Written for EO by Anand Srinivas.
Instagram is a social media behemoth with more than 800 million active users every month. Recent surveys show that nearly 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business. Close to 82% of U.S. brands are expected to be on Instagram by the end of 2018. All this spells opportunity for entrepreneurs.
The success of your Instagram marketing campaign depends on the level of engagement you provide to your followers. Here are five tips to help you focus your marketing efforts on Instagram.
Step 1: Choose your content wisely.
Instagram is a visual social network and engagement is directly influenced by the type of photos and videos you submit. According to a 2017 study, photos with faces received nearly 38% more likes than those without faces. Other studies suggest photos receive greater engagement and likes than videos on the platform.
Consistency of your visuals is important. The most successful brands on Instagram use filters, photo angles and color palettes consistently. Let your posts serve as way to reinforce your aesthetic and your branding. Create guidelines for the visuals and the captions in order to maintain branding.
Step 2: Use your tags.
Hashtags improve the visibility of your posts by showcasing your submissions to users who search for or follow those hashtags. One study estimates that Instagram posts with at least one hashtag tend to receive 12.6% more engagement.
And while the program allows up to 30 hashtags, some marketers recommend limiting yourself to 10. Others swear by 5 or 6. And still others suggest using all 30! The key is to avoid becoming spam by saturating your comments with hashtags.
Location tags are not as commonly used as hashtags, but a 2014 SimplyMeasured report found that Instagram submissions with location tags are likely to have 79% higher engagement than those without these tags.
Step 3: Post at the right time.
According to most research, Instagram users are most active during the early morning and midday. A Sprout Social study found that the best day to post is Thursday. Weekend posts tend to see little action, with Sunday the lowest day for engagement.
Step 4: Engage with others.
Sometimes, you need to give before you can take. Liking, commenting on and sharing other users’ posts can nudge those users to return the favor. But that’s not all. One of the many ways Instagram ranks submissions in a timeline is by assessing potential engagement levels. Better engagement between you and your followers could help your posts rank further up the order in your followers’ timeline. This increases visibility and improves the chances for your posts to be liked or commented on.
Step 5: Ask questions.
The captions that go with your photo submissions are as important as the photos themselves. They continue your brand message and voice, add context to your visual and are often instrumental in driving likes and shares. You can further improve engagement by asking simple questions to your followers through captions. A simple question like “Do you like our newest collection?” can elicit a number of responses from your followers. Polls are another way to ask questions and drive engagement. Instagram has a great built-in interface to conduct polls.
No matter what your objectives or your industry, don’t overlook the marketing potential in Instagram.