It seems Mark Zuckerberg's $1 billion acquisition of Instagram in 2012 is paying off, as the social media site is expected to hit $5 billion in sales by 2018.
In fact, apart from Facebook or Twitter, Instagram has become the go-to platform for businesses seeking to increase awareness and engagement, not to mention sales. While other social media sites such as Twitter have suffered some fluctuations in sales and population, Instagram has benefited from piggybacking on the Facebook architecture.
Instagram users are only a drop in the bucket when compared to Facebook's 1.9 billion users. But what Zuckerberg provides is stability. As Facebook grows possibly to be the first company to be worth $1 trillion, the photo-sharing site is bound to be carried along.
Below are some tips on how to leverage the platform in marketing your business:
1. Use Instagram Insights
Just like Facebook Insights, there's a tool in Instagram which is invaluable to any business, providing important metrics such as the number of times your post or video has been viewed (impressions), the number of clicks your link is getting, how many followers you are getting daily, and more. The results of this tool also include demographic info, which indicates the gender and age of your followers. This gives you a quick peek into the general profile of your followers so you can customize your marketing campaign to match their preferences.
2. Engage Your Followers
Followers, particularly die-hard fans of a particular brand, like to be rewarded for their loyalty. This is why businesses should also assign an administrator to reply to relevant comments if they can't do it themselves. Your customers will appreciate that their voices are being heard whether they’re giving suggestions or expressing complaints. It's also good to follow your followers back to learn about their tendencies, likes, travels, hobbies, and any information you can use for your own benefit.
3. Link Your Instagram Page to Your Website
Some businesses don’t connect their websites to their official Instagram account and vice versa. This is a lost opportunity for further marketing. You should also avoid flooding your page with photos of your products. Instead, use it as an opportunity to show the “human side” of your business. Buzzfeed is well-known for using its employees in its videos. As a result, traffic has gone up because viewers now relate more to the company because they know the people behind it. Don't forget to add the location to your photos and videos for geo-tagging or search engine optimization.
4. Contests and Rewards
Small tokens are a great way to reward your followers. You can hold contests like who can write the best caption or description for a photo or video that you share. You can also ask your customers to send their best photos during holidays or special occasions like Mother’s Day. This type of marketing campaign is considered “low-cost, high-reward.”
5. Make Hashtags More Relevant
Industry specific hashtags in Instagram marketing are a given, but try to find your niche in the industry to distinguish yourself from all the companies out there. There are websites such as Soldsie that help businesses tweak their hashtags for optimization. It's important that your hashtag is related to the image or video to prevent it from being categorized as spam. Piggybacking on trending hashtags is also a good idea, but make sure you don't overdo it.
One more thing to consider is timing. This is very important for Instagram marketing. Whereas peak hours will yield you more traffic (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), sharing your post after 5 p.m. EST will likely result in more engagement. If your marketing campaign is geared for other businesses, weekdays would be a good time to go online. Posting at 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. would be worthless as this has been found to be the worst time for engagement.