Before we delve into 10 sure-fire strategies on how to use Instagram for marketing in 2018, here’s some fresh contextual backgrounds to understand why Instagram has grown from a few sepia selfies and brunch snaps to one of the most popular social networks worldwide.
As of mid-2018 it finally tipped over the one billion active users benchmark, only bettered by Facebook. Not only is that three times the active amount of Twitter, but unlike Facebook where users log in once every so often, Instagram users are scrolling their timelines several times a day. Sharing its sleek-looking content is now the norm for mobile and connected consumers.
90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35
It’s not just Gen Z uploading snaps, over 70% of brands are on Instagram proudly showcasing their wares and engaging with consumers. Of the top 100 brands, 90% now have an Instagram account with publishing behemoth, and Cheetah Digital partner National Geographic boasting the most followers.
Their mix of authentic, professional, awe-inspiring and curated content is why they have over 89 million followers (increasing by 88,000 per day). Not far behind is sportswear giant Nike, and they don’t just post content themselves. Brand advocates are uploading their own content and adopting #JustDoIt for their own fitness exploits. This explosion in user-generated content (UGC) provides a great opportunity for marketers to capitalize on the authentic and persuasive content published to the world’s favorite short-form video and photo sharing network.
85% of Instagram users follow brand accounts
So how can your brand leverage Instagram marketing to drive audience acquisition, collect first-party data, and boost sales?
1. Photo, Video And Hashtag Campaigns
By creating a hashtag around an Instagram marketing campaign and running an associated photo or video campaign, brands can create context for their fans to capture and share their experiences. Using the "Brand Engagement" template on Cheetah Experiences, marketers can easily filter and curate the best UGC and social advocacy into social walls and displays.
2. Socialized Websites
Brands need to transform their websites and other digital channels into immersive social hubs that feature the perfect balance of branded and user-generated content. These hubs are engineered to drive engagement, increase first-party data collection, and boost traffic to campaign and product pages.
The benefits of proudly displaying your hard-earned UGC are clear: you maximize consumer trust, increase brand relevance, and drive on-site engagement.
3. Campaign Promotion And Optimization
Brands who focus on creating interactive content that their target audience engages with will see their content appear higher on newsfeeds. By leveraging Instagram influencers and native and paid advertising, brands can squeeze the most from Instagram marketing campaigns and drive high-quality traffic to their website.
4. Instagram For SEO
Google has started to de-prioritize some on-page SEO tactics and begun to increasingly reward content pages with higher user engagement. So pages that boast extended dwell times, low bounce rates, and high conversions are being rewarded with higher organic search rankings.
So by incorporating Instagram feeds into websites, brands can keep users on page and extend user journeys, thus increasing dwell time and their organic search ranking.
5. Social Stories Advertising
Instagram Social Stories are the new newsfeed for socially savvy consumers. Flexible and timely, beating any algorithm shifts as they appear chronologically and encourage direct engagement over passive consumption.
These lightning-fast experiences help you incentivize engagement, improve brand storytelling, and drive PII data with simple, fast-loading data capture mechanics.
6. IGTV: Instagram TV
Early adopters, behemoth brands, and influencers are scrambling to take advantage of this new social function for Instagram marketing. Akin to videos within traditional posts, users can engage by liking, commenting, and sending on to friends in direct messages.
As of launch, no advertising options are available, but fear not, brands can add clickable links to the video description which opens in the embedded browser. This is a leg-up on photo posts where adding links is not possible to direct visitors to owned channels.
7. Ecommerce Instagram Marketing
There has always been a standoff between social engagement and purchase. But by displaying authentic and persuasive Instagram photos within e-commerce experiences that feature actionable contextual links within social hubs e.g. “Buy Now” CTAs and the like, brands can monetize UGC, increase sales, and prove measurable ROI from this savvy Instagram marketing strategy.
8. In-Venue, On-Site, In-Store, And OOH
UGC doesn’t have to live in the confines of Instagram, it can easily be showcased on large screens at festivals, expos, awards shows, or retail environments to promote in-store promotions. Using a relevant, concise and catchy hashtag will help maximize the amount of shared content you accrue.
9. Obtaining Rights To Use Instagram Content
As boring as it sounds, marketers need to ensure they stay within the law and obtain the appropriate permissions from the content creator first before displaying content on their site or using in a new Instagram marketing campaign. After all, no brand wants to face a million-dollar lawsuit for infringing copyright laws.
10. Optimize Your Content Marketing Efforts
Instagram represents a powerful way for brands to understand how their owned Instagram content resonates with their audiences.
Using Cheetah Experiences, brands can analyze the performance of their social hubs, marketing apps, and published UGC with detailed reports showing live interactions, demographic insights and comparison charts over time. Giving you analytics on what content and campaigns are getting the most engagement.
Want to learn more? Request a demo today.
Danny is a Content Marketing Manager for Cheetah Digital. Danny has spent his career in disruptive tech start-ups driving content strategy with a current focus on how brands can connect with modern consumers through a philosophy rooted in self-reported preference data. When he’s not extolling the value of zero-party data, he is guaranteed to be out running.