Wondering how you can improve your Instagram marketing to drive more engagement and grow following this 2018?
Ever since Instagram was launched in 2010, marketers are trying their best to decipher the app’s formula to drive engagement and grow following.
But truth is, Instagram doesn’t have any magical formula to succeed on it. One key to success on Instagram lies on its’ features. Each one of the features has a specific responsibility; it’s advisable to explore it all first to see which of those features fits your needs. It may seem confusing to understand; but once you get the hang of it, you’ll able to use it to your advantage.
Every year, Instagram adds new features and/or update its current ones. So, it’s always best to keep an eye on those updates to immediately see its’ effect on your current marketing plan. If it has a good effect, keep it; but if not, you can immediately find an alternative solution for it.
Marketing on Instagram can really be intimidating as the competition is very tight. To help you stand-out, you need to keep up with the latest trends in technology. In Instagram, there are 8 marketing trends that you must explore!
8 Must-Explore Trends To Bring Your Instagram To The Next Level
1. Tell Your Story On Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is one of the features that instantly become users’ favorite. Why? It’s because it allows users to share photos and record videos in a slideshow format and will disappear after 24 hours.
It’s good to use for spur-of-the-moment kind of events that you wanted to share but doesn’t want to keep it on your profile for long.
All through 2017, Instagram Stories has been updated several times to enhance its effectiveness. Some of the most memorable updates are as follows:
- Stories Highlights
If others are fine with the 24-hour timeframe of Instagram Stories, for marketers, it’s a problem they have to deal with. To solve that problem, Instagram released a new feature called Stories Highlights.
Stories Highlights is a section placed underneath your profile’s bio. In this section, you’re able to create a collection of all the stories you’ve posted and made it permanently live on your profile. You can do this by choosing your stories photo or video then name its cover.
- Polls in Instagram Stories
In marketing a brand, a poll is one of the effective methods to conduct market research and get people’s opinion about it at the same time. That’s why when Instagram introduced polls on Stories last October, marketers (even non-marketers) rejoices.
You can do polls by selecting the “poll” sticker on your chosen story and place it in any position you like. After sharing your poll, people from your following and followers can start placing their votes.
With regard to seeing the result, your viewers can see it by watching the story again; while you can see the results by swiping up to open the viewers’ list. The only downside of the poll feature is, since it’s Stories’ feature the poll and its result will disappear as well after 24 hours.
- Photo and Video Replies to Instagram Stories
For some, replying may only seem to be a common kind gesture everyone does when someone comments on their post. But in marketing, it’s a good way to communicate with your audience and eventually turn them into followers.
Last July, Instagram adds more fun to it when they introduced video and photo replies. You can do this by tapping the new camera button while you’re watching your chosen story. Then choose any creative tools in the camera (e.g. face filters, stickers, record video and more) that can help you customize your reply.
Image Souce: Instagram Blog
2. Go Live On Instagram
Live Stories is a great way to showcase your brand to your audience. Since it’s live, you’ll able to talk to them directly by answering their questions in the comment section. Live Stories is good to use whenever you’re running a contest, announcing winners or sale and so on.
You can start a live story by tapping the camera located in the top left of your screen. After that you’ll see the “Live” option at the bottom of your screen, tap it to start a live story.
To see the number of viewers engaging on your video, look at the top of the screen; while the comments appear at the bottom of your screen. Once you’re done, tap the “End” button in the top right.
When Instagram first launched Live Stories, it’s very limited. But over a year, it evolves greatly. Instagram knows that interaction is an important method to reach our target audience; that’s the reason they created more ways to do this and some of them are:
- Live request where you can invite people to join your broadcast
- Live video replay. A Live story will automatically disappear as soon as you end it. But with live video replay, you have the ability to share it on your story feed or saved it on your camera gallery.
- Interactive reply. This feature allows users to engage on your Live story by commenting or replying with their own videos or pictures.
Image Source: Engaget
3. Reposting Content
If Instagram Stories focused on creating original content, reposting is about sharing note-worthy content.
Reposting has been a common practice in all social media platform and it’s proven to be effective in gaining more exposure for the brand, strengthening the brand’s core message, gaining trusts and more. But unlike to other social media platform, reposting in Instagram is a bit more challenging because it doesn’t have a specific feature or button to do it.
You can repost on Instagram in two ways: download a third-party application or do it manually.
If you choose the first one, it’s best to read reviews before downloading any application to help you decide which of the application on the market is safe to use.
One application that stands out is Buffer. Buffer is a social media management platform that has an Instagram reposting feature. It’s easy to manage and the instructions for reposting are straightforward, so, you can do it in few minutes.
But if you choose the latter option, make sure to strictly follow Instagram Reposting Etiquette. Reposting has a lot of benefits but if it’s executed poorly, you could end up facing legal problems against the content’s owner. So, always be cautious.
There’s a news that Instagram will have a new feature, called Regram, that will make reposting way much easier to do. This feature is a button and will be placed alongside the heart, comment and send to icons. Though this is still in testing mode, many are already excited waiting for its official launch.
Image Source: Buffer
4. How Many Content To Post Per Day?
Posting relevant content is the main game on all social media platform. This is the information that you wanted your audience to know about your company or brand. If this delivered properly, you’ll surely attract more followers.
But just like in any other social media platform, there are a certain number of posts that you needed to upload per day. The only question is what’s the exact number?
Different studies were made by professionals just to answer this question. And according to my research, one should be consistently posting 3 contents in a day on Instagram. And to maximize your content’s visibility and traffic, it’s advisable to find the best time to post it as well.
The best time to post will always depend on your location. It’s best to make a research first or be experimental by posting at different time of the day. At the end of each week, check which post received the most engagement and traffic.
Image Source: Coschedule Blog
5. Location And Hashtag Stories On Explore
As a business owner, you always wonder the latest happening in your niche’s industry or competitors. Before, you have to search endlessly by location or Hashtag just to see it on Instagram. Now, you can see all of it on Explore.
You can see the location or Hashtag pages through search; or, if you’ve seen it on a post just tap it from there. But if you want to add it to your own post, just tap the Add Location after you upload the video or photo. A suggestion list will appear and from there, you can choose your or target location.
Just remember, if you’re targeting a wide range of audience make sure your Instagram account is in a public setting. If your account is in a private setting, only your followers can see the posts you shared.
Image Source: Instagram Press Blog
Not all part of the worldwide web is safe. And since Instagram has 500+ million users worldwide, its management made sure that Instagram will remain to be a safe place for everyone to communicate or do business. They do this by adding safety tools: ability hide offensive comments, delete or turn off commenting, remove followers from private accounts and anonymously report posts that hint at the intention of self-injury.
By default, the setting for hiding offensive comments is automatically turned ON. But if you want to change it, you can set this by going to your profile, click the 3 dots in the top right of your screen (for Android; gear icon for iOS) and tap comments.
Once you turned ON this filter, it’ll be applied to both new and existing comments
For users that have private accounts, they can remove followers by going to their follower list then tap 3 dots menu next to any person’s name and click remove.
On the other hand, deleting or turn off commenting can be done by going to your post and click the 3 dots in the top right. A pop-up box will appear with the options available for you.
The above-mentioned tools are very effective. But there’s an old saying “If there’s a will, there’s a way”; if spammers really want to ruin one’s reputation, they’ll always find a new way to do it. If this happens, you can always report them by tapping the 3 dots above the post and click the Report. After that, you’ll see a set of instruction that you need to follow next.
Image source: Instagram Blog
7. Ability To Follow Hashtags
In a simple explanation, Hashtag is like a tag in a blog, it helps the posts to be indexed for a specific keyword. When Instagram first launched, the users have to search the Hashtag they needed every time they’re posting or exploring new trends. It’s tedious and a bit time-consuming.
But Instagram made it easier when they introduced the ability to follow Hashtag. Now, staying connected to all the things you’re interested in is just a matter of one click.
You can follow Hashtag by searching your chosen topic and when all relevant Hashtag displayed in your search results, choose what you like best. Once you’ve decided, open the Hashtag’s page and tap the follow button.
After this, you’ll begin to see the top posts from that Hashtag in your feed. If you feel it’s not relevant to your brand anymore, you can always unfollow it.
Image Source: Instagram
8. Introducing GIF Stickers
In marketing a brand on Instagram, you have to make your story interesting and entertaining to ensure that you’ll get the attention and engagement you’ve estimated to receive.
This year, Instagram added a new way to do that and that’s by adding GIF stickers. Now, aside from filters and non-animated stickers, you can add expressive GIF stickers to your story – whether its video or photo.
You can add this by tapping the GIF option after you tap the “add sticker”, and its library will open. The GIF stickers are powered by GIPHY, so if you want an extensive collection of stickers or see the latest designs, you can search it on GIPHY.
These are just some of the good features of Instagram that must be explored and added to everyone’s marketing plan. If you believe that this isn’t enough, be patient because there’s more to come.