Instagram continues to grow rapidly and now has over one billion monthly users. This means that it pays to build a presence on this platform as long as you get to know your audience and what they want along with what type of content gets the most results.
All forms of social media are continually evolving. At one time, Instagram was mostly a platform where people could share videos and pictures with friends and family, but it has grown into an effective marketing channel. What do you need to know to leverage the power of Instagram marketing, and what has changed in 2019?
Engage with Your Audience Using Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories continues to be a huge marketing tool with millions of people viewing stories every day. Stories give you the ability to share videos and photos that (like SnapChat) disappear after 24 hours. Fun disappearing content promotes interest and can be used to grow brand awareness. Individual videos have a maximum roll time of 15 seconds, but you can split a longer video into 15 second segments and play one after another.
Instagram is also adding eye-catching animations to their stories, which gives marketers an even better opportunity to grab audience attention. Flashy animation is much more likely to capture audience interest, so prospects or customers stop and watch rather than breezing by. Another eye-catching option is the use of stickers such as flowers, lightning bolts and rainbows to add color and personality to your posts.
Cultivating Authentic Relationships: Influencers and Micro Influencers
As a marketer, your goal on any social media platform is to grow your audience, and to do this you need to consistently post helpful and authentic content. The trend in 2019 is to get away from automation and move more toward authentic and genuine experiences and relationships. Influencer marketing continues to grow, but influencers have gotten more authentic and personal in 2019.
If you intend to work with influencers, work toward building genuine relationships. If influencers truly love your product, their approval will be transparent to their followers, which can in turn grow your following. A new trend in 2019 is to target micro influencers, those with a smaller but very targeted following. Micro influencers are those that have less than 100,000 followers. When these influencers promote a product, it sounds more like a trusted recommendation from a friend than an advertisement.
Leveraging the Power of Video with IGTV
Improvements to IGTV, Instagram’s video-sharing tool, make it an increasingly powerful option for marketing. IGTV now supports both vertical and horizontal videos. The ability to produce videos in landscape format makes video creation easier and also makes it easier to repurpose on other channels.
Another important change to IGTV in 2019 is that content creators can now publish previews of IGTV videos to their Instagram feed. This creates a better opportunity for viewers to discover brands through video.
Grow Your Following with Instagram Live
Instagram Live is a powerful tool that can bump your stories to the head of the feed. Using this feature, you can broadcast live videos to other users on the feed. Most Instagram users follow at least one business. Those that follow yours will get a notification when you go live (unless they’ve turned off notifications).
Live videos can expose your brand to new followers, and your video can then be posted to your Stories, where it’s available for 24 hours. Since a large number of people would rather watch a live video than read a blog post, Instagram Live offers a powerful way to reach your audience and grow your business.
Practices to Avoid on Instagram
The internet is loaded with spammers, and Instagram has zero tolerance for the practice. Anything that looks or acts like a spammer or a fake account can be banned or blocked. While this is intended to be protective for Instagram users, an inexperienced marketer can make an unintentional mistake and end up being banned, sometimes with no idea what they did wrong.
An important first step is to make sure you’re very familiar with Instagram’s community guidelines. When you have a business account, make sure you don’t set your account to private. Don’t share random pictures that aren’t relevant to your brand. Being relevant is key in business posting. Make sure to preview your posts and avoid publishing typos or low quality photos.
Growth methods that rely on automation no longer work. Recent updates are intended to combat automation such as fake likes or fake followers. Using bots or hashtags that are broken or have been banned can cause your content to appear spammy.
Analytics and Tracking ROI from Instagram
Using Instagram as a marketing strategy only makes sense if you know what’s working and what’s not working. Take advantage of all available tools on Instagram. Using Instagram Insights, you can obtain a breakdown of the demographics of your followers and view engagement data such as which of your posts are most popular and when your audience most frequently uses the platform. This information can be used to monitor growth and plan your Instagram strategy.
You can get detailed information on the performance of a particular story by clicking on the story and swiping up to see available insights for that story. If the story has been archived, you can access it from your archives.
Planning Your 2019 Instagram Marketing Strategy
Being able to take advantage of the power of Instagram marketing requires knowing your audience and having a strategy to increase engagement and ROI. The trend in Instagram marketing in 2019 is targeted, personalized content. People are looking for a genuine experience and will simply unfollow if that’s not what they’re getting.
Instagram can be a powerful marketing tool, but only if you know how to take advantage of what’s available. It can be confusing to take advantage of all that Instagram has to offer. If you need professional guidance with your Instagram marketing, whether you need help with graphics, IGTV or Instagram Stories, get guidance from the experts at Softline Solutions. With our help, you can improve your marketing success and realize your online potential.