Last December Instagram hit 300 million active users, claiming to have more monthly active users than Twitter and likely LinkedIn. With each of those active users posting 70 million photos a day.
That being said, Instagram is seemingly a mecca for social networking that could be harnessed in your business marketing plan.
The growing social network makes an incredibly strong case with their raw numbers to support this fact.
300 Million Monthly Active Users
70% of which are people outside the US
30 Billion Photos shared
2.5 Billion Likes Daily
70 Million Photos Posted per Day
So the next obvious question becomes, “How do you get started using Instagram for your business?”
You can download the app for iOS or Android. Even though you can view and follow users straight from the web, you will need to use the mobile app for uploading, editing and sharing images. Pretty simple stuff!
Before you begin snapping photos and attempting to engage viewers, it’s up to you to create a plant to help you curate the right audience for your company. Ask yourself these questions:
What does my target audience desire to see?
How can I get them to engage with my photos or videos?
What will get the buzz going about my business?
Profile pictures for Instagram are 110 pixels by 110 pixels. It’s all about the square.
The images that you share will always be a 510×510 pixel square in your image feed. You should keep these items in mind when creating branding materials such as logos.
Videos are limited to 15 seconds in length. Which equates to about 40 to 45 spoken words. This rivals Twitter’s Vine that only allows a 6.5 seconds of video. Instagram also has a built in editing tool (although don’t expect anything robust here).
Jordan Crook charts the differences between Instagram and Vine in the image below:
When posting consider this: Would you click on your thumbnail?
Make your posts visually engaging. After all Instagram is all about the “eye candy” so to speak. Instagram users are savvy, creative, and flock to the unusual. Don’t post photos that that are lackluster.
Posts should also be personal. I’m not talking personal, as in your cat doing a backflip after eating a bag of catnip – not unless you are a veterinarian or pet food distributor. Personal as is in photos of you or your team working on your latest project. It will give your viewers more of a personal insight into your inner workings as a business.
According to SumAll research the best times to post on Instagram is:
“5:00 to 6:00 p.m. weekdays and 8:00 p.m. on Mondays with a sweet spot at 6:00 pm”
Because of it’s mobile nature (Instagram is viewable on the web but with limited interactivity), the ideal times people would pick up their phones and interact with the app is a bit flatter than Facebook and Twitter which can both be viewed during the day via a work computer. SumAll suggests, “Your posts should be timed to catch people when they have time on their hands.”
Another tack would be to post when no one else is posting, much like the late night infomercials of yesteryear. There is less noise to compete with on the network during off peak hours.
Hashtags: What are they? How do they work?
Just like we covered a couple of weeks ago, hashtags are probably the single best way to get your photos/videos viewed and liked on Instagram. Think of them as little search buttons. They are but a page in the big chapter of that subjects book. They are used both for search and organization.
There are two camps, so to speak, when it comes to hashtaging: Popular and branded.
Popular hashtags are those that might be relevant to the keywords that your photo/video represents, those that are in your post description, or are popular among the Instagram community.
Tip: Do a quick search using the hashtags you have in mind, this will help you see just how popular they are and if they will fit with your particular post.
Examples of popular hashtags would be:
#tbt (throw back thrusday)
#followforfollow or #f4f
#lifeforlike or #l4l
You can find more on Webstagram – they keep a list of the top 100 hashtags currently being used based on popularity.
Then there is the matter of how many hashtags is enough or too much. The limit impossed by Instagram is 30. Thirty! Really?!
According to Entreprenuer’s latest infographic, the current optimal hashtag amount is 11. This will yield you 79.5% interaction per 1,000 followers. However, Max Woolf analyzed over 120,000 Instagram photos to find the parallels between hashtags and likes. His findings are astounding. According to his research, the more hashtags you use in your posts, the more likes your photos will get. Interesting!
How will you start your Instagram venture? Have you already? We would love to hear from you!