Instagram Marketing Concept

Instagram is a photo/sharing service that was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010 as a free mobile app exclusively for the iOS operating system. Two years later, it also became available on Android devices.

The users of Instagram are able to share photos and videos through the service either privately or publicly. They are provided with various digital filters by the application, thus giving the image a distinct look. In 2016/17, Instagram has also introduced business profile option, Instagram stories, live videos, and carousels. Instagram allows its users to use hashtags in the photos, use geolocation tags, as well as tag and mention other users in the photos and videos.

Instagram Marketing

Currently, Instagram is the third most popular social platform with 600 million users. 48.8% of brands are on Instagram. By 2017, this is predicted to rise to 70.7%. Engagement with brands on Instagram is 15 times higher than on Facebook, 54 times higher than on Pinterest, and 20 times higher than on Twitter. Over a third of Instagram users have used their mobile to purchase a product online– making them 70% more likely to do so than non-users.

Using images and videos, a business which brand strategy is to portray the space, the people, and the atmosphere, can reach their target customers in an even easier manner.

Branding on Instagram

When thinking about its Instagram presence, a business needs to keep in mind that no matter how modern and different Instagram is, it is still an another social channel for their content and should be treated as such. A business must ensure that their Instagram marketing fits organically into their overall branding and business strategy and makes their brand recognizable to their customers that discover their channel. Instagram is a great tool to showcase something that the business is, and not something that it is not. If, for example, a company’s overall visual branding is clean and minimal then it should be reflected in their Instagram content feed. If a brand generally uses many colors, so should its Instagram photos.

Visual Communication

Consistency is the key to visual marketing. The brand needs to understand their target audience and decide whether they would like to come across as e.g. funny, down-to-earth, inspirational, or more formal, luxurious, classy. Filters can be used to help the audience become submerged into the feeling a brand wants to transmit. It is also useful to decide on a brand position.

It is important to pay attention to content order and positioning on the Instagram profile grid. Best profiles make sure the content tells a story, the images complement each other, and the cohesion between the images is logical and aesthetically pleasant.

Setting up a Profile

A company’s Instagram profile is where the link to its landing page is placed. That is why it the profile has to be optimized to convert. The first step to setting it up is creating an appealing bio. It needs to emphasize what a company is doing for its customers, how the customers’ problems are fixed and their lives are improved. In general, it is always more beneficial to talk about how a company’s products or services benefit its customers, and not just about what it sells.

A professional profile photo is another factor that might influence how customers perceive a company’s profile. It is quite often a company’s logo, or the owner’s photo (a more popular option for smaller companies located in the US).

A reason to click on the profile link should be also given. The click rate could be improved by providing a discount or a benefit, as well as having a clear call to action.

In order to switch a normal Instagram profile to a business profile, a user must enable this feature in Settings. A Facebook page has to exist in order for a profile to switch into business mode. The main difference of business profile is the possibility of viewing the posts’ analytics, buttons “Call” and “Email” in the profile description, as well as ability to run ads from within the Instagram application.

Instagram Stories

Instagram-StoriesInstagram Stories is the photo and video sharing application’s disappearing content offering, which allows users to share photos and videos in slideshow, boomerang, hands-free, and live video format. Besides the usual filter options, stories offer text, drawing, stickers, and other creative additions.

Instagram offers businesses insights on their Stories posts in a similar manner as the usual content. Brands using a business profile on Instagram have access to reach, impressions, replies, and exits for individual Stories. It is important to enable this feature in the analytics session, since the analytics for Stories shared before the function is enabled are not recorded.

Some Instagram Stories also have links. Instagram is also testing the ability to run full screen ads in Stories. The ads will offer targeting, reach, and measurement capabilities.

Walters suggests the following points on using Instagram in a company’s marketing:

  • sharing how-tos and tutorials;
  • going behind the scenes
  • sharing an interesting list
  • providing value with Q&As
  • getting follower feedback
  • hosting a takeover
  • giving shout-outs to your followers
  • providing special offers and coupons
  • announcing news

Instagram Posts

An Instagram post consists of a picture or a video (or a carousel of pictures and videos), a caption, hashtags, a geo location tag, and photo tags. In this part of the study, the best case practices of Instagram posting are described. Being diverse and consistent at the same time will benefit the Instagram thread of a company or an individual.

Instagram Captions

While many focus mainly on images while creating Instagram content, only a few are also aiming at creating a great caption. However, in some cases, a well-written caption might not only enhance a shared photo or video, but even make all the difference.

Hashtags

Hashtags add visibility to a company’s Instagram posts. The ‘Explore’ function allows other users to successfully find a business if the hashtags are used correctly. However, it is important to remember that hashtags need to be relevant: it is relatively easy to be seen as a ‘spammer’ if there are hashtags under the post that are completely irrelevant to the post content. Many businesses create their own company hashtag or campaign hashtags; that is a great way to keep all posts related to that company or campaign in one place and easily searchable. A hashtag needs to be easy to memorize; an additional benefit would be if the hashtag is inspiring or relatable to the target audience. A good example of that would be the #justdoit hashtag from Nike’s 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign.

Summary

Overall, it is important to keep in mind the business’s target audience when creating an Instagram strategy. There are some guidelines available, but it all comes down to where the target audience is located, what demographic group it belongs to, and how it normally behaves.

Sources:

Sorokina, 2015 https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-write-an-instagram-caption/

Walters, K. 2017. Hootsuite Blog. https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-use-instagram- stories/. Accessed on 7 May 2017.

Petrova, A. 2017, Successful Instagram Marketing for Coworking Businesses,

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