Instagram has emerged as one of the largest social media platforms on the internet today. Between 2014 and 2017, the number of daily active users on this service grew from 200 million to 500 million. To put this in perspective; if Instagram were a country, this would be the third largest after China and India!
From a business perspective, Instagram is not only attractive because of the large user base, but also because the users here have high engagement rates. According to one study, at least 70% of Instagram users have sought a company out through the platform while 62% follow at least one company profile. Mastering Instagram is thus a highly vital aspect of your social media marketing efforts.
Use the right hashtags
Hashtags are one of the most defining aspects on Instagram. Not only do users get to tag each of their posts with up to 30 hashtags each, Instagram also allows users to follow hashtags they like. This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to reach prospective new users through the platform. Unfortunately, Instagram does not provide a way for businesses to track the number of people following any particular hashtag. However, since you can add as many as 30 hashtags on each of your posts, it is a good idea to experiment with multiple hashtags on your post to see what brings in the most followers.
It is however worth pointing out that using too many hashtags can make your submissions come across as spammy. The sweet spot is somewhere between five to ten hashtags per post.
This is how the Instagram algorithm works — each time you submit a new post, the submission is initially shown to a small subset of your followers. The engagement metrics assessed from these users is used to determine the exposure that your submission will receive.
While users do not have control over who the post gets shown to, it is possible to control it by tagging users to your post. Tagging your most active users not only makes sure that your post gets shown to these particular followers, but also nudges these users to engage with your submission. This helps increase engagement on your post which improves visibility.
Co-marketing is the process of partnering with fellow Instagrammers to cross-promote your accounts. One of the most effective ways to do this is by identifying Instagram accounts that cater to the same niche as you do. Tagging their posts on your timeline (and asking them to return the favor) helps your brand be visible in front of an audience who may be interested in your business. The best way to do this is by partnering with accounts that have a similar following as you. As your following grows, you get to partner with bigger accounts with a higher number of followers.
This is, however, a long process and can take several months. If you are looking for a quick co-marketing opportunity, you may instead partner with Instagram influencers. These are users with a large number of niche followers. Influencers help you spread the word about your business to their followers in exchange for money. Influencer marketing can be expensive, but is also highly effective.
Instagram advertising is also highly effective when compared to other social media channels. The average interaction rate on Instagram is 2.261%. This is many times higher than platforms like Facebook and Twitter where interaction rate ranges between 0.02% to 0.2%. Also, given that Instagram is a visual medium, businesses that are looking for branding exposure can reap high ROI through advertising on Instagram.
Instagram Stories have one of the highest engagement rates among social media assets on the internet. According to a Forbes report, the average engagement rate on Stories is 28% higher than what you see on Snapchat. Also, Stories posted by the average Instagram user is reportedly viewed by nearly 6%-10% of the followers every single day. From a business perspective, this offers great branding exposure and growth for your business.
Instagram is one of the best social networking platforms and shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. As a marketer, it is a great platform to invest in. The ideal strategy to get started would be to invest in advertising and influencer marketing to begin with and once you achieve a critical mass of users, invest in the other strategies mentioned here to further engage and grow your audience.
Anand Srinivasan is a blogger for GoRumors, a blog on all things tech.