Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Instagram is undoubtedly one of the fastest ways to reach a huge number of specific users and have them familiarize with a brand. Numbers don’t lie. Instagram has more than 1 billion active users and more than 500 million accounts are active every day.
Instagram advertising is acquiring more importance both for Facebook and for advertisers. More and more businesses want to advertise on Instagram because of its incredible audience and Facebook is seeing an incredible opportunity to monetize such traffic. Consequently, as technology evolves toward a visual-centric approach, users wanting to obtain as much information as possible but in less time are shifting from editorial to mainly visual content. This creates a completely new set of best practices when it comes to social media. How are companies going to grab the attention of users? How can they deliver accurate information through an image and small text? What strategies should be used to re-engage users over time?
Best practice #1: High Quality and Engaging Content.
Potential buyers are not looking for cute pictures of products, they are actually looking for content that stimulates some sort of excitement and interest in them. We can refer to it as experiential content. To be able to generate this sort of feeling in your audience, you must have high-quality content in the form of images, videos or slideshows.
Creating such content isn’t easy and starts with having the proper strategy in place. It is better to create less content but good in quality than content that won’t engage.
Best practice #2: Understand Your Audience.
Even though it sounds pretty obvious, sometimes it is the hardest for business to actually do. Businesses should have one objective when creating their social media strategy, and it should be focusing on captivating a core audience that is genuinely interested in what they are offering, than just having thousands of followers that do not engage at all with their brand.
There are a few things that can help when figuring out what audience could be a good target for any business. Google Analytics certainly represents one of the best tools for that. Google Analytics collects data about a business and breaks it down into categories. Companies will be able to learn more about age, gender, interests and online behaviors of their website visitors. This information can then be used to target these categories on various advertising platforms.
Best practice #3: Tell engaging stories.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and it is the best way to get your point across in a creative and unique way. Instagram helps you to achieve that by enabling brands to tell stories with their visual content, whether is by video, boomerang or an image; Instagram is an amazing tool to connect with your audience in an emotional level. An effective channel for brand storytelling.
A great and quick tip I can offer you from my experience is: Do not try to force product images on your audience, shape your content with a larger narrative. It is also very important to customize an Instagram profile and create consistency over time. For instance, using the same color scheme, varying across a pre-set amount of topics and creating a series of content, such as a “meet the team” series, will help your storytelling efforts!
Best practice #4: Keep your brand’s voice (assets) constant around your content.
One of the most important best practices to increase any brand’s sales and become unique (and not one of the many businesses out there selling on Instagram), is by keeping your brand’s voice constant throughout your content, we are constantly doing that on our brand’s Instagram page. Followers want to know what your brand stands for. They want to know your brand’s personality, and the best way to communicate it is through the voice you use in your social media platforms.
A great way to keep a constant social media message, as well as voice is by creating a branding guide which will have all the information and guidelines of all your brand’s content imagining style and message. By following the above best practices, you will be able to optimize your content for better engagement and advertise successfully.
Karina Stark contributed to this article.