Before we jump in, lets give a  round of applause for Instagram hitting one billion active users in June! Of course, this news comes on the same day that Instagram released IGTV: the next generation of video.  With this newest Instagram update, YouTube is about to have some serious competition.  

Let’s talk about Instagram. I’m going to assume that since waking up this morning, you’ve checked Instagram at least once. And if you’re under the age of 30, I can guarantee you’ve probably checked it anywhere from 5-7 times before noon. 

Instagram became ingrained in our lifestyles before we even realized it. Whether it’s a clothing brand, swoon-worthy food accounts, celebrity “personalitiesor animal accounts, we all have our not-so-guilty pleasures, and these accounts have come to have a large impact on our every day lives. 

With that said, Instagram is a place where brands can thrive. This is where your customers are, and where they are most likely to be influenced, inspired, and informed. Did you know that 80% of users follow a business on Instagram? And 60% of users find new products on Instagram? Here are a few ways to use those stats to your brand’s advantage.

Tell Your Brand’s Story:

Who are you? What does your brand do? What does your brand do for other people? Your job is to tell people that. Instagram gives us a platform to show off who you are in a visual way. People want to get to know your brand and the voice behind that brand. Honesty and transparency are key when planning out your content strategy, and Instagram helps give customers an inside look at your company or brand. 

Make Everyday Like Christmas:  

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard for building out your Instagram account was, “set up your content like it is a Christmas catalog.”  This couldn’t be closer to the truth. When thinking about what content you want to share, you need to show off who your brand is. You need to share your best offers, meals, user generated content, etc. You need to show people what your brand brings to the table. An advent calendar at Christmas makes you look forward to the next day’s reveal. Your Instagram content should leave people excited to see what you’ll post next, too.

Use Content That Works:

Instagram gives us multiple formats to share our content whether it be through video, Instagram Stories, IGTV or static images. Let’s break these down: 

  • Instagram Stories: According to Instagram, 300+ million accounts use Instagram Stories every day. I cannot stress enough how import these are. These are direct traffic drivers and allow you to have direct contact with your customers. You can include GIFS, live video, polls, and so much more. And, you can now use the old stories you worked so hard on and add them into Instagram Highlights! 
    • Tip: Use Instagram Story Ads in your social media strategy that are optimized for awareness or reach.
  • Video: Animation is key. Static post can easily get missed when you are blended between a mass amount of content. Instagram is challenging creators to rethink the natural horizontal video scape to focusing solely on vertical video. 
    • Tip: Repurpose your video content into multiple formats. Crop your 30-second video to 2 15-second clips. These new videos can be used on your Instagram feed or Instagram Stories.
  • IGTV: The future is here. As more people are watching less TV and more mobile video, Instagram created a new platform that was built for how people actually use their phones: vertical and full screen. This allows anyone to be a creator and upload videos that are longer than 60-seconds and up to 60 minutes. 
    • Tip: Invest in influencer video content. Now that influencers are going to have the ability to have their own channels, their content will be more valuable than ever. According to Instagram, they learned that younger audiences are spending more time with amateur content creators than professionals. This is where influencers will make a huge impact on your business.
  • Static Images: Static images will always be Instagram’s first love. Even as the times evolve and video becomes the new Queen B, static images will always be the forefront of the platform. Beautiful photography has a monumental impact for your business. Creating a cohesive, aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed not only represents who your business is but what its all about. It gives off the vibe you want someone to feel when they think about your business. 
    • Tip: Invest in content. Getting beautiful photography is not always a walk in the park.  It takes an army, so be sure to use a team who knows what they are doing.

Don’t Be Scared to Overshare: 

Instagram is the one platform where it is okay to post frequently. There is no posting-cap. Lucky for you, the current Instagram algorithm won’t over-flood your customers feed either. Instagram prioritizes content based on an individual person’s interests from past content engagement. This is why you won’t see one brand’s content all in a row unless you are on their page. You also have multiple avenues to post on Instagram: posts, stories, IGTV. If you don’t want to post something on your feed, put it in your stories and you’ll still be reaching your audience! 

As a avid Instagram consumer and a content marketer, I feel like I’m a peculiar breed. Not only consuming content for myself but consuming content in the eyes of the businesses I represent. As we take a closer look into the content that brands are pushing out and how they are evolving, you can’t help but wonder: is your business taking the platform as seriously as it should? Instagram is quickly on its way to being the top social platform, and should be a critical part of your marketing strategy.  Let me be the one to tell you, they’re the one to watch.