As we get closer to the end of the year and prepare for 2019, it’s essential to ensure you advance in your marketing. Whether you’re an aspiring Influencer or an entrepreneur on the rise. A brand ambassador or you run an eCommerce store, Instagram growth and engagement should be at the forefront of your mind. So, is Instagram really a priority? The short answer is yes, let’s look at some recent studies:
Instagram has over 1 billion users, with daily active users above 500 million, 25 million of which are businesses
57% of businesses asked said they have a Influencer Marketing strategy in place; 21% of those that didn't plan to soon
80% of users follow at least one business, with 60% of users actively seeking new products/services
eCommerce sales grow more than 20% per year and will reach almost $3.3 trillion by 2019
Instagram has the highest engagement rates of all social networks
Headline & Bio
Does your username and picture already have your name or brand name? If so, you’ll get a lot more traffic by using your headline to describe your account. Use the 30-character allowance to explain what it is exactly you do. Did you know that headlines are actually searchable? When your ideal audience is looking for new accounts, products or services – ensure your account shows up!
Your bio is just as important, here you have a 150-character allowance to really get creative. Whether you’re an Influencer or brand, use this space to sell yourself, not your product or service yet but your brand. Write a convincing bio, explain what it is you do in further detail, what your followers can expect from you and how they can get in touch. Be sure to include your URL in the website section and instruct your audience with a clear call-to-action.
Do you have a link to your blog, portfolio or website under your bio? Great! It’s imperative that you lead your audience to the right place. However, as an Influencer or brand, you should aim for a consistent theme across each channel. Choose a color theme that you’ll keep using consistently over time. Think of it as your signature style. Whether it’s for your website background, Instagram gallery or product packaging – be consistent and stay focused. Any changes should be made incrementally, in order not to confuse your audience. Your aim is for your audience to be able to see a page and instantly know it’s yours.
I can’t stress how important your audience insights are, not only for brands, but Influencers too. No matter your profile goals, your audience is the backbone. In order to sell a product, promote services or influence your following in any way – you must know them. Extremely well. If right now you’re thinking ‘yeah, I know them. Women between 20-35’, we need to talk! Where do they live? Where do they work? Do they have children? What do they do at 8pm? What thoughts keep them up at night? Seriously, the more you know, the more you’ll find methods to discover and communicate with them. Speak to them the way they like to be spoken to, show them the pictures they love to see and write the stories they want to read. The more you can get in sync with your followers, the more you can utilize them to your needs. This ensures profitability for you and satisfaction for your audience. It’s a lot easier to sell someone something that they actually want.
So now that we know our audience in detail, are you showing the correct content to your audience? The easiest way to answer this question is by checking your growth and engagement to date. If you’re increasing steadily over time, you receive a healthy amount likes and comments per post – then chances are you’re doing well. However, if you’re not, or you know there is room for improvement, here are some tips and tricks. Each post should tell a story. Your main objective is to build an emotional connection with your audience. The gallery section is the continuous narrative of you or your brand. Leave the catalogue, white background formula for your blog or eCommerce gallery. Always provide context and depth to your images, this includes editing them or hiring professional photographers for bulk content. Avoid using filters, the trend on filters is steadily declining and natural tones and textures are getting increasingly popular. Instagram is a mobile platform, post your images and videos in portrait mode to fill the entire screen – users will be less likely to keep scrolling. Lifestyle images, including faces and unique backgrounds receive 35% more likes and comments. Likewise, video content is on the rise and the higher engagement rates make the effort of video creation well worth it.
Captions & CTA
Instagram is a visual social platform, and due to this many people end up neglecting captions. Captions allow you to expand on the image or video you post, give it context and even make your followers laugh. Ask yourself if your captions tell a story, a joke, provoke thought, emotion and intrigue within your audience. This is essential in order for them to want to both follow and engage with your content. Before every post you plan to publish, you need to ask yourself, ‘if I were seeing my account for the first time, would I follow? Would I comment? Would I tag a friend?’. If the answers are all no, don’t post it. Re-write your caption until you’re speaking directly to your audience, in a clear and expressive voice.
Many studies have explored the effects of using call-to-actions and have determined that they work wonders! Using the word ‘like’ in your caption can help you receive 89% more likes. Using the word ‘comment’ got a whooping 2,194% more comments. Your audience need guidance, tell them what it is you’d like them to do. ‘Click link in bio’, ‘buy today’, ‘repost now’, ‘comment #Mapiac’ – don’t ask, don’t get!
In our predominantly digital world, more and more people are seeking human interaction. You can use this to your advantage, by not only posting your perfectly staged images, but real-life imperfect representations. Maybe you want your gallery to always look professional, in this case try using stories to show the behind-the-scenes footage. You can also use stories to share exclusive content, announce a sale and answer FAQ’s. The best part of stories is that they are now discoverable and have their own engagement. To get the Instagram algorithm to work for you, be sure to explore all of its features and tag your location consistently.
When you read a genuine and kind comment on one of your posts, how do you usually react? By then tapping on the person or brands page and looking at who they are and what they do? That is the usual reaction and in psychology it’s called the reciprocity effect. You can use this to your advantage; like and comment on posts within your idea audience. Eventually, the reciprocity effect will kick in and your idea audience will be flocking your way! This also works wonders for Influencers who tag brands in relevant posts. Not only does this help boost your visibility but also your chances of a brand collaboration.
Engaging directly with your audience is just as important. This means replying to all comments and DMs; not only favoring your engagement rate but building trust within the community.
A great way to retain your followers’ interest in your account and gain new followers, is to occasionally run a giveaway. This works for both brands and Influencers. If you are an influencer in the travel industry, offer a travel guide or a pdf download you’ve made with all your top travel tips. Brands can offer one of their products or a gift card. Ensure your giveaway is directly linked to your audience’s interests and you can’t go wrong! A top tip to boost engagement is to include a price value, this entices your audience even more. Have them tag their friends, repost or like your page to win, assuring the giveaway will be worth the cost and effort.
Giveaways are one of the best ways to increase brand awareness, lead generation, engagement rates and sales. Remember the reciprocity effect? Run a giveaway and your audience will be much more likely to stay loyal, interested and engaged.
Two heads are better than one, right? And two Instagram accounts are better than one too. Businesses and Influencers are connecting at a growing rate. Influencer networks act as the bridge between them, where they can get creative and communicate directly. As an Influencer, you can sign up to influencer network free of charge and get paid work. This is where the bulk of influencers make their money on Instagram. As long as your profile has good engagement, you should get brands reaching out to you. However, you may need to do the bulk of the work at the beginning and reach out to brands directly.
Brands can use Influencer networks to run campaigns, set a budget and align the right Influencer for maximum profitability. Alternatively, engaging with influencers to do affiliate marketing can also be extremely effective. Affiliate marketing reduces your upfront costs and works on a commission basis. There are plenty of brands and Influencers out there, take your time to find a good match. Time, effort and money will be wasted if your audiences don’t align. When successful, I.M can help you make more money and your engagement will surely grow in the process. I won’t go into too much detail here, if you want to know more click to read our other blogs.
Building a brand, or a name for yourself as an Influencer, is no easy feat. It takes time, effort and a little push in the right direction. Mapiac have been helping influencers and businesses grow their accounts, both rapidly yet organically for over three years. Regardless of your plan, with us you’ll always have a personal Instagram expert to help you along the way. Our ‘Social Media Growth’ service will also save you heaps of time. We follow/unfollow your ideal audience, to ensure you always have fresh eyes coming to your profile. We like photos, send custom DMs to your new followers and support your overall growth process. Click the link above and explore our services to see exactly how we can help you.