How to use Instagram: Everything you need to know
With 20% of global internet users aged 16 – 64 having an Instagram account according to Global Web Index and with it offering engagement rates that blitz that of Facebook and Twitter, it should be a serious consideration for brands, even those in the B2B space.
As at Q1/Q2 2014 Instagram was the fastest growing social media network in America. Always quick-to-follow and Australia has also seen strong growth in Instagram, overtaking Tumblr as the fourth most popular social media site, sitting behind Facebook, YouTube and WordPress.
Five million Aussies log into Instagram every month, most of them (around 94% globally) aged between 16 and 44.
Until Instagram introduced its new content delivery algorithm, follower engagement was crushing that of Facebook and Twitter, with around 60 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.
Now that the “waterfall” content delivery mechanism has been replaced by an algorithm expect organic reach to decline rapidly, similar to the decline in organic reach seen in Facebook as it grew and you’ll need to think smart about your content.
Instagram was purchased by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion – with zero revenue and to date, takeup of Instgram’s “Sponsored Posts” has been slow.
However Instgram ads can now be posted from Facebook Ad Manager in one campaign (Instagram’s max video sponsored video length is 60 seconds) and landscape or portrait images will also run.
One thing is sure, as Instagram’s popularity and peoples’ newsfeeds grow (and given Facebook owns it and given its history in driving a decline in organic engagement in favour of paid) organic reach will also decline on Instagram.
Many responded by asking followers to turn on post notifications, however people don’t want a notification every time someone posts. A better strategy is having amazing conent that people love and having your conent naturally appear in their feeds.
It also requires having a conversion, data capture and overarching content marketing strategy in place – for Instagram as well as other social media networks and communications.
While “clickable” links cannot be used in Instagram posts themselves, they are offered in ads and simple links can be used for manual entry . Furthermore a clickable link can be placed in the profile header.
Somewhat problematically, because Instagram is an app, Google Analytics itemises all traffic as “Direct Traffic” making it difficult to measure those conversions.
However there are workarounds, such as integrating custom or vanity URLs with Google Analytics or even creating Instagram-specific landing pages for larger campaigns.
Using and monitoring hashtags can be part of that conversion strategy, with their use showcasing deep engagement and advocacy. Hashtags in posts can deliver context, while trending hashtags can be used to increase reach. However beware of using multiple random hashtags – better identify core, relevant hashtags that you regularly post to and that become brand extensions. And keep it to three per post.
Instagram Management Tools
While Instagram is a photo-sharing app that is designed for use on smartphones or tablets there are workarounds for use on desktop.
Social media management, sharing and listening platform, Hootsuite (used by Kudos Media) recently expanded their offering to include posting to Instagram from Desktop and is our recommended tool, with a fairly simple two-step approval process on your phone or tablet. You can schedule posts, monitor hashtags, comment and like images, all from within the Hootsuite Dashboard.
If you simply can’t tolerate having to create a post on your desktop and then approve it on your phone or tablet, then Android-on-PC application, Bluestacks is an optional workaround, although it is a little tricky to set up and posting videos even more so, requiring third party app integrations.
Sharing images is not offered by Instagram so a regramming app is the best way to share other content when using a smartphone or tablet. On desktop, simply right click, save as and post directly using Hootsuite or Bluestacks. Ensure you tag and credit the appropriate copyright holder!
Instagram itself does not offer the detailed analytics provided by other social networks, however third-party freemium app Iconosquare provides decent insight and is a tool worth implementing – even just the free version that requires you log in to update your stats.