Once considered a niche social media network, Instagram has shattered both user and brand expectations over the course of the past five years. According to AdWeek, Instagram and its parent, Facebook, are likely to control up to 65% of the social media budgets of most brands in 2016, which equates to approximately $16.3 billion. The real surprise here, though, is that it’s not Facebook that’s driving these numbers up — it’s Instagram. Engagement on the platform continues to be a major part of Instagram’s appeal when compared to marketing on other social platforms. When stacked up against Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn, Instagram continues to be the clear industry leader (see 2015 Forrester research here).
Learning how to use Instagram for marketing is an essential part of building a brand and driving profitable engagement, awareness, and affinity in the digital age. Here are three top tips to get you started:
One of the most effective tools for marketing on social media networks like Instagram is to create an effective campaign that can be tracked closely throughout its lifecycle — developed and employed correctly, an appropriate campaign hashtag can help marketers track certain aspects of each Instagram campaign. Developing a catchy, clever, and actionable hashtag to support a product launch, for example, makes it easy for Instagrammers to tag relevant content and build a community within the network that can easily be browsed by interested and like-minded consumers.
For an in-depth look on Instagram hashtags, please reference Buffer’s “A Scientific Guide To Hashtags: How Many, Which Ones, And Where To Use Them.”
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Instagram is the premier social media platform for photo sharing, which makes it an excellent tool for interactive contests involving UGC (user-generated content). Many brands have offered giveaways, free products, trial subscriptions, and trips to users who enter into a drawing by posting photos of themselves with specific products, for example, which can be an effective way to increase both brand visibility and brand affinity. There are numerous different routes to take when designing a photo or video contest, and Instagrammers often respond positively, as it gives them a chance to show off their work. When executed properly, Instagram contests can be the catalyst for substantial growth and user acquisition.
Marketing with top influencers on Instagram is one of the newest and most effective ways to engage users and build an audience. Instagram is home to a number of social media stars, many of whom have an extremely wide reach and a strong influence over those who follow them closely. Brands that align with the right social media influencers can expect to find a greater return on the money they allocate to this form of marketing in comparison to traditional marketing techniques.
See the top mega brands marketing with top influencers here.
Perhaps most importantly, though, is that Instagram users don’t want to be bombarded with ads — they want to connect and interact with social media stars, the tastemakers setting the standard for today’s aspirational lifestyle. Many of the top brands on Instagram experience great recurring success by combining all three points presented here.
For an in-depth look at how to find the right social influencers, view our dedicated post here.