With an audience of over 1.16 billion people, Instagram offers important opportunities for brands – both thanks to the engaging and captivating formats available and thanks to the innovative forms of promotion, which have allowed the development of new marketing trends, including Influencer marketing. It is therefore not surprising that more and more companies have included Instagram in their communication strategies.
In this article we offer you a complete overview of the major features of Instagram, strategies and useful tips to promote your brand effectively, as well as a preview of the upcoming news.
From October 2010 to today, Instagram has made great strides.
From a simple app for sharing instant photos, exclusively in 1: 1 format and available only for IOS, in just 10 years it has become one of the most popular social media globally and a reference point for brands that are increasingly they frequently include it in their marketing and communication strategies. Translated into numbers, over a billion people use Instagram for an average of 30 minutes a day and about 90% of them follow at least one commercial activity. The statistics from Hootsuite confirm the potential of Instagram.
However, if we want to perform in the best possible way, we cannot afford to leave the sharing of posts to chance, as if it were our personal profile: even if it is a social network, like all other platforms it requires a social media strategy. well thought out marketing. In fact, as we have already seen when we talked about LinkedIN and Facebook for business, only if we have a strategic plan behind us will we be able to achieve the set goal.
Promote a business on Instagram: 6 things to do
Now let’s see what are the tools and features we have available to be able to use Instagram at a company level effectively and efficiently.
1. Set up a business profile
After installing the app on our mobile phone and registering on the platform as a user, we access the settings, select the item “switch to a professional account” and click on “company”. At this point we can start configuring our business account: we choose the name to be attributed to our page, we add all the relevant information about the company to offer users an overview of our products and services, the contacts to which users can contact and the link to direct users to our corporate website.
Once the actual creation phase of our profile has been completed, we can dedicate ourselves to giving life to the page, first of all by publishing interesting and captivating content for our target, and then interacting with other users, inviting them to follow ours page, to like our posts and following in turn other pages similar to ours.
2. Publish quality content regularly
Instagram is the high-impact social media par excellence. The quality of the content is therefore very important to be able to get noticed and increase the number of interactions by users.
We use the formats available to create images – single photos or carousels – and short and engaging videos, such as stories and reels, to stimulate the attention of our audience.
As we have already said when talking about Facebook, always posting the same type of content will bore our audience, however, choosing a particular style, filter, color palette or subject (I think, for example, of black and white feeds). or minimalist architecture photographers), can help us leave a great first impression to the user who happens to be on our feed.
Clearly, not all brands have products that allow you to play with a single combination of color or photos that blend harmoniously with each other. For this reason, another way to give consistency to our feed starts from the continuity in the topics covered and in the graphics chosen to present them, two factors that must always and in any case be consistent with our brand. In fact, a feed that is aesthetically beautiful but empty from the point of view of contents and their usefulness, will have little chance of success in the long term.
When we talk about quality, therefore, we do not only mean the aesthetic and emotional one, but also (and above all) that in terms of content, which must always try to be an added value for those who read us.
Again in terms of consistency, it is advisable to choose the Tone of Voice that best reflects our brand and our communication strategy, to be adopted when we create captions, stories or reels, but also while interacting with other users.
Finally, another factor that we must take into account If we wish to promote our business in an organic way, it is regularity in publication. If we want to retain our followers and encourage them to interact with our page, we must commit to publishing content frequently and at regular intervals. Remember, however, that between regularity of publication and quality there is a fine line: we must not post content just to make up the numbers, but only when we believe that they are really useful for our audience.
For this reason it is advisable to set up an editorial calendar in which to plan the contents we want to post.
3. Use # wisely
Hashtags, an English term that indicates a label under which contents on a specific topic are grouped, represent one of the best ways to reach new audiences potentially interested in one of our products and increase the number of our followers.
Each post we publish should be accompanied by a description and hashtags specific to our industry, in order to increase the possibility that our target will stumble upon our post.
Which and how many hashtags to use?
There are different types of hashtags and it is good to know the differences, so that you can use them correctly.
Branded hashtag: indicates a custom hashtag to associate with the brand. We, for example, use #eosmktg. It can be simply the name of the brand or we can give vent to our creativity to find one that can bring our community together.
Hashtags related to products and services: keywords that describe our products or services. Also within our company, based on the topic of the post we use #agenziadimarketing or #progetturagrafica
Community hashtag: on Instagram there are numerous communities of enthusiasts. Let’s find out which hashtags they most used to increase the visibility of our brand. Again in our case, #marketinglovers
Niche hashtags: hashtags related to a specific sector or topic but written in such a way as to gather a smaller group than the most popular hashtags, which often contain millions of posts. If #digitalmarketing is the most popular hashtag, #digital_marketing gathers fewer than 100,000 posts and could offer us greater visibility.
To answer the second part of the question instead, or how many to use, we recommend a maximum of 10-11 hashtags per post, making a mix between the most popular ones and others that are more niche.
4. Configure Facebook Business Suite and Facebook Ads Manager
You did not read wrong. Since September 2012, Instagram has been acquired by Zuckerberg and has joined the Facebook Inc. group, along with the instant messaging service WhatsApp. The two social media, in addition to having the same property in common, also share some features. Among these is Facebook Business Suite, a free management tool made available to marketers and professionals through which it is possible to organize, program, monitor all the activities of the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Business Suite is accessible from both mobile and desktop and allows, from a single platform, to create and publish posts, stories, read messages and comments, and monitor statistics. For more business ideas and tips click here.
Through Business Ads Manager, on the other hand, it is possible to set up advertising campaigns, create and save a specific audience to target our ads, monitor the ads during the period of activity and the related statistics in terms of coverage, interactions and shares. It is possible to choose whether to launch an advertising campaign only on one of the two social networks or on both at the same time.
Sometimes, creating an engaging and captivating Instagram profile is not enough to organically reach users who do not yet follow us and who may be interested in our products and services. To be able to get to the feed of new users we may decide to make some investments. This absolutely does not mean buying followers or relying on BOTs – two practices that we totally advise against – but investing in advertisements by choosing the format that best suits our needs within the wide range made available by Instagram and which we list below.
Whatever format we choose to use, it is essential to target the audience to ensure that the campaign is viewed by the right audience and to avoid wasting part of the budget.
Ads with photos
By creating an engaging image we can highlight our brand or a specific product or service. We can choose both vertical and horizontal images and direct people to a website or blog.
Videos can also have a big impact on users, thanks to the power offered by combination of sounds, images and movement. Videos can be in either landscape or square format and must have a maximum length of 120 seconds. However, to prevent the user from immediately switching to the next content, it is important to be able to capture his interest in the first few seconds.
Over 500 million accounts use stories every day, and around 4 million brands choose this format to promote brands, services and products. These numbers are justified by the fact that the stories allow you to communicate creatively and directly, interacting and getting closer to consumers more easily. Furthermore, thanks to the vertical format, the stories make the most of the screen of mobile devices, offering companies an immersive space with fewer distractions.
Each single story cannot exceed 15 seconds and can be linked to a specific scrolling call to action (for example swipe up).
Carousel ads allow brands to tell a longer story and thus highlight a greater number of products or services in a single ad. In this type of ad it is possible to use up to 10 images or videos (or a combination of both) that users will be able to view by scrolling to the right.
Furthermore, it is advisable to insert a call-to-action button that links directly to a website, landing page, download of a resource, etc.
Ads with collection
This type of advertisement allows you to combine up to four images within a single advertisement. In this way, we can visually inspire our audience by offering them an overview of our products.
Ads on Explore
This type of ad allows you to reach users who browse the “Explore” section: the page that users view when they want to see posts related to their interests, but of accounts that they do not follow and that every month is seen by more than 50% of users.
In addition to the multiple formats available on Instagram, another strength of the social media owned by Zuckerberg is the ease and speed with which we can activate a sponsorship: we can transform any post previously published into an advertisement in a few clicks, without therefore having to create content from scratch or without having to repost content that we had already published in the past.
6. Take advantage of influencer marketing
Instagram is the platform par excellence for influencers, users who enjoy great popularity in real or virtual life and are recognized as an authoritative and expert source on a given topic. This makes them able to significantly influence the purchasing choices of other people through their social posts.
Precisely because of the strong power that Influencers have proven to have, affecting the visibility of a brand or product, one of the most successful strategies used by companies to promote their products and consolidate the brand is influencer marketing.
The choice of the influencer to collaborate with must be considered as, if wrong, it could damage the image and reputation of the brand, rather than increasing sales or awareness. It is advisable to focus on influencers who have as audiences users who may be interested in our products, who use a tone of voice in line with our brand and who are able to promote products in an authentic and creative way.
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill – more quotes
The news of Instagram of 2021
How does the algorithm work in 2021?
The most important news launched by Instagram so far concerns the new ranking algorithm.
We are aware that algorithms change rapidly and that they often behave in mysterious ways. However, even partially understanding the logic of an algorithm allows us to adapt our strategy and improve performance.
The new Instagram algorithm is fundamentally based on our behaviors, giving priority to the contents and users to whom we show a greater degree of engagement and attention, through likes, comments, follows, private messages and searches carried out in the internal search bar of the social media. So, what we see in the feed and in the Stories and Reels sections depends on our behaviors. For example, the more we like a certain type of post, the more often they will appear in the feed; the more we interact with an account, the more we will see posts and stories of that particular account.
Getting our target to interact with us is essential if we want our content to be displayed in their feeds. Creativity and quality content are watchwords to encourage users to interact with us.
Reels yes, TikTok no
In August 2020, Instagram launched a challenge to TikTok, through a new function: Reels. Since these short videos of up to 30 seconds were introduced, most users have “recycled” and re-shared on Instagram some of the content they had previously produced and posted on TikTok.
In recent months, Instagram has declared war on videos that show the TikTok logo watermark. This choice will lead to a greater workload for creators who will have to create ad hoc content for the two platforms.
Many projects to support brands
Already in 2020, Instagram had launched the Shop service to support companies that were forced to close due to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19. In this way they were able to continue to run their business and allow consumers to continue purchasing products with ease. Today, brands can not only take advantage of this immersive full-screen showcase, but also have the ability to promote and tag their products on posts, IGTV and Stories. This will increase product visibility even further and allow users to shop even more easily and quickly by simply clicking directly from their feed. Soon, this functionality will also be available with Reels.
Furthermore, if users are currently redirected to corporate e-commerce to finalize a purchase, in a few months it will be possible to check out and pay without even leaving the app. The user will only have to link the credit card with which he wishes to make purchases on the platform to his profile, while brands will be asked for a percentage of sales. This functionality is currently only available in the US, but will soon be extended to other countries as well.
Finally, Zuckerberg’s social media lets us know that the team is working to introduce advertisements to IGTVs and therefore offer brands new advertising formats to exploit.
And you, which platform do you use to promote your company? Have you already implemented Instagram in your social media marketing strategy? Tell us about your experience in the comments and contact us to find out more tips and best practices to better promote yourself on social networks.