Despite soaring to a staggering 400 million users in five years, surpassing Twitter by approximately 80 million users, Instagram’s uptake within most organisations has been slow. But why? According to a recent report 38% of marketers stated that Instagram was not important for their business.
Maybe the cafeteria’s food just isn’t worth sharing, or you don’t take weekly trips to the most beautiful locations on earth. But as Instagram’s user count increases, and organic reach more favourable in comparison to Facebook, more and more brands are leveraging the network to greater effect. Whether you are communicating your brand’s story, raising brand awareness or putting the spotlight on the team behind your organisation, interesting and unique content is often rewarded.
So here are 3 reasons why Instagram may be the perfect channel for your organisation:
- 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35
- Instagram’s average post engagement rate is 3x higher than Twitter
- Instagram’s usage in the UK is catching up with Facebook, with an increase of 18% in the last year, to Facebook’s -7%
With these key statistics in mind, we have put together three tips to help maximise your organisation’s performance on Instagram, including 2 companies which deliver effective content without having the luxury of breathtaking imagery & mouth-watering food.
1) Encouraging Engagement
Firstly we believe it is essential to give your audience the opportunity to join in and take part in your Instagram delivery. Whether that’s asking your audience to take photos to join competitions or share their perspective of your organisation; real experiences encourage real engagement.
One of our favourite accounts which encourages engagement through Instagram is @swas_ft (South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust). I recently caught up with Claire Warner, Head of Communications and Engagement at South Western Ambulance Service NHS trust to discuss how they are effectively utilising Instagram.
“By experimenting with multiple social media channels, we have identified Instagram as an ideal network to engage with the local community & reach wider audiences. Attending many events, such as the Emergency Services Show, in addition to local community events, we have used Instagram to encourage visitors to find out more about the trust and raise awareness of specific campaigns in a fun and visual way.”
- Claire Warner, Head of Communications and Engagement at South Western Ambulance Service NHS trust
South Western Ambulance Service’s innovative use of Instagram was especially evident during the recent Emergency Services Show. A printed Instagram frame, a fluffy bug & the chance to win the best freebie at the #ESS2015 by providing photo evidence, helped to entice visitors to their stand to find out more about the trust, whilst boosting engagement on their page. A highly successful strategy, which most organisations’ could adopt and tailor to fit their business objectives.
Check out Instagram’s guide to hosting a photo contest on their platform here…
#CompetitionTime we are holding a fluffy bug comp! We have hidden a fluffy bug on the following stands: Z114, Z116, Z117, Z119, Z118, SAR4, SAR8 and Z133A. If you can find the bugs with photographic proof you can win one of the prizes in the photo. Water bottle, Flask, OR the best freebie at the #ESS2015 voted by @gregfreeman6 at @crowdcontrolhq our powerbank! don't worry about draining your phone battery! #GoGoGo #SouthWesternAmbulanceService #BeABetterParamedic #NEC #Birmingham
A photo posted by South Western Ambulance (@swas_ft) on
2) Don’t underestimate the value of your story A brand story is often central to a successful social media presence, however, we often find that the visual nature of Instagram puts extra emphasis on the brand and the story behind it. General Electric are frequently noticed for their excellent work on Instagram. Boasting up to 203,000 followers, averaging over one thousand likes per post and receiving a host of positive comments, it is no surprise that they are highly regarded within the Instagram community. Often praised for telling a broader story of building, powering, moving and curing the world throughout their Instagram feed. General electric are a great example of how Instagram can be used to not only raise brand awareness but to shift brand perception with unique and authentic content. Could your organisation build a following by adopting a similar approach specific to your organisation? Could you educate your audience on the finer elements of your company or alternatively draw attention to the people behind the brand to change the overall perception?
All aboard! TTCI Locomotive Engineer, Casey Mraovich, drives GE’s Tier 4 Evolution Series down the Train Dynamic Track at the Transportation Technology Center. The Tier 4 offers the single-largest emission reduction in GE’s program timeline and doesn’t require any after-treatment, including urea, helping railroad customers save more than an estimated $1.5 billion in infrastructure and operational costs. Photo by @seenewphoto. #transportation #GETier4 A photo posted by GE (@generalelectric) on
3) Expand reach using hashtags on Instagram
Our final tip, which is essential for all organisations embarking on their Instagram journey is to utilise hashtags to your advantage. Make your content more discoverable by listing in relevant hashtag feeds, add value to existing Instagram communities and get noticed within the explore tab.
Quick Tip: Instagram recommends you incorporate three hashtags per post so it doesn’t detract from the simplicity of the post, yet results have found that 2 hashtags per post yield the most likes and comments from fans.
There are many companies that use hashtags to reach new audiences on Instagram, tapping into trending hashtags at the time or reoccurring hashtags, such as #ThrowbackThursday. Check out Instagram’s guide to using hashtags to ensure your hard work does not go unnoticed!
Ultimately Instagram offers many opportunities for organisations to raise brand awareness, shift brand perception and create engaged communities. However, it is essential to identify if Instagram is the right channel for your audience, have a clear plan from the beginning making sure your messaging fulfils a purpose, and finally select the tactics you will use to communicate your organisation’s story.
Share with us your successes and challenges of adopting Instagram into your social media strategy by tweeting us @CrowdControlHQ.
CrowdControlHQ is the UK’s leading social media risk management & compliance platform, providing effective management & oversight of all your Instagram accounts.