Instagram has already become a great addition to the digital marketing arsenal for a lot of businesses, but it's about to become a much better one for a lot more businesses thanks to recently announced features.
Are you incorporating Instagram into your marketing efforts in any meaningful way so far? Do you plan to do more with it in the future? Let us know in the comments.
Instagram is improving as a means for users to discover content both organically and through sponsored media. It recently launched some major improvements to search both on mobile and the desktop. Hashtag searches will point users to top posts, followed by real-time streams of the most recent posts. Location search works the same way. This means increased visibility opportunities for marketers.
As my colleague Josh Wolford recently noted, "And when users surface said content, it’s going to look much, much better than it has in the past. Instagram’s website just received a big redesign with bigger photos. As a marketer, your content will look even more appealing when a user happens upon it via hashtag, profile, or location search on the web."
On the paid side of things, Instagram recently revealed that it will be offering its advertising platform to businesses of all sizes starting this fall. Last week, eMarketer published an interview with Jim Squires, the director of marketing operations at Instagram. He said:
We’ve spent the last 18 months establishing the platform for large brands. The next logical step is to empower businesses of all sizes. Being able to target narrower segments and achieve different types of objectives is essential. We want to offer a complete solution that allows businesses to purchase through self-serve interfaces and achieve the objectives they want to achieve.
We’re testing the action-oriented formats and buying through the API now, and we will be doing that through the summer with select partners and clients. Then we’ll be opening up globally and to all advertisers in the early fall timeframe.
In addition to the video, photo, and carousel ad formats Instagram currently has, it will let people take action directly from an ad to sign up on a website, but a product, or download an app. According to Squires, the ability to take action right from Instagram has been one of the most requested features from both users and advertisers.
The ads will come with “algorithmic approaches” to keeping ads up to quality standards, utilizing signals like negative feedback rates, engagement rates, and comments, Squires told eMarketer. Targeting options will be expanded to mirror what’s offered on Facebook, which is pretty comprehensive.
When Instagram made its announcement last month, it said it would also leverage the best of Facebook’s infrastructure for buying ,managing, and measuring ads.
Consider all of this stuff, and you're going to want to create great Instagram content. MadeFreshly has an infographic about "the anatomy of the perfect Instagram post," that's worth taking a look at.
What it boils down to is that you should use a visually appealing image, a high quality photo, bright lighting for highlighting products, grab the viewers attention, be persuasive, ask a direct question for more engagement, use a call-to-action, use relevant hashtags to help it go viral, and respond to comments/answer questions.
In reality, there's probably no such thing as a "perfect" Instagram post, but this is all pretty sound advice and should help you at least strive for perfection in your Instagram marketing efforts.
As I've discussed in previous articles, it's getting harder to ignore Instagram for marketing. Make sure and follow that link for a look at what Instagram itself says about how businesses should use Instagram and for another infographic on "the science of brands on Instagram."
What strategies do you incorporate to get the maximum effect out of your Instagram marketing efforts? Discuss.