This is a post by Gabriel Hubert, Co-Founder and CEO at Nitrogram, an Instagram analytics and marketing platform. Gabriel will be speaking about measuring marketing success on Instagram at Social Media Measurement & Monitoring, 26-27 March in London.
Among new social media marketing opportunities, Instagram’s impressive growth is turning heads. Many brands are now heavily using the mobile app to boost their visual marketing strategy.
The rise of management platforms that help measure Instagram activity is giving additional fuel to this already impressive adoption rate, and best practices in Instagram monitoring and analytics are arising. But why and how should businesses use Instagram?
Why should businesses use Instagram?
Visual marketing is often cited as a main trend for 2013. Because images appeal to emotions, they strike a chord with consumers, and resonate across cultures. On Social Networks in particular, photos drive more engagement than any other kind of post. On Facebook, photo posts increase the interaction rate by 39% compared to average.
It isn’t surprising, then, to see Instagram rise to popularity so quickly.
With 90 Million monthly active users, the Instagram community is thriving and eager to share beautiful photos. Companies are aware of this new opportunity, and many big names have already jumped on board: Starbucks, MTV, Nike, Marc Jacobs, Red Bull are but a few examples of multinationals that adopted the mobile photo app early.
source – Nike on Instagram
Smaller companies have followed suit, like Mission Bicycle, a small bicycle shop in San Francisco, a best-in-class example of Instagram marketing on a budget.
Source - Mission Bicycles on Instagram
Sharing beautiful photos to develop a brand name and reputation is just the start of a successful visual marketing strategy on Instagram, later on it can be complemented with User Generated Content (UGC).
Instagrammers are already using Hashtags to share photos about their favorite brands and to hopefully get noticed by them. In turn, by creating their own hashtags and running photo campaigns, these brands can create a context for their fans to share photos, and thus more effectively leverage UGC. In such campaigns, the photos can be re-posted on a the official Facebook page or the website in order to increase the campaign’s reach.
Thus, both the account’s activity and the fan’s activity should be tracked on Instagram.
What should businesses track and monitor on Instagram?
Tracking an account’s Instagram stats is the best way to know that it’s sharing the right content, and that it’s reaching and engaging with the right audience. With that in mind, knowing more about an account’s followers is the first step to effective communication through Instagram.
Follower’s stats should be coupled with analysing the interactions generated by the account’s shared photos. With that knowledge, brands can use a trial and error approach to their sharing on Instagram, aiming to post gradually more engaging photos while avoiding posts that followers would judge to be dull.
Influencers include followers who prominently share around the brand, as well as the most popular users on Instagram. Locating them can open doors to new, more targeted strategies.
In order to measure their community’s activity, brands can track Instagram Hashtags: the volume of photos shared, the number of likes and comments they generated, and their overall reach. The same can be applied to track a campaign: Knowing precisely how many participants entered a contest, from where, and which submissions were the most engaging are all valuable metrics that can be measured with Instagram analytics tools.
As is the case with other networks, monitoring the general activity, and that of the brand’s competitors helps the company stay relevant. Learning about best practices, and following the information about newly launched Instagram campaigns is the best way to stay on top of trends and should be an ongoing practice.
Thankfully services are popping up that help with Instagram measurement, which will become more and more important and useful as the photo app evolves to become a fully fledged social media marketing platform. Currently tools can measure likes and hashtags along with reach and volume of photos. Inevitably the ability to measure conversations taking place on Instagram is likely to be incorporated into measurement tools, giving a richer picture of the effectiveness of Instagram as part of the marketing strategy.