Instagram: a highly visual and brand-driven platform


For most industries, Facebook is dying a slow and painful death. As the go-to, professional, branding social platform, Instagram is filling Facebook’s shoes, as a primary social platform. With decaying reach on severely, oversaturated platforms, like Facebook, it’s easy to see that companies are looking for other, more efficient, channels to improve their brand visibility and engage with potential customers. With over one billion active users and approximately 500 million active daily users, Instagram has the user base to do exactly that.

Users between 25-54 years old, make Instagram prime real estate for targeting buying roles and strategic exposure. In addition, it is important to note that 50% of users visit a business profile at least once a day, signaling a willingness to engage with brands on the platform. Instagram’s rapid and steady growth, contributes to making business profiles commonplace. 


Here, we will discuss some of the important factors companies should know when considering/starting an Instagram profile:



Profile

The very heart of Instagram’s social media platform is the profile page. This is the opportunity to create a great first impression and show the prospect what your company is all about. There are a few things to consider as you set up your profile. Two types of profiles are available on Instagram, much like Facebook, a personal profile (default) and a professional (business) profile. We recommend creating a business profile, as it affords you additional options:


Professional accounts have the ability to:

  • Call to Action buttons

  • Paid Advertising

  • Access Insights (analytics) - follower growth, impressions, reach, and engagement, etc.

It is very important to include certain information on your profile: 

  • Ensure that your Instagram handle is the name of the company. 

  • Try not to use numbers or underscores. 

  • As always, it’s important to establish consistency across your branding. This information helps the prospect or user to learn who you are from the first interaction. This can be challenging, but you may need to get creative.


The bio is an important section of the profile. This is where you will tell users who you are, what you stand for, products that you offer, and offers a look into the culture of your company. Give prospects a reason to want to learn about you. It is also important to include your phone number, physical, and email addresses here. This creates an attitude of trust with the prospect, proving you are a real company and provides them with a way to contact you, in the event that you sparked their interest. The bio section is also where the only clickable link resides. Instagram only allows one link on your profile, so make this one count. 


Advertising

Instagram’s powerful segmentation and targeting advertising platform are derived from its big brother, Facebook, giving businesses the ability to get in front of audiences with a high degree of precision. Not only does Instagram target users based on a range of different demographics and interest-based criteria, it also has the ability to utilize retargeting. This powerful strategy is used to serve ads to users who clicked through to your website in the past. To read more about retargeting click here.


In addition to these valuable tools, Instagram has a great success ration on average garnering--an impressive CTR of 75%! Users are presented with a CTA (call to action) in the ad. This, coupled with the fact that these ads target ideal clients or prospects, makes Instagram's advertising platform an incredibly powerful tool for companies wishing to utilize it. 



Engagement

Instagram has an unusually high engagement rate, with stats showing 10x higher than Facebook, 54x higher than Pinterest, and 84x higher than Twitter. This is, of course, impacted by the strategies employed on each platform. However, when you have engagement, you have the ability to spark conversations, ask questions, and build trust with customers. These statistics point toward an improved organic engagement with content, a valuable tool, in the hands of savvy marketers. As you engage with prospects through the platform (especially public engagement such as comments), you build trust with current and future users. Trust is a major factor in the effectiveness of a social media platform. You will build a solid foundation if you pull users into real and transparent conversations. As reach grows organically, engagement increases as you build trust with your user base. 



Visual platform

An area several other platforms struggle to get a handle on is the ability to deliver visual and branded content without being penalized by the algorithms. Many platforms combat off-site link spamming and auto content, making it difficult for companies to gain any extended reach with branded content. Instagram provides an alternative and instead prioritizes the use of photos and videos as the preferred medium, allowing many brands to send their message and strengthen brand recognition at the same time. 



Posting

As with most platforms, the posting is the key to success. Consistently posting at similar times and with solid and uninterrupted frequency, is a major factor for growing your follower base. As you start to build your content base, you will see more and more people coming to your profile and engaging with your material. This is referred to as critical mass. There is content critical mass and follower critical mass. Specifically, content critical mass refers to the amount of consistently posted content you post. There is a certain point (different for every company) where the content starts to draw more and more people in without adding additional. Of course, this effect is only compounded as you add more content. 


There are three types of content that can be posted to the platform: 

  • Photos 

  • Video

  • Carousel (multiple images on a slider)


It is best practice is rotating through these types of content to provide a rich and engaging feed for your users. It is important to provide variety, so your users don’t get bored. Develop “days” that you post each type of content, stick to it each week.


There are also two different ways to post each type of content: 

  • Feed–a long-term strategy, has a lower reach, but longer life. 

  • Stories–a short-term strategy with higher reach and engagement, but much shorter life. 

Make sure you are not only rotating through content types but also posting types. Stories can help build awareness of your brand. Feed posts are intended for your loyal, follower base. They can see them whenever they view your profile. 


It is also important to maintain consistent aesthetics when posting to Instagram, as there are many situations when all images are viewed together. Just like on a website or brochure, you need to master the space given to you. Make sure you stay consistent with the types of images and photo color tones. Generally, stay on point when mixing busy and simple images.


Posting at the right time, or more specifically, not posting at the wrong time, can make or break your reach on the platform. The ideal posting time for Instagram is actually, pretty straight forward. 


The highest reach days are: 

  • Monday through Thursday, any time except 3-4 pm.

  • Shoot for off-work hours, typically lunch time and after hours.

  • Target the time zones of your ideal customers.




As with all social media platforms, the best way to test the effectiveness for your business, is to set up an account, brand it, and start sharing the content you are already developing for your other channels. If you are consistent and publishing quality content, either interesting or helpful, you will build a brand presence and follower base fairly quickly. As you post more, your profile and brand will build momentum. Implementing best practices will help you achieve critical mass on your social account much faster. If you are thinking about setting up a social media outpost on Instagram, contact Nesbit Marketing with your questions:


www.nesbitmarketing.com

231-360-0179

Info@nesbitmarketing.com

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