Simple Instagram Tips to Increase Engagement

Instagram is increasingly becoming “the” platform for brands to reach the elusive Millennial demographic. A recent study says that 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35. Instagram also boasts an average per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%.

The numbers don’t lie.

We’ve put together some simple Instagram marketing tips to help you grow a robust and engaged following. So, as you look to build or expand on your Instagram strategy for your university or brand, engagement metrics should guide your content plans. To help you along the way, we’ve put together some simple Instagram marketing tips to help you grow a robust and engaged following.
Consistency is key

If there is one thing we learned early on as we ramped up Instagram efforts, it’s the more frequently and consistently we posted for ourselves and our clients, the better our engagement rates were. We continue to see a consistent rise in followers on our accounts when we post at least once a day. The key to making this task manageable is to establish a content calendar. This will serve as your content road map and allow you to plan as far out as needed to ensure you can post consistently. By planning ahead and posting frequently your followers quickly realize they can expect quality content from you on a regular basis.

Be responsive

Engagement begins with you! Take part in conversations, respond to questions and comments and offer fans a chance to connect. If you are consistently responsive, your fans will be more likely to engage with you in the future. Make sure when you respond to specific users that you include their handle or username so they will receive a notification. If you want to take the engagement even further, monitor your brand notifications to learn when others @mention you and reciprocate with gratitude.

Establish and monitor hashtags

Establishing hashtags helps you organize and track your photos, while allowing you to also run and measure specific campaigns. Hashtags are a great way to give your followers the chance to join a larger conversation when they want to share experiences with you. By encouraging the use of branded hashtags, you will be providing your followers with hashtags to use at certain events. It is also critical to monitor hashtags and look for ways to engage with hashtags that were crated organically. You may try really hard to brand a hashtag, but ultimately find that one is already being widely used by your audience. Just begin using the one that is already popular and make sure to consistently engage with those using the hashtag. Sometimes your audience sets the rules, and that’s OK. Just play by them and your audience won’t mind!

Monitor location check ins

Most Instagram users will attach a location to their content when they post. With a few simple searches, you can usually find a handful of locations where relevant content is being tagged. Make sure to tag your posts appropriately and then search to see who is also posting in the same locations. Engage with the most recent photos that are appropriate and then also follow those users when it is appropriate. When they begin to see that you notice their tags and engage with their content, they will most likely reciprocate. This is a great way to build your following with users who have similar interests as your brand. It also allows you to share user generated content from your feed. This will help fill your content calendar and is a good way to show how your brand is being showcased organically by loyal followers.   

Be conversational

As you participate in tips 2-4, the goal should be to make all interactions conversational. You’ll have learned a lot about your followers by the time you do the above, so interact with them in a way that is natural and conversational. Even though you’re a branded account, you are engaging with people. So, establish a brand voice that is similar to that of a friend. You will build trust with your followers and ultimately turn them into brand ambassadors by responding to questions, comments and concerns in a timely manner that also comes across as genuine and appreciated.

Test and Learn

We say this a lot at Verge Pipe Media, but we mean it. The only way to improve on your efforts, or course correct your plans if necessary, is to test and learn. What types of posts have the highest engagement rates? Did using a certain hashtag drive new engagement? What hashtags have an active communities and did joining those conversations help follower count of engagement? Has building these new relationships led to hitting your KPIs? If the answers here are yes, then keep doing what you are doing. If the answers are no, then course correct or possibly scrap the ideas. Either way you tested and learned!

Instagram is a newer and sometimes intimidating platform for universities, but the chances for engagement make it a must for anyone wanting to reach millennials.

Instagram recently announced coming changes (algorythyms, analytics, oh my!) and also rebranded with a new color scheme and logo. So, make sure your content strategy takes these updates into account.

Posting relevant content and engaging frequently are the quick and easy ways to ensure these changes will have minimal negative effects on your strategy and ensures your content will still be seen.  

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This blog was originally posted by Verge Pipe Media.

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Creating Content For “Boring” Industries Can Be Easy

Selling a service can be hard, especially a B2B service that may be considered “boring” to the average person. At Verge Pipe Media we pride ourselves on figuring out the problems that keep our clients up at night. The pain points, if you will, that we can help them solve to effectively get the conversions for which they are looking.

During my tenure working for a boring industry, I liked to say that “we aren’t selling Nikes,” so we had to cut through some clutter and make engaging and educational content that would convert visitors into prospects.

Think for a minute about the end user or the person making this “considered purchase.” What are they trying to understand? What research are they doing? What problem are they trying to solve with the service? When you nail that down, produce content and content offers around that problem.

It may be hard to “un-boring” your service (think engineering, finance, banking, etc.) but it’s not about making something that isn’t flashy, into something flashy. Rather, it’s creating content and offers that compel people to want to learn more about how your business can solve a particular problem. Inbound marketing for boring industries is all about producing educational content that shows you are the trusted resource in the industry.

Try hard to find an un-boring angle if possible. Good content for boring industries doesn’t have to be exciting, but it has to be compelling to your target audience. Creating compelling content for boring industries is also about finding that one un-boring angle and using it to your advantage. Knowledge is power, so as long as you prove that you know what you’re talking about and know it better than your competitors, you’re on your way to gaining customers.

We do want to caution you, although what we just said may seem simple, it’s not. Boring industry marketers are often at a disadvantage because we have to do lots of extra homework. Often we find ourselves teaching our team in great depth about what this industry does and who it serves, before we can even start marketing.

With that said, here are some helpful tips to follow if you need to convert new customers for your “boring” industry:

It’s all about your personas

In order to create compelling content, you must know your target audience. Creating detailed buyer personas will help you know the likes, dislikes, interests, activities and influences of your ideal customer. Want to learn more about personas? We have you covered.

Leverage your subject matter experts

Every industry has subject matter experts, no matter how boring it may seem. These experts often have unique insights to share and can bring an “everyman” perspective to the content. They often have to explain their craft to people, so leverage those thoughts into blog posts, content offers or white papers.

Offer educational content consistently 

Be known by the problems you solve! If you are consistently creating and distributing content that is solving problems for your personas, you will see conversions. It’s as simple as that. The inbound marketing methodology works in spades when you’re solving problems and making people’s lives easier with your content.

Sales and Marketing have to be closely linked/share input

Mixed messages will derail any progress. You can’t create content that solves problems if your sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned and pushing out the same messages. It may also be helpful to involve your customer service team (if you have one) when creating content. The sales team usually knows what’s preventing prospects from becoming customers and can help you create content around those problems. Same with the customer service team. They can help you delight customers by telling you what customer love, or what aspects with which they struggle.

Constantly search for success stories and trends

Leveraging testimonials and “warm” stories can go a long way to building trust and brand loyalty. Let those advocates help tell your brand’s story and how it solved their problems. Additionally, always look for how you can capitalize on trends, keywords, etc. You’re not boring if you’re providing answers to timely questions and to make things relatable to your potential customers.

Don’t be afraid of the challenges that may come with trying to market a boring industry. Dig in, roll up your sleeves, and learn all about what it does, how it works and its ideal customers. Then begin to create content that will be helpful, educational and problem solving.

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This blog was originally published by Verge Pipe Media