If you want an app success story, then Instagram is the poster child of the smartphone unicorn accolade. Starting as an app that made every smartphone user into a photo editing genius, the $1 billion Facebook take over saw the platform upgrade their tech, ability to upload videos and take a huge market away from both Vine and most recently Snapchat (through their recently launched Instagram stories feature).
So, in a visual world where 30% of Instagram users have purchased something on their mobile (making them 70% more likely purchase via mobile than the average user) only 9% of small businesses use Instagram, this is an amazing platform for your business to make a huge mark on those pesky mobile first Millennials in the most engaging way possible. So how do you make sure your content flies on the platform?
You’re going to hear from us a lot about this, but the aspect ratio does make a world of difference in the videos you post in the platforms. Unlike Facebook, landscape video sides don’t get cut off on Instagram. In this case, square videos just LOOK better on the platform. We preach this pretty extensively because we found when we were promoting our #LABELFREE series, squared videos had a far better engagement than our landscape posts.
** TIP** there are several smart phone apps that can this task off of your hands.
Arguably one of the biggest kicks in the teeth to Snapchat, is the recent launch of Instagram Stories. Just like Snapchat stories, use this feature to give your audience a “live” running commentary on your company's daily activities. Keep each clip short (3-4 seconds) and make them as creative as possible! One feature that sets Instagram Stories apart from Snapchat, is that you can choose who sees your stories and who doesn’t with their filter system. What a way to add an incredible amount of personability to your content.
Just like with Facebook, annotations create insanely eye grabbing videos that can attract a wider audience to your posts (if you’re using the right hashtags of course). Also like with Facebook, videos on Instagram play automatically without sound, so providing a reason for your audience to engage with your content while scrolling is a must. Annotations also work incredibly well with Instagram Stories, as like with Snapchat you’re able to to draw on your stories, add stickers and overall stretch your creative muscles.
Utilize the description box on Instagram like you would do on Youtube. This can be a way for you to add call to action for your video, maybe to like, comment share. Coupled with this you can use the description box to send people to the url in your profile - a simple “link in the bio” type message is great to get people on your website. We used this method extensively to promote our partner Youtube channel’s content to their highly engaged audience on Instagram. Engaging with a visually lead community who want to gain more value from your content saw us gain a fair amount of viewership, subscribers and externalpage views.
**TIP** use Bit.ly to track where and to see how many people are clicking through via the link.
Looking for an easy way to add even more personalisation to your content? Then tagging usernames is definitely the way to go. This be done before you post your content as well as after. Use this to increase engagement from your target audience; one example of this we’ve found that has worked well for our own Instagram posts is tagging cast, crew and relevant pages in our behind the scene shots. This increased the shareability of our posts, encouraged valuable comments and gained us some quality followers.
Adding to this, any piece of content you post on the platform has to make use of of Instagram’s powerful tagging system. This allows for you to find relevant hashtags for your content. I.e if you’re posting about the Emmy’s then #Emmys, #Emmys2016, #Emmys16 is a good start. Compared to Twitter, Youtube and Facebook, Instagram is pretty helpful by actually showing you a list of hashtags and how popular (or unpopular they are).
**TIP** if you have a competitor who has insanely popular content on Instagram, look at what hashtags they are using and start using them yourself.