Instagram Marketing for Brands: What You Need to Know in 2018

February 14, 2018

Visually based social apps have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. Chief among them is Instagram, which hit 700 million users in April 2017. With 80% of Instagram users following at least one business account, this is the perfect app to reach potential customers and introduce new products. If you’re looking to grow your brand’s presence on Instagram in 2018, this guide is for you.

Get to know Instagram

Instagram, purchased by Facebook in 2012, was founded in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. According to Systrom in a Forbes interview, Instagram — originally named Burbn — started as an app that combined elements of Foursquare (check-ins) with elements of Mafia Wars. The team decided to change the app’s name to Instagram to better reflect the functionality of the app. The name “Instagram” was derived from combining the words “Instant Camera” and “Telegram.” The purpose of Instagram is to share visual stories of what’s happening while on-the-go. Instagram is known for its filters that enhance pictures.

The whole premise of Instagram is to keep it simple and visual, and that’s what made it so popular.

Who’s using Instagram?

Instagram is a great place to promote your business. Let’s take a look at the demographics to see what part of your target audience may be using Instagram. Pew Research Center provided data on U.S. Instagram membership, and here’s what they found:

  • 28% of U.S. adults use Instagram; 23% of U.S. men and 32% of U.S. women
  • Adoption is higher among younger U.S. age groups:
    • 59% of 18-29 year-olds
    • 31% of 30-49 year-olds
    • 13% of 50-64 year-olds
    • 5% of 65+ year-olds
  • 32% of college graduates are Instagram users
  • 30% of people who earn $75,000+ are Instagram users

According to TechCrunch, there are over 800 million monthly active users on Instagram; 32% of those are users in the U.S. The number of U.S. Instagram users is expected to surpass 95 million users in 2020.

Instagram do’s for 2018

Instagram isn’t just about snapping cool pics and posting them. In 2018, do…

Create an Instagram Business Account

An Instagram Business Account gives brands additional benefits, including access to metrics and insights on followers and how they engage with posts.

Incorporate the “Shop Now” feature

Instagram users can include links to products or store pages to make buying easy. This feature allows businesses to close the gap between attracting followers and moving them through the sales process. Learn more about Instagram’s shopping feature.

Share to stories

Get more attention for your brand by sharing images and videos to your stories. Stories are a great way to keep your followers engaged with your brand on a regular basis.

Use polls

Instagram now has stickers you can use on Stories, and one of them is a polling sticker. Be creative and do fun polls that aren’t about your company to get others to interact with your brand on Instagram.

Leverage influencer marketing

Influencers have an enormous impact on purchasing decisions with their followers. According to Pardot, 94% of marketers found influencer marketing to be effective. Work with an influencer in your industry to promote your brand to increase sales. Here are five tools to help you find influencers.

Use video

Animoto reported that one in four consumers loses interest in a company if it doesn’t have video. Don’t miss out on opportunities with potential customers. Use video to capture their attention and drive sales.

Create live streaming videos

Live streaming is raw and real. Consumers are looking for a more personable experience in the buying process. Live streaming gives buyers the chance to get to know your brand without the polished and perfected result.

Be fun and informative

Even boring industries have interesting people, services and products, and results. Maybe you don’t sell jewelry or flowers the beautiful products of Instagram. Feature photos of your team at a trade show, working in the office or serving the community. Take creative photos of your everyday product. Find ways to feature the exciting aspects of your brand, product or service.

Instagram don’ts for 2018

Use common sense, and you’ll be able to avoid most of the pitfalls when it comes to Instagram marketing.

Don’t be fake

Unless you’ve hired professional models or actors, staged photos will come off as . . . staged. People will know you’re faking, and that makes your presence less genuine.

Don’t use hashtags haphazardly

Hashtags are great, but they can sometimes come across as spammy. Make sure your hashtags are relevant to your post, and don’t use too many (Instagram allows users to use up to 30 hashtags per post, but definitely don’t feel obligated to go to the max every time).

Don’t buy followers

Buying followers is not a good use of your money. The followers will most likely be fake, and they won’t be your target audience. Organic followers lead to more engagement with posts. Why risk your brand’s integrity by buying followers?

Don’t forget the caption/CTA

Always add a caption to your images. Captions help followers understand the context, and they facilitate audience engagement. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to include a call to action in the caption to take potential customers to the next step.

Learn more social media marketing strategies at Digital Summit

Instagram can be a fun and engaging way to share your brand with the world. Don’t get too caught up with concerns about your product or industry being dull. Uncover the human side of your brand by featuring images of happy coworkers, happy customers, and pictures or video that allude to how your product or service solves problems. Use Instagram’s Business Account features to enhance your brand’s profile and make it easier for people to reach you directly from Instagram.

There’s plenty more where this came from. Learn the latest trends in social media marketing at a Digital Summit event near you. We bring together the world’s leading brands and marketers for an amazing two-day digital marketing conference. Register for Digital Summit today.