Has Instagram with it’s emulation of Snapchat become useless for digital marketing purposes, or is this shift a change for the better for businesses?
Instagram has always split opinions between digital marketeers. While some believe the social media platform’s use of hashtags in visual based posts is great for promotional purposes, others have less faith in Facebook’s baby brother, believing that the photo sharing app is useless in encouraging click-throughs and website traffic. Lately it seems that the Instagram team are more concerned with emulating Snapchat than providing businesses with a viable marketing tool, but does this mean that the platform is finished for SMM or transforming itself into a market leader?
Here at Next Phase Digital, we still believe Instagram is a major player when planning your social media campaign. The recent changes to the platform are not all bad and you can actually use them to your advantage. Essentially the core of Instagram remains the same and some of the additions could prove useful if used correctly. Here are some useful guidelines to follow when posting:
Although the right preparation can initially be very time consuming, there’s little point in just randomly posting on Instagram. Hoping the right kind of people are going to be searching tour most recently used hashtags is not really going to yield the interest you’re after. You need to really consider and carefully plan who your posts are to be targeted at – and form a campaign that is aimed purely at them. Consider age and active browsing times your target audience schedule posts for peak exposure. Stereotypes aside, there’s probably little point in posting at 6.00am to attract teenagers, likewise there won’t be many senior citizens surfing the web at 3.00am. Although this is a lighthearted example, it’s worth considering working hours, peak times and other commitments with your target audience.
Think about their location – in most instances this will be similar to your own, but it might be worth considering timezones and scheduling bespoke campaigns to account for this. What are the interests of your target audience, what kind of posts have they liked already and who do they follow? This is all information that you can use to make your own campaign more appealing.
Keep it relevant, promoting a grime night in Manchester isn’t going to get many likes with over fifties in Glasgow. However you will have more success targeting students at the local universities with the same post. Likewise you’re not going to grab the attention of your audience with urban style graphics advertising healthcare, but a thought provoking image may encourage visitors to investigate further. It will take time to get this right, but once you’re there you will be able to identify your audience as easily as people can identify your brand.
Variety, constantly posting the same kinds of content will turn visitors off your account. Keep it interesting – post other images that keep in the theme of your campaign, but not necessarily the hard selling of your brand. For instance, if you’re an 80’s tribute band, don’t just relentlessly post posters of upcoming gigs… post interesting images of the original artists your are paying tribute to – this kind of thing is great for generating interaction. It doesn’t matter what you want to see – you can look at that anytime – it’s about posting for your targeted audience – give them what they want.
Some of the best Instagram accounts have such a recognisable style you can identify their posts before you’ve even seen who it’s from. This is something you should aim to master yourself – give yourself a style, a brand… not just sticking your logo on the top of an image, but really consider what you want the look of your posts to ‘say’ and combining this with your target audience. Creating an identifiable look to your social media campaign could become associated with your brand and therefore reinforce your audiences trust in your company.
Get your audience to interact with you. Create giveaways, competitions or special promotions to generate interest – some of the most successful campaigns have been based around giving away free stuff. Also, use ‘mentions’ to gain additional followers – both on your associated accounts or with the permission of highly popular/influential people you know (influencers). Never forget the importance of the hashtag on Instagram, but overuse could mean your target audience miss the important stuff – limit hashtags to key information only.
If all of this fails, you can still resort to a paid advertising campaign. Instagram makes this process really clear and easy to understand – you can really target your intended demographic and there are many different options for every budget.
We hope you’ve enjoyed and found our guidelines for Instagram helpful. If you would prefer for someone to take control of all of your social media and manage it professionally for you – Next Phase Digital has a great selection of packages to take the work away from creating a great social media presence – take a look here for more information.