Instagram: The New "Word of Mouth" | Youtech & Associates

Instagram: The New “Word of Mouth”

Are you a visual learner? Assuming your answer is yes, we’re not surprised. Humans are able to recall imagery at the drop of a hat because the brain is basically a large image processing center. Research has shown that forty percent of people respond better to an image than 1,000 words. So, a picture is literally worth a thousand words. Visuals are concrete reference points, whereas words can be abstract and easily muddled together.

Channeling cognitive behavior into constructive strategy is the premise of social media. Alas, the power of images in content marketing: visuals help tell better stories. This truly comes to life on Instagram. Instagram puts the “insta” in instant gratification by enabling free distribution of personalized content that’s readily available at your fingertips. It has succeeded at capturing the most sought-after demographic on the planet: millennials.

Instagram is particularly popular because it is extremely brand-friendly, more recently beating out Snapchat with its ‘Stories’ installment. As simple as it is to use, it’s important to know how to incorporate the platform in your overall content strategy. Here are some key insights from our experience to start your brand strong on Instagram.

WHAT IS YOUR BRAND GOING TO LOOK LIKE ON INSTAGRAM?

Before you start posting, have guidelines in place as to what you want your brand to look like on Instagram. What is your identity? What are your goals, target segments, and capabilities? Every post needs to be reflective of your vision and connect dots for followers.

Once you lay the framework, the process of curating content begins. Professional photographs of products, your facilities, and its people will add personality. Even if professional photos are not in your budget, utilizing the app’s photo editing suite and Instagram add-ons (Boomerang, Layout, PicStitch, InstaSize) is key to keeping it interesting. Play around with it; the right balance between relevance and personality will bring in higher engagement.

Pro tip: Keep it consistent. Your posts should all complement each other. One cool photo and then a stream of dodgy ones is conflicting and throws followers off-message.

WHAT’S TRENDING IN HASHTAGS?

Hashtags are a critical ingredient to your social media profile’s ranking in Google. Researching what’s trending in hashtags will help you formulate a plan on how to increase rankings and, sequentially, followers. Using popular hashtags from within your industry and among competitors plus your own brand-specific hashtags will improve your search quality and drive organic (unaided) traffic towards your profile.

SPREAD THE LOVE

One does not simply create an Instagram account and then not follow anyone. The point of Instagram is to spark conversation. To build positive rapport and awareness, start “social proofing” your brand. This means building a sense of legitimacy around your brand through likes, shares, tags, and comments. A paper trail will begin to form that engages others but will still trace back to you. Your network and online credibility will continue to rise and also forge relationships for the future.

CROSS-POLLINATE CONTENT

Nearly everything you share will turn to gold. Cross-promoting your Instagram feed across other social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn – will reach wider, more diverse audiences. This is an easy way to invite followers to your Instagram account and engage with you. From there, you can get creative by putting out hashtag contests or encouraging followers to direct message you via Instagram to increase your following.

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