Instagram has evolved so much since its initial release in 2010 – from being a sharing board of square photos, to now, allowing photos in any aspect ratio and videos for Instagrammers everywhere.
With their most recent updates in search tools and ads, we are reevaluating our opinion of Instagram as a marketing tool and considering generally, how marketers can get the most out of this social platform.
New feature: Explore & Search page
With the new update on the Explore page, it is much easier for Instagrammers- especially new users – to explore the most popular content on Instagram. Besides posts that receive a lot of engagement including likes and comments, the new update tailors content based on the people you follow and your interests.
The most highlighted functionality of the Explore update is real-time coverage. This feature not only allows us to see the Notting Hill Carnival or Rugby World Cup photo streams but allows us to see these events in real-time. In addition to that Instagram has also improved its search tool: Based on the keyword search, users can view a wider variety of content under the categories of hashtags, users, and places.
How you can implement this in your strategy:
#hashtag #hashtag #hashtaghas worked quite well for us since we launched our rebranding project in May. Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post, so by utilizing them could really give your engagement stats a boost. If you find yourself short in hashtags for your brand content, just start typing, Instagram will display a list of trending hashtags related to the word entered. Use this method to add popular hashtags to your post. After a few posts using different variations of hashtags, you should begin to see an indication of which hashtags are working best for you. You may find the most popular are over populated, so try and find your niche within Instagram.
Top Tip: Avoid targeting popular hashtags just because you can. By using misleading or irrelevant hashtags, you will appear spammy and may lose followers.
A year and a half after the launch of their ad’s feature in October 2013, Instagram has been steadily providing advertisers more power in their PR/marketing campaigns with ‘Learn More’, ‘Shop Now’, ‘Install Now’, and ‘Sign Up’ buttons. Now Instagram has upgraded their video ads from 15 seconds to 30 seconds in length and added a landscape formatting option, giving additional choices for advertisers, besides the image and carousel ads.
How you can implement this in your strategy:
So the question is ‘how do we marketers make the best out of this video ad rollout?’ If you’ve just recently started your business account on Instagram, running an ad campaign probably shouldn’t be your first choice.The first efforts should be to build up your content (besides images, give it a go with a couple of videos too) and leverage the engagement with your community, with a goal of trying to understand what their interests are. This will be helpful later when you gain a better understanding of your target audience for long-term strategic planning. Moreover, during the time of community expansion, marketers could take this time to undertake market research on larger organisations. Taking market leaders as references and lessons for future practice would provide more inspiration and help avoid unnecessary pitfalls.
We have to rate Iconosquare highly when talking about Instagram management tools. This tool provides so many useful analytics and marketing insights for small to medium-sized businesses. One of their new management features is called ‘Brand Index’, which is a dashboard of various brands’ presence and their performance. With this new feature, you can perform a detailed analysis of your competitors by viewing their follower ranking, follower distribution across platforms, follower growth, post frequency, and engagement rate. As soon as you master what your competitors are doing and what is trending among your target audience, you are well on your way to a better benchmarking strategy.
Crowdfire has done a great job in follower analytics. Simply by logging with your Instagram account, (or Twitter, it can give you insight on both), you can gain a detailed understanding of your network. Crowdfire splits your community into groups, including: fans, recent unfollowers, recent followers, and inactive followers.This helps to eliminate fake accounts from your community a breeze.
These are our thoughts. How do you use Instagram for your own business and client’s brand development? Share your opinions with us, and don’t forget to check us out here: @basecreative