Leveraging Instagram: The step-by-step guide for brands for Insta success

With 1 billion monthly active users, being the second most engaged social network platform and having 75 per cent of the users below the age of 35, and also the fact that 83 per cent Instagrammers find new products and services through this platform, Instagram has grown into a massive opportunity for brands to tap into for growth and increased presence. However, there are many brands that still don’t use Instagram to its full potential, either because they aren’t aware about the tools and metrics or don’t take the platform seriously still. However, here’s a guide to how brands can use Instagram to gain maximum ROI through the platform. 

Guidelines for Insta success: 

  1. Hashtags are important

Hashtags allow access to specific interest groups and are a great way to mark content that are discoverable easily. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags to be used, and studies show that posts with at least one hashtag get 12 per cent more engagement. 

  1. Captions should be concise

Including hashtags, the average caption length on Instagram is about 140 characters. This shows an attempt by brands to keep their captions concise. However, they can be lengthier as long as it adds to the value of the story. 

       3.Caption content is important too!

Mentions (@) generally result in more engagement. Involving other relevant pages or people definitely add up to the content of the caption and the post as a whole. For example, if your brand is in association with another brand, tagging the other brand is essential as visitors to their page will also be guided to your page increasing traffic. 

Hashtag use along with captions and @ mentions
Hashtag use along with captions and @ mentions

  1. Video & photos

The best way to boost growth is by posting both photos and videos together to have a greater impact on the audience. Although videos are a great format, Instagram is a photo-driven platform. There’s a need to focus on photos as the most integral part of your Instagram strategy. 

  1. Geo-tagging results in higher engagement

Location tags get 79 per cent more engagement to a post as compared to posts with geo-tagging. This is because of the existence of multiple apps and third party discovery tools that allow location-based searches for content discovery. For example, if the location of your post or brand is in Mumbai, tagging Mumbai will attract users looking for content related or from Mumbai. 

  1. Call-to-Actions are important

Call-to-actions like “Tag a Friend” or “Tell us about your experience” would help boosting the comments and tags on your posts. This defines the virality of your post. 

Geo-Tagging and CTA
Geo-Tagging and CTA

  1. Don’t forget Explore

The Explore Tab on Instagram is a big hit. Many users just use the platform for this particular feature. Featuring on this tab will allow users who do not follow your account to get to know about your brand and create awareness. Instagram tracks user activity and their interest. The explore tab is customised to fit the users liking. This could be a direct method to create awareness and also increase followers. For example, as an Instagram user, I have myself found many pages and content pieces I like related to my searches and likes on the platform. I mainly consume music and sports content and that is what I find in my Explore Tab. It allows me to find similar content and discover multiple pages. 

  1. Check-it-out!

The Checkout option is a great feature, especially for retail brands. This feature has enabled payment of products in the same platform and eliminates the difficulties of navigating to a new page for payment. This helps brands push consumers to eventually convert to their brand. Many brands like H&M, Zara, etc., have the checkout option on their pages, which caters to audience convenience. 

  1. Interaction is of key importance

The new features of polls and questions in the story feature allows engagement and also gives the brands insights into what the followers like, along with their reactions and opinions. GIFs and stickers allow brands to answer queries quickly, which are also creative and engaging. 

  1. IGTV is a hit

Video has its own charm in attracting users. Instagram has come up with the horizontal video feature and overcomes the challenges of vertical IGTV videos. Brands should be leveraging this, which will help them in reaching out to their audiences. Also, long form videos can be uploaded here, which is a great boost from the previous 1 minute video format that still is an option on Instagram. 

Often brands say Instagram isn’t for them because they don’t have glamorous models to endorse their product or beautiful products to display. This isn’t true as there are several brands who have succeeded in gaining an engaged audience on the basis of their original content and creative prowess. 

IGTV and Explore Tab
IGTV and Explore Tab

Measure to Gain 

Measurement is an important aspect of Instagram. Without measuring your posts, engagement rates and impact of your posts, it is very difficult to have an effective action to gain returns. Whether your brand is new or has a built a strong presence on Instagram, measurement is essential for the strategy to optimise efforts and get maximum ROI. Some of these metrics are: 

Profile Insights
Profile Insights

  1. Total engagement

The total engagement is the number of likes and comments on your posts. This gives basic insights on how well your strategy has worked to keep your audience active and engaging. 

  1. Engagement per post

While some posts get impressive engagement, several others don’t – this metric is important as a good measure to optimise the content being pushed on the basis of what is working well and liked by your audience. 

  1. Interaction rate

In a given time period, the total engagement gained divided by the total followers shows engagement as a percentage of followers; which can be used to study the period-on-period impact of your strategy. 

  1. Unique hashtags

This is only applicable in case of unique hashtag campaigns with affinity to your brand. In such cases, it’s a fair measure of how ‘viral’ your campaign is. Creating unique hashtags can enable the user to find your posts or campaign by just searching for that particular hashtag. 

  1. Total followers

This is an important metric to track the popularity of your Instagram account. The higher the number of followers, the better are the chances of gaining engagements on your post, which boosts the other metrics too. 

  1. Growth of followers

It’s the rate of growth of followers, period-on-period that can act as an essential measure to track the best performing campaigns and content types. 

All these tools and metrics used as an effective combo can definitely help brands increase their presence on Instagram. However, these guidelines apply to not just brands. An influencer or any other user who just wants to increase traction on their Instagram page should definitely keep these guidelines in mind. With the immense growth that Instagram has gained over the years, brands, influencers and everyday users should use the platform to its full potential. It’s now or never!


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