Instagram is growing at a rapid rate. According to Time, in the past four months Instagram reached 700 million active users, which is the photo and video sharing app’s quickest growth spurt to date. Nowadays, it’s rare that a business doesn’t include Instagram in their social media marketing strategy. And there’s a good reason for it. Instagram is one of the best ways to visually promote your business and engage your audience.
A successful account isn’t measured by just the amount of Instagram followers, but rather is measured by the engagement rate. In the age of buying followers and likes, it is still possible to grow your account’s following and engagement rate organically. The best recipe for a high engagement rate is consistently posting aesthetically-pleasing, relevant and creative photos and videos. However, there are certain tricks you should implement into your Instagram strategy that will help you to organically improve your Instagram’s engagement rate.
Follow these four rules to see organic and substantial growth on your Instagram account:
1. Have a full content strategy:
With 700 million active Instagram users, you’ll need to be unique to stand out, and behind every great Instagram is an even better content strategy. Merely posting photos on Instagram does not mean you have a content strategy. The most successful brands have a method to their madness and it’s no secret as to why their social media accounts are so popular. A good Instagram strategy will take planning, research and some experimental posts before you find out what works for your account and audience.
Ask yourself these questions when working on your content strategy:
2. Use quality hashtags
Hashtags are used on every social media platform, but they seem most effective on Instagram. Use the proper hashtags to reach a larger targeted audience than just those already following you. Instagram allows users to post 30 hashtags per post, and a TrackMaven study found that posts with more than 11 hashtags have the highest engagement rates.
What hashtags should I use? The four types of hashtags to include on every post are Instagram’s popular hashtags, local hashtags, related hashtags and branded hashtags. The actual hashtags will differ depending on your content, but there are a few tools, like Hashtagify, that will quickly discover the best ones for your content.
3. Be extra social
It’s not enough to just consistently post quality content on your account. What separates the great accounts from the good accounts is the level of socializing you participate in with your followers. This ranges from just “liking” a follower’s comment on your post to sharing user-generated content. Other than liking and commenting on other accounts’ posts, which you should do often, try out these socializing tips to gain traction:
4. Only post quality, creative photos
Visuals are everything on Instagram so make sure to only post high-quality, crisp images. There’s no need to invest in a professional camera to ensure maximum quality images, as any smartphone camera can do the job. Steer clear of mainly product photos and instead give your audience a look into the culture of your business. Introduce your employees and office, share cool shots of the cities you work in and give some behind-the-scenes looks.
Candid photos will give your audience an inside look at the personality of your brand. Quality over quantity, so make sure to avoid blurry, low-resolution and over-filtered photos and instead share well-lit, tastefully edited and clear focused images.
Learn more about how Mansfield can help improve your Instagram here.
Whether you are looking to engage an influencer on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or smaller niche sites, influencer marketing is on the rise in 2017. To stay on top of this trend brands must actively change their strategies to capitalize on this seismic marketing shift.
Influencers are paid to sponsor a product or campaign through their blog, social media posts, other video/written content. The benefit is simply that many of their followers will often take the trusted source, in this case the influencer, as being a good motivation to check out a brand, participate in a sale offering and possibly initiate a purchase.
There are five market measurements of Influencers:
Most campaigns will take on a blend of influencers with each campaign directly involved in achieving a defined goal: Either brand amplification, general awareness, lead generation or a defined sales campaign.
Influencers are keenly aware of their power, and this is likely to increase as more brands continue to invest in them this year and beyond. Some of the things you may want to consider when negotiating with an influencer:
1) Do I possess the skill set to negotiate an influencer contract or should I be outsourcing this to an agency?
If you have no prior experience in negotiating with influencers you should consider the cost benefit of using a company that has knowledge, is process driven and can display results from past campaigns. Don’t get lured into influencer software platforms that will spit out millions of recommendations without a defined strategy. No two tracking software programs are alike and, at the end of the day, a human analysis will be required to legitimize whom you may be pursuing for your campaign. Most companies that have this area of expertise will have the required information and market knowledge to create a strategy that will get you the results you are seeking.
2) Do the influencer’s profile and audience fit with my brand? If not is there a parallel association that might make sense?
Experienced influencers will be very particular about your brand and their core audience. They will need to understand your campaign and how they might fit into their communications schedule without being accused of product pushing. Remember, they got to where they are by carefully curating their personal brand. Not all campaigns will have a direct relationship to your brand. As you build out your campaign look for audiences that may have similar character attributes that would be transferrable to your brand. For instance, could an influencer who has a large following in travel also have an impact in food? Also, look for niche experts in geographic locations. You may be pleasantly surprised by both finite expertise and local loyalty. You will also like the associated cost benefits.
3) How do I determine the Influencer’s track record?
Most influencers will have a media kit with past performances and results. Be sure and ask for it. If not ask for screen shots of Google Analytics or past campaign performances. A quality influencer will want to share this information as most campaigns today can be easily tagged and tracked.
4) Who controls the content?
Content control will largely depend on the influencer you are working with. Most influencers will want to know the campaign direction you are contemplating and make their partnership decision based upon this information. For the most part, they will want to incorporate your product info into their own vernacular that best suits their community. Try and look for longer-term relationships. One-offs don’t create any value at the lower three levels of influencers. Having said that, manage your expectations on what might be the outcome when you first begin the relationship. For this reason, incorporate a few influencers into your campaign and see which ones are the highest performers.
5) What is fair compensation?
Most influencers will be willing to negotiate their compensation. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $100 – $1,000 per post/campaign depending on their past performance and size of their base. Most influencers will prefer to be paid in cash, but some (few) will take product in whole or as part of their compensation. There will be other variables that will influence the cost such as schedule (theirs and yours), the length of campaign and level of endorsement you are seeking. The greater the track record, the more money you will likely be paying. If you are prepared to engage celebrity or athlete endorsements, your cost multiples will increase substantially. Some influencers may to try and negotiate some value-add for their community. Be prepared to serve up some free product, brand swag or discount to those who ask.
6) Is there a contract?
Yes. Please make sure you have a signed Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before you begin negotiations. This way you are protected from the opportunity being publicly disclosed. From that point on, if you decide to proceed you need to have the terms defined in a written binding contract. A contract is the only way you will be protecting your rights and the content.
7) Should I be concerned about “sponsored” or “paid” labels on the content posted?
Most Influencers’ communities will not be swayed by the tag sponsored or paid. They will consider the merits of the brand and fully understand that the influencer to whom they are following will have made a commitment themselves to your brand. They must be convinced of your product to take on an endorsement role for it is their community you are trying to penetrate.
8) How do I measure the success of the program?
See point # 1. If you are inexperienced in running these campaigns and seeking help there are a few base ingredients you should be considering such as:
According to Altimeter’s Traacker report, 71% of marketers rate influencer marketing as a strategic area of their marketing campaign this year. The report also noted that while budgets are currently small, 55% plan to spend more on influencers in 2017.
A survey by IAB in 2016 indicated widespread rise in ad blockers, especially amongst younger demographics. A full 47% of people are using them, and this number will undoubtedly continue to rise, making influencers even a more valuable component of your marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing is big business and bound to increase even more in 2017 and beyond. Be careful with your negotiations and if you are just starting out, manage your program and expectations accordingly.
Branding today isn’t just about having a nice logo, a digital marketing strategy and a variety of social media handles. We’re now in the age of millennials who want meaningful connections, innovative yet community focused brands, relevant and useful information and top-of-the-line product. Simply covering the bases of traditional marketing won’t cut it anymore. Thankfully, a lot of brands out there are creating content and strategies that we can look to and learn from. Here are some top brands who are going beyond the traditional landscape to gain new customers each day. more
Two weeks ago, Adweek reported that Snapchat was asking major retail brands for $750,000 a day for its new ads. While Snapchat only began to run ads late last year, they have support from major brands, including the likes of McDonald’s, Samsung, Macy’s, and Electronic Arts.
On the surface, three quarters of a million dollars may seem like a lot money for a single day of advertising, but when you’re first-to-market and have a direct line to teenagers, there’s definitely an argument to be made. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel certainly believes so, as he’s raising funds at a $10 billion valuation.
Funding aside, it’s fascinating to watch as Snapchat continues to monetize their app, and compete with established social media players for user’s precious screen minutes.
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