Each social media platform has its own little quirks and understanding how to leverage these for your business marketing is key. With over 700 million active users across the world, Instagram is one platform  you’ll certainly want to focus your attention on.

Not only is it popular but there’s also the chance to target specific audiences without the big marketing spend that comes from paid advertising.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a video/photo based social media platform. It’s essentially the home of the selfie and has grown primarily because of the improvement in smartphone photography tech over the last decade or so. Users can take an image or video and upload it to their friends and followers in just a few seconds.

This gives businesses a chance to engage on a slightly different level compared to sites such as Twitter and Facebook where written content is largely used for marketing. Visual and video content is generally more likely to be shared than other media. You can also promote user generated content, for instance running a competition, that can benefit your brand without any impact on your marketing budget.

Top Tips for Using Instagram

Visual messages are key in Instagram and creativity is important. It’s not about selling products directly but showing how things can be done. You could include, for example, people using your product or talking about your service. If you’re taking part in an event or festival, you can contact visitors to get them to come to your stand by doing some local marketing.

Instagram Stories is a fairly recent introduction and can be used for creating interesting narratives such as behind the scenes tours or product tips. The videos and images you add can play in a sequence that keeps potential customers highly engaged.

Key to success on Instagram is getting your content in front of the right people. Profiles on the site are very short and you need to think carefully about what you are going to write there. The traditional marketing blurb won’t work as well as a short, eye catching message. As with other social media platforms, hashtags have become increasingly important but be careful how you use them. There’s room to fit as many as 30 in any post which can be overwhelming – stick to three or four at most for the sake of clarity.

Instagram is also a great site for collaborating and sharing with other people. If your business appears isolated and only posts its own information, you will be missing out on one of the more powerful aspects of the platform. Encourage brand advocates and be prepared to share other people’s content if you want to create more engagement.

If you can create posts which help build anticipation for your audience, all the better. Users like to think that they are being given something designed just for them so the more exclusivity you can introduce the more you will start to see engagement on your timeline.

As with any social media marketing, measuring your successes and failures is also key to developing your brand on Instagram. This should be a constant process that delivers strong insights and not a once in a while check on how things are going. Much will depend on the type of business you run when developing the content that is going to work with potential customers, fans and followers.

Done well, marketing on Instagram can bring a wide range of benefits to businesses. It can help you build trust with customers and humanise your business in ways that traditional marketing and advertising methods can’t.