While social media today encompasses numerous platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on, more and more are tuning to Instagram as their primary marketing channel, and it is easy to see why.
Recent research has labelled Instagram, as the "King of Social Engagement", with many brands reaching as much as a 2.3 percent per-follower interaction rate. When you contrast that with the 0,2 percent typical of Facebook, and the 0,02 percent on Twitter, you can clearly see why Instagram is becoming the platform of choice for businesses.
With more than 500 million active monthly users, combined with those high engagement rates, this is a platform that is perfect for ensuring your campaign success.
To take advantage of those Instagram benefits though, you need a good Instagram following, but if yours is not quite at the level you want it to be, there is no need to worry. We have seven top tips for really growing your Instagram audience.
This may seem obvious, but it is surprising just how many people think they can just start posting things and then hope for the best. It will never succeed, the platform has matured and today, you need an actionable, detailed plan to get any kind of return on your investment in time, money and energy. Lay out a strategy that illustrates what you want from Instagram, and what you need to do to gain more followers.
Whether you are just starting out on Instagram or trying to improve on previous performance, there are three aspects to improving your Instagram strategy:
Look at what others in your field are doing, how they approach Instagram. This is a good way of understanding four different things
Whatever your business, whatever industry or market you are in, you have a story to share with your Instagram followers. You need to provide content that interests them, keeps them engaged and coming back for more, and importantly, provides value of some kind. Whether that is inspiration, information or something else, it is value and interest that will motivate your audience to spread your message and broaden your brand's reach. You can give them the story behind your business, how you create the products they buy, showcase customer's achievements and so on. Always look to inspire and motivate your audience to spread the word and grow your following.
There's no reason to limit this Instagram strategy to one or two groups. In fact, the successful brands will tell their stories simultaneously across various social media channels.
For a successful strategy you need your goals clearly laid out and defined. You need to know where you are going to know how to get there. Try setting goals for your Instagram strategy that combine with your overall business and marketing strategies to ensure you are moving forward in a single direction aiming for targets that can be reached.
When businesses are having trouble gaining new Instagram followers, they often overlook the simplest remedy to the problem. Make it easier for anyone to find your Instagram account. There are several ways to do this:
Like all social media, content really is king on Instagram. Better content quality really does mean more followers, so ensure that the quality of your posts remains high at all times. Out of focus images, or images that are not relevant or interesting to your audience will have the opposite effect. You need to give people a reason to follow your Instagram account, and high quality, interesting and relevant content is the best reason to have. Think about your content strategy and how you could improve it, here are our best tips:
Use the information you have collected about your customers to find the best time of day to post on social media. If you are marketing to professionals with positions of responsibility, they are not likely to be checking out their Instagram feed during office hours, rather they will be looking early morning over breakfast, at lunch time or in the evening.
Similarly, if you are marketing to students, parents or weekend workers, the times would change accordingly. Of course, knowing broad demographics such as those is only a guide, you will still need to test out different times of the day to find exactly when the best responses are achieved from your own audience, and then stick to that schedule.
Exactly how often you should post to your Instagram account is open to debate, research shows that 75% of leading brands post at least once a week, however the important point about post frequency is that your audience sees your posts in their feeds. Irregular post schedules mean less engagement and an audience that can quickly become disassociated from your brand, the exact opposite of what you are after, the interaction with an engaged and interested audience.
If you are struggling to find the time to post on a regular schedule, it is well worth investing in scheduling software like Buffer or Hootsuite, that post Instagram Photos and captions for you, all to your timetable.
Make sure that every post you make has relevant hashtags attached, as this is the primary way your posts will appear in searched from the wider audience on Instagram that are not currently following you but are looking for content about your industry or brand.
For those new to hashtags, here are some points to consider when using them:
Instagram is a great platform for video content, and this is best illustrated by the increase in video use right across Instagram, which is showing no signs of slowing down. However, to get noticed, your videos need to be informative and entertaining, and above all unique, so get creative and grab your audience's attention.
Running a contest through Instagram will bring more traffic to your account and increase your audience, providing a larger base to potentially market to. You should always ask contest entrants to follow your account, like and comment on a photo, or use a specific hashtag. This increases user generated content associated with your account and can quickly grow visibility.
Instagram should always be an integral part of your marketing campaigns to increase your follower base, and that includes both online and offline strategies. Instagram is the perfect place for a teaser campaign that slowly introduces a new product for instance, as well as the perfect platform for offering live event coverage of your offline promotions, such as in-store events and so on.
Like any social media network, Instagram is community based. Following others, helping them to grow, can quickly see your own following grow as well. Sharing material and liking their posts, making comments and participating in the community will see others do the same for you in return.
Create Instagram search streams to locate, keep an eye on and participate in communications with users. If you see somebody that's posting content that's relevant to you, leave a comment and ask them if you share the picture on your account. If they agree, always ensure you give proper credit to your sources.
Do this with the more popular Instagram accounts in your industry, and you can quickly gain audience. A good tool that offers insight into the top influencers in any niche is Ninjaoutreach, which can also highlight the most popular content they are sharing.
Everyone should have a social media advertising budget. If you do not have one yet, create one. One of the most efficient ways of attracting more followers is to use Instagram sponsored posts, though the ad-buying tools that are offered by Instagram's partners. By logging into any of these third party sites, you can produce and place ads on Instagram, and according to a Nielson Brand Effect study, these ads offer close to three times the recall of other forms of online advertising. A&W Restaurants ran an Instagram ad campaign and saw a 39-point life in their ad recall with a four-point lift in their message association, as just one example.
If you have not achieved the Instagram following you want, you need to understand where you are going wrong, and analytics can help you identify where problems are occurring and what you need to adjust within your strategy.
Sometimes, analytics allow you to see a link between what you post, when you post it, the kind of hashtags being used and any associated spike in followers. When you identify a successful strategy in this way, you should focus on repeating these moments to quickly gain followers.
Posted on Dec 20 2016
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