Photo sharing is a big deal. There’s a reason that Instagram is currently one of the fastest growing social media platforms. For some reason, people are really in to this idea of documenting their lives via tiny square pictures.
In fact, some social media analysts are beginning to claim that social media users are gravitating more and more toward Instagram and less and less toward Facebook and Twitter (Resvani). Does this mean that businesses should spend less time focusing on their Facebook and Twitter accounts? Absolutely not. However, it does suggest that businesses should take Instagram more seriously, regarding it as a marketing tool that is just as valuable as their other social media platforms.
In this article, Jessica Lee illustrates the ways through which Fortune 500 companies effectively utilize their Instagram accounts to communicate their brand to their audience. Companies like Nike and Starbucks, for example, are known to utilize their Instagram accounts brilliantly.
Nike often posts visually stimulating photos that don’t always focus on one specific product. Their hashtag “#justdoit” is present on every post.
Starbucks has also proven itself to be an Instagram mastermind. It has mastered the concept of a “regram” and certainly knows how to get an audience involved.
These Fortune 500 companies know what they’re doing. So what does that mean for us small people? How can Instagram be used as an effective marketing tool in smaller businesses? Social media analysts suggest the following:
1. Videos, videos, videos
Videos are cool because they stimulate our brains. Pictures do too, but videos move and make noise, so they win. Taking your Instagram account a step further by incorporating videos will certainly make your account more appealing to an audience. Be careful not to saturate your account with too many videos, however. In many cases, a photo can be more effective than a video.
2. Use ALL the hashtags!
Okay. So this rule does NOT translate to Twitter. On Twitter, it’s important to cool it with hashtags and keep it to just one or two per tweet. On Instagram, however, multiple hashtags can be a good thing. According to the article, using four to 11 hashtags can significantly increase the interactions each post gets. BUT these #hashtags should try to be #worked into the #caption of the #picture, not grouped together at the end. #because #that #is #just #unprofessional #and #silly
3. 24 hours/day, 7 days/week
Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram doesn’t really have an optimal time to post. Users are active at all hours of the day, any day of the week. This can be used to a business’s advantage. Posting at various times of the day can allow a business to measure an audience’s interaction throughout the day and adjust their future posts accordingly. During the evenings and on weekends, social media users tend to be more active on Instagram than other social media platforms. Recognizing these trends within specific audiences can be of great advantage to a business.
My Two Cents: Instagram is cool. Use it correctly. That’s all.