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5 Instagram Posts to Drive SMB Brand Engagement

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Instagram is a powerful marketing channel for small businesses, especially ecommerce. The platform is largely composed of young audiences that are increasingly open to engaging with brands and even purchasing products directly on Instagram.

90% of people on Instagram follow a business, and two-thirds of the people surveyed say Instagram enables interaction with brands.

While there are plenty of post formats you can try, here are the best types of Instagram posts to drive better brand engagement (and not just mere double taps).

Ask a Question

One of the easiest ways to start driving more engagement is to ask questions to your followers, either in captions or within the visual itself.

When you post open-ended questions such as “What is your favorite __?” or “What’s your best __ recommendation?”, you spark an interesting two-way conversation that increases your followers’ interest in your brand as they’re able to better connect with you.

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So, use this simple tactic regularly to boost engagement on your Instagram posts.

Show Behind the Scenes

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the perfect avenues to showcase your business’s “human side”. A great way to do that is by providing your followers a sneak peek behind your brand’s curtains.

So if you’re an ecommerce seller selling customized sneakers, your followers already know just how awesome your sneakers are to look at — thanks to your usual product-oriented Instagram posts and stories.

But do they know all the hard work that goes into creating them? A quick Instagram Reels video is a nifty way to show the behind-the-scenes work by your team.

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Likewise, a simple “day in the life” clip is an effective way to give your audience an inside look into your company’s culture and values, your life as a business owner, the technology that goes behind making your products, the efforts of your team members, and so on.

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And you don’t necessarily have to plan extensively or make elaborate edits. People love and appreciate a raw, uncut backstage pass.

Behind-the-scenes content makes your audience better empathize with your brand. Ultimately, it’s a neat way to not just boost your engagement and trustworthiness but improve the overall customer experience people have with your brand.

Share Creative Memes

Everybody loves memes. Instagram is an ideal platform to entertain your audience (and thus drive those likes, comments, and shares) rather than merely pushing your products.

Show your brand’s witty and humorous side to delight your followers by sharing creative and relatable memes.

While you can curate and share popular memes (by providing credits in the caption, of course), the most relevant memes you wish to post may not be available in high resolution (important for visual-first platforms like Instagram), or may already be old and seen by your audience.

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It’s best to create your own original memes and add your branded watermark. Creating memes may seem like a non-businessy task, but it’s a fun activity that doesn’t take a lot of time (only a pinch of wit). When done right, it can make your brand go viral in the best light, boosting engagement, follower count, and traffic.

Use free online tools like Imgflip or Meme Creator which let you upload your image and quickly overlay meme-style text.

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Repost User-Generated Content

While Instagram is notorious for being a platform where people “fake it till they make it”, you can use it to boost your brand’s authenticity. People don’t follow you to get mere product promotions shoved at their faces, they do so to better know and connect with your brand.

86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support, and the modern audience composed largely of Millennials and Generation Z will only engage with branded content that’s genuine.

Besides behind-the-scenes, the other tried-and-true content type to improve authenticity is user-generated content.

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UGC lets your audience be more involved, so you’ll get quality content from real customers that you can then repost to showcase your business’s genuine quality.

So how do you inspire more UGC?

You can start by partnering up with micro-influencers to create content for you where they use your products or services. If you have fan-submitted photos or videos, ask them if you can repost the content and then do so by crediting them in the caption.

Another effective way to garner UGC is to…

Host Contests and Giveaways

A hashtag contest is a tactic wherein you invite people to post content with your product and tag your brand. Once the contest period is over, you reward participants with the best or most high-performing content.

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Such contests incentivize your audience to publicly tag and praise your brand, helping boost engagement and improve your social proof.

Similarly, a giveaway is a format where you randomly select winners. The participants have to engage with your post in some way (such as comment with the right answer, retweet, subscribe to your newsletter, etc.) to stand a chance to win.

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To create an effective giveaway:

  • Offer a relevant prize — such as your brand’s most in-demand product that your ideal buyer wants, not a generic prize that everyone wants.
  • Set clear participation rules, with the start and end date of the contest highlighted.
  • Incentivize participants to share the contest. One way is to offer additional entries for each successful referral.
  • Create a branded hashtag to boost your brand visibility. For example, your contest can require participants to retweet your post and include a branded hashtag.

Consider using your choice of social media contest tools to easily launch your Instagram contest or giveaway.

Over to You

The last thing you want is to keep squandering your limited marketing budget and resources on Instagram posts that fail to drive meaningful engagement (two-way interaction, click-throughs, social shares, etc.). So, start pivoting your Instagram efforts into the types of posts discussed above and you’ll soon drive higher engagement for your brand.

Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest

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INSTAGRAM

5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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5-apps-for-scheduling-instagram-posts-on-iphone-and-android-–-mashable

Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters

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Facebook Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs.

From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.

It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.

TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.

I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.

A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said:  “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.

“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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How many hashtags should you use to get the most ‘Likes’ on Instagram?

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Hashtags are a key feature of Instagram posts. In fact, they have become an essential means of ensuring more ‘Likes’ on social media – so long as you choose them wisely.

But how many hashtags should you use to maximise your popularity on the social network? The answer might surprise you.

It’s a question that many Instagram users ask themselves: what’s the right number of hashtags to add to a post? To find out, the Later platform analysed 18 million Instagram posts, excluding videos, Reels and Stories.

Interestingly, Later’s results differ from Instagram’s own recommendations. According to Later’s analysis, using more hashtags helps get better results in terms of “reach”, or the percentage of users exposed to the post. By using 20 hashtags, Later observed an optimal average reach rate of just under 36%. Using 30 hashtags gets the next-best reach rate. With five hashtags, reach hits just under 24%.

And while a post’s reach is important, engagement is even more so. From “Likes” and comments to shares and follows – on average, 30 hashtags appears to result in better engagement rates: “When it comes to average engagement rate, using 30 Instagram hashtags per feed post results in the most likes and comments,” says Later’s research.

Yet, at the end of September 2021, Instagram advised its creators to use between three and five hashtags for their posts, while warning them against using too many. The social network advised that using 10 to 20 hashtags per post “will not help you get additional distribution”.

For Later, there could be other reasons behind Instagram’s recommendations: “As Instagram continues to expand their discoverability and SEO tools, it makes sense that they want users to experiment with fewer, more relevant hashtags – this could help them accurately categorise and recommend your posts in suggested content streams, like the Instagram Reels feed or the updated hashtag search tabs,” the website explains. – AFP Relaxnews

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