First, whether you had the day off and spent it relaxing, or you had a regular work day, for those in the US, best wishes on this Labor Day. I spent a great day with visiting friends in the morning, and with the family in the afternoon. But, today is the first Monday of the month, so here we are.
I still have 1 or 2 more topics to cover related to email marketing in my current email marketing series, but I thought I would change things up today and share some insights on Instagram.
Many businesses large and small are jumping in, and not everyone does it right. I’ve seen small businesses use it very effectively and I’ve also seen a major pharmaceutical company use it destructively for their brand image. The power of Instagram is that 1) it is free, 2) it is visual & 3) it is very mobile-centric. If you’re not using it already, you should certainly do your due-diligence to determine if an ongoing Instagram strategy makes sense for your business.
Digital Marketing Research Resource
One of the best resources I find for gathering insights into the digital tools I use is eMarketer. You can pay for a full access subscription, but they also provide a lot of free insights on their blog and website. You just need to keep an eye out for information that is relevant or insightful for what you need. On that note, in a March 2014 Instagram report from eMarketer, they estimate that 40.5 million of Instagram users are U.S.-based consumers using or logging into Instagram at least once per month. And it continues to grow.
Instagram’s user base (and therefore potential audience for you as a marketer) is mostly made up of Gen X and millennial users. 69% of of them are between the ages of 18 and 44. And while the current user base is primarily female, eMarketer forecasts the gender ratio will reach 45% male to 55% female by 2016.
4 Tips For Being Effective On Instagram
So here are 4 simple practical tips to maximize your impact on Instagram. Before I get into my 4 tips, I have to note my #1 rule for success in social media. It’s simple. Be great. Yes, that’s it. Have a great product, treat your customers great, run a great organization. If you do that, social media is a great venue for magnifying the success you’re already having.
- Use real photos (or videos). In the word of Social Media thought leader, Krista Neher, use “real photos of real things, taken by real people.” It’s an opportunity to give customers an inside look or backstage pass into your organization, and more importantly, to give it a human face. Instagram is about communication human emotions through photographs. It’s about the lifestyle, or the emotional need that your product provides or that your core audience aspires to.
- Feature objects in context. Whether it’s a product image, or anything else, the photos need to provide context. Avoid stand-along, white-background photos–go for the image of the product on a model, or placed in a contextual setting (home, office, etc). This helps the audience get a sense of size, colors, functionality, etc. It also provide the emotional connection for how the product fits into the lifestyle.
- Pay attention to your publishing cadence. Maybe I like that word to much — it just means the frequency with which you share to your followers. As with any other marketing communication tool, you should have a calendar, and a plan for what you’re sharing, when and how often. There are tools that can help you manage this such as Lategram.
- Measure more than just vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are things like “how many new followers”, or “how many likes” an image got. Not that those metrics don’t matter, but they can be very superficial, and won’t always tell you the full story. So, make sure to set up your Google Analytics on your website to measure traffic coming from Instagram (referrals). Use a unique vanity URL in your Instagram profile so you can measure clicks that come directly from the app. Also, the previously mentioned tool, Latergramme, also features an Analytics dashboard for all of your Instagram posts, regardless of whether they were scheduled via the app or not. It is certainly worth looking at the insights offered there.
There is a lot more, of course, but those are 4 basic things you can start doing right away. If you’re on Instagram, you can follow me at http://instagram.com/digital_wizard.
What’s your experience with Instagram? Any challenges or successes? Share in the comments. And if you found this post useful, would you share with a friend. Just click on one of the icons to the top left. I would appreciate your help in getting the word out.