How marketers can leverage the new features on Instagram for maximum visibility

23rd Dec 2017
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Instagram has come a long way from being a secondary social network for marketers to become the primary marketing strategic objective for all brands. The meteoric rise in the platform’s user base, which currently numbers around 800 million users, has been driven with the company’s undivided focus on developing the platform’s interface and user engagement. The impact is such that every person and company in the world wants to make it big on Instagram in some way, shape, or form.

Consequently, Instagram launched a flurry of updates recently which furthered the potential of social media marketing on the platform. We take a look at these updates implemented by the photo-sharing app, and tools that marketers can take advantage of to gain from this ever-growing platform’s audience base.

Image: Flickr

Instagram’s organic algorithm

With the introduction of the new algorithmic changes and a renewed focus on organic growth, Instagram has jumpstarted many brands solely off its platform. As Instagram’s new algorithm came into effect, timeliness became a pertinent factor for brands to reach to as many users as possible. So if you are looking for maximum engagement, you need to be spot-on with the timing of your posts.

Once your post is set out in the ‘apt’ time frame, traction will build depending on its engagement level, i.e. comments and likes. So the more comments and likes your post receives, the likelier it is for it to stay on top of the platform’s heap of content and appear prominently on users’ feeds.

The algorithm also takes into account factors such as your relationship with your followers. Continuous and meaningful engagement wins hands over sporadic posting. So it doesn’t matter that you have a 100,000-strong follower base – if you don’t keep engaging them, your post will languish among the bottom feeders.

Following a hashtag

The introduction of ‘follow hashtag’ is one of the standout updates that Instagram announced. Following a hashtag has become like following an account, and all customers need to do is to either click on a hashtag or search for it. The main reason to update the functionality of hashtags is that they’ve been a search category for years. Allowing users to follow them is offering increased convenience, a win-win.

For marketers though, this opens new opportunities as they can now target users better. In the discovery mode, if you notice a particular hashtag trending or a piece of content that’s outperforming others, you can leverage that trend better by adding value to it.

Earlier, brands would leverage influencers to endorse their product by means of just a picture or stories, which would mostly be the end of the campaign. But now, brands have a range of options, from creating movements to leveraging local trends. When someone searches for your brands or your industry and spots a popular hashtag that you started, they will be likelier to engage with the posts.

That could mean more engagement, more activity, and more reach for posts that show significant impact within the first few hours of posting. With over 800 million users on Instagram, brands need to become more quality-focused and create viral impact through both organic and paid methods.

When someone searches for #fitness or follows #android, your brand should be there to talk to that person in some form. This creates new avenues of content generation and pushing. With the help of hashtags and the “Instagram recommended” feature, it also creates added value in the form of engaging content.

Other prominent Instagram marketing tools

It’s not just Instagram that offers marketers the tools to ace the game on the platform. Multiple third-party tools are at their disposal as well. These can be leveraged to use the full range of hashtags on Instagram which are relevant to your niche. Here are some great tools to help you do just that:

Buzzsumo: Buzzsumo is a great platform to help you find content and hashtags that are being used the most by your target audience. It gives you a strong idea of what’s trending, and what hashtags are ranked higher in your marketing or audience segment.

Autocomplete: You can find the most popular hashtags after using Instagram’s own autocomplete feature that shows you how many posts are shared under similar hashtags. It’s a great tool if you’re trying to conduct research on trending topics and hashtags on the platform.

Hashtagify.me: This is another great tool for trend research about which hashtag is trending at what time. Hashtagify is a brilliant discovery tool that allows for searches by seed keyword and hashtags. You can check out the latest trends, what communities have to offer, and the competition’s key hashtags.

Focalmark: Focalmark is another great tool which mixes AI and natural human expressions to suggest the best hashtags for your photos. It’s a great app that allows you to analyze the subject of the photo or video and create appropriate hashtags.

It’s a promising future!

With Instagram expected to hit the one billion user mark sometime in the coming year, more brands will look to tap into the photo-sharing app’s reach and user base. So it would be frugal for both aspiring as well as established marketers on the digital circuit to keep themselves in tune with these tools and updates. You never know – getting the right hashtag or post might just be the breakout moment your brand needs!

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