| By Camille Whitehead Expert View
How to ‘gram in 7 easy steps
A brief glance at the changes in social media over the past decade, show a clear trend toward visually orientated networks. From text-based activity such as Hotmail, MySpace and the origins of Facebook, there has been a great shift toward aesthetically pleasing, image-focused networks including Instagram,Pinterest, and Snapchat.
Instagram alone has 300 million active monthly users. By September 2015 they had shared over 30 billion photos, with an average of 70 million photos posted each day. Instagram adoption has reached 85% among top brands, and according to a study conducted by Forrester, these brands are seeing an engagement rate of 4.21% per follower. This engagement rate is 58 times higher than on Facebook, and 120 times higher than Twitter. The average engagement per Instagram post has grown by 416% over two years.
Without strong presence on visual channels such as Instagram, companies risk being forgotten and lost, especially among Millennials and younger generations. American teenagers consider Instagram to be the single most important social network. So how can you create and grow an Instagram feed to leverage the network’s success?
Research the market
Take a look at who does Instagram well, and consider their strategy. Analyse brands that match your offering type.
- What content gets posted at what time?
- What type of content is dominant and what receives the highest engagement?
- What filters can you notice (if any at all)?
- Are hashtags consistent or changing? What is included in the caption?
- Do you offer a product or service?
Ensure your business has sufficient resources to manage an Instagram page, this is crucial in guaranteeing the longevity and success of the feed. Research shows that marketers investing 40 or more hours each week on social media are 42% more focused on Instagram than those investing 6 or fewer hours a week. This suggests that brands who allocate more resources into social media see Instagram as a worthy investment.
Define your strategy
Review your social strategy and consider how the establishment of an Instagram page will complement it. Don’t assume that you can completely ‘cross-pollinate’ your different channels by publishing the same content across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. How will you reach your target audience? Set short-term goals and long term KPIs and develop pathways to achieve these.
Generate valuable content
Brainstorm your brand and think about images related to it. This may not be the product or service itself but what people commonly associate with your brand. A farming brand may post images of farm dogs with a short bio, or a meal which includes produce from the farm.
Complete a calendar
Create a calendar that includes dates relevant to your brand as well as generic, annual dates which could be leveraged. Brand specific dates could include product launches, milestones, local community events, releases, discount days and employee events. Generic dates include holidays, memorial days, the start of a new season and funny days of celebration. Posts with minimum one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement, so establish a hashtag which is appropriate for your brand and the current campaign and include it in captions.
Consider how you can promote Instagram to your target audience, and how to convert this audience into engaged followers. There are a number of ways follower growth can be achieved, including:
- ‘re-gramming’ photos of followers
- including a link to the account on your website and in EDMs.
The most important aspect is to publish content that provides exclusive value to your audience.
Measure and manage
Measure and track the success of your brand against your KPIs to ensure continual exceptional performance. Assess which posts have proven to be more successful and analyse trends that may have affected engagement with images. Use this analysis to inform future decisions regarding the publication of images and forthcoming content calendars.
Some final pointers:
- Social Media