Instagram is Facebook’s younger, cooler sibling. But you don’t have to be particularly young or cool to use it for content marketing. With more than 800 million active monthly users (at last count), the platform can be an excellent way to connect with audiences in a somewhat relaxed, informal way. Is there a secret to Instagram content marketing success? In some ways, yes. Knowing how to use the platform, and being smart about how you use it can mean getting more of those coveted likes and comments.
Here’s what smart marketers do to ensure Instagram content marketing success.
5 Instagram Content Marketing Tips
On Instagram, consistency works in two ways. First, it is important to be consistent about posting. You never want people to think “Hey, what happened to…?”
But at the same time, you don’t want people to think, “Wow, I wish brand A wouldn’t clog up my feed with all their posts. Unfollow.”
The trick is to find that happy middle. Post regularly, such as once or twice a day. But don’t post so much that people get annoyed.
Another way to be consistent on Instagram is to find a style of post and a filter that works for you. It can be tempting to try a new filter each time you post a new photo, but for consistency’s sake (and for the sake of the overall look of your profile), choose one and stick with it.
(Need help choosing a filter? Here’s a hint: Clarendon is the most popular filter in the US.)
Be Smart About Hashtags
Your Instagram posts need hashtags. Hashtags make it easier for users to find posts. Now that the platform lets people follow hashtags, using them can also ensure that your posts get in front of the right audience.
That said, there are smart ways and dumb ways to use hashtags. The dumb ways include only using hashtags and no other text in your captions. Way to look like a spambot.
Another dumb way to use hashtags is to not do any research on them, or to just toss a handful in and see what happens.
Here’s how to be smart about hashtags: Use ones that are relevant to your brand and to what you’re posting. Go ahead and try to #makefetchhappen with hashtags, too. That is, go ahead and create a few that are relevant to your brand, so that people who are really into what you have to offer can easily find posts.
Know Your Audience
Although Instagram tends to attract younger users, don’t let that fact dissuade you from using it if you primarily cater to an older demographic. Some Instagrammers might be on the young side, but with more than 800 million users, you’re likely to find someone from every possible age group and demographic on the site.
That said, it’s important to know your audience, and to create content that will be appealing to them. Don’t assume a tone that’s not a good fit for your brand because you think it will connect with a mysterious “Instagram audience.”
Instead, find your audience and make content for them.
Plenty of people connect the recent upswing in the number of Instagram users and the platform’s ongoing popularity with the introduction of the “Stories” feature. In case you’ve been on Mars for the past few years, Stories are Instagram posts that vanish after 24 hours (although you do now have the option of saving them).
Compared to permanent Instagram posts, Stories give you an opportunity to be a bit more off-the-cuff. Your videos and photos don’t need to be nearly as polished.
Another great thing about Stories is that you can see who’s watching them. That way, you can tell instantly whether the Story you posted was a hit and worth saving, or not so much.
Get the Timing Right
Figuring out when to post on social media has involved a lot of guesswork recently. Instagram has not exactly made things easy for brands, since it changed it algorithm a few times (which determines when and how posts appear in people’s feeds).
At one point in time, the trick to timing with Instagram was to post when everyone was likely to be on the site. If you missed that window, too bad.
Nowadays, there’s more flexibility, although weekdays seem to be better than weekends, and Monday seems to be the best day of all. Posting just before people start work (between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.) is better than posting just as people are getting ready to leave work (between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.).
That said, if you’ve adopted a consistent posting schedule and you’ve noticed that you’re not getting much traction when it comes to likes, mix things up a bit. Bumping a post to an hour earlier or later might make a huge difference when it comes to engagement.
Instagram content marketing can work for everyone. Get to know the platform, and you’ll find that mix of hashtags, posts, and filters that works best for your brand.