I posted to this blog introducing Instagram for business use in 2013, which at that time the social media platform had over 10 million users, and now as of June 2016 it boasts over 500 million monthly active users. That’s a 4900% increase over three years. But the improvements or changes have not stopped there.
Instagram Feed Change
From Instagram: “In March, we announced a new way of ordering posts in feed so you’ll see the moments you care about first. Over the past few months, we brought this new way of ordering posts to a portion of the community, and we found that people are liking photos more, commenting more and generally engaging with the community in a more active way.”
In March, Instagram announced a huge change to the way users’ newsfeed appears. Instead of showing posts by all accounts you are following in chronological order with newest at top, now Instagram by its own algorithms will devise what is shown and in what order. After tens of thousands of posts grumbling over the change when it was announced (#Instagramchanges), the change began to take effect in the weeks and months following the announcement.
Why the change? Even though Instagram assures the change stems from enhancing the social experience, its now not only harder to read your posts without missing anything. Also, it’s now harder to engage new users with your content as a brand or business, unless you’re paying for it though Instagram advertising. And let’s be honest, encouraging to invest in ads is the most likely reason for the change, because the new feed appears to both deliver noticeably more advertisements and give them greater prominence. Facebook owns Instagram as of 2012, and since they’ve done so well with their ‘pay to play’ methodology for businesses, it was only reasonable they would use it on Instagram as well.
New Instagram Advertising
So now that we’ve discussed the new feed, let’s talk about another change implemented less than a year ago. Since now we understand the challenges businesses and their brands to expand their reach and engage users with the new feed, we need to discuss Advertising on Instagram. So how do you advertise on Instagram? First, you need a Facebook account. Why? Because Facebook owns Instagram and they are forcing advertisers to user their Power Editor ad creation to create campaigns on Facebook, Instagram or both simultaneously.
Instagram ads are now available to everyone in both Power Editor and Ads Manager ad creation on Facebook. To run ads on Instagram, you’ll need a Facebook Page. You only need Business Manager if you’re working with several accounts, brands and pages; for example a social media advertising company. For a step-by-step instructional with videos: visit Facebook tutorial.
If you’ve already advertised on Facebook, then you’re already a pro, but as you know the logistics of setting up an ad does not guarantee success. Experimenting with variables such as content, audience, timing and budget will help you understand your specific audience. When it comes to content on Instagram, choose photos and captions wisely, plan ahead and ensure they fit your strategy and goals.
Instagram Advertising Basics
PHOTO ADS: Since Instagram is a visual outlet social media, it requires a photo or video to post, so make sure you choose original photos that engage rather than come off as a sales pitch. Choose a photo that is inspiring, beautiful, simple, high quality, and leaves an impression. Sound hard? Honestly it can be a challenge, but as they say a photo can be worth a thousand words. Be careful of text overlays because you don’t want to come across pitchy or overwhelming the user with verbiage that can be said in the caption. Besides too many words in your text overlays takes away from the message of your photo.
Still struggling to find the right content? Do research. Look at what other companies are doing and the types of photos they’re sponsoring. Are the photos and captions directly related to their product? Are they using content marketing to sell, rather than a sales pitch? If their ad is creative and engaging, how and why? Did they choose a topic that was relatable, inspiring or informative? What topic or subject matter would relate to your product and service? What would encourage sales without a sales pitch? Here are some examples:
VIDEO ADS: “Video ads offer the same visually immersive quality as photo ads on Instagram — with the power of sight, sound and motion. And now, you can share videos up to 60 seconds long and in landscape format.” – Instagram. Make sure you use the same principles to your video, to be original without the sales pitch. Showcase your product in real life application, offer a tip, add testimonial of customer or show benefits with inspiring video. Unless you have something truly inspiring to say and are a professional spokesperson for your brand, avoid the selfie video (or velfie) that is your 30-second elevator pitch. Unless done well and without a strategy, it can bore and annoy people.
CAROUSEL ADS: “Carousel ads bring an additional layer of depth to photo ads. People can swipe to see additional images and a call to action button takes them to a website to learn more.” – Instagram. Carousel lets marketers use up to five still images in a single ad. Viewers can swipe through them like virtual magazine pages. A great use of the Carousel ads are for a 5 point panoramic view of a home for sale, a vehicle, a location or lodging, or can be used for 5 different looks for the same clothing piece, shoes or accessory.
FOR ALL ADS: Make the ads visually appealing, don’t make it look like an ad, talk more about the experience rather than the product, inspire rather than sell, explore what the big brands are doing, remember less is more, be quirky, be original, make an impression without going over the top. Need help? Call a professional. Don’t forget the use of hashtags. Research hashtags that are trending by your target audience, and use up to 30 in your original caption or comment below. Also look into the Lookalike Audience tool, which will select an audience similar to those who have liked your Page or visited your website.
CALL TO ACTION: Don’t forget to add your call-to-action (hit like, follow my page, tag your friends, comment below, visit my website). Offer a giveaway for those respond to that Call-to-Action (“Enter to win by following our page and tag two friends in a comment below.”) This will expand your reach even on your organic content. Another call-to-action is to encourage customers to post content using your product or service, and tagging your brand page when they post. Authentic content from users (not companies) gets better engagement, increased reach and is more apt to motivate friends to try your product as well. Offer a prize for the best photo with your brand’s tag to encourage user-generated content.
How to Share Instagram TO Facebook
I get this question a lot because if you link your Instagram account to your Facebok account, and then share a post, it will automatically share content to your profile page. If you want to share that content to your brand or business page, rather than you profile, you have to follow the following steps. Then if you want to share posts again to your profile at any time, you will have to go through the steps again to turn it back to your profile (default).
- Go to your Profile and tap Menu button on Android or Gear button on iPhone
- Tap Linked Accounts > Facebook.
- Your Instagram account will link to your personal Facebook Timeline by default. To link to a Page instead, tap Facebook and choose a Page that you manage.
- To return to your personal page, repeat steps 1-3 but when you tap Facebook, choose “Timeline (Default)”.