Instagram. Everyone is on it by now, and if you’re not, you really should be. Just ask any one of it’s 200 million monthly active users. It took a little while, but once people understood the magnificent power of the app and how fast it was growing, brands around the world realised that they needed to be where their fans are. The app is simple, and on a personal scale, can be used in any way you wish.

An amateur photographer who wants to show off your mad iPhonography skills.
The popular kid who uploads a single image with no caption and gets 200 followers instantly.
A voyeur who never uploads, but lurks online, scrolling and scrolling, offering likes as freely as candy on Halloween.
Or a brand looking to connect with it’s consumers and fans. There are lots of strategies and elements to consider before diving into a new channel, and it’s certainly not one size fits all marketing. But there are some universal basics.

Brands Work Differently To People

If you’re a major player with a strong online presence, gaining a following should be a breeze. Some curious fans, some organic growth, a bit of support from your existing channels, your first piece of content and boom! You now have 1,7 million followers and 40, 000 likes on your first post.

The news tab on Instagram is how this happens and where you’ll find out what everyone you’re following is up to. It’s a stalker’s paradise and the best way to find accounts to follow based on who you’re already following. If you’re looking to get some paid media push behind your growth, IG’s business blog is a good place to start your research. The short answer to whether you should : yes. After initial trial runs in Australia, brands were happy with reach and fan growth, but have yet to compare ROI from Instagram against other platforms.

Love Your Fans

It’s all well and good posting an Instagram three times a week and gaining those likes , but your fans are doing that too, and they want to know you’re seeing it. Commenting and liking on pics from fans that are hashtagged according to your brand makes them feel special and relevant. The more love you give, the more you’ll get back.

Post At the Best Time

Knowing when these occur is a huge advantage. Think of your typical day when trying to decide when would be the best time to post. When do you check your feed? There are three broad periods during a weekday that can gain great momentum. These are early morning when people are getting up and starting their day, just before the mad lunch break when people are scrolling while chewing, and the after-dinner coma when the only body parts still working are your thumbs.

Weekends are a free for all. Go wild and post whenever you feel, fans are on Instagram throughout the weekend at all times and it’s really up to your discretion when you want to post. Live-gramming is great for events where your brand is involved or a social party of like-minded IG’ers. Fans get to see what goes on behind the brand while it’s happening, and a feel for what the industry is all about. Everyone wants a peek behind the curtain.

Let’s Not Forget The Filters

When Instagram started we were using one of their pre-defined filters which blew out the image and gave it an unnecessary border, making it look like a snapshot from the late 70’s. This got old fast, and probably sparked the #nofilter hashtag. They’ve evolved over the years and now have way more editing options to fine-tune your pictures and give it the pop it needs. These updates have made Instagram faster, easier and the preferred image upload option.

Hyperlapse is a recent development  from Instagram and lets you create incredibly smooth time-lapse videos that render and save directly to your phone in seconds. The possibilities are endless and the videos can be used outside of Instagram, giving users more freedom. Many brands have started using Hyperlapse. Hard work and great execution can give your fans exactly what they want to see.
One of the great things about marketing, is that every new app has the potential to become the next big thing if it’s used correctly. A good example is Snapchat, an app primarily used by Generation Z to share ephemeral moments with close friends. Snapchat is gaining more and more popularity and currently has over 100 million monthly active users. Just because you’ve mastered one platform doesn’t mean you can rest easy on your laurels. There’s always new opportunities. Keep your ear to the ground.

Remember the Basics

Making an impact on Instagram, like any platform, requires getting the basics right. This includes keeping current with any new changes to the app (we suggest you follow their blog), knowing exactly who your fans are and why they are following/liking your content.

Most importantly, it requires planning, creativity and a clear understanding of why you’re there and what you’re trying to achieve. And remember to go easy on the hashtags.

Now that you know what’s what on Instagram, give us a follow and keep up with everything we do @gorillacm!