Instagram should be part of most marketing strategies

Instagram
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Is your business on Instagram yet? It should be. The social media site has emerged as one of the hottest channels for brand marketing.

Instagram is a great addition to your marketing strategy, especially if your product has a visual element and a target audience that includes females in the 18-35 age range.

It’s also a little different than some of the other social sites you’re familiar with. Instagram was created as a visual medium. Users expect compelling photos and videos that tell stories and evoke emotion.

The best way to understand Instagram’s power is by following other brands. One of my own personal favorites is New Orleans artist Ashley Longshore, whose Instagram activity helped skyrocket her popularity.

Longshore blends her offbeat and irreverent humor with her bold artwork, creating content that demands attention. She was noticeable enough that New York luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman and the Gucci fashion label both have deals with her.

Longshore is a great example of what’s required for Instagram success—posting interesting material regularly and having a clear, authentic brand voice.

Include hashtags with your posts to further engage the audience and help followers find your content. But keep the tags specific to your brand, industry or image, and don’t overdo it. Using too many hashtags comes across as spammy and often turns users off.

Similar to Facebook, Instagram is a great medium for short videos that, ideally, get shared among followers. Your videos might offer a virtual tour of your office, highlight a new product or one that followers may not be familiar with, or provide a product demonstration.

And just like Facebook, your “Insta” channel is less about pushing sales and more about personality. Sometimes, it’s the video of funny or touching moments that get the most interaction, even though they’re not directly related to your business but directly related to your brand.

Instagram videos are limited to 60 seconds. It may take practice, but you’ll find the short length encourages creativity. You’re more motivated to find fun, engaging ways of informing without losing interest.

As with photos, the quality of Instagram video matters. When shooting content, it’s probably best to use a tripod and avoid background noise.

There’s a little leeway for handheld recordings of spontaneous moments. But the video should still be clearly visible and audible, and the subject must be compelling.

Shoot your videos vertically. Instagram’s built-in video platform, known as IGTV, is keen on presenting video the way people naturally hold their phones. Unfortunately, that means you can’t repurpose video that was shot horizontally.

Just like the rest of your marketing channels, videos and photos should support a cohesive brand. IGTV’s existing content should serve as a guide in making your content an extension of what you already do on Instagram.

The goal is offering IGTV content that users can’t get anywhere else. Aim for a content strategy that balances strong, standalone videos and episodic content that builds momentum and keeps viewers coming back to see what happens next.

IGTV allows hashtags in the video description and the comment section of your post, so take advantage.

Ann Edelman is Vice President of Public Relations and Media for Zehnder Communications, a fully integrated advertising and marketing agency. Reach her at aedelman@z-comm.com

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