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The Right Way For Your Brand To Do Instagram

The Right Way For Your Brand To Do Instagram

The Right Way For Your Brand To Do Instagram

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Instagram, and the opportunities it presents, are big. It rivals Facebook for app downloads in the past year, and is hugely popular with millennials. Instagram connects brands with potentially millions of individuals, who can then connect brands with all their friends. But the culture of Instagram posts is different from that of Facebook status updates – the old strategies need a little tweaking. This is what the stats, and our own experience, tell us is the right way to do Instagram.

Do Images And Video Right

Instagram is for images, first and foremost. Granted, visual content is always attention-getting – but on Instagram, it’s the star of the show. To be on Instagram is to post images and video, and to be popular on Instagram is to post the right images and video.

According to one study, there are a number of visual traits of successful Instagram content that result in more likes (a fair indicator of whether or not people like them). Visuals dominated by a single colour do 40% better – even more so if the colour is blue, which does 24% better than red. Bright visuals gain 24%, those with low saturation gain 18%, while those with highly textured images gain 79%. What does all of this mean? In short, the tenets of good photography and design hold true on Instagram – muddy, muddled, blurry and uninteresting visuals flop, while striking, clearly-conceived ones soar. To succeed on Instagram, post striking, standout pictures and videos regularly.

Be Sociable

Instagram is a social network, and as such, you should pay homage to the holy trinity of social media: like, follow, comment. Accounts and posts always do better when the people running them reach out to the people who will read them. By one measure, @mentions (posts that involve other user’s handles) yield 56% more engagement.

What does that all mean? Simply, if a consumer likes or comments on one of your posts, acknowledge them! Let them know that their support is important to you. If you feel your brand is falling a little short on followers, consider following those who already follow brands similar to yours! And, whenever possible, feature your followers – reblog them (especially the influencers!), work them into ads and promotions, and generally make them feel like part of the team, which they are.

Know When To Post

Not everyone uses Instagram at the same time. If your followers are students, they’re less likely to look when class is in session – but if they’re stay-at-home parents, class time might be your prime time. Find out when your audience is present, so that your posts can have the best reach, and your interactions the most effect. You can do this by simple experimentation – track your posts and try different times – or, you can use a service to automatically track your users’ active hours. But, if you’re looking for an all-purpose solution, 6 PM on Monday seems to be a solid bet.

Another law of social media that holds true on Instagram is to engage with current events – if it’s playoff season, try working that into a post. Shared experiences are a great way to bond with and engage people and communities.

Tell a Story

Take advantage of Instagram Stories. Stories are collections of pictures and videos that won’t appear on your profile, and won’t last longer than 24 hours. What they lack in longevity, though, they make up for in buzz – they are content exclusively for followers and fans, which can compel more people to follow, lest they miss out. They may be fleeting, but the interest, excitement and engagement they can generate – especially among younger users who are better acquainted with Instagram – last far longer.


Use Hashtags

Hashtags are how people search for things and find topics on Instagram, generally. If you want your posts to be more readily searchable, then it behooves you to hashtag. It’s not just a good idea – Adweek found that posts with at least a single hashtag gain 12.6% in engagement. (Curiously, geolocated posts gain 79% - it seems people like people who post from anywhere, instead of nowhere.)

Host All Your Images on Instagram

Making Instagram a repository for all your online images can kill several birds with one stone – it’s free hosting, it’s shareable, and each image can be paired with links to your other sites and social media accounts, driving traffic across your content network. Instagram works very well with Facebook and Twitter, and can easily draw extra engagement from followers on those platforms. It might not work for all your video, though – while short videos are great on Instagram, long videos are better stored elsewhere.

Ultimately, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. The best way to use Instagram is to take advantage of what users have decided Instagram does best. Engage your users, use the tools of the trade (hashtags, geolocation), and most importantly, put out high quality, striking, evocative images and video that viewers connect with and relate to. Keep these goals in mind, and you can turn your Instagram from a dusty archive to a bustling gallery.

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