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A Guide to Social Media

Fox Communications’ Beginner’s Guide to Instagram

Social media is about sharing, communicating and publishing knowledge and information online. It encourages openness by way of commenting, posting and following, and people can participate in these interactive online conversations by using a variety of channels. It’s an invaluable tool for brands to promote their business, create key relationships with followers and build reputation – but most importantly, it’s completely free to use.

Throughout this series, we’ll explore the following platforms; Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – the DO’s & DON’T’s for brands and businesses, how they can put advice into practice and the essentials of good social media. Starting this week with our Beginner’s Guide to Instagram.

Instagram – The Basics

At its most basic, Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos and with more than 1billion* monthly active users. With 500million using the platform every day, it is one of the most popular social networks worldwide, behind Facebook and YouTube.

75% of the app’s users are under 35-years-old, so it’s a great marketing tool for targeting a younger demographic. With the app becoming increasingly popular, an estimated 71% of US businesses claim they use Instagram for business, and 7 out of 10 hashtags on the app are branded. What’s more is that more than 80% of businesses consider Instagram engagement as the most important metric – so it is key for brands to get it right.

Use of influencers for social media marketing purposes continues to grow and between February 2018 – February 2019, the number of Instagram influencers using #ad grew by 133% (Socialbakers, 2019). Influencers are a great way for brands to engage with large, sought-after audiences, however partnerships should be carefully thought through and always aligned with the brand’s core values – more than ever consumers are switched on to influencer marketing and can sense when collaborations are genuine or if they’re purely for payment.

Instagram stories are another important tool for brands and businesses. Launched in August 2016, this game-changing feature allows users to take photos and videos which disappear after 24-hours. Since launching this feature, 500million Instagram accounts use Instagram stories every day (Instagram, 2018), and a third of the most viewed stories are from businesses. They are a great way to interact with followers, by replying and reposting stories, as well as featuring content that might not be quite worthy of the grid.

For brands, Instagram has never been more important, with 80% of users deciding whether to buy a product or service with help of the app. Whether it be via the brand’s own Instagram page, through an influencer’s recommendation or by searching for hashtags and geotags, discoverability on the app is crucial, especially when targeting millennials.  By following the tips found within our Beginner’s Guide to Instagram, you can make a start in creating the perfect profile for your business/ brand.

The Essentials of Good Instagram

In order to create an effective and informative Instagram profile, it is key to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your goals for Instagram? What will success look like?
  • How do you plan on using Instagram to help you achieve those goals?
  • What are your current goals for your business and do these align with your goals for Instagram?
  • Do you have KPIs in place for your Instagram account?
  • Can you explain your brands approach to Instagram in one sentence?
  • Is your handle the same as your brand name and does it share the same spelling across all other social platforms?
  • Is your bio accurate and the same across all other digital properties?
  • Does your bio succinctly explain what your brand is?
  • Think about the words that describe your brand’s voice – are these descriptors obvious when looking at your profile?
  • Do you have an overarching theme that fits your brand and voice and is that presented across your Instagram?
  • Is it immediately obvious what your business is based on the first 9 posts?
  • Do your Instagram story highlights include important information about your business?
  • Do your Instagram story highlights covers match your brand aesthetic?
  • Do you have at least one branded and owned hashtag you consistently use?
  • Are you consistently posting on Instagram?

The Do’s and Don‘ts

  • DO use hashtags on your posts in order to reach new users and grow your audience
  • DO utilise Instagram stories and engage with those tagging your brand when possible
  • DO include a link to your website within your bio to ensure it’s easy to find and to generate traffic
  • DO ensure your contact details are up to date
  • DO work with influencers who reflect your brand’s core values and receive high engagement
  • DO ensure your handle is the same across all social media platforms where possible
  • DO follow a consistent colour pallet across your grid
  • DO test out new formats, like carousels and boomerangs where appropriate
  • DO use Instagram story highlights to save key content and present it to new followers
  • DO keep track of activity on your account and regularly track likes, followers and comments to see which posts perform best
  • DO respond to comments and DMs in a reasonable about of time
  • DO keep track of your most engaged followers and engage in return
  • DO choose a publishing schedule that works for you and your brand – whether it be posting once a week on a Monday or posting three times a week on alternating days

  • DON’T use more than five hashtags per post, studies have shown that engagement decreases for posts with six or more hashtags
  • DON’T focus solely on follower numbers when working with influencers, look at engagement, their audience and previous brand partnerships to ensure they are aligned with your brand
  • DON’T ignore comments and mentions when possible, liking and commenting are key for building relationships with followers and maintaining a great reputation
  • DON’T post pixelated / low res imagery
  • DON’T post random images that aren’t in keeping with the theme, always think about the bigger picture

Some Useful Apps

Whether it’s editing, creating captions or ensuring your Instagram stories are of the very best quality, we’ve rounded up the top Instagram apps we think all businesses should use:

VSCO

  • Purpose: Photo / Video Editing
  • Price: Free & Membership
  • Platform: Available on android & iOS

Snapseed

  • Purpose: Photo editing
  • Price: Free
  • Platform: Available on android iOS & macOS

Unfold

  • Purpose: Creating Instagram Stories
  • Price: Free & Membership
  • Platform: iOs & Android

Whitagram

  • Purpose: Adding borders to images
  • Price: Free
  • Platform: iOs & Android

Layout from Instagram

  • Purpose: Layout Designing
  • Price: Free
  • Platform: iOs & Android

We do hope you’ve found this Beginner’s Guide to Instagram useful and are more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding Instagram – please contact london@foxcomms.com

*https://www.oberlo.com/blog/instagram-stats-every-marketer-should-know

Published 10th June 2020

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