Since Facebook acquired Instagram, the photo-sharing platform has become one of the fastest growing social media networks on the Internet. The rise of Instagram users – 700 million and counting! – has brought with it a crowd of 1 million advertisers all looking to widen their reach and increase opportunities to engage with their consumers.
It’s not a matter of simply jumping over from Facebook to Instagram though. Because even though Facebook owns Instagram, the two have features distinct from each other and thus require different marketing approaches.
Here are 6 powerful ways, backed by research and studies, that you can use to stand out on Instagram from the crowd of 1M advertisers all vying for the attention of consumers.
Image credit: LucaWhitaker
There is no one perfect time to post on Instagram, or the other social media platforms for that matter. Different audiences will be online at different times of day, and different businesses have different audiences.
In fact, even marketer influencers have different data supporting different times of day that are best to post.
However, you’ll still want to post at a time when your entry will be seen by as many people as possible to garner the best engagement rates. On Instagram, engagement is important because highly engaged posts get on top of your audience’s feeds. That means more Likes and Comments equals more people will see your posts.
If you want to secure the top position for your posts, a good method is to buy quality Instagram Likes and Comments, or even Followers from trusted providers.
Whatever you do, make sure you post at an optimal time for your business. Generally, your kind of business and your location are the main determinants for this.
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In theory, if you have a US audience, you should use the Eastern or Central time zone in determining the best time to post because 80% of the US population are in those areas.
Marketers agree that the best time to engage users is during the lunch hour or off-work hours between 5 and 7 PM on weekdays for B2B brands and during the weekend for B2C companies.
If your audience belongs to the 80% of Instagram users who reside outside of the US, the downtime rule still applies. If your audiences are from largely differing time zones, your best recourse, which is also ultimately the best thing to do for all scenarios, is to check your Instagram Insights and determine the time of day you get the most engagement from your viewers.
An interesting concept raised by one marketing firm based on their research is to post between 6 AM and 12 PM, when posting volume is low but people who check for updates are still many, so you’ll have less content to compete with.
So, check out your Instagram Insights and experiment with what time you get the highest engagement for your posts. This is just one way you can attract attention to your brand and stand out from the rest.
Top brands on the platform post 4.9 times per week. If you want to beat the top and get your name and your brand out there, you should post at a comparable frequency if not more and do it regularly, too.
Post regularly. Some research done by Union Metrics showed that consistency is very important on Instagram. Furthermore, Neil Patel explains that changing the frequency of your posting will negatively affect your Followers count and engagement rate.
So, if you are posting several times a day and then suddenly change your posting frequency to only a few times per week, then you are likely to lose Followers and will get less engagement on your posts.
It’s not how often you post but how consistently you follow a schedule that matters most. So, pick a good frequency you can realistically maintain, and stick to it.
Here’s some more data to feed your brain:
Image credit: Hubspot
Another study shows that Instagram users like brands, and that they like to shop via pictures. Take advantage of this fact by showcasing your products with high quality, shareable pictures.
That means beating the submissions of the 1M advertisers currently on Instagram. It’s not easy and it’s going to be a full-time job. If you’re not a pro, it might mean taking dozens of pictures until you get it right. Remember that Instagram is a hyper-visual world full of beautifully captivating photos. You can’t afford to post so-so pictures.
If hiring a professional photographer isn’t in your budget, then be your own photographer! Work on having a photographer’s eyes by practicing. Learn some photo editing techniques and invest in equipment or use a smartphone with a great camera. There are a lot of Instagram influencers who only use phone cameras on their Instagram.
If you can, take pictures that tell a story. Take a look at how this Instagrammer simply used his iPhone to capture this great shot, helping him tell his story and attracting a lot of comments.
If your photos look like stories, your whole feed should look like a novel. There should be a continuity and consistency in your images, so pick an element that will tie your pictures together. It could be a pattern, an angle, a color or a filter.
Do you know that 60% of the top brands on Instagram use the same filter for every post? If you want to be on the top, look at your feed as a whole and not just as a series of separate images. A photo filter can create a consistent look and feel, so that’s one good way you can make a consistent visual style.
Take a look at how Illyria Pottery tied their images together with the use of one filter.
Image credit: socialmediaexaminer
This approach will also work great for branding. That said, the look you should go for should support the brand image you are building, and should reflect your company culture. If you are all pastels or rainbows, don’t use blacks and whites.
Buying Instagram Followers and other forms of engagement is only a good idea if you are going to buy from legitimate companies.
Bought Followers have the potential to exponentially increase your following organically. Science says so. When people see that you have a massive following, the natural assumption is that it’s because you are worth following. All those people already following you can’t be wrong, can they? It’s the science of social proof.
So buy Instagram Followers, but only buy from reputable providers. Do your research and don’t be duped by companies looking to make a quick buck.
Having a contest is a fun way to increase engagement on your posts and grow your Followers. Yet another study has found that running a contest can grow your Followers 70% faster than if you don’t. The data also shows that Comments and Likes are up by 64 times and 3.5 times respectively for contest posts compared to regular ones.
Contests can get your audience excited and this pushes your posts to the top, making it possible to reach a wider audience. So, if you aren’t regularly holding contests yet, it’s time to do so!
State the rules clearly in your post and require your audience to Like your post and/or Follow you. In this contest by Travel Country, one requirement to enter was to use the contest hashtag. Get creative, and you'll get people involved.
Image credit: wishpond
Instagram is growing fast and showing no signs of stopping. While it makes for a ripe environment for companies to grow, the rising numbers also attract ever-more advertisers and makes it increasingly hard for new brands to compete with bigger brands, who have bigger advertising budgets.
The good news is that it’s also possible for small and big brands to meet on the same platform, and offer to the same audience. If you take advantage of all the Instagram research on ways to increase Followers and engagement as discussed above, you’ll have a great chance of beating these guys and rising above the competition.
You can do it!
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Date: May 18, 2017 / Categories: Marketing, Tips, / Author: Chell