By Mark Ham
Well, social marketers, the reports are in: Instagram is officially one of the hottest social platforms for customer engagement. In fact, according to a recent article in Forbes, “Instagram’s popularity has been growing steadily since it first debuted back in 2010. With more than 500 million active users, it’s currently the second most popular social media network in the world.”
So, if you’re not currently utilizing Instagram as a marketing channel, you should probably begin thinking about how to weave it into your strategy.
According to Instagram, their community of active users grew to 800 million, with 500 million using the platform every day. In addition, eMarketer’s research uncovered that the average number of Instagram followers for a top brand is now more than 1-Million—almost five times higher than in 2015.
Now, marketers must decide: What are the most effective ways to utilize this social platform to engage both residents and prospects? We have your answer and outlined tried-and-true Instagram techniques for improving engagement and help you delight your audience with a platform renowned for its visual wow-ability. Let’s get started.
1— The $1.80 Instagram Strategy
One unique Instagram strategy to increase engagement through a tight social media strategy, which ties nicely with posting once per day, is the notion of including hashtags. Gary Vaynerchuk, a longtime voice in the marketing and business consulting realm, offers up his “$1.80 Instagram strategy which translates to leaving your personal .02 cents on the top 9 trending Instagram posts for 10 different hashtags that are relevant to your brand or business every single day. By the end, you haven’t just left your .02, but a full $1.80 of thoughts online in the specific category, niche or industry you want to become a part of.”
This is a two-fold strategy. One, Vaynerchuk notes using 10 different hashtags in your top nine posts that are getting great engagement. Many may wonder, how do I know what are the top hashtags? When you search on Instagram, notice the following:
Here you can see what the top hashtags are for your search terms—notice the mere search term for “social media” shows #socialmedia receives more than 8M posts, while #amazingmarketing is lower with 436 posts and conversely, #socialmediamarketing gleans a whopping 4.3M posts. Do this ten times on your top posts, creatively searching terms that match your content and imagery, and, in addition, Vaynerchuk also touts adding a comment in the comment threads for these top posts, what he coins ‘adding your .02 cents’ and thereby showing your engaged followers that your brand is listening, and engaged, too. With a regular posting schedule, and a close eye on trending hashtags, as well as taking the time to comment on top posts: engagement will improve and increase followers naturally, and organically.
2—Be Creative, Think Out of the Box
It might be hard to believe, but even the companies that some ‘may’ classify on paper as corporate and dull can have some amazingly creative Instagram accounts. Take a company like AirBnB, for instance – look at these stunning images from a small sampling of its corporate Instagram page.
Pretty gorgeous photo collage, right? There’s a tasteful blend of beautifully written caption content, compelling location-based imagery, and photo-storytelling. They certainly have a well-defined Instagram strategy to attract a variety of demographics to the company, and this may also bode well for hiring the brightest minds fresh out of college, you know, the ones who spend quite a bit more time scrolling and exploring Instagram’s content feed.
Also, an important element to keeping your Instagram brand looking razor-sharp, is to make sure that the photos have the same style. Some of this can be accomplished by not only having a strict style guide for accomplishing the type of imagery, but you can also accomplish this by utilizing photo editing apps to make your photos stand out and have the same photo-style, whether that’s using a certain type of filter or overlay. Snapseed, VSCO and AppBrush and PicsArt are just a few of the apps you can use to accomplish this.
3—Have a Photo Contest
Hashtags are increasingly becoming a marketer’s best metric for tracking engagement. If your hashtag mentions are in the thousands, you can be confident in knowing that you’ve generated significant brand reach. Social Media Examiner explains the concept quite simply, ”Contests are easy to do on Instagram. Companies can easily ask users to use a particular hashtag for the contest by tagging their pictures. It’s easy to search through pictures, ask other people to vote for their favorite pictures and pick a winner.” Hashtag photo contests are a simple and effective way to engage users and gain more followers. More followers equate to more customers – and if you happen to be fluent in Funnel Marketing, then you know this also equates to an increase in qualified leads for your sales team.
Here are some excellent ideas from Wishpond on how to effectively create a winning contest. (Pun intended.)
4—Insta-Advertising Is Amazing
According to Entrepreneur, “Instagram has opened advertising to the public via its self-serve platform, allowing brands to be marketed to its more than 400 million users.”
This is a paid social-marketing service option, and get this: according to a report by Kenshoo, “Users are two-and-a-half-times more likely to click on ads on Instagram than on other social media platforms.” And that is a metric that marketers can truly appreciate.
If you’re interested in understanding how to utilize this strategy effectively, Instagram has also put together some case studies you can read here to help guide you in your advertising strategy.
Instagram should now be your favorite new marketing tool and we’ve equipped you with four effective ways to start off on the right foot. Remember: strategy is key, creative images are a must, and understanding and identifying your followers proves invaluable. Paid advertising on Instagram is simple, so take full advantage by creating a marketing campaign that engages your resident and prospects on one of the most increasingly popular advertising platforms in the digital marketing space.
-The LeaseLabs Team
LeaseLabs is a multifamily innovation powerhouse. Driven by more than 100 creators, designers, and thinkers, the Full Stack Marketing agency was founded in 2008 for the sole purpose of providing strategic marketing, creative, and technology services within the multifamily vertical.
In today’s crowded multifamily market of vendors, suppliers, and ILSs, LeaseLabs launched with the goal of centralizing our client’s marketing efforts while further maximizing ROI. The LeaseLabs Full Stack Marketing philosophy was created; a single marketing strategy that utilizes a stack of inbound marketing services. Each service creates important brand touch-points within the prospective renter’s journey to continuously generate new leads and convert those leads into leases.
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