Digital Marketing February 26, 2019
The Instagram Guide of 2019: a reflection of your brand
Almost one billion users worldwide prove it: Instagram is more present than ever. With the right strategy, you can make sure your business is seen on Instagram. But unlike just going out there and try, there’s a strategy available on how to best interact with users, creatively showcase products and build communities of interest.
To start off, the right use of hashtags is very important for a successful Instagram strategy. Previously, they were considered the main source of reach and engagement. The more you use, the better your post will perform. However, Instagram is constantly changing. And since the introduction of the algorithm, many more factors affect the reach of a post. The posts are no longer displayed in chronological order but are sorted by relevance. The algorithm does not necessarily classify posts with too many hashtags as better than others.
While some users still seem to go by the principle ‘the more hashtags the better’, that is not the ideal tactic. It makes a lot more sense to start from one’s own usage behaviour and to observe the target group very closely.
How to use hashtags
Generic hashtags with hundreds of thousands of posts are just as useless as those that are too specific and less frequented. It makes sense to rely on a good mix of big and small, but most importantly hashtags that are actually related to the content and relevant to the user.
The hashtag #thatchurchagain (3,565 posts), for example, is a relatively low-traffic hashtag and is specifically aimed at users who are interested in content from the Cologne Cathedral.
Due to the low use of the hashtag, a post will be visible high up among all the posts at #thatchurchagain for a relatively long time, thus helping users to find the post in the long run as well. On the other hand, hashtags such as #exploremore (12,322,342 posts) potentially address significantly more users, albeit with greater spreading loss (meaning a larger potential audience is addressed, but it will be irrelevant to a higher percentage of them) and for a shorter period of time. In addition, brand or campaign hashtags are useful for finding posts and channels faster. This contributes to the visibility and recognition of a brand.
Develop your own imagery and tonality
It is important to develop and establish your own imagery and tonality. To do that, you first need to find out who your target audience is and how you can best address them. In this, it helps to see your channels from the point of view of the users of your target audience and to always ask yourself how you can offer the user added value, whether in the form of information, entertainment, recommendations or inspiration.
Regularly check the performance
Regularly checking the performance of your channels as well as evaluating campaigns and individual posts are important to make possible adjustments and optimisations. The performance of one’s own channels is mainly visible through three criteria:
- The growth of subscribers per month – especially compared to the competition.
- The organic reach, i.e. the number of people reached through own activities.
- The engagement, i.e. the number of interactions on own activities.
On the basis of these numbers, particularly well-performing formats can be further developed and reused, as well as less successful ones can be revised.
What’s up, community?
Talking to your followers is very important. In doing so, you should be approachable and appear as a responsive brand by answering questions in a personal way and not acting like a chatbot.
The opportunities Instagram offers to connect with its own audience range from poll surveys to live video chats that can be consciously integrated into Instagram stories to connect with the community.
Community content is helpful for your account because it is credible and ‘real’. On the account of Samsung Germany, for example, we almost exclusively share content from a community of mobile photographers called the ‘Samsung Snapshooters’ as well as users who use hashtags like #SamsungDeutschland.
In this way, you can not only build an interested and dedicated community but also give new users incentives to also publish content with appropriate hashtags and mentions. This, in turn, increases the visibility of the brand in the long term and ensures constantly new and interesting user content.
Develop recurring content formats
It pays off to develop regular formats. As is done for visitBerlin, for example, where we helped develop a content strategy to provide inspirational moments of the German capital. With the hashtag #foodspots_berlin, weekly culinary concepts are presented in Berlin. This provides high information content and added value for the users. The hashtag is now mainly used by users and restaurant operators from Berlin.
Stories, Stories, Stories
Stories are the medium of the hour! For many users, Instagram stories have already become more relevant than the classic feed. Stories are considered less curated, more convenient and authentic, and are therefore becoming increasingly relevant for companies.
Samsung Germany regularly lets influencers from the Samsung Snapshooter program take over the story. This is called a ‘Snapshooter Takeover’. An influencer tells of their experiences, for example of their latest journey, from a first-person perspective. Through comments and stories, users are given the opportunity to interact with the influencers directly. Thanks to the ability to insert swipe-up links, stories are also great for cross-promotion.
Stay up to date
Social media is extremely fast-paced, trends come and go within a few days. This is why it is extremely helpful to have a team that is well connected in the Instagram and Social Media world and can react to trends right when they happen and rely on a large personal network of creators and influencers.