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Everyone and their dog are on Facebook but Instagram is a marketers secret weapon. Certain demographics spend a lot of time on Instagram and prefer it to other social media platforms, so how can businesses succeed on Instagram?
Who uses Instagram?
With 400 million active users Instagram is growing, it is most popular with people who are aged between 18 – 30 and 90% of Instagram users are reported to be under 35 and 41% of all users between the ages of 16 and 24 and 43% of UK kids (between 11 and 16) use Instagram weekly. Instagram is a popular platform with women as 64% of instagram users are female but there is still a lot of engagement from men on the platform.
A big hit with the younger generation, millenials and gen Z like the visual and instant appeal of Instagram. Instagram feels less intrusive than Facebook which has made a business out of connections and people sharing information, therefore you don’t get constant updates of what your friends are liking and sharing through instagram.
Intagram is popular all over the world with fairly even numbers of Instagram users from Japan, Dubai, Europe and America. Instagram has no preference of phone/device, being plit 50/50 between Apple and Android devices enabling you to reach both audiences.
Being a big hit with millennials and the younger Z generation it is a fantastic opportunity for brands as they have an active audience who have an interest in, and money to spend on media, apparel, fitness, technology and entertainment.
Sports, fitness, food and drink are all doing incredibly well on Instagram, as are fashion and photography which lends itself well to the visual photo sharing platform.
Engagement on Instagram
Have you dismissed instagram as being low engagement? Think again…
- 2.41 instagram posts per user a day and on average spending 21 mintutes a day
- 2.69% of followers engage with a photo post
- this is 1.47% for video
- 30 billion photos have been shared on average 70 million are shared daily,
- nearly half of all instagram comments include an emoji,
- Instagram recieves 2.5 billion likes a day – 97% of Instagram engagement is ‘hearts’
- 50% of comments will come within the first 10 hours of posting
- there are 8500 likes and 1000 comments per second on Instagram
- 48% of instagram users log in at least once a day whilst 28% check a few times a day
- 11% of photos added to Instagram using #nofilter hashtag really have a filter.
- Mayfair filter has the most likes and comments
- 25% of Instagram users use the direct picture messaging feature regularly
This is really interesting information for brands considering both organic and sponsored promotion on Instagram. If you can get the content right you can build brand loyalty and even conversions through the platform.
Tips for Marketing on Instagram
Use a custom link
Using a custom link such as a bit.ly link, means you can track referrals much easier, you want to be using your marketing to drive clicks through to your site or sales so being able to track this, is essential.
Create good content
Good content doesn’t mean a fancy designed advert, but an image that is fit for purpose. You don’t necessarily need National Geographic quality photography but a good image, or a mix of images are great for getting attention.
The content and hashtags should also be considered and when writing content you have no limits on characters so include line breaks when writing long pieces. White space is very important.
Break traditional Photography composition rules
When thinking about your images for Instagram you are using a square, this means that traditional photography composition rules don’t always apply. Instead of using the traditional rule of thirds, in instagram you can expand upon this with the rule of nines. So think about your composition in a grid of 9 squares within the square ‘canvas’.
When shooting for instagram it works better if you shoot in landscape and then crop the image, this means the image tends to look more balanced.
You can position your subject in the centre of the square – normally a no no in photography compositions, use your grid of 9 and have the subject either in the 5th square or the 8th, at a push the 2nd. The subject can be anywhere in the box but if off centre it is important to lead the eye to the subject with lines such as a horizon, fencing or landscape.
The rule of thirds needs to be used with caution as in a square frame it can be cluttered, if following the rule of thirds for instagram put subjects towards the edge of the frame and it works best on large subjects.
With a small square frame try not to have images that are too busy, open space and negative space get more likes than cluttered images – although there are always exceptions to these rules.
Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags
Hashtags are very important for Instagram, they are used to search much more on Instagram than other platforms and there is no etiquette on over using them so you can add a lot of hashtags to your post without annoying people.
Find the most used and appropriate hashtags for your content and also your audience, but don’t spam a hashtag with irrelevant posts. You can easily start your own hashtags to help encourage user generated content, this can be for exposure or as part of a competition. There are some tools you can use for monitoring hashtags for competitions and you can check through your own hashtags to comment and re use images with permission.
As a user you don’t really care about when you post images, but brands need to consider how to get the most exposure, most people use instagram between 8pm and 9pm at night and at weekends, so consider adding images at these times for maximum engagement.
We know that an image gets the most likes and comments in the first 10 hours of posting so make sure these are not wasted.
There is an unwritten etiquette that you won’t post images and content too often, brands need to adhere to this as posting a succession of images one after the other can be annoying enough for people to unfollow. However 1 post every 6 hours or 2 posts a day are much more acceptable to die hard Instagram users.
You can measure the success of your posts at different times of the days using platforms such as Iconosquare.
Give back; instagram is a community so don’t just post and expect people to follow you, build your brand by commenting and following other people.
Follow accounts that are following similar accounts to yours and relevant hashtags, so if someone is following a brand similar to yours or liking pictures similar to yours then there is a good chance by following them they will notice and follow you. These types of accounts will be more likely to engage with you.
However don’t spam, if you don’t have anything interesting to say or post then don’t. It is better to make sure you are contributing. Even a quick audit on your posts from time to time to make sure the posts really represent the brand message.
Talk to them using a language they use regularly, use emotions and be personable. Instagram is a personal platform so whilst maintaining your brand image speak to them in their lingo. If your brand looks stupid speaking colloquially then perhaps Instagram is not the right place for you.
62% of Instagram users follow a brand because they love the brand, 54% to follow to discover new things and 48% because they find content interesting or funny.
Let people know you are on Instagram
Cross platform promotion, if you have a large following on Facebook or Twitter, let them know you are on Instagram. As long as you are not posting repetitive messages and have a marketing strategy specific to each platform then a bit of cross promotion is great. Also add instagram links to your website and any email marketing.