Ben Duffy is the Founder of Portview Digital, Ireland’s only Instagram agency based in Stillorgan Dublin , as well as Instagram Portview Digital also provide a host of web support and web site design services.
Ben also offers individual one to one and group Instagram workshops to help you gain a better understanding of the platform and how to use it in line with your business and sales. We have personally undertaken one of Ben’s workshops and can highly recommend doing this! Ben knows his stuff!
Here Ben gives us his insights and some great tips and advice on how to leverage your Instagram during this period and going forward.
It’s amazing how much Instagram has evolved in just a few years. Once a place for selfies and photos of your food, Instagram is as much a marketing platform for businesses as it is a social network for over 1 billion people.
As more businesses use Instagram to connect with customers, brand strategy has expanded to include new goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). While businesses used to focus mainly on increasing brand awareness, Instagram is slowly but surely transforming into a full- on sales channel, with more businesses than ever before focusing on Instagram advertising, influencer marketing, and product promotion.
No matter what industry you work in, it pays to build a presence on Instagram. But if you really want to get ahead, you need to know the platform (and your audience!) inside and out, including what kinds of content resonate most, how to build an Instagram Stories strategy, and how to track your metrics and KPIs.
Here we give you a look at Instagram for business, highlighting the features and strategies that you need to be investing in.
The content you share on Instagram will encourage and strengthen your brand’s image while allowing a constant dialogue with your (potential) customers. Likes and comments are a direct way of receiving feedback which you can react to or use as a basis for future content. 500 million people use Instagram every day and 300 million use Instagram Stories daily which results in a sheer endless audience for brands and companies.
You can achieve large successes on Instagram, with relatively low effort and financial assets: you can reach a wide audience, while constructing a lasting medial and cognitive presence which will eventually increase your conversions significantly.
Concerning modern marketing strategies, Instagram is the best option as the content companies and brands share on Instagram leaves an authentic impression.
INSTAGRAM’S ENGAGEMENT RATE IS 70% HIGHER THAN FACEBOOK’S.
YOUR BIOGRAPHY OR YOUR WHY: WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO?
Each Instagram profile includes the so-called “bio”. The bio is displayed at the top of your profile and includes the most important information concerning your brand and account.
You can add a name for your account which will be displayed in bold letters. Underneath this basic information the actual bio is displayed. The bio consists of up to 150 characters, therefore the limited space should be used as efficiently as possible.
The Your bio is the only place where Instagram allows you to insert a link that will lead to another website. Make use of this function!
Possible options are sharing a link to your online-shop or your website. The link you chose to insert should be coherent with the goal you have set for your Instagram-account. Instagram implemented clickable hyperlinks. That means you are able to link profiles or hashtags.
You just include a “#” or “@” in your bio, it will automatically become a clickable link that lead users to the written hashtag or profile. If you want to grant users further insights into your brand or product, referring to other social media channels you actively use is another possible option for your bio.
Instagram includes an extra function that will allow you to turn your account into a business-profile. Doing this will lead to a number of benefits. Your profile will include a “contact”-button next to the “follow”- button once you turn your account into a business- profile. After you connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page, all your contact information will be displayed in a fixed place in a structured manner.
Furthermore, business-profiles on Instagram receive statistics concerning their followers. Information regarding demographics, reach, impressions and statistics for your own advertisements is available for business-profiles.
Additionally, business- profiles can “promote” their own content. The chosen post will be transferred into an advertisement, including a call-to-action button at the bottom. To make sure you can profit from these benefits, we advise to turn your brand or company account into a business-profile.
One of Instagram’s features that has a high potential for brands and companies, is “Instagram Stories”. Instagram Stories contain pictures and videos that are published outside of the personal gallery. An account’s profile picture will be highlighted if a new story was shared. What is special about the stories is their expiration date: anything that is shared in the story will automatically be deleted after 24 hours.
Instagram Stories keep your followers updated even if you haven’t post a photo on your Instagram feed. Instagram Stories make it possible to share short-termed extra content. Especially for brands and companies this is a way to present your customers with “behind the scenes” content you would not normally post in your gallery. This allows you to give more personal insights into your company, for example when special events are taking place.
To highlight the stories, they are always displayed at the top of a user’s newsfeed. This function will allow you to create personal insights into your brand or company which will help to personalise your brand image.
ALMOST 89% OF INFLUENCERS ARE USING INSTAGRAM STORIES.
KINDS OF CONTENT
If you want to post a single picture, a carousel or a video, the content you share should always be in accordance with your brand, your product or your company.
Carousel posts enable to combine up to 10 photos and videos in one post. You no longer have to post just one single photo you want
to share. By swiping through the post you can see all of the pictures.
One specific kind of content falls under the category of “news”. This includes any content that is supposed to transport important and new information. This could include opening dates for new store locations, the launch of a new product line or any kind of discount or contests you are having at the moment. In short: any news that could be of interest for your customers.
Instagram also allows its users to share videos. Any video you share needs to be between 3 and 60 seconds long. Always keep in mind that watching a video on Instagram will require more interaction. Hence, you should only share videos if absolutely necessary or useful. This is why the video’s message or content needs to be of a high enough value for the user, to justify the required interaction.
When you do share videos, make sure those are of very high quality, as low quality content will reflect badly on your account. If needs be, you can insert background music into your videos. Make sure to choose music carefully and ideally tailored to your audience.
WHEN TO POST
Concerning the timely manner to optimise your account, you should use your customers as a reference point. Try to share content when your target group is most active. Align your posting schedule with the time zone of your largest customer base and share content at the appropriate times for your target group.
As part of our monthly packages, Portview uses tools to collect data concerning which day of the week and at what time of day you share content. We also analyse the engagement rate for each post and uses all this information to generate the best time for you to share content. It is advisable to use analytics tools from the beginning to get maximum knowledge of your followers’ engagement.
Be sure to maintain your Instagram account on a regular basis. To do this, it is helpful to decide when to post which content ahead of time. Try to avoid irregular intervals. Construct a feeling of continuity and regularity so your followers know when and what to expect from your account.
When uploading your content to Instagram, there is a variety of possibilities to be aware of.
First and foremost, this includes the caption, as not all pictures are self- explanatory and should be published without further explanation. The caption is limited to your own creativity. Always make sure the caption is in accordance with the picture and serves as an addition to it.
An Instagram caption can be as long as 2200 characters. However, captions that are too long require more interaction and are therefore often skipped. Most of the time, a few short sentences will be sufficient to explain or support the message behind your content or to directly address your followers.
Other than being strictly connected to the picture, captions can be great to generate interaction and engagement. You can use captions to ask questions concerning your product or other relevant topics. Always make sure the caption matches the picture and serves its purpose as an addition to the picture.
In case your picture features popular people, products or places that have their own Instagram account, it is always advisable to tag them. This way you can highlight your connections to other accounts and increase your reach, since your content can be seen in different places on Instagram.
In case you forgot to tag another account while uploading the picture, you are always able to tag them later.
Furthermore, you can add the location where the picture was taken. This is especially useful when you are sharing content from outside your usual surroundings. Tagging your location will give your content a more authentic touch since the users will feel close to you and what you are doing right in that moment.
Instagram uses hashtags to categorise and collect content. Hashtags can describe the picture or link it to a topic. Users can search for hashtags and will be presented with all the content labeled with this hashtag, therefore using hashtags will make your content available to a larger amount of users than just your own followers.
Likewise, you can refer to hashtags when you are searching for content, new trends or similar accounts. The maximum amount of hashtags you can add to a picture is 30. However, this is not ideal as this will make the caption long and overloaded, so stick to a few, best-fitting hashtags.
An important kind of hashtag is the so-called “branded hashtag”. It can be company specific or campaign specific. Variations of a branded hashtag are your brand’s name, a slogan or the name of the campaign. Choose your branded hashtag wisely and carefully as it should serve as a long-term representative for your company. To ensure your branded hashtag will be recognised and used on a regular basis by your followers, choose one that is easy to type and use it consistently.
LIKES AND COMMENTS
One of the main benefits of Instagram is the direct interaction it revolves around. The likes you receive are a direct source of feedback for the content you have shared.
The amount of likes different pictures receive will show you which content your followers are open to, what attracts their attention and what does not.
The comments followers and other users will leave under your pictures are also important. Users will leave comments to voice their feedback, suggestions and requests concerning your content but also your service and product in general. If you want to reply to a comment make sure to use the function @username, otherwise the user will not be notified about the reaction towards their comment.
Replying to comments is always advisable as this will make your followers feel heard and important which will respectively increase their trust in you and your brand.
INTERACTION WITH OTHER ACCOUNTS
As a social network, Instagram is based on the interaction between different accounts.
To generate new followers and interactions for your own account, you need to interact with other accounts as well.
Follow accounts from the same industry or those who produce high quality content. When you enjoy another account’s content, show them by liking a picture or leaving a comment. This way you do not only engage friendly with others but are visible for those who follow that account.
Find out more about Portview Digital’s services on the website www.portviewdigital.ie