Earlier this year, we shared a blog post highlighting the top reasons why all kinds of businesses – B2B technology and consumer industries included – should be using Instagram as a social business tool. What we didn’t get into, however, is how and why businesses should run Instagram advertising campaigns to increase brand awareness and engagement.
Why the ‘Gram?
Instagram is a great digital marketing tool for many reasons, including the fact that there are more than 700 million active users on the platform. According to Business2Community, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. It’s also better equipped to process images, as 90 percent of the information sent to the brain is done so in graphic form. Visually-captivating advertisements grab your audience’s attention faster and keep it longer than traditional text ads do.
Additionally, Instagram is owned by Facebook, meaning Instagram advertising campaigns are run directly through Power Editor – the same tool you already use to run your Facebook ads. Creating ads for Instagram is very similar to creating them on Facebook, so you won’t have to learn a completely new process to do Instagram advertising. Instagram offers four different options for ads, providing flexibility for businesses who are still trying to figure out which types of digital ads their target audience is most receptive to.
Instagram garners more engagement from consumers than any other social media channel by far, according to a 2016 WebStrategies study. Instagram advertising increases the possibility of incurring likes, comments and/or shares of your content on social media.
Here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” to keep in mind as you develop your Instagram advertising approach to make sure you’re optimizing promotions and capturing as much of your target audience’s attention as possible:
DO use hashtags. But marketers beware: there is such a thing as too many hashtags. Do some research to determine the most popular trending topics related to your product or service, then pick one or two to include in your ad. This will help improve the reach of your post, as users searching for that hashtag will see your advert as a result. You can also use branded hashtags or custom campaign hashtags to help
DON’T just repurpose existing content. This goes for both existing organic content on Instagram as well as existing ad content on other social media platforms. While it isn’t a blanket rule – some content is appropriate for repurposing – brands should try to use fresh, channel-specific content whenever possible to maintain a dynamic and enticing online presence. By keeping your brand creative guidelines consistent across platforms, you can still create a connected experience without seeming like you’re recycling the same content over and over.
DON’T be too self-promotional. One of the reasons Instagram is so successful as an advertising platform is because, like Pinterest, adverts look strikingly similar to organic posts. If your content or copy tries to sell your product or service too hard, you’ll interrupt the natural Instagram experience and likely discourage consumers from following your brand or clicking through to learn more about your company.
DO engage with other users. Reciprocal engagement is just as important with paid efforts as it is with organic. Look through who liked your ad or followed you because of an Instagram advertising campaign and give them a follow back. Keep tabs on who is commenting on your ads as well, and reply to any particularly positive or negative ones. You can either reply directly to the comment, send a private message or leverage Instagram’s new favorite capabilities to ‘like’ comments on your promoted posts.
DON’T include too much text on your images. If you’ve been running Facebook ads, then you’re already familiar with the 20% rule. This same rule applies to Instagram – images featured in advertising campaigns may not include more than 20% text. Even if Instagram’s advertising guidelines did allow more text, it’s in the best interest of a brand to keep text on creative assets to a minimum as consumers visit Instagram over other channels for visually-stimulating and image-led content.
DO leverage user-generate content. User-generated content is authentic and provides third-party validation for potential new customers. Consider coming up with and promoting a branded hashtag to make it easier to find posts highlighting your brand, then start by posting your favorites to your organic feed. Once you drum up some user-generated content momentum, you’ll have more submissions and more content to choose from for your promoted posts. Regardless of where you post other user’s content, however, be sure to ask for permission first and always link back to your source.
DO supplement Instagram advertising efforts with complimentary Facebook ads. According to Smartly.io, one out of every five minutes we spend on our phones is either on Facebook or Instagram. With Facebook’s new Placement Optimization feature, advertising on both platforms simultaneously has never been easier or more effective. By choosing this option, you can optimize CPA, increase conversions and expand your reach with just one click.
Instagram advertising is an effective way for companies to increase brand awareness and follower engagement on social media. It’s a mobile-first platform and has the highest percentage of mobile audience of all social media channels. Since most consumers keep up with their social media accounts on their phones, and Instagram is a mostly mobile platform, they were able to create an ad experience that blends in with the typical user experience – resulting in a more seamless and streamlined way for users to learn about your company and its products and services.
Do you have any questions on the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ above, or other tips to add? Share them with us in the comments!