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Instagram - The basics

When it comes to marketing, social media can deliver fairly robust results for a minimal financial outlay. And now that you’ve got your Facebook strategy up and running, it might be time to investigate the potential of the fastest growing social network on the block: Instagram.

Why Instagram?

Did you know there are 9 million active Instagram users in Australia? While it still comes in second to Facebook (which has 15 million users), Instagram actually doubled its user base in the past 12 months, making it the fastest growing social network. Added to this, 80% of all Instagram users follow some type of business accounts. These numbers can't be ignored: if you want your business to get noticed, put it up on Instagram.

Instagram is a user-friendly, highly visual platform with a clean, easy-to-navigate interface. Setting up a profile is straightforward and it’s still relatively easy to reach followers (particularly compared to Facebook). It’s also free – although there is an option to pay for ads as well.

It’s different from other social networks

While other social media apps (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) are more directly focused on networking, communication and the dissemination of information, Instagram is first and foremost a photo-sharing website. Like other networks, you can attract followers, and success is generally measured in the number of ‘likes’ or comments an image receives.

While there are only limited opportunities to interact with other users on Instagram, engagement levels tend to be higher than on other social networks: users are more likely to see, respond to, and ‘like’ photos. Instagram is all about the moment; it’s visual, beautiful and aspirational. Ultimately, it demands less from and offers more to the end user. And that makes it highly attractive.

Who’s looking?

Instagram’s user base comprises 68% females. It also appeals to younger users, with 59% aged 18–29 and 31% in the 30–49 age bracket. All users spend roughly 30 minutes on the site per day, collectively ‘liking’ more than 4.2 billion posts.

Businesses belong on Instagram

You’ve probably heard about Instagram ‘influencers’ – people who make a living by posting pictures of themselves draped in a particular designer’s clothing, or holding a branded beverage. The concept illustrates how the aspirational appeal of Instagram can build trust and engagement with users. Statistics show that on the whole, Instagram users are highly receptive to advertising or promotional posting – so long as it aligns with their personal interests.

According to the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report, 64% of people are more likely to trust brands that interact positively with customers on social media. A further 63% said they trust brands that post content that is ‘engaging and relevant’ to them. Hootsuite reports that 75% of Instagram users take action (e.g. visit a website), after viewing an Instagram advertising post.

Your Instagram strategy

Instagram’s visual focus makes it a natural promotional vehicle for businesses in the housing industry: it’s an opportunity to showcase your talents and build a beautiful photographic (or short video) portfolio of your finished projects; plans, ideas and inspiration; works in progress; and gorgeous products.

However, as with all marketing efforts, a planned, targeted strategy will always deliver better results than an ad-hoc, scatter-gun approach. Before setting up an Instagram profile, first consider what your business hopes to achieve with it. Do you want to increase sales, bring more traffic to your website, or build brand awareness? Your goals should be specific and measurable: this will allow you to plan, monitor and tweak your Instagram campaign as it progresses.

Register for HIA’s Instagram webinar

Ready to find out more about how Instagram can work for your business? Register for our upcoming webinar, Instagram: The Basics, where we’ll take a detailed and informative look at how to build a profile, plan and upload great content, generate followers, use hashtags and maintain a successful marketing strategy on Instagram.

Register now

How to stand out on Instagram

With 95 million posts shared on Instagram every day, it can be challenge to cut through the noise and reach your target audience. Here are some tips to increase the visibility and performance of your posts:

  • Build followers by following other accounts that are relevant to your business and target market. Engage with them by liking and commenting on their posts.
  • Captions count: they’ll tell the story behind your photo, and link the messaging back to your brand. A great way to increase engagement is to ask questions in your captions.
  • Hashtags rule: hashtags (strategically describing the content of your photo) will help potential followers find you in the great sea of photos. Include your business name or slogan as a hashtag on every post as well.
  • Cross-promote by tagging suppliers of products shown in your pictures (e.g. if you’re showing a bathroom, tag the tile suppliers, the sanitaryware suppliers and manufacturers, the architect you worked with, the plumber, etc.) This will help you build a broader network.
  • Create a photo feed with a consistent look: 60% of the top brands on Instagram use the same filter for every post. Why? It reinforces your brand image, and the consistent styling will make your images more recognisable to your followers.