If the old adage “a picture is worth a thousands words” still holds true, then a platform like Instagram can be one of the most valuable marketing tools in your arsenal.
Instagram boasts the highest brand engagement rate of all the major social media platforms.
As the platform matures and traffic begins to trend closer to these other networks, Instagram is taking steps to improve the user experience with algorithms that place priority on content they feel is more relevant to their users. These platform enhancements for the user will mean that your organic reach will become less dependable and you won’t be able to count on being able to control the timing of your content delivery. For example: the content you posted at 3:00 PM to appear in viewers’ feed at that time may not appear at that time, or at all…
This means that you’ll want to do a few things as you curate your Instagram experience.
First and foremost, you need a loyal and engaged audience
You can build this group in a couple of ways:
- Spread the word! Tell your fans on other networks that you’re on Instagram. If they don’t know you’re there, they won’t know to become a follower.
- Research! Look to your competitors, as they’ve most likely found a way to tap into the demographic you’re looking to engage with. Take note of the type of content they are posting and how their followers are engaging with each post.
- Follow people! It’ll show that you’re interested in engaging with the community and the people who are a good fit for your goals. Check out tools like Crowdfire for help with this – they specialize in follower metrics and behavior insight. Then make sure to comment and interact with those accounts you follow.
OK, you’ve built your audience…now what? Craft your content and talk to them!
Begin crafting the messages that you’ll be sharing with your newly acquired crowd. As a DMO, you have access to opportunities that showcase things people wouldn’t normally see – take advantage of that!
Find that off-the-beaten-path eatery or that one gorgeous park everyone in town knows about and share (see Building Authentic Imagery Using the Four Cs for additional insights). These are the kinds of places that your competitors can’t copy and that your viewers will appreciate knowing about.
And don’t forget those hashtags! As the lifeblood of any good Instagram post, you need to be sure to include relevant tags. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle in some fun hashtags for a bit of flavor.
The tools of the trade
With Instagram’s enormous success and engaged audience, it comes as no surprise that a variety of tools/apps have been developed to help efficiently and easily manage this app.
- For analytics and a deeper understanding of how and why your content is performing, you’ll want to look into Social Insight which let’s you monitor engagement, follower growth, interactions, and more.
- For more help with your current and potential followers you’ll want to check out SocialRank or the previously mentioned Crowdfire. These tools will help you identify, organize, and manage your followers.
- Iconosquare is a mixture of all of the above and also has a free version in case you’re just looking to take it for a test run.
- Finally, your schedule is hectic and filled with tasks to accomplish, so to help with scheduling content ahead of time you could try using Later and Hootsuite. There are some slight limitations with scheduling (at this point, you’ll actually have to push the button in the end), but they do a good job of reminding you when content is due to be posted.
Instagram is a maturing platform that will undoubtedly see more changes in the future, but with these basic steps, you’ll be more prepared to keep your account relevant and to position your company or DMO as the visual ambassador for your location.