some time to plan out your approach. Narrative themes, color palettes, visual consistency, and the layout of your content all matter. You can look at this as an occasional one-shot in part of your social media arsenal, or you can take advantage of the medium and use it to its fullest capacity.
Draft up a content calendar and move forward with a deliberate and consistent strategy. If you have designers on staff, this is not an area where they should be overlooked, and if you’re looking to make real waves on Instagram, you might consider bringing in the help of photographers, influencers, or outsourcers.
Instagram Stories is a popular feature among users because of the sense of freedom it affords. Whereas other forms of content and feedback present a sense of permanence, stories pop up and then vanish into the interwebs. This gives users the chance to take risks, and it affords you that same opportunity.
That isn’t to say that you should go so outrageous as to risk blowback from the internet, but you can get more creative, try new things, and employ the “limited time only” feel that Instagram Stories present.
Moreover, Instagram stories gives you the opportunity to track views and include links, both of which are powerful and indispensable tools to use in your social media marketing efforts.
#Hash it Out
The use of hashtags actually started with IRC in the late 80's to denote available channels and topics across the network. However, most people associate it with the popularization of Twitter, which may present a pitfall for an inexperienced social media marketer.
Instagram is big on hashtags. Don’t overlook them.
One recent update to the platform allows users to follow specific hashtags, and their profiles display which hashtags they’re following. Unfortunately, Instagram does not yet offer statistics for hashtag following, but a determined social media manager can easily do some footwork to get a sense for popular hashtags in your industry.
Bottom line: use hashtags often and use them well.
Engagement is the magic word in every corner of digital marketing. From interactive design to video, to social media marketing, everyone with a stake in the game is striving for engagement. Content dictates whether or not people will bother to recognize your brand on the internet, but engagement doesn’t come simply from making great content.
It comes from reciprocating engagement.
Ask questions, find new ways to invite participation, and most of all, always respond to feedback from your market segment. A lot of successful social media campaigns employ user-generated content to score brand loyalty and garner higher visibility from other members of their target market. The reason why this strategy works so well is because it gives your audience a voice.
In order for that to work, you have to focus on hearing the people you’re marketing to and giving them a chance to take the stage beside your promotions and marketing materials. Doing so can do wonders for brand recognition and reputation, and a failure to do so clumps you in with another ad channel that people are looking for ways to block out.
With an understanding of the platform and the right strategy, Instagram is a go-to channel to score points with your market segment. Set out with a style guide, a content calendar, and an understanding of the features and community, and you’ll be ready to start making some waves.