I’ve now got an emerging teenager in my house, with my 12-year-old daughter just starting high school. As a marketer it’s a revelation to me to see how engaged her generation is with Instagram and to start to develop my own deeper understanding.
We have used instagram as a tool for some of our clients and seen the results for the right type of brand.
Instagram is a marketing tool that you need to understand to be able to get the results you want. Posting a viral photo you’ve stumbled across the internet will only get you so far. Instagram requires a strategy of its own because just like any platform it’s also evolving.
That said, here’s a short list of Instagram trends you need to be on board with in 2016:
1. Animated GIFs. Given the shrinking attention span of consumers (particularly the younger ones), and the craving for unique content, it’s easy to understand why everyone likes easily digestible content such as animated GIFs.
They’re deemed effective in getting your message across because they tell a story in one simple animation and can be easily shared. This year expect to see more of this kind of content with the emergence of GIF-like apps and Apple’s Live Photos which makes creating a custom GIF a breeze!
Seriously, everyone has an app for making animated GIFs these days. There’s Boomerang by Instagram and DSCO by VSCO, both have been getting all the buzz since their launch last year. There are also a variety of apps that convert Live Photos to GIFs, and the new Instagram feature that loops video posts.
2. Instagram Advertising. Instagram now offer ads… to everyone!
Advertising on this platform used to be for big brands only until late last year when it finally opened to advertisers in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Instagram uses a new ad system that allows brands to use 3rd party ad tech vendors to buy and manage Instagram ad formats on a self-service basis. The initial ads saw a few challenges but we are hopefully brands will learn quickly and will keep experimenting until they get them right. Consider this a challenge and an opportunity for you to establish your brand in a popular platform still not saturated with ads. Instagram, in it’s blog, promises new ad formats, increased relevance, and broader availability for advertisers soon.
3. Stock photography. Producing high quality content on a regular basis is one of the major reasons why some brands are hesitant to join the Instagram wagon. Thankfully, this is no longer a problem because you can now outsource your content. New players in stock photography have entered the picture and it’s now easy to get beautiful photos for a nominal fee. You can check out Stocksy and Flashstock for beautiful stock photography.
4. Linking to content. Until now the only place where you could put a clickable link on Instagram is in your profile. Now we can see that Instagram is starting to warm up to the “click a link” feature judging from the introduction of its “Buy Now” and “Like to Know it” buttons. This is a start and hopefully, we’ll see this feature in actual content soon. In the meantime, you use your profile or bio to share clickable links to your website, blog, ecommerce site, etc. You can also include an instruction of “Link in Bio” or “Link in Profile” at the end of your post. The upside to this of course, is those that bother to delve into your profile are likely to be more engaged visitors or buyers.
5. Multiple Instagram accounts. Qantas is doing this well. They are using several accounts to deliver targeted messages. Creating multiple accounts, can be challenging to maintain, but it’s great if you want to appeal to multiple segments in the market. It’s a strategy that’s worth exploring especially since Instagram is said to be developing a feature that would allow access to multiple accounts on the same device. For now, you can use 3rd party apps for scheduling and managing multiple Instagram accounts.
This year start doing amazing things with Instagram apart from posting great photos and hashtagging. Use the platform to get your timely and relevant message across to everyone else that’s not in your other social media accounts.
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Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.