If you haven’t been paying attention to social media marketing too much over the past few years, it’s not hard to believe that you may have missed the meteoric rise of Instagram. And meteoric is something of an understatement. While it took social media giants Facebook and Twitter a few years to build a following, Instagram went from zero to one million users in just two months, and was acquired by Facebook within just two years.
That’s remarkably fast, even in a world where companies are springing up from nothing all the time.
Perhaps it’s because sites like Facebook and Twitter had already conditioned us to love social media, or perhaps it’s because of the rise of the smartphone and our obsessions with selfies and images in general. Whatever the reason, however, with 150 million active users, it’s impossible and unwise to ignore the Instagram phenomenon.
Instagram Marketing 101
One of the biggest challenges for any social media platform is to figure out how to use it for marketing without seeming like you’re marketing. Because that is, truly, the crux of social media marketing. If you come off as too salesy, you’re going to be pretty lonely on any social media platform, and if you don’t say enough to deliver your message effectively, there’s really no point!
Fortunately, pictures really do speak a thousand words, and it’s hard to be a pushy sales person when you’re grinning for the camera, so here are a few quick tips and tricks to help you launch your Instagram marketing initiative:
- Make it personal, by showing your customers interacting with your product or service. People are the heart of social media, and showing them enjoying what you do may encourage more people to try it.
- Use quality pictures, and make sure you add a watermark or logo. You want your pictures to be shareable, but you also want to drive people to your website (and prevent your images from being appropriated!)
- Use geotagging. This is particularly important when you are marketing a local business, since you want customers in your area to find you!
- Use hashtags, and create your own for your brand. Consumers tend to search social media platforms by geographical area or interest, so try to incorporate those into your marketing efforts.
- Find the ideal time to post by trial and error, and then create a posting schedule. If possible, automate your Instagram posts, and make sure that your website design includes the option to follow your account.
Measuring Your Insta Impact
As with any marketing platform, Instagram marketing is equal parts what you post, and how well you measure and track results.
There are a few core metrics you want to keep an eye on when it comes to Instagram marketing:
- How many followers you have, and whether they are increasing, or decreasing. If it’s the former, good job! If it’s the latter, experiment with changes to your posts until you turn the tide.
- How many likes do your images have, and again, are they on an upward trend? Instagram marketing, and any social media marketing, is about growth!
- How many comments do you get, and what is the trend? This is perhaps the most telling metric, because it’s easy to like something, but a lot harder to actually engage. When you do get comments, be sure to respond.
Tying in to Visual Media
The truth is, it’s been proven many times over that visual media on social platforms and websites can be very effective. Even more effective than text – at least in a social media context.
Sharing your product images, events, and other pictures on Instagram, and linking back to your website can be a great way to generate interest in your company, your products and your services, and since all you really need to get started is a free account, a website to link to and a smart phone, there’s really very little barrier to entry.
So get snapping, and join the image revolution!