Startups are synonymous with terms like innovative, progressive, and hip. And while there’s still value to be extracted from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the truth is that newer platforms, like Instagram, are more in line with what startups stand for. Unfortunately, very few brands truly understand how to successfully leverage this powerful social media tool.
When you hear marketers talk about social media, you often hear Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn thrown around. It’s even becoming common to hear about companies investing time and effort into Snapchat, Vine, and Periscope. However, Instagram often gets left out of the discussion.
Well, their loss is your gain. Just consider some of the following statistics, as curated by the friendly folks at Hootsuite:
These are just a few statistics that prove the incredible valuable of Instagram as a marketing tool. The reason marketers don’t spend a lot of time discussing Instagram is because most don’t understand how to use it effectively.
The good news is that Instagram marketing isn’t difficult. Once you understand a few key concepts, you’ll be well on your way to seeing the kind of engagement numbers that leading brands enjoy.
One of the most important keys to being successful on Instagram is knowing how often and when to post. We’ll cover the second aspect of this issue in the next section, but let’s tackle the first right now.
Instagram marketing experts suggest posting between 1 and 2 times per day. Any less and your account could risk becoming obsolete. Any more and you could overwhelm your followers and push them away.
Ideally, these posts should be spread out. It’s considered poor form to post back to back images. By spreading them out throughout the day, you can increase your reach and total number of impressions.
As promised, we’ll now touch on the best times to post. According to a study of more than 61,000 posts from The Huffington Post and Latergramme, 2am and 5pm EST are the best times to post if you’re looking for impressions and likes. The worst times of the day are 9am and 6pm. These are the times when traffic is high, but post frequency is down.
As a startup, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face on Instagram is picking up random followers. Since you don’t have a lot of brand recognition to support your account, you’ll have to go out of your way to put your photos in front of users. One of the best ways you can do this is through hashtags.
Hashtags allow you to organize your images and make them visible to people in your niche or market. For example, if you’re in the business of selling women’s clothing, hashtags like #SummerTrends or #SummerStyle may help you gain likes and followers.
In the beginning stages, you’re going to have to find followers. Roughly half of the people you follow will follow back, so don’t be afraid to add people. It may seem strange or uncomfortable, but remember that this is the purpose of social networking.
Ask any Instagram marketer and they’ll tell you that getting the first 100 followers is the hardest. In the future, your size and post history will help you achieve more organic growth.
One of the most effective, yet untapped Instagram opportunities for startups involves contests. Not only are contests super cost-effective, but they also allow you to gain tons of new impressions, followers, and likes.
There are a variety of different contest types, including like contests, comment contests, and photo sharing contests. Try out different ones and see which ones perform best with your target demographic.
The value of Instagram contests is that they help you put your account in front of people who aren’t already following you. In order for people to enter the contest, you can ask them to tag friends, upload photos, and more. Feel free to get creative here!
The final key is to post balanced content. You don’t want to go overboard with promotional content. As a rule of thumb, only 10-20 percent of the content you post should be blatantly promotional. The other 80-90 percent should be content that interests your audience and relates to your industry. While it’s tempting to use your account solely for self-promotion, this will ultimately make you look selfish and people will stop following you.
There’s no denying the value of Instagram as a marketing tool for both startups and established brands. However, one of the biggest knocks against this powerful social networking site is that it takes too much time to manage.
At PeerBoost, we recognized this issue, and developed a tool to help businesses grow their accounts. With our proprietary tool, you can get more likes, comments, and followers in less time. Simply sign up for one of a 3-day, 10-day, or 30-day package, and we’ll show you how to automate your marketing efforts and experience optimal results.
As a thank you for stopping by, we’re happy to offer a complimentary 3-day trial. Give PeerBoost a shot and see what you think. We’re confident you’ll “like” it and continue coming back for more!