Instagram has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Since being bought out by Facebook way back in 2012, the social media platform has amassed over half a billion users and has become a goldmine for savvy businesses to market their brand. Although similar to its big brother Facebook in many ways, Instagram has a few unique features which make it perfect for small businesses to thrive and increase their reach.
Before you start marketing on Instagram, make sure you have a Business Profile as opposed to a personal one- this will unlock Instagram’s business tools, which are integral to succeeding on the site. Through ‘Insights’, Instagram allows you to view important statistics and engagement data as well as demographics, so you can make sure that your page is attracting your target audience. Being able to view your audience’s most active hours on Instagram also means you can ensure you post at the most effective times of the day. It's simple: the more you know about how users are interacting with your posts, the better you can adjust your content to boost engagement!
Because Instagram is a visual-oriented platform, your content needs to stand out from the pack. Studies have shown that users are far more likely to interact with posts if they are visually captivating and integrate their advertising subtly. Ideally, users will be drawn to the unique visual stylings of the post before noticing the product- this means you need to be creative in how you market your product or service. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to use hashtags- they are perhaps the easiest way to get your posts seen by the people you want, as users will frequently search industry-related hashtags to find exactly what they’re looking for. Be specific in your hashtags, but don’t go overboard (Pro Tip: pop your hashtags in the comments section of your post, this has the same impact as putting them in the caption, but doesn’t make your posts seem bloated).
As with Facebook, videos are an integral part of marketing on Instagram. Quick, eye-catching videos with a meaningful message are what users are looking for- videos that are long and bland-looking will make potential patients scroll past in record time. In addition, Instagram Stories are a sure-fire way to increase engagement, as stories are displayed at the top of follower timelines, a prime position for any content to be shown! Experiment with Instagram’s plethora of video options, as using features such as live videos or boomerangs will create variety and show that your brand is more than a one-trick pony. Stories are best used in conjunction with daily posts, and are most effective when used to capture less polished, behind-the-scenes-esque content, giving your practice a more personal face.
There are so many other features to Instagram which make it an essential social media marketing tool, but instead of listening to me waffle on about them here, go and check it out for yourself!