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February 7, 2019

Navigating Instagram Trends

Instagram is a great way to increase brand awareness. One way to do this is by jumping on trendy hashtags and using apps that spike throughout the year. This week we’re sharing our favorite InstaTrends so that you can increase engagement this year. But first, a little about Instagram in general.

Instagram Basics

What matters more: a huge following or an engaged following? Just as with Facebook and its algorithms, engagement is key. You can have 10k followers but if they’re not interacting with your content, it’s not as good as having 5k that engage with your page. Why? Because the quality of content is measured by engagement. Likes and especially comments are the way to get more visible.

Speaking of visibility, remember that you are only shown to your followers. So engagement from them is only half the battle. The other half is growing that following. How do you do that? Ads are one way. But we think the best way is organic reach through @mentions and hashtags.

How to Use @Mentions to Grow Instagram

@Mentions draw the attention of other users. If you are showing your tech-forward office off, tag the brands you use in pictures of your space. If your pics are good enough, some brands will even share your work, opening you up to possible new followers. @mentions in pictures also show up when people look for that company–showing off your picture, too.

Taking the company out to lunch? Be sure to set the location of the picture to the restaurant and tag them. Do not @mention brands in pictures where they don’t appear. If you wish to use a brand that way, it should be in the caption or comments.

using instagram to increase engagement

The Power of Hashtags

In addition to @mentions, hashtags are another way to gain exposure. Plus, they’re even easier to use. We have an article coming up about hashtags, but here are the basics. Every post should include many hashtags that go along with it. Look at hashtags that your competitors use, that are hot in your industry or that gain attention. Incorporate these organically and you’ll reach new audiences. The simple addition of #photooftheday to a great shot could be the difference between a no-growth day and a growth day. 

using instagram to increase engagement

Our Favorite Instagram Trends

We love Instagram as a marketing tool but we find many people don’t take advantage of some of the fun ways to use it to grow. Incorporating a few trends (never overdo it or lose sight of your mission) can increase engagement and your following.

Instagram Stories Continue to Trend

Instagram stories are quick glimpses into what’s going on in your brand. They are a fun way to communicate more than you can in one picture and in a fun way that doesn’t require swiping through multiple photos in the traditional feed.

Use stories for a look behind the scenes: share quick interviews with different departments, show pictures of product production at various stages or show off an event. Nordstrom did this during a catalog shoot and saw increased sales when the clothes were available. 

Stories are also great for how-to videos. Minimalist Baker keeps a steady stream of recipe stories going and uses the Highlights feature to make them visible for longer than 24 hours.

These days, everyone loves real-time apps. Just look at game giant HQ that now has Sports and Words games in addition to the original trivia game. Buffer posts quizzes about tech and social using the questions feature in stories and gives out real prizes. When users interact one-on-one, they get hooked.

Get all the inspiration for your stories you could ever need from this great roundup.

using instagram to increase engagement

Curate User-Generated Content

Different demographics have a different approach to taking pictures. Why not capitalize on this? One trend that helps increase both reach and engagement is sharing photos from fans. If you’re a writer, ask users to take photos of your book “in the wild.” Designer? Ask for screenshots of your digital work or pics of your work in print.

No matter what you do, ask your users to show it off and share the high-quality images that match your brand. Don’t forget to tag them in the photo and suggest that they regram it. Fans love to be recognized and know that they win when you share. Take advantage of this win-win situation. 

using instagram to increase engagement

Wrap-Up Posts

In December, Instagram users jumped on the Top 9 of 2018 trend to create grids of their most beloved photos. Often, brands and marketers forget that back catalog of awesome content. Social moves at a fast pace–it’s fine to reuse older stuff. You can use the Top 9 App or, be original and use your Instagram analytics to recycle older content with new captions. Once a month you could show the former month’s most popular post. Or every year save the final twelve posts for your twelve most popular posts of the year. It’s also a chance to drive website traffic. Speaking of which…

using instagram to increase engagement

Link in Profile

We’ve typed “link in profile” so many times we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Remember, the point of Instagram is not just to get likes or comments. You want to convert browsers of your feed to buyers of your products or services. Most of your posts should exist with the purpose of getting people to your website or other eCommerce platform. So if you post a training you’re giving, be sure to change the link in your profiles to the information page on that training that includes a form to sign up. If you sell mugs, be sure to link directly to the pictured mug. This is a trend that increases conversions and ROI so be sure to start doing it if you’re not.

using instagram to increase engagement

Get Social Help from Digital Firefly Marketing

Throughout February our blog will cover social media. Want a little more assistance? Get a free social media audit from our experts to learn how we can help you do more with your social.

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