- BY DHARA PANDYA
Instagram, the online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service, has become one of the world’s most popular social media networks within a very short time.
Every day millions of users take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them across other social media platforms. Interestingly enough, much of the shared content is associated with brands; and this presents a huge opportunity for companies to inspire and influence current and potential customers.
Here are five Instagram marketing tips to start using today:
Share content with accompanying hashtags.
Hashtags (#) are the best way to find other Instagram users who are talking about a specific topic, brand or startup. Follow the conversations and develop unique ways to engage. Also, don’t underestimate the power of creating your company’s own unique hashtags when you post images of your products and services.
Studies indicate, “Five hashtags seemed to be magic number for Fortune 500 brands. Posts with that many tags had the highest effectiveness (an average of 21.21 interactions per 1,000 followers).” Encourage customers to use the same hashtags when they share brand related images. Hashtags can help businesses by making it easy for people to find images related to the brand, improve content reach and engagement, and make Instagram content go viral.
Create a story through images.
The best way to get customers to remember your brand is to create a deep emotional connection. Businesses can post images of existing products and services, share event pictures, and take customers behind the scenes of product launches. Creating a compelling story gives customers a glimpse inside the world of your brand — creating higher intrigue and interest.
Involve the entire company.
Employees are an important asset for a business when it comes to social media. The best way to create legitimate Instagram activity is to encourage your employees to be part of the conversation. Encourage employees to follow your brand, like and post images, and to comment on them. A constant employee involvement can give customers a closer look at your company culture and create a community for everyone to share ideas.
Remember timing is important.
Select the best times for posting and sharing. According to Wishpond, an online marketing company, “The first popular time is on Monday at 5pm PST is the best time to post a photo. That is when you can get the most amount of comments and likes on your photos. The second most popular time to post a photo is either on Wednesday or Thursday at 3pm PST. Furthermore photo is the most active during the first 3 hours. Almost 40% of all comments happen within the first hour, the other 60% of all comments on a photo happen within the first 3 hours.”
Create and share videos.
Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012. In June 2013 the company announced a new video feature allowing users to share 15 sec long videos. Instagram, boasting more than 130M active users, reported more than 5M videos shared once the Instagram Video feature was announced. The video feature can empower your business to share: intro videos of employees, fun facts about your brand, how-to videos, customer Q&A’s, cool contests and more to drive interaction.
Bonus Tip: Did you know? According to Wishpond, “20% of all users of the service are also on Facebook. You just need to connect two accounts and your Facebook friends will see it and they can start following you on Instagram.. Usually 3-5% of your Facebook friends will start following you on Instagram. You can start to post a status update on Facebook asking people to follow you on Instagram and it could increase that number to 5-7%.”