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Business Social Media Marketing – Part Three: Instagram

Our four part series on social media marketing will guide you through the basics of marketing with today’s social media giants. In the last installment we tackled the basics of Twitter for small businesses. This week we’re taking a look at the ins and outs of Instagram. 

Nike, Starbucks, Apple, Ralph Lauren and Walt Disney are just a few of the highly active Fortune 500 businesses on Instagram – and they’ve got some lessons for us. There are a multitude of benefits that an active and thoughtful Instagram account could mean for your business. Increased brand awareness, customer engagement and community building are just a few. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the Instagram posting strategies used by the big guys, according to a report by Trackmaven.

Instagram Video

Videos last for 15 seconds and can be edited before uploading into the app. As a business, this means you can create beautiful videos that are professionally edited and push these to your Instagram followers as a point of difference from the typical smartphone quality of video.

Instagram video is relatively new to the game – having been implemented back in June this year. Big brands have jumped on board, posting advertisements and branded content with relatively successful results. Videos do get less engagement than pictures currently, and are viewed predominantly outside of business hours (likely due to the audio component interrupting the workspace). For this reason, it is a good idea to post your videos after hours where possible.

When to Instagram

There appears to be no general “best day of the week” for posting photos on Instagram.  According to Trackmaven, there is a ‘slight spike’ of engagement on Mondays, and a drop off on Saturdays, with the most posts occurring on Thursdays. However, videos do have an optimal posting time. As suggested above, videos are best posted out of work hours with 9pm-8am being the optimal time.

You might like to tailor your posting intuitively with videos posted after hours. For example, Thursday night in Sydney means late night shopping – so retailers might consider posting shopping and sale related posts throughout the day on Thursday.

Which filter to use?

Ah, the age old question on Instagram. What filter should I use? Trackmaven;has it down to a science, suggesting that Mayfair is the optimal filter for business, bringing in on average 23.044 interactions per 1,000 followers. No filter comes in at second, followed by Inkwell.

Using Hash tags

Using hash tags on Instagram works in just the same way as on Facebook and Twitter – expect the social etiquette is a little bit different. Posting more than one or two hash tags on a social media post is typically taboo, but not on Instagram. There is a strong correlation between the number of hash tags used and engagement, up to five hash tags.

Basically, Instagram users are not just viewing the content of those they follow. They’re searching for hash tags regularly to discover new content from unconnected users.  Brands that recognize this and hash tag accordingly will benefit from increased followers and brand engagement.

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