Instagram is one of the most exciting marketing opportunities on the Web. Most of its users are in the coveted 18-34 demographic – the most active participants are young, urban women. Over time, more men and mature users are also discovering the app. Its fast-paced, visual platform is exciting, enjoyable, and creative no matter your background.
Like most social networks, Instagram is on the path to monetizing its growing traffic – it has 400 million monthly active users, making it second only to Facebook. That’s right: Instagram’s user base trumps Twitter and is leaps and bounds ahead of niche darlings like LinkedIn and Pinterest, both of which barely break 100 million active users in a month.
In short, Instagram is an opportunity you can’t miss.
If you’re just getting started with Instagram, it might feel as if you’re late to the party. Using a few best practices, though, you can increase your visibility and attract a passionate following.
1 Use Hashtags the Instagram Way
Hashtags are the cornerstone of visibility in virtually any social network. They make content discoverable in searches and motivate users to connect with your messages. With Instagram, your use of hashtags should contribute to building a community. A good hashtag campaign revolves around a clear, action-oriented message: For example, Nike’s #ChooseYourWinter tag got runners to engage with the brand by posting their athletic exploits in rough winter conditions.
2 Choose Creative Photo Filters
Photo filters – we didn’t even know we needed them until Instagram showed up on the scene. Now, they’re everywhere! To create compelling visual content for this network, your creative team needs to know it inside and out. Explore all the tools offered, including filters, special effects, and the built-in editing suite. Looking for popular filters? Start with Valencia or Low-Fi. The more you engage with Instagram tools, the more authentic your content will be.
3 Get Connected, Get Consistent
Instagram is a platform dedicated to inspiration. Your team should spend time exploring it, not just dissecting it. You can learn great lessons from other brands, but also from “small players” and individuals. You should be interacting with others daily to grow your following, and that means having a consistent schedule. Make yourself available and post at designated times. Explore the beauty in your brand and capture it in photos – then define your aesthetic and make sure you stick to it. That makes your content more memorable.