Just in case you need some convincing that Instagram impacts your market performance, check out the stats in the first part of the infographic:
- Instagram use is increasing — from 15% to 20% now use Instagram
- Instagram is the most popular of the photo-sharing apps, although still far behind Facebook and Twitter for image sharing
- Instagram almost owns the mobile market with users accessing and sharing through smartphones and tablets
- Instagram users check the app at least once a day
- Instagram engagement is 15X greater than Facebook
As a B2B site, I don’t use Instagram, but I do for some of my clients, with great success.
Here’s a little anecdote in case you’re not sure about Instagram’s usefulness. My daughter is an actor (yes, actress is too sexist for today’s generation). She’s forever on Instagram to check out what friends post, but she also uses it for headshots, movie stills, and other promotional activities. Recently, her best friend got a part on CBS Once Upon a Time (playing Anna from Frozen for 9 episodes — which is very cool BTW). Almost immediately, her Instagram started blowing up as fans scoured her pics to find candid shots with her friend. More importantly, folks followed her from Instagram to her website, where visits exploded even though the site isn’t even finished yet (Check it out at and like her shots). You’d have to talk to her agent to see how many inquiries she’s gotten from Rebecca’s accidental Instagram strategy.
So, what are the defining elements of a sound Instagram strategy?
As with any social network, branding is critical for marketing success. Because Instagram is a photosharing platform, visuals like graphics and photos are the overriding element of your Instagram strategy and should reinforce your brand image (much like on Pinterest, which we talked about earlier).
Even though your Instagram strategy should include sharing images unrelated to your brand, your brand logo should be prominent.
Focus on your website
A website is really the hub of any social media marketing strategy, so your Instagram strategy should send engaged users to your website where they’ll see more about your products and services, and purchase.
Based on data from Salesforce Canada, brands within the luxury market use an Instagram strategy more than other firms, with firms selling intangibles, like financial services, employing an Instagram strategy the least of any industry.
Content marketing as part of an Instagram strategy
The rules for content marketing on Instagram mirror those for publishing on any other social platform, including your blog — publish high-quality content on a consistent basis and balance non-promotional images with images of new products or other promotional pieces.
If you’re a brand like Apple or Samsung, showing images of your new smartphone before its release generates huge interest so you can get away with being more promotional. If you’re like most brands, an 80/20 split between non-promotional and promotional pieces is likely more effective.
So, what do you do with that 80% of images that are non-promotional? Is this simply a waste of time? No, non-promotional images define your brand, as well as increasing engagement with followers that spreads your brand around Instagram. Images that are fun, surprising, unusual, or otherwise interesting garner the most engagement. Images evoking an emotional response fair very well, although you should keep it somewhat upbeat.
Finally, those 80% images can humanize your organization. Show images of employees, especially from team building activities or doing good things for the community, like volunteering for Habitat for Humanity or at the local soup kitchen. Consumers enjoy buying from brands they see as human, especially when they act responsibly.
Since Instagram is part of your overall digital marketing strategy, be sure to write clear, concise, interesting descriptions and include hashtags to make images more searchable.
Avoid oversharing or posting images totally irrelevant for your brand. So, content marketing in your Instagram strategy is really walking a tightrope between too much and too little, as well as too business-related and too off-topic.
Monitor your Instagram strategy
Monitoring your Instagram strategy means tracking performance, but it also means listening and responding to users. Responding might mean offering a discount or simply responding to a comment, reposting user-generated content, or following followers.
Monitoring performance is a little trickier.
Use analytics to tweak performance based on established SMART goals for your Instagram strategy. Monitor images to see which images perform best and what times create the most engagement. Determine the ROI of your Instagram strategy by creating conversion funnels that assess sales based on source and be sure to include both last touch and first touch that result in a conversion.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.