Best Practices Social Media – Part Three How to Make Instagram Your New Marketing Best Friend

There’s really no good reason to not use Instagram, considering it has 800 million active monthly users, (TechCrunch). It’s the place to be right now. Some may think, “I don’t have many images that I could share online with followers.” Instagram is not just for images anymore. It is still one of their biggest draws, but you can share stats, stories, videos (live and pre-recorded), quotes, and more throughout the day that will keep your followers hearting your posts and hanging on for more.

What is IGTV and should you use it?

IGTV is the new hotness and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon. It’s now the newest, and one of the most popular features of Instagram. I found myself watching, non-stop for like 2 hours, out of nowhere. What can I say, that black mirror pulled me in. In IGTV, the network caters to your interests, so I saw recipe videos, workout videos, fashion videos and so much more.  It’s like watching TV, one short “show” after another, with no commercials, and you can always tap quickly to get to the next video in the queue. I couldn’t stop! Use these short format videos for your company to pull more of your users into your brand.

 Use the right type and amount of hashtags

Using hashtags is probably THE most important and tactical part about using Instagram for your business. Utilizing IG’s free tools is key in this way. There is a native search engine that allows you to peek behind the curtain and see how many times/how popular certain hashtags are on the app. That will help you to decide when/how/where to post them. You can also do Instagram hashtag contests to keep your users engaged. It’s important to find the perfect balance of using “just the right amount” of hashtags. You don’t want to use too many, but you don’t want to use too little. Who will read through your 20+ hashtags?, #TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read). There are also many types of hashtags to use, like industry, local, and brand hashtags, but I’ll let you do that research on your own (I trust you). Just make sure you’re using the right types at the right time and you’ll be sure to gain more followers by the minute.

Social Media Scheduling

Use SM scheduling if you’re posting on multiple social media sites. I can’t speak on how these tools compare, but most seem to count on Sprout Social or CoSchedule when scheduling posts on Instagram specifically. When you draft these social media posts, make sure to get them posted on the most popular days and times that people are active on Instagram. Mondays and Thursdays off-work hours work best. Don’t forget to keep your time zone in mind.

What type of post works best for you?

Studies show that Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all social networks. With this in mind, you need to collect data on what type of post works best for your company. Maybe image posts work better, or you can try out behind-the-scenes videos or educational posts on IGTV. You can include motivational quotes in your story. Just a lil’ tip—when you go live, your followers get a notification at the very top of the page before they even start scrolling through their feed. You can connect with more people this way, and possibly earn more followers.  

Instagram’s free tools

Utilize Instagram’s free tools. One of Instagram’s tools called Insight gives users access to their followers’ impression/engagement data. Also, if you’re a business, you use the business account feature. You won’t have access to insights, or any similar features, without this type of account. Researching hashtags is also a huge help, so that you can make sure that hashtags you’re using haven’t been overplayed.

Keep your customers engaged

Actively engage customers and potential customers with coupons, hashtags, and discounts. I love seeing discounts and promotions that are easily clickable on Instagram especially if I’m checking out some boots or clothing items. That makes most of us millennials twice as likely to buy. Partnering with influencers and collecting user-submitted photos for later posts can be useful for scheduling posts. Influencers are more likely to use your hashtags and mention you in their posts if you have interactive hashtags that describe the activities. Also, posting user-submitted material makes your group of users feel included, We like to have a say over what your business posts. Running giveaways and contests with other companies as partners keeps us tagging people in your posts and sharing.

In the end it’s all about having fun and being yourself. Build your brand story with a face for all to see. Make your posts revolve around this theme, or feeling. This is how you too can stick in that millennial’s mind.

Chelsea Roeser is a Project Manager at JP Enterprises Unlimited  who also proofreads and copywrites. She lives in Mt. Washington with her German Shepherd mix and listens to Hall and Oates when she has free time. She also enjoys taking overlook pictures with her dog, going to Pittsburgh Penguins games, and skiing when she isn’t working.

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