Instagram Stories for Business | What’s it All About

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin

In today’s market, it’s essential to be connected through social media. With the ease of reach, and the fact that one out of every five minutes someone spends on their phone they’re looking at some form of social media, it’s imperative to garner that audience. One of those ways is through Instagram. Instagram is famous for being able to display creative-heavy content right in front of your audience. Instagram hosts many features for displaying content.

One of those features is Instagram Stories. What is it you might ask? When Instagram Stories first came out in August of 2017, all anyone could talk about was that it was a straight up rip of Snapchat – or at least, that’s how it was perceived. And, in all honesty, that’s a decent argument. The functionality is the same. The feel is similar. Hell, the story disappears after 24 hours. But, there’s a key difference. Instagram, unlike Snapchat at the time, managed to turn their Stories into an effective tool for businesses without ruining it for consumers. It’s attractive to both consumers and business.

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Leveraging Instagram to Boost Your B2B Brand

Leverage Instagram for B2B

Consider: 600 million monthly users, 300 million daily users, and 1.5 businesses worldwide. What do all these numbers reference? Instagram. In 2016. Instagram was used by 48.8% of brands – a number that is expected to rise to 70.7% by 2017.

Selfies, food images, and more flood Instagram news feeds daily. In this Millennial-driven world, Instagram would lend itself more to B2C brands, wouldn’t it? You’re not wrong, it does. According to Instagram, some of the industries that have found early success using its ads include “e-commerce, travel, entertainment, and retail.” But does that mean that B2B businesses can’t leverage Instagram? Absolutely not!

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4 Tips for Creating a Successful Instagram Marketing Strategy

Using Instagram is more than just posting photos via the mobile app and adding cool filters. If you wish to build your brand’s digital presence using the social media platform, you better be thinking strategically. Follow these tips to ensure you have a successful Instagram marketing strategy.

1. Find A Clear Goal

What are you looking for by starting an Instagram account? Are you wanting to increase brand awareness? Increase your sales? Or are you looking to explore connecting with a new demographic that you haven’t already reached with other digital media platforms? By first addressing what you wish to accomplish, you can better hone in on exactly what to post and your voice will be better heard.

2. Be Consistent

Many brands fall into the trap of not regularly posting. As an Instagram user this is definitely a red-flag to unfollow. Most users are looking to follow accounts who post at least two times a day with relevant and engaging content. Don’t fall victim to the inconsistent posting patterns that a lot of brands do.

3. Balance

Balance is key to creating an Instagram campaign that is engaging and also informational. People who use Instagram are interested in viewing photos that are aesthetically pleasing and shareable. All too often I see brands solely promoting their products rather than trying to tell a story.

Instagram marketing using hashtags.

Lilly Pulitzer used the branded hashtag #lillyfortarget to promote their collaboration line.

Instagram is meant to be a more informal social platform where it’s okay to be personable,human, and even funny. Your profile should include a well-represented mix of fun and business related content. Try these examples:

  • Create how-to videos of certain products you sell
  • Spotlight employees
  • Repost fans photos using a Repost app
  • Find creative ways to display your products on Instagram
  • Participate in iconic hashtag says throughout the week: #ManCrushMonday, #WomenCrushWednesday, #ThrowbackThrusday and #SelfieSunday

4. Branded Hashtag

A branded hashtag is perfect for giving your brand a presence on Instagram. Although it might take some time before your hashtag takes off, don’t ;et this stop you from creating one. Once your account gains more popularity, a branded hashtag will help you connect and engage with followers.

In the end, Instagram isn’t a tool to drive traffic to your website. It’s really hard to do. In fact, Instgram only allows one hyperlinked address and that’s on the profile page of an account. Rather, brands should use it to build an audience using interesting, fun, and entertaining images than are worth sharing.

Need help kick-starting your Instagram marketing and brand strategy? Let us offer our expertise. Click below to contact us today to get the conversation started.

Need help with an Instagram marketing strategy? Contact StrataBlue today!

Instagram Analytics: Using Iconosquare to Track Performance

So you’ve created your Instagram account and populated it with incredible visual content. Now what? Like any other social media platform, in order track your growth and determine a return on your efforts, it is necessary to monitor and understand the analytics on your Instagram account.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram doesn’t provide its own analytics through the app. Iconosquare, formerly known as Statigram, is a trusty Instagram analytics platform that I have been using for the past couple years. The tool is easy to use and provides you with all the useful reports you need to manage a successful Instagram account. Here is a brief overview of how to use Iconosqaure analytics for your Instagram campaigns.

Getting Started

To get started on Iconosqure, simply visit iconosquare.com, log in with your Instagram credentials and authorize your account. Once your account is authorized, Iconosqure will sync with your Instagram data in a matter of minutes. From there, Iconosqaure will give you an updated summary and you are ready to start analyzing your Instagram performance.

Iconosquare Instagram Analytics Platform - Getting Started

Statistics Tab

Here on the Statistics tab you are able to view an overview summary of your Instagram account. This summary of your Instagram analytics includes: a grand total of likes and comments received, your number of followers, people you are following, new followers, lost followers and the total growth within the last seven days.

Iconosquare Instagram Analytics - Statistics Tab

 

A neat feature of the Iconosquare summary page is the Scores section. Here you can see your Love, Talk and Spread Rate — or in other words, your engagement rates. In the Scores section, the percentage on your last photo is the larger number and your average rate is the number below in each box.

  • The Love Rate is a calculation of your follower engagement and how many people like your content.
  • Talk Rate is the average engagement in terms of comments on your photos.
  • And Spread Rate computes your likes received from people outside of your followers.

Iconosquare Instagram Analytics Platform - Scortes and Love Rate

These engagement rates are very similar to what you would see on Facebook Insights. The Scores section is great for gauging your engagement on Instagram.

Content Section

The Content section on Iconosquare is jam-packed with data analysis of all of your content ever posted on Instagram. It breaks down the density of posts according to each day of the week, the times you post the most, filters used most and ones never used, your hashtag usage and a percentage of time you use the geo-location feature on content. I like to use the Content section for looking at the filters I never use and then trying to incorporate them into my photos. I also like to see the filter I always use and try to give that one a break for a while.

Iconosquare Instagram Analytics Platform - Density

Engagement Section

In the engagement section, you will find a break down of your most liked media and most commented media. Iconosquare also provides a graph for each to show your likes and comments growth history.

Iconosquare Instagram Analytics Platform - Engagement

Optimization Section

The Optimization page is probably one of my favorite sections. Here, Iconosquare helps you optimize your account in accordance to your Instagram community. They provide you with hints on the best time to post in order to increase engagement, the impact your filters have when it comes to acquiring likes and comments, the impact of tags, and the average media lifespan. Using this page is extremely important. Since Instagram has only offered paid advertising to certain brands at this stage, all engagement is organic only. The Optimization section will help you capture and capitalize on the habits of your Instagram community in order to maximize engagement.

icono (6Iconosquare Instagram Analytics Platform - Times to Post

Community Section

Last but not least is the Community section, where you can find more information about thek typology of your followers, your account growth and accounts you like the most according to likes given.

As you can see Iconosquare is a goldmine for all types of Instagram analytics data. For anyone running an Instagram account or campaign, I recommend using this tool for brand community management and performance optimization on Instagram. Not only is Iconosquare easy to use, but it is also free (for now)! Take advantage of this opportunity and sign in with your Instagram account today.

5 Tips on How to Market Your Business on Instagram

Instagram has certainly made significant strides within the past year, but the most common question people have is do I really need an Instagram account for my business?… And what the heck do I even post?

Instagram is a unique way to connect and engage with your audience using visual images. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is a more visual experience for users. Here below, I have complied a list of five tips if you’re looking to market your business on Instagram.

  1. Connect your Instagram account with your other social media platforms.

When first setting up your Instagram account—or if you already have one—be sure to connect your account to your other social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr and Flickr. By connecting to your other accounts, you can post simultaneously to all platforms and therefore syndicate your visual content.

Connecting your social accounts to cross-promote your content is also a great way to gain more followers across all social media platforms. If someone follows you on Facebook and sees you are also on Instagram, they will most likely connect immediately.

  1. Use Hashtags

The hashtag feature on Instagram is very similar to the Twitter hashtag. I recommend almost every post include a hashtag, especially when you are new to Instagram. Just like on Twitter, when clicking on a hashtag you are able to explore similar posts. This is a great way for your brand to get noticed.

When using the Instagram hashtag, it is important to understand the popular, daily hashtags:

  • Monday: #MCM (Man Crush Monday)
  • Tuesday: #TransformationTuesday
  • Wednesday: #WCW (Women Crush Wednesday)
  • Thursday: #tbt (Throwback Thursday)
  • Friday: #FlashblackFriday
  • Saturday: Hashtags have the day off
  • Sunday: #SelfieSunday

These hashtags may or may not be appropriate for your brand, but using them in a playful way is great for engaging and gaining followers.

If you are feeling really brave, I recommend you create your very own hashtag. A great example of this is an Arkansas boutique, Riffraff. They’ve done an excellent job of engaging their customers on Instagram by establishing the hashtag #riffrafflove. When purchasing from their store they encourage you to use #riffrafflove on an Instagram post with you wearing their product. With the hashtag they are able to connect with customers. Just look—there are 8,565 posts using their homemade hashtag!

photo 1photo 2

 

For simpler hashtag recommendations, stick with three things: location (#Indy), product (#cupcakes), or industry (#bakery).

  1. Engage, Engage, Engage

Instagram is the most informal social media platform out there. Followers are looking to your account to tell your story. One of the best lessons I learned in my college sales internship is, “People love to buy, but they hate to be sold.” Instagram isn’t the place to post your latest ad, but rather post that “ad” in a unique, visually pleasing way.

  • Encourage your followers to post their own photos using your hashtag
  • Follow your followers
  • Like followers’ photos
  • Comment on followers’ photos
  • Ask questions
  • Run Instagram contests
  • Be sure to give call to action!

 

  1. Be creative with your content.

As I’ve already mentioned, Instagram is extremely informal—so your content should be also. Determine how you would like your brand represented and run with it. Here are a few content ideas:

  • Include behind-the-scenes images
  • Showcase employees
  • Play into the fun National Holidays
  • Show off your product in creative ways
  • Celebrate milestones
  • Use the video feature

Another one of my favorite brands to follow on Instagram is Jars by Dani. She sells homemade jars with all different kinds of cake flavors. What I enjoy most about dani_beckerman is how she creatively highlights her jars in posts. She makes her product visually pleasing, and her images can make anyone’s mouth water!

photo 3photo 4

 

Here are a few additional content tips:

  • Be sure your posts are creative, playful, and not mundane.
  • Don’t get caught up in using the same filters, shake things up every now and then to spark interest.
  • Your content should inspire customers and potential customers.
  1. Master the Caption

Being able to post awesome pictures is one thing, but being able to master your caption will take your post to the next level. Clever captions that make your followers look at your posts longer are essential to creating a successful Instagram campaign.

 

Is your brand is directed toward millennials? Then you better have an Instagram account. Figuring out what works for your business on Instagram may take time, but once you create your persona and get the hang of posting you can become an Instagram master in no time. However, if you don’t feel you have the time to dedicate to creating a successful Instagram profile, I recommend reaching out to a digital marketing firm to take care of your needs.