In case you hadn’t noticed, for the past few years, Instagram is fast becoming the social network brands and entrepreneurs are turning to.....Baba Stoko

By Adeitan Adetukasi

In case you hadn’t noticed, for the past few years, Instagram is fast becoming the social network brands and entrepreneurs are turning to in order to connect with their target audience. Instagram’s user numbers have grown at a phenomenally rapid pace over the last few years.

The social media platform currently has more than 500 million daily active users. There are two reasons that make Instagram a great marketing tool that you cannot afford to ignore. First, it shouldn’t be understated, that the average consumer is active on Instagram daily. It’s where the eyeballs are on and attention can be found. Second, Instagram uses Facebook’s advertising features, giving brands the most extensive targeting options available.

Advertisers are clamouring to the platform with an increase in user activity, requiring brands to use intelligent strategies in order to take their Instagram marketing to the next level. Here are some of the best strategies for the upcoming year.

Use the ‘Stories’ Feature to Tell Your Brand’s Story

In an effort to grab a share of Snapchat’s audience, last year Instagram introduced their own Stories feature to that allows users to share videos and images that disappear after 24 hours. “The Stories feature is a great way for brands to leverage FOMO — fear of missing out. Since the content disappears after 24 hours, your following needs to view your ‘Story’ on a regular basis. You can use this constant attention to showcase company culture, provide educational information or push special offers. The attention you can command here is the true value,” says Brian Gwinn, CEO of Greenview Investment Partners. In April, Stories became more popular than Snapchat, and there is no sign of it slowing down. If your Instagram account is verified, you also have the ability to add a link, which the user is taken to when they ‘swipe up’ on your story.

Dive Head First into Your Comments and Start Engaging

Too many brands spend most of their time creating great content, and then they simply ignore it once it’s been posted. Excellent content will receive a lot of likes and comments, and that engagement can help your posts receive organic exposure, resulting in even more comments. It’s very important that you spend time “in” each post, commenting back, which creates loyal brand supporters. When you reply to a comment, even just a simple ‘Thank you,’ you are showing the person that you value them and their opinion. This creates a loyal supporter of your company or organisation, whether you are a retailer, manufacturer or a service provider.” You don’t have to be glued to Instagram to view your comments, as that would be counterproductive. Just spending five minutes replying to your newest posts a couple times a day will suffice. When you reply to someone they will receive a notification, so delayed replies can still be effective.

Post More Video Content

Increasing popularity of video-based content has been a result of two main contributing factors. It’s highly effective and it’s no longer costly to produce within reach of everyone’s budget. Today’s smartphones are equipped with cameras that produce HD 4K video quality that is comparable to high-end video equipment. Having the ability to produce HD quality video on demand and on the go is very convenient, especially for those that want to use a personal brand to market their business. “Posting video content allows you to create a very personal message and deliver it in a way that outperforms an image and text-based post. Consumers want to connect with a person — not a faceless company. Video content allows you to make the human connection,” suggests Fred Dahr of the Law Offices of Fred Dah.

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