Parts 1 and 2 detailed how to Set up an Instagram account and how to manage the account around your business. The article focuses on managing your account for growth.
Managing Multiple Accounts
Instagram now allows you to easily manage up to five separate Instagram accounts within its app. This is great for professional social media marketers and is also incredibly useful for those who run both personal and business accounts from one handset as you will receive all your notifications on one handset and can easily switch between accounts to post and respond to comments.
To add an additional account follow the steps below.
Review your Analytics Information
Regularly review your user and follower data to respond to changes in engagement trends accordingly.
Review your Strategy Regularly
Your strategy may need to be adjusted based on the information that you receive from your account analytics. You may wish to adjust your posting times if user trends change, if new popular hashtags emerge and also to observe public holidays or current events. Remember to keep in mind what your objectives or goals for your account are.
On average captions that contain at least one hashtag generate 12.6% more engagement than those without.
Company branded hashtags are a great way for your followers to engage with your company and or specific products. Where possible keep branded hashtags consistent across platforms.
Added hashtags within your captions is a great way to contextualise your posts i.e. adding locations to posts.
You can include up to 30 hashtags per post and if you choose to add more generic rather then branded or post specific hashtags then can do so discretely by adding them as a comment on your post.
Discrete hashtag posting.
step 1 - keep a selection of frequent hashtags in a document or notes section of your phone.
step 2 - Add a dot symbol, dash or asterisk on each separate line just above your hashtags
step 3 - post picture with caption.
step 4 - Copy and paste the characters and hashtags as a comment on your post
Where possible try to add your hashtag comment as soon as you post your image. Previously you could post hashtags hours, days or months after your post and they would show up in a hashtag feed in the order in which the hashtag was posted. Now the hashtag feed displays chronologically in order of when the picture was posted and not when the hashtag was added. Therefore retrospectively posting hashtags means that your post may display at the midst of a potentially crowded hashtag feed.
Many brands and marketers alike struggle with the concept of posting video content on Instagram. Initially Instagram videos were a mere 15 seconds. Earlier this year Instagram extended the length of videos to 1 minute. This of course allows you to edit
The growing importance of Video content
Instagram now allows you to see how many times people have watched a video on IG. You will begin to see view counts on videos
Landscape vs Portrait vs Square Posts
So in the early days of Instagram users were limited to posting square images which often lead to some details being cropped from pictures and for architectural and landscape photographers this was a small but important constraint which some found detrimental. Listening to user feedback lead to users being able to post images in a variety
Landscape pictures are great to use when posting longer captions. With the standard rectangular phone display screen you will automatically see more the caption when either scrolling or selecting the picture.
Portrait images allow you to capitalise on the screen real estate available on mobile handset and can give great visual impact huge visual effect when users are scrolling through their Instagram feeds.
The best captions are those that ultimately inspire your followers to take action but those that inspire, contextualise your brand and give your customers insight into your brands values and personality.
The character limit for captions is 2200 but do not feel compelled to use the full character limit. Often times less is more. Remember that with your strategy
You are unable to post links to your website in your posts but you can link back you your profile with an @mention and posting a link in the biography section.
Developing a house style is important as well as deciding whether you want to use slang in your captions. This will all depend upon your brand and how you wish for your brand to be perceived.
Not every post must contain a call to action and I would advise against having a call to action in every post just to achieve balance. Instagram captions are truncated after the first 3-4 lines of text, particularly if you use square or portrait images, so the first part of the caption should be engaging, encouraging your readers to click to read on. Emoji’s can also help to break up longer captions and draw the eye to your call to action.
Asking questions can also help to engage your customers i.e. their thoughts on new products in your range or about themselves.
Mentioning other Instagram users often aids engagement. On average Instagram @mentions in captions earn 56% more engagements than those without. When mentioning people in captions you should do so based upon relevance to the post.
Another way to grow your account is to collaborate with other Instagram users.
You can contact Influencers in your niche to build partnerships such as free offer for sharing your posts on their feed or Paid Shoutouts.
There are a number of accounts that focus specifically on particular niche topics or industries such as fitness, fashion and even coffee. Feature Accounts can amass large followings and free or paid partnerships could provide a powerful platform for your business. Example include CheckoutAfrica and NothingtodoinLagos.
You can leverage the follower numbers that you have on other apps to attract followers to your Instagram account by advertising on your Facebook or Twitter accounts for example that your company is on Instagram and what the benefits of following you would be i.e. competitions, inspiration, product video footage reviews etc.
Social Media Consultant
The Social Atelier
Instagram was dubbed the “King of Social Engagement” by Forrester in 2014 during a period of substantial growth and high levels of user engagement. Forrester
Social media is an effective way to start building brand awareness around your services and products. Unfortunately most brands get this simple channel wrong. They set up their profile, probably use a compelling image and go on the ego tripping route; building more followers.
I have seen companies celebrate their 20,000th fans with so much fun-fare; I started wondering if getting more followers or fans is the major reason for getting on social media platforms in the first place.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a huge follower base. In fact, recently I started thinking of how to increase my followers on twitter and then like everything else, I stopped for a moment to ask myself some salient questions.
These are the kind of questions I usually ask when analysing any marketing channel or platform and answers from these questions has always guided my decisions. With the rate of noise available on twitter, facebook and other social media platform, focusing on the wrong metric will not help your business.
Have you stopped to wonder how many re-tweets or likes a brand with sometimes 20,000 followers get. Often times it is as low as 6. This means less than 1% of their followers were actually interacting with their content. Some will say it is due to the algorithms of some of these platforms. Others will give dozens of reasons and try to justify it. But I would say “You got it all wrong folks”.
And I am going to prove it with these points;
Let us take these two points one after the other
Why are you on that social media platform?
If we decide to take the simplest definition of what social media means from Wikipedia, you will find it describing social media as computer-mediated tool that allows people to create, share or exchange ideas or information in a virtual environment.
If you take the definition further and ask for the meaning of social media marketing, you will get something that says social media marketing is the process of gaining website traffic through the use of social media.
Businesses joined the band wagon of getting on social media platform without understanding the meaning and use of social media. Social media can help you get traffic to your website; it can help you build relationships with prospective clients. It can even help you solve some of your customers complaints, but the bottom line is that it must help you improve your business.
And this led me to my second question.
What metrics are you focusing on?
Since the advent of social media, businesses have been in the rat race. They go after building huge followers forgetting that the use of social media is to help them gain traffic to their website and improve their business. By focusing on vanity metrics like quantity of followers rather than quality, they miss out on the most important benefit of a digital marketing channel.
So what metrics should you rather focus on?
Quality of followers – Building quality followers should be the most important metric. If you buy your followers or get them the wrong way, you are going to have a huge base of people who do not have any idea of what your brand stands for and who will never buy from you. Rather invest growing your followers by proving and sharing quality information that your target audience will appreciate.
If you build quality followers, these followers will engage with your content, visit your website and ultimately become your brand ambassadors.