With over one billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels currently out there. Used by both individuals and brands, the platform provides the opportunity to post eye-catching photos to be liked and shared by users on the mobile app and desktop site.
According to Instagram, 80% of users follow a business on the platform with 60% hearing about a new product or service on the app. Of these, at least 30% of Instagram users have purchased a product they first discovered on the platform.
The social platform is now trialing Instagram Checkout that allows users to buy products without leaving the app from currently just 20 beta brands. However if it’s successful, it will be made more widely available. Users can buy, track, manage and return purchases directly through the app. They only need to enter their data on their first order, meaning any future purchases can be made quickly and easily.
Due to the fantastic opportunity to connect and engage with potential customers, most brands see the benefits of actively posting on Instagram. However many are yet to explore other features on the app such as Instagram stories, Instagram Live and also Instagram TV or ‘IGTV’.
Launched in 2016, Instagram Stories became extremely popular almost overnight. Everyday, almost 400 million people upload their content to Instagram Stories – more than Snapchat .
These ‘stories’ are available to view for only 24 hours and can last up to 10-15 seconds. However, you can archive your photos or videos posted to stories (up to 100), to then use as a ‘highlight’ at the top of your brand’s profile. From showcasing product collections to Q&A features, you can use Instagram Stories Highlights to easily keep, organise and promote your content.
For a business account, there’s the ability to add features in your posts such as trackable hashtags, tagging other Instagram users, or including polls, questions and outbound links (if you have over 10,000 followers). Another new update sees users able to add shoppable links to their Instagram stories, where viewers can click on a shopping bag icon to discover more information about a product featured.
These are all interactive ways to encourage engagement with followers or attract new ones.
Stories are great for allowing your followers to get to know your brand a little better, including the people behind the camera lens. It’s the perfect way to feature behind-the-scenes footage or on the spot action. Also as all stories are discoverable on Instagram, any hashtags you include in your story will mean your brand will appear in search results for that topic on the platform.
How to optimise your Instagram stories:
- It’s a good idea to post stories at least twice a day with 10-12 hours between each post so you’ve always got something in the newsfeed within any 24 hour timeframe.
- Download your stories to use across multiple social channels another time or curate them into ‘highlights’ that’ll stay at the top of your Instagram profile for users to view.
- Want to keep your behind-the-scenes footage a secret? You can hide content from specific users such as competitors to ensure they don’t copy you when setting up your story.
Although initially a bit daunting, Instagram Live is a great way to get your followers engaged with your brand as they receive a notification when you start a live video. Live videos allow for a more interactive and immediate format with your audience, where you can acknowledge followers’ comments as they’re published. These ‘live’ videos are also able to be saved to your Instagram story to they can be replayed by your followers for up to 24 hours.
How to optimise your Instagram Live sessions:
- Instagram Live offers flexibility for a business in terms of promoting a new product, staff interviews or travel updates.
- Consider ways you could use Instagram Live to reach out and interact with your customers.
- Got an event coming up? Instagram Live allows you to share with your followers what’s happening exactly at that moment and get them involved with where you are and what you’re doing.
- Promote your Instagram Live session beforehand to try and encourage as many people as possible to tune in. The more engagement your video receives, the more likely it’ll end up on Instagram’s ‘Explore’ page – putting your business out in front of the billions of users worldwide.
- It’s a good idea to wait a few minutes when you start your Instagram live before any action begins to get as many people as possible watching.
Instagram TV or IGTV, allows users to upload long-form content between 10-15 minutes long. If you’re a verified or larger account, you can upload video footage up to 60 minutes long from a computer.
These videos can be viewed either within the Instagram app or in the dedicated IGTV app. Thought to have been created to rival YouTube, IGTV allows users to have their own channels with videos automatically playing as soon as you open up the IGTV section on the app.
With more people reportedly watching paid-for TV and digital video over traditional TV, IGTV offers a new, novel form of content. It supports the prediction that by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic.
Described by Instagram as a way to “engage deeply with your fans, be discovered whilst growing your audience and building your brand”, IGTV offers an interesting and creative new platform for any business to connect with their customers.
How to optimise IGTV:
- Turn on the grid setting in your camera settings to help with framing your video. Aim to make your video between 2-5 minutes long and include subtitles when you upload to keep viewers interested.
- It’s a good idea to set your phone to ‘do not disturb’ or aeroplane mode if you’re filming for long periods to prevent being interrupted.
- Videos are only shown in full screen and vertical so are already optimised for mobile filming.
- Ensure you write a catchy video title (max 75 characters), detailed description using chosen keywords and hashtags (links can be added here) and a cover image to your video to help it stand out.
From traditional television shows to YouTube, Snapchat’s disappearing videos to Facebook live and Periscope, the popularity of videos has been steadily increasing. It’s important businesses recognise the impact Instagram TV or stories can have on their target audience and start creating engaging content on the platform.
Are you looking at how to set up your social media strategy or need some help in getting started on Instagram? Why not get in touch to find out how we can help you today – we’re a social bunch!