Instagram remains one of the most popular social media apps out there. Like all social media platforms, it frequently updates the app and the algorithms that govern what content gets shown to its users.
The November 2018 algorithm change, for example, saw users reporting a decline in engagement. Brands are always looking for ways to improve engagement levels, click-throughs and on-app purchases on Instagram, but sometimes it feels like a struggle to keep these numbers from dipping.
There are ways that brands can work with Instagram, and its changes, to keep content fresh, engaging and being seen by the right audience.
Profiles: focus on showcasing the brand to attract new followers
It’s been a busy year for Instagram changes, and the profile page hasn’t gone unaffected. In 2019, brands need to ensure that everything from their highlight covers to their Insta grid pops off the screen if they want to attract new followers to the page.
It feels like the profile page has undergone a lot of change, and there’s probably more change to come. For now, brands need to focus on the look and feel of the profile page. Stunning aesthetics have always been a major hit on Instagram, and a gorgeous grid is sure to make the right impression – helping to turn a casual browser into a follower.
Instagram Stories: engage followers using all the elements available
Instagram is the platform known for gorgeous visuals. Whether it’s beautiful pictures, amazing profiles or jaw-dropping videos, people know what they’re looking for when they log on to Instagram.
But brands that want to keep their Instagram relevant and engaging in 2019 need to go beyond what the content looks like and start exploring the full potential of Instagram Stories.
From music stickers, adding tunes, GIF, location tags, chat features, polls and much more, brands should look at how they can brighten their Instagram Stories with an added touch that will connect with their followers.
Moments: use countdowns to build anticipation and suspense
Fear of missing out is a compelling motivator that keeps people coming back to check on their favourite brands, celebrities and influencers.
As Snapchat shows, sometimes the easiest way to convince people to pay attention is by giving them a limited time to catch the content before it’s gone. The new countdown sticker on Instagram gives brands the option to add custom countdowns to their posts, counting down the time until an event – such as a flash sale – takes place.
Followers can follow countdowns that they’re interested in, automatically receiving alerts when the timer reaches zero. However, brands need to ensure that the payoff is worth the teasing – or it risks people seeing the countdown as a cheap manipulation.
Hashtags and locations: helping brands to find more followers
Instagram needs a reliable way of making sure that their users can find exactly what they’re looking for. Fortunately, that’s what hashtags and location tags are for.
Brands that want to get the most out of their hashtag strategy need to focus on the right things. Using a hashtag just because it happens to be trending – yet has no relevance for the brand or its market – isn’t going to win the brand any fans.
However, by using brand-specific hashtags and hashtags that are followed by the brand’s audience, the brand will start engaging with the right market. Location tagging, for example, can work wonders for brands that are keen to connect with a local audience.
Brands should also remember to tag their Stories, as well as their regular Instagram content.
Shoppable tags: helping to monetize content
Shoppable tags are easily the best way for brands to monetize content on Instagram right now. These tags work like stickers that appear on an Instagram image, letting people know that they can click to buy the item in a picture or video. If a brand’s follower taps the sticker, they’ll be taken to the product catalogue to buy whatever it is they want.
Shoppable posts are so effective at streamlining the customer journey for some brands that many are beginning to build their own product catalogues through their Instagram business account.
Instagram Live: it doesn’t bite!
Instagram Live is a great way for brands to start building better relationships with their users in 2019. Live’s real-time video sharing lets brands reach out to their fans in an engaging and intimate way. Meanwhile, its question and polling features allow brands to connect with people and see their responses in real-time.
Instagram Ads: a powerful way to bring in new followers and encourage sales
Brands have a wide range of different ad formats to choose from today, including feed-style images and promoted Instagram Stories.
Instagram Business accounts automatically track the performance of Instagram campaigns, allowing brands to see what kind of ads are most effective for their business.
As we can see, Instagram offers a variety of ways to keep users engaged. Brands that explore the full potential of the platform’s creativity stand a good chance of navigating the various changes that the app introduces over time. It’s not just about posting regular content, but about creativity delivery as well as design. People will engage with content, and come back for more when they know that they’ll be getting an interesting variety of entertaining content.