Social media is an expansive tool, and plays a vital role in modern businesses’ marketing and promotional efforts, community outreach and engagement, product sales, industry research, and so much more!
In this blog series, we are going to break down the complicated world of social media channel by channel, in order to help businesses of all sizes better optimize their social media presence and content. Today we are going to focus on Instagram. Instagram is the incredibly popular photo and video sharing app owned by Facebook that has a massive influence on worldwide culture and social trends with over 1 billion users.
We have broken down our suggestions for optimizing your use of Instagram into five main sections. Let’s dive right in!
On Instagram, the visual appeal of your business content is very important. The content you produce, whether it be an image or video, should both match your brand identity, and effectively engage your target audience and social following. When conceptualizing the broader visual themes of your Instagram feed it is important to closely focus on the identity of your brand. Your social posts should make sure to match all other visual content your brand produces, from your logo, to advertisements, to your website design.
If you are posting photos, think about the subject of the photo and the colors present - do all of these factors contribute to the visual theme you want to portray? If you don’t want to just post photos, or if posting photos does not align with your brand, Instagram is also a great place to show off your graphic design skills and post graphics. These graphics can be just as engaging as photos, and can often allow brands the creative freedom to create content that perfectly suits who they are.
The flip side of this coin is that you also need to make sure the visual content you produce is effective at engaging your target audience. This comes first and foremost with a well-rounded understanding of who your target audience is, and what they are looking for on social media. Is your audience looking for helpful tips and tricks, industry news, or merely fun lifestyle content. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and ask yourself “Would I double tap?”
When posting on social media, it can be tempting to post the exact same caption for each channel, but that often results in copy that is not optimized for ANY channel.
When writing social copy for Instagram, keep in mind that Instagram is a generally lighthearted and fun platform. Users will not be looking for the more informative content that you might find on a platform like LinkedIn. Your copy should still be written entirely from your brand voice, but make sure to combine this tone with the overall tone of Instagram as a platform. It is also important to keep your Instagram captions relatively short. It is not horrible to include a caption that is text heavy from time to time but a good rule of thumb is that you should try to keep your captions as short and snappy as possible while still including all relevant content and information. This may seem difficult at first, especially when you have a lot of information you want to share, but over time you will become more and more proficient at distilling your message into a shorter format!
A large part of writing copy for Instagram captions is hashtag use. Instagram allows 30 hashtags to be used for each post, and it is an excellent idea to include as many hashtags as possible. The key with this, is that quality also makes a massive difference. It is important to research hashtags that will actually be effective in reaching your target audience. A smart way of researching this is taking a look at what hashtags are used by other businesses in your industry, or the hashtags that are often used by specific types of customers you hope to engage. Feel free to experiment with different hashtags and see what is the most effective for your brand!
As you may have already noticed, in recent years and months Instagram has been heavily promoting the various kinds of media within its app, primarily including various forms of video content with Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Reels. As Adam Mosseri (the head of Instagram) recently said himself, he no longer wants Instagram to be seen just as the “square photo-sharing app”, but rather as an immersive entertainment platform. For content creators, adding video content into your Instagram feed can be an extremely effective way to reach new audiences. Many brands who have begun creating video content, especially implementing the Reels feature, have seen exponential increases in engagement and reach!
But how exactly do you create video content? With Instagram, you don’t need extensive training and editing knowledge, you just need creativity, and a great understanding of the content your audience wants. For example if you run a complex tech brand, a series of lighthearted videos that help break down specific features or functionalities of your business would be the perfect way to jump into video creation for Instagram. Or if you run a younger lifestyle brand, creating your own versions of the latest video trends is the perfect way to reach that younger audience.
For most businesses, the ultimate goal of social media is to bring tangible results to your company and drive conversions. This can include anything from an increase in newsletter sign-ups, to actual product sales, to reads of your latest magazine, to website traffic, etc! But how do you actually drive this traffic? The two primary methods of achieving these goals are through implementing a link-in-bio and using Instagram’s built-in Shopping feature.
Currently, there is no option to embed a hyperlink within an Instagram caption itself, using a link-in-bio is the most effective way to allow users to click directly from your content to an external site such as a specific landing page on your website or blog. Various platforms offer a link in bio including Feedlink, Linktree, and other social media tools like Sprout Social, and can allow you to connect specific links to each of your individual instagram posts. This allows the user to interact with a specific post that can refer them to a page on your website that takes them one step closer to converting.
Instagram Shopping was recently introduced, and allows companies to set up a shop within the Instagram app. Through the Instagram Shop, customers can make purchases without ever having to leave the Instagram app, which shortens the funnel and can greatly increase the number of purchases and conversions that are possible through social media.
The final tip we have for businesses looking to up their Instagram game, is promoting your posts on Instagram. There are two primary methods of doing this, each with various pros and cons: boosting posts and creating an ad.
Boosting an Instagram post is the easiest and quickest way to get started with promoting posts. Boosting posts allows you to increase the reach of any post that you have already posted to Instagram. It is quick, easy, and can be a great way to increase the exposure of your top performing posts beyond your current audience.
Boosting posts is great, but if you are looking to target a niche audience and gain extensive customization options over the content you promote, creating an ad is the way to go. As Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can create ads on Facebook’s Ads Manager, and you will have access to Facebook’s broad ad network. Creating an ad is more complex, but you will have full control over the type of content you use and who you want to target.
Instagram is a social media platform that continues to reinvent itself and shows no signs of slowing down in its growth. For businesses and marketers that want to increase their social media presence and reach new, younger audiences — Instagram is the perfect platform! The five areas of focus we discussed will allow businesses of any size to optimize their social presence on Instagram and help generate long term growth.