More than 40 billion photos have been shared with more than 400 million users since Instagram’s inception just over five years ago. A staggering 80 million images are uploaded each day garnering 3.5 billion likes. And it all began with a photo of a dog. Taken on July 16 2010 by Instagram’s founder Kevin Systrom, the picture depicts his golden retriever at a taco stand. A fitting start to a social media site that now hosts more images of cute animals than any other.
So what have animals on Instagram got to do with content marketing? Loads. In fact, we can learn a lot from the world’s first travelling hedgehog Biddy (who has more than 580,000 followers and sadly passed away last year) and a cute Chinchilla called BuBu (who has 169,000 followers). These animals have more engagement with their followers than the average Instagram user does.
So here our furry (and spikey) friends give us 8 lessons on how to use Instagram to enhance engagement with fans and followers.
1 Show your products in situ:
Product images garner the greatest response from Instagramers according to research from L2. Showing your products in a home environment enhances their desirability. Content brands like IKEA, have been doing this for years to great success. Their magazines and digital equivalents have regularly depicted their products in a family environment – showing their customer how they’ll look in a home setting – to enhance sales.
2 Feature customers using your products:
Instagrammers are vain. They love the chance to show off. They also love to be recognised and rewarded for their actions. Brands that feature images of fans interacting with their product have higher engagement than those that don’t. A recent study found that brands which feature images with faces have 38% more likes than those that don’t.
3 Encourage your employees to post:
Who better to advocate your product or service than those that work with your brand day in and out. Your employees should be your biggest fans. Encourage them to try out or showcase your products or services while they are at work. Let them demonstrate the passion they have for your brand.
4. Take your fans behind the scenes into your world:
Increase your fans’ intimacy with your brand by showing them behind the scenes looks at your company. This is a chance to showcase your point of view and connect you with your customers in a unique way. Share photos and videos that capture what you are seeing, feeling, or thinking in the moment to provides followers with a genuine glimpse into your life, industry and the inspiration behind your brand.
5. Incorporate user generated content:
Give your fans and followers a chance to post images of them wearing or using your products. Fashion brands have this off to a tee. Many of the top brands celebrate their customers by reposting images of their fans on their Instagram page.
6 Host contests:
Photo contests are a great way to increase your brand’s visibility on Instagram. Using a hashtag attached to your contest will make it easier for you to collect photos from your followers. GoPro regularly runs contests – such as inviting followers to post their ‘best image’ (could be cooking/camping/surfing) – for prize money and recognition.
7 Harness the power of the hashtag:
Hastags are a great way to get your posts—and brand—noticed in the vast ether of Instagram. The most popular branded posts have at least one hashtag, and the average post will have three. Some brands try to encourage users to adopt their own branded hashtags, such as big fashion brands like TopShop or Gucci, others try and go for something more unique such as this one, #dancingdog.
8 Start your own Throwback Thursday #TBT:
One of the most popular trends on Instagram is the hashtag #TBT otherwise known as “Throwback Thursday”. Here users post photos from the past to reminisce. This week, this cat lover remembers the late iconic rock star David Bowie.