Maximizing Instagram

by: Lisa Campolmi

Recently we came across a very lengthy research report on Instagram engagement conducted by Hubspot, a popular marketing software developer. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has grown to be more popular than its parent company, Facebook, as well as Snapchat and Twitter. It is likely because Instagram thoughtfully focuses on user experience, making it more enjoyable. Because of its success, marketers are noticing Instagram is becoming cluttered and competitive with advertising content. Since Instagram continues to be a good marketing channel for most businesses, we created this summary of the report, to benefit any organization using Instagram for brand awareness or advertising.

How to Measure Engagement

Before you can assess your ROI (return on investment) of Instagram, you must identify what success is for your organization. Most marketers (80% surveyed) use engagement to determine their Instagram success. In simple terms, engagement is the number of interactions a user has with your content. This can take the form of likes or comments, but also video views, shares and direct messages. Decide which of these engagement elements are important to your organization and focus on tracking them.

Video Wins

The fact that video posts receive twice the level of engagement as any other type of post should not be a surprise to the marketing community. Users love video and it is the foundation of the Instagram user experience. Use video whenever possible to engage your audience, and grow your brand's followers.

Hashtag Overload

Hashtags are typically added as captions or comments to group different types of content. Hashtags can be an effective way to expose your content to new audiences, but beware. According to this year's finding, using more hashtags can actually decrease your engagement rate. Hashtags will not boost the engagement of a mediocre post, and good content will typically receive high engagement on its own. Additionally "spammy" content normally includes a high number of hashtags, causing Instagram users to ignore them. It is more productive to use fewer hashtags than more, and never use over 5.

Tag, You're It

Tagging on Instagram can be another way to get more exposure on your posts. Users tag to share content with their community, credit a photo or product, or to get an influencer's attention. The rates of tagging have grown 32%, but tagging in your post does not necessarily increase engagement for organizations. Tagging for a business must be done strategically. Tagging can be useful if you are running a contest or sharing someone else's content (to give them credit). As a general rule, tag users only when it's clearly relevant to your content.

By using these tips, you can grow your organizations success on Instagram and your ROI. For more information on social media management, you can reach out to Verdin.

Lisa Campolmi

Media & Research Strategist

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