Instagram is not changing its strategies or mission, so no major shifts in approaches to this platform are to be expected. However, one new feature is obvious: marketing is developing there with ever increasing speed and sophistication. The reason is the highly engaged and active audience of the service (chances of your post to be noticed are 50 times higher than, say, on Facebook).
Instagram now counts about two hundred millions of monthly users (a very high rate for a comparatively small audience) and its popularity may be partially explained by absence of mass advertising. The difficulties with registration, mobile-only use and specific attention to images make this service a hard nut to crack for a standard marketer, yet the need for new platforms and enviable audience are too good a prize to give up on the halfway.
So, with regard to this, some new trends may surface the next year.
The data about Instagramusers engagement made it a sweet bit for business of all scales and advertisers with all kinds of tools. The trend will continue in 2014 as long as the service develops, or until lots of ads will scare away the users and Instagram will lose its appeal. Now Instagram holds four aces in this sense.
Besides, Instagram intrinsically was not aiming at heavy advertising, like Google+ or Facebook, but it cared about users first of all. So marketers have to device ways to win the hearts of target audience, because paid promotion on Instagram does not look much different from unpaid one.
More Branded Hashtags
When the advertising mania began, brands flooded into the realm of hashtags and immediately adopted the classic variant #companyname, which proved to be predictably and highly inefficient. Now companies tend to employ more fine solutions, like hashtags connecting brand name and brand idea. See Hootsuite to learn more about that.
The recipe of creating such tricky and efficient hashtags is the following: choose a word or a phrase which are not too banal and to be used as hashtags by multiple brandmakers, yet simple and unsophisticated enough to make users feel comfortable while they search it (and not think of promoting a particular brand). A good hashtag will evoke the idea about the brand in a user’s mind, so advertising will go in natural way through socializing and searching for pics.
More trust in Instagram Influencers
Instagram does have its authorities and icons, however, they are not related to brands, rather, they are people of excellent taste who select and upload images of real artistic or educational value and their accounts are regarded as a place of pilgrimage. Brands which can make friends with such influencers may well expect increase of traffic on the part of followers of these influencers. Hence, brands will allure such influencers to cooperate.
Of course, not all influencers will want to advertise, others will ask for a huge fee, some of them will agree gladly in exchange for some affordable service or discount. However, influencers have their own informal brands, and the owner of vegan-focused account will not pair with an advertisement of a steak house.
Catch the Tide
Instagram is still brewing and growing, so join the fun now, when opportunities are available and niches for businesses are yet to be occupied. Some vendors have already moved in, yet the language of pictures is s rich, that every company will find a unique way to present itself. Just define what is the zest of your business and present it to the world.
Instagram is a virtual place where young users go. The Millennial generation is a very particular group, so not every business or offer should go in search of customers there. B2B services or bank promoting pension plans should definitely go elsewhere. Millennials live in different rhythm and by different rules, and they will discard everything that is not catchy or interesting enough. If demographics of Instagram changes, then perhaps ads of goods for more mature audience will find their way to the service, who knows.
Tell a Tale
As Ross Simmons said in his manual on Instagram marketing, this service with its focus on pictures is a perfect place to try reactive storytelling, based on cultural stereotypes, intuition and a bit of news-jacking. A recognizable brand existing in cultural context, will spark off the whole chain of associations if presented in a carefully crafted image. Oreo Sandwich’s stories put into one minimalistic picture are the art of its own kind. Take it as a sample and try to devise a similarly great idea, but without coping directly.
Instagram as visual means is a humanizing network. Instead of telling in dry words it shows, and users see faces of people who maintain your business, so show the backstage of your business informally, just as an ordinary person, not as a marketer would do. This humanization of business helps a lot in bringing your company closer to customers.
Some Hints to Rely On
It is OK to say that to advertise on Instagram one has to use it on a daily basis and feel it. However, if time if pressing or you just cannot make any conclusions from what you see, read these tips.
- Select your username if you are not going to use brand name. Рeople will remember your account under this name.
- Select cover picture carefully, choose a good image of your brand logo or goods you sell. Change the cover from time to time, but remember to keep it close to your business.
- Biography; actually it is a couple of lines into which you are supposed to fit most important thing about you. Naturally, invent a catchy and compelling motto for your business and type it in.
- Link to your website. It is only one. So link the account to your blog or to the official company page, if you do not want to lose traffic.
So, here it is. Be human and act like a human while running your Instagramaccount, and your advertising here will perfectly complement or even upbeat the campaigns you run in real world.