December 12, 2016
Instagram: a hot platform for all things visual.
Our friends use it to post photos of their daily escapades; our favorite companies use it to showcase products, and marketers use it to connect more efficiently with their customers.
Until now, though, marketers who wanted to incorporate Instagram into their social media marketing strategy have struggled with the fact that there was no simple way to integrate the platform with social media management tools.
This is all changing, though.
Buffer JUST released the news its social media planning services now extend to Instagram.
This is a development that we are very excited about, and it’s one that can boost the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts, as well. Read on to learn more.
Buffer Now Supports Instagram: Why This Development is so Exciting
We’ve always loved Buffer.
In addition to helping us save time, Buffer also ensures that our social media marketing stays on point and that we get the best possible content out to our users at regular, predictable, functional intervals.
Until now, however, we haven’t been able to use Buffer for Instagram.
Luckily, this recently changed.
Buffer now supports Instagram. Before this development, the primary pain point marketers had with Instagram is that they had to use their mobile devices to load every post, and they couldn’t schedule their Instagram marketing with their other social media posting.
In addition to making IG posting more effective, this convenient (and free) development from Buffer also helps marketers manage their IG interactions and reach customers more effectively.
What Buffer Offers Instagram Users
When it comes to social media management, Instagram is a bit different from other platforms.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Instagram doesn’t allow third-party apps to post directly to the platform. This means that Buffer can’t simply post a photo on your behalf.
What it can do, however, is create Instagram reminders that “live” on the Web or mobile app. When the scheduled post time rolls around, Buffer loads the photo into Instagram with a pre-crafted caption and sends you a push notification. All you have to do is click ‘Publish.’
Check out Buffer’s video on the topic for more details:
The Benefits of Buffer for Instagram
While I’ve already mentioned the time-saving benefits of Buffer for Instagram, the service can also help marketers in a variety of other areas. Here are some of the top benefits the service offers:
- Consistency. When you work on several different social media platforms, it’s easy for the management of them to get away from you. Luckily, Buffer makes it simpler to manage these things. With Buffer for Instagram, you can maintain a consistent posting schedule that allows you to connect with your audiences at the appropriate times and boost both your leads and engagement by sharing the best content you have to offer.
- Collaboration. With Buffer for Instagram, it’s easy to collaborate with other members of your marketing team to curate a beautiful, compelling Instagram presence that helps you expand your brand and communicate directly with your clients.
- Advanced Planning. Social media marketing is more effective when it’s planned in advance. With Buffer for Instagram, it’s easy to design and implement Instagram marketing campaigns from your desktop computer or mobile platform. Simply schedule the posts ahead of time and receive simple Instagram reminders when it’s time to publish them to your account.
- Simple Tracking. What is measured can be improved, and Buffer for Instagram makes it easy to track key analytics associated with your Instagram posts. This helps you understand the growth patterns of your audience and create more engagement across the board.
Why Instagram Matters to Your Marketing Game
When it comes to social media marketing, many people overlook Instagram for bigger, flashier giants like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Unfortunately, though, Instagram is one of the highest-potential social platforms out there.
As it stands now, more than 500 million people are using Instagram. Upward of 300 million of these people log into Instagram on a daily basis and, between them, they manage to share upward of 95 million videos and pictures each day.
Few people realize the numbers for Instagram are so huge.
In addition to offering a massive user base, though, Instagram offers a broad selection of demographics. Unlike platforms like Snapchat, which caters predominantly to users between the ages of 18-34, Instagram caters to people of all ages, incomes and walks of life.
There’s even a near-exact gender breakdown on the Instagram platform – with 51 percent of users being male and 49 percent being female. This makes it easier for marketers using Instagram to connect with followers in all segments and across all user bases.
What’s more, Instagram is one of the least-crowded marketing channels on the Web. While a whopping 93 percent of companies use Facebook for marketing, only 36 percent of businesses use Instagram as a marketing platform. This makes it easier than ever before to get noticed online, even in the midst of millions of pieces of content daily.
How to Boost your Instagram Marketing Today
Now that you know why Instagram is so important to online marketing let’s talk about how to boost your Instagram presence to epic proportions. It’s a known fact that social media can alter people’s purchasing decisions, and if you get your Instagram game dialed in, there’s a solid chance that you’ll be able to boost your company’s success thanks to the simple photo-sharing platform.
Here’s what you need to do to create a successful Instagram strategy today:
1. Develop a strategy
While Instagram is different from various other social media platforms, it shares one thing in common: strategy is critical to success. With this in mind, the first step to boosting your Instagram success rates is to develop an Instagram strategy.
Start by defining a primary set of Instagram goals and naming the two top reasons you’re interacting on Instagram in the first place.
For example, do you want to drive engagement with your content? Showcase your products? Run advertisements targeted at would-be customers? Share company updates? Regardless of what your Instagram goals may be, defining them now will help you shape your Instagram strategy down the road.
Once you’ve developed a solid understanding of your primary goals, it’s time to move onto the actual plan for implementing them. For example, how much money and time can you afford to put into the Instagram platform? How will you integrate Instagram with your other platforms?
Buffer for Instagram is one tool that can help save you money, streamline the Instagram process, and integrate your Instagram marketing more effectively with your other marketing campaigns, but it’s still wise to develop a solid strategy for interaction.
2. Develop a posting schedule
Depending on what your Instagram goals actually are, you’ll have to develop a posting schedule to cater to them. Social media is only effective when your posting schedules are consistent and predictable, and developing something that caters to your overall goals and your consumers is a wonderful way to fulfill this requirement.
While developing a posting schedule for Instagram used to be difficult and dependent upon physical effort, Buffer for Instagram has made this easier. Now, you can simply schedule your Instagram interaction with your other social media content, which makes it simpler to develop and implement a simple posting schedule while also allowing you to connect with readers.
3. Know your audience
Knowing your audience is arguably the first step of any good Instagram marketing strategy, but it’s also one that’s essential for the complete picture of Instagram engagement. While the demographics of Instagram are diverse, it’s critical to understand your unique demographic and how that affects your Instagram marketing.
For example, where do your Instagram audiences come from? Are they urban, suburban, or rural? Do they have college experience? Are they male or female? How old are they? How much money do they make each year? While understanding the answers to these questions may seem straightforward and inconsequential, it’s critical to the overall success of your marketing strategy.
4. Develop your style
Since Instagram is a highly visual platform, it’s essential to take the time needed to develop your personal Instagram style. While not all of your photos have to be the same, developing a trademark visual style characterized by the subjects of the pictures, the use of color, or light, and the posting style will help you build a brand that’s uniquely yours.
For a good example, consider fashion blogger and mom Shalice Noel’s Instagram feed:
Tips for Instagram Success
Once you’ve developed a solid Instagram marketing plan that includes considerations about consistency, post timing, and target audiences, it’s time to put some effort into enhancing your Instagram presence across the board. Here are some tips:
1. Improve your Instagram bio
Instagram offers every user a bio. This bio/profile segment includes a circular headshot, a short bio paragraph, and one clickable link that appears just above the actual Instagram feed. To boost your Instagram presence as much as possible, it’s critical to make the most of this bio section.
Think of your bio as your Instagram homepage. It’s the place people come to learn more about your brand, find valuable content and locate links to your website. Because of this, it’s essential to get it right.
With this in mind, ensure that everything in your bio is representative of your brand. For example, your bio should be complete, detailed, and succinct. It should include your company tagline or slogan if you have one.
For an example of a functional, complete profile, check out Thrive Market’s Instagram page:
In addition to showcasing a clear, simple logo, this company also includes a link to its platform of choice and offers a hashtag to promote user engagement.
2. Focus on evergreen content
Even in the world of Instagram, evergreen content is critical and valuable. Buffer calls these pieces of content “content pillars” and says they’re some of the most foundational forms of content you can put out there on Instagram.
Your company’s industry, specialty, brand voice, and team will have a significant impact on the types of evergreen content you choose to post, but the following things are good places to get started:
- Behind-the-scenes content;
- Content submitted by users (users engaging with products, etc.);
- Short video demonstrations or reveals for products;
- Fun or funny posts;
- Team takeovers (Wherein one team member takes over the company Instagram account for a day).
These pieces of content are as interesting as they are valuable and, when used correctly, can help you develop a solid Instagram marketing strategy that allows you to connect with customers and interact with other brands more effectively.
3. Make great use of hashtags
According to Track Maven, Instagram posts that feature more than 11 hashtags earn more engagement online. With this in mind, it’s clear that including hashtags in your Instagram marketing is an essential way to build recognition and engagement among your audiences.
You don’t want to choose just any hashtag, though. Instead, it’s essential to use hashtags that relate to your message, product and brand. This keeps your hashtags relevant and helps ensure that customers will find them helpful rather than just annoying.
4. Post at the right times
Once you’ve built your bio, content, and hashtags, it’s time to ensure the technical aspects of Instagram are supporting the artistic ones. According to Buffer, the best times to boost on Instagram are Monday and Thursday, between 8-9 p.m. Eastern time. As a general rule, you want to avoid posting content between 3-4 p.m. and should post videos around 9 p.m.
While these ideal post times will likely vary depending on your specific audience and platform, it’s important to follow basic guidelines to produce the best possible Instagram outcome.
5. Use your Instagram presence to connect
Thanks to its visual-dense, high-quality appearance, Instagram is a wonderful way to connect with other marketers.
We are the perfect example: We started an Instagram for @ExpWriters in August of 2015 (I know, late bloomers!) We’ve seen 100 percent organic growth, and we’ve collaborated and connected with marketers that we’ve loved. Our connections have gone beyond Instagram in e-mail connection, possible collaboration, and more. I started another Instagram a few months ago for a lifestyle account of myself as a CEO, @fementreprenuer.
By searching relevant hashtags (#writer, #copywriting, #writersofig), I’ve connected with copywriters and sold them my book.
This proves that it’s not only possible but probable to use Instagram as a sales device. By interacting on the platform correctly, it’s easy to build a robust online presence that helps you become a more effective marketer.
The Case for Good Instagram Marketing
The world of social media marketing moves at breakneck speed and marketers who want to keep up need to learn to adjust. Today, this increasingly means using different social platforms and taking advantage of various social tools available. What’s more, it means learning to interact with the rules and restrictions of social media accordingly.
Until now, brands and marketers who wanted to use Instagram for social media marketing always had to leave it somewhat separate of their marketing strategy. In addition to posting Instagram updates manually, it was impossible to integrate Instagram with other social media management tools. Because of this, Instagram often fell by the wayside in the world of social media marketing.
Today, however, this has all changed.
Since Buffer announced that it now supports Instagram, it’s easier than ever before for even the busiest online marketers to develop substantial Instagram presences that benefit their users and their brands alike.
With the help of Buffer, marketers can now schedule posts, gain access to simple Instagram reminders when it’s time to make a post, check out interesting analytics related to their user engagement and interest, and create a more consistent schedule when it comes to their Instagram engagement. This, in turn, posts social media interactions and ensures that marketers today aren’t missing out on any of the good “juice” Instagram has to offer.
By implementing Buffer for Instagram management and ensuring that you continue to build your Instagram presence through good profiles and bios, consistent content and style, and the use of relevant, brand-specific hashtags, it’s easy to create a booming Instagram presence that allows you to stand out from the competition and connect more effectively with your customers.
Julia McCoy is the founder of Express Writers, a serial content marketer, and bestselling author. A dedicated self-starter since an early age, by age 13, she'd written a 200-page book and taught herself Internet marketing. At 19, Julia dropped out of college and a nursing degree to follow her passion, teach herself online writing, and start her agency. Within two years, Express Writers grew by 400 percent, and today, Julia’s agency serves more than 5,000 clients. Julia is a bestselling author, the creator of The Practical Content Strategy Certification Course, host of the Write Podcast and Twitter Chat #ContentWritingChat. She just published her second bestseller, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing, November 2017.