When it comes to social platforms, Instagram is among the top. An infographic from Social Media Today illustrates that Instagram has 600 million unique monthly users, making it one of the fastest growing platforms. Not every business is suited for Instagram, but if you’re looking to reach a wider audience and share a visual narrative of your company, its activities, and latest news, consider diving into the increasingly popular app.

Getting Started:

If you’re already on Instagram, great! If not, take some time to think about your voice and marketing strategy. What time of content will you be sharing, and how often? Will it be a collaborative effort between your employees? Since Instagram is a visual platform, it’s important to consider how you will be presenting your content. With its vertical scrolling capability, users may not spend much time reading your content after the first few hashtags.

The Pictures:

Smartphones these days are made with decent quality cameras that make it easy to capture a great shot and share it. The platform allows for minimal editing capabilities (filters, brightness, and contract, highlights and shadows, etc.), so depending on what you are sharing, you may want to consider taking pictures with a DSLR and editing them on your computer. If you’re working on a marketing campaign, doing this will allow you to craft a fantastic looking image to better fit your story. 

The Goal:

In your marketing campaign, one of the first steps is identifying your goal. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Drive more traffic to your website? Or only promote a specific webinar or event? Regardless, determining your goal ahead of time will be beneficial in the planning process. From there, you can develop a content calendar. This will help you determine what image you post, which hashtags you use, and when you share it. Depending on your business, you may need to adjust your goal every once in a while. It can be event or community specific. Either way, be sure you clearly define what it is you are aiming towards. The rest will fall into place.

The Hashtags:

Arguably the most important component of Instagram, hashtags serve as a way to expand your reach and engagement rate. If you continue to share images with no tags, only those who “follow” you will see your content. Posts with at least one hashtag average a 12.6 percent increase in engagement, so you can imagine what 4-5 would do for your reach. Depending on your industry, you may want to include more or less. A good rule of thumb is to only use ones that are relevant to your brand, industry and target audience. Ideally, you’ll also want to use ones that are easy for people to find. They don’t need to be “trending” but they should at least be a general search term. Hashtags are also very helpful if you decide to run a marketing campaign. You can do research into what hashtags perform the best in your industry. This will give you insight into what to include in your next post. For more information, check out this article published by Later.

Monitoring Your Success:

Instagram will show you the amount of likes and comments on a certain post. Programs such as ‘Iconosquare’ and ‘Followers’ will show you even more information; such as engagement rates, how many people have seen your posts over time, which posts performed the best, what times of the day work best for you, etc. With this data, you’re able to adjust your calendar and marketing strategy to get the most mileage from your audience. Be sure to keep track of everything so you understand all of the ups and downs of your posts.