Social Media Close-Up: Instagram

Following in the tracks of its parent site Facebook, Instagram is now the second most trafficked social media platform, with more than 1 billion active users. Created specifically to share images and videos, Instagram quickly became a favorite among younger users, then extended to brands and older users as it grew in popularity. 

With its growing consumer base and user-friendly interface, managing an organization’s Instagram account needs a thoughtful, strategic approach. As a brand on Instagram, the trick is to look:

  • Real but not unprofessional
  • Polished but not staged
  • Curated but not fake

This combination is difficult to master, particularly when a brand doesn’t sell traditional products that are easy to capture visually. The good news is that there is room for everyone in the Instagram ecosystem if the strategy is effective.

Content Types

The main Instagram feed is filled with a variety of different types of content, including images, videos, carousels, collages, memes, and IGTV. A successful Instagram strategy leverages these content types, develops an overall aesthetic of the profile in line with the tone of the account, and is smart about the frequency of posting.

If creating a strong visual aesthetic is the brand’s overarching goal for the platform, consider creating a curated and intentional grid. Work with a graphic designer to visually map out a cohesive grid, or check out tools like Planoly or ImageSplitter. Looking for a light-hearted, pop-culture oriented feed? Play with memes and videos on a daily or weekly basis. Sites like ImgFlip or MemeCreator are great resources to replicate popular memes with original text. Remember, the frequency of posting does in some way affect the overall strategy of the account. If a brand is only posting once or twice per month, it might be appropriate to use carousels to share more than one image or video at once. 

And because Instagram is owned by Facebook, account holders can use the Creator Studio for seamless content creation and scheduling (see our nuances of Facebook post).

Instagram Stories

For years, the only way to share a post to Instagram was through the main feed. Then along came Stories. In short, Instagram Stories were an answer to Snapchat; a way for users to share quick, short-lived content that’s often less filtered or edited.

Stories are particularly useful for brands for a variety of reasons. Stories can help create greater visibility. As they’re at the top of the interface, and sorted by time-added, they help with exposure. Instagram also continues to add new features to Stories almost weekly, including GIFs, emojis, filters, and stickers, creating more opportunity to engage with pop culture trends in an organic and creative way. Stories have an increase in engagement through polls, Q&As, quizzes, chats, replies, and shares. Do not underestimate the power of Instagram’s Highlights as well. While Highlights is a public archiving of older stories, it does showcase the thriving nature of the brand.

For any brands not yet using Stories, we highly recommend you try it!

Instagram Insights

Staying relevant and sharing visually appealing content is crucial on Instagram, but keeping track of the success of these posts is just as critical. While reporting can be a tedious and time-consuming process, knowing what types of content your fans are responding to is just as important as crafting creative posts. Never underestimate the power of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)! Instagram’s insights include data around a post’s reach, actions taken on the post, profile visits, story exits, website clicks, and much more.

Similar to Twitter and Facebook, Instagram is an incredibly valuable tool for brands of all shapes and sizes. It offers brands the unique opportunity to connect with their customers, drive engagement, and even sell products on a platform that they’re already using. Add in a robust digital strategy, and any brand has the potential to see big results. 

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