According to PEW Research Center, the majority of Americans (55 percent to be exact) use Instagram to some degree. Given the platform’s rapid growth, more and more people will begin using the platform in the months and years ahead.
There are six things marketers must do to be successful reaching potential customers on this new channel.
1. Use Instagram analytics to optimize your account.
As the adage goes, “What gets measured gets managed.” This is true for most marketing initiatives, and it remains true for Instagram as well. There are a number of different Instagram tools available that provide insightful Instagram analytics designed to make brands more successful on the channel.
When searching for an Instagram analytics tool, there are a few capabilities most marketing teams will need. First and foremost, the tool should have the ability to monitor post performance to show what posts have the best reach, the best engagement and the best click through rate. From there marketers will be able to use Instagram more efficiently.
Marketers will also most likely want to use a tool that has the ability to schedule posts in advance. Most Instagram analytics tools are able to determine when is the best time to share content in order for a post to perform well. This time may be outside of office hours, which is where scheduling content can be helpful.
Finally, most marketers will want to find an Instagram analytics tool that is able to monitor chatter for specific keywords and hashtags. This makes it possible for marketing teams to connect with customers or prospects in real-time in order to create memorable experiences.
2. Embrace UGC.
UGC, also known as User Generated Content, is a phenomenon an increasing number of brands are embracing. The term refers to an instance when a customer creates some sort of content involving a product or service. That content can be restored or repurposed by brands in the form of social proof that gives prospects confidence in the brand.
While UGC isn’t limited to Instagram, some of the most successful branded Instagram channels use UGC to share compelling content to reinforce a brand narrative.
3. Create a live social wall.
In order to promote your brand and your Instagram channel at the same time, consider creating a live social wall that can be shared in your office, or during a live event. Tools like Tint and Tagboard make it easy for brands to aggregate user generated content or to share a live stream of content posted on a specific Instagram channel.
This can encourage viewers to follow your brand’s Instagram account and it can help to expand the reach of content shared on Instagram.
4. Cross promote your Instagram account.
For brands interested in growing their Instagram following, consider cross-promoting the account via other channels. If your marketing team is using Instagram in an innovative way, it may make sense to talk about it via an industry website or company blog.
This can help to drive awareness of your Instagram channel, while positioning your company as thought-leaders when it comes to social media marketing.
5. Try influencer marketing.
According to AdWeek, 94 percent of businesses who utilize influencer marketing believe it is effective. While it can be difficult for brands to quantify the impact of influencer marketing, when done well, it can provide brands with noticeable lift in many different ways.
6. Share video content.
According to MWP 55 percent of people watch at least one video online each day. Video helps to capture audience attention reliably and for a longer period of time than traditional photos. That’s why so many brands are already embracing video content on Instagram.
In order to improve your brand’s Instagram marketing it’s best to try at least a few of the tips mentioned in this article. Marketers need to first ensure that some form of Instagram analytics are in place. Analytics will help marketers better understand what content resonates with followers, and what followers are saying online. At the same time, many tools can also make it easier to schedule and manage content.
Next marketers should find content that suits the brand audience, it could be UGC or video content or content proceed by influencers. Finally, in order to grow followers it may make sense to invest in a social wall and to cross promote your Instagram channel via other means.
This column was originally published on Entrepreneur.com on August 23, 2017.