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Instagram: that little app that Facebook stole and changed the way millennials and businesses share content.
With the platform growing at a vast rate due to the new implementation of shopping, stories, links and much more, it's becoming a very busy space like most mediums, thus making it difficult for you to get your message out there.
Here are some basic tips and insights for business Instagram in 2018.
Effective Hashtags: Instagram users are now able to follow specific hashtags, along with profiles, meaning that they can keep tabs on relevant conversations by using hashtags alone.
The ability to follow hashtags adds a whole new element to your strategic considerations. Now, you can reach new audiences by using targeted hashtags and expand your brand messaging by promoting your branded tags. The hashtag isn't dead, not just yet.
Stories: Personally, I love Instagram stories; for anyone who documents it's the place to be. Instagram Stories has also grown at a rapid pace, doubling its audience from 150 million daily users in January last year to over 450 million in January this year. Additionally, Instagram upped the value of Stories in December by adding Stories Archive and Highlights functions.
Now Stories content is kept indefinitely, and can be displayed in a new section on your profile, maximising its use! Business profiles also have unique access to Stories Links, having the ability to add the 'Swipe Up' feature and create an instant call to action.
When should you use stories? Stories are great for behind the scenes, unique discounts, driving traffic to posts, or for documenting what your following doesn't see on your posts.
Visual Composition and Consistency, the Key: Having a clear visual strategy is key to standing out! Focus on creative, imaginative images and on great composition, this will boost your Instagram performance, likely more than anything else. While it's tempting to focus on newer tools Stories and effects, keeping a consistent visual approach in mind is the key to success.
Content is king, consistent content is key. You should already have your own brand style; let this come to life in your posts and carry on your visual identity through effective posts.
With that being said, don't spend hours focusing all your time on Instagram and end up neglecting another platform just to get that shot perfect.
Integration of Direct Messages: More than 375 million people now use Instagram DMs each month — almost half the entire user base. The increased emphasis on DMs and their rising usage does point to an opportunity for forward-thinking marketers to chat in a more private manner, directly. "It all goes down in the DMs" – Gary Vaynerchuk. Just make sure they actually want to talk to you and also make sure you don't spam... no one likes that, especially Instagram.
Instagram Live: Instagram's live feature has also slowly evolved and the company has continued to add new innovations and options to make it more appealing.
One recent development has been the addition of their 'Live Guests' option which let users collaborate and go Live with someone else. That added exposure provides new promotional opportunities, plus having someone else for your users to watch takes some pressure off of you.
Instagram Ads: If you're a user of Facebook Ads, you'll already know how simple it is to implement ads on Instagram. If you have the ability to spend that bit of cash on pushing some content directly to your users.
Instagram is a budding social platform, but it's also a business tool that so many either fear, disregard, or become too proud of their ignorance to use. The first sign that you're in trouble is saying, "we've always done it this way." Don't be scared to try new things; it might not be what you like, but it's certainly what a large part of your community will like.