Thanks to the introduction of Instagram Stories, 2018 is becoming the year of more content generation as well as optimization of the content performance through paid advertising to increase the reach on Instagram.
Instagram marketing has become a lot more sophisticated with the introduction of new features and new analytics tools. Managing Instagram manually has never been this complicated as there is a lot to do from analytics to planning posts to managing the user-generated content.
Here are the top 7 Trends that you can follow to build a strong Instagram Marketing Strategy in 2018:
- Instagram Post Boost
When Instagram get acquired by Facebook in 2012, everyone thought it will become a pay to play platform just like Facebook.
Now, after 6 years we are finally able to see that drastic decrease in the organic reach.
Fortunately, Instagram Stories were introduced which gave the brands a new, effective and free way to connect with their followers on Instagram. The stories also allow the brands to add clickable links to their content.
However, in order to maintain the high engagement and reach on Instagram, the stories aren’t enough. One must know how to make use of the Instagram advertising.
Running your own Instagram ad campaign isn’t much difficult, but they still require a small level of expertise to bring the best results.
The simple solution is to “boost” the regular Instagram posts instead of setting up a specific ad campaign and targeting.
Boosting the Instagram posts is similar to promoting Facebook posts. All you have to do is create a regular Instagram post and post it. Once posted, you can now choose to promote it to your followers (and people similar to them) to get more likes, impressions, and visitors on your profile.
The only difference between the normal post and the boosted one will be the “Sponsored” notation at the top and the call-to-action button to either visit the profile or go to a website.
Having an organic reach without any paid support or strategy has become harder with so much competition in the market. In fact, many Instagram influencers have started boosting their own posts to stay relevant by maintaining their engagement.
- Instagram Shopping feature
We have already seen that Instagram stories allow the brands to add links and URLs by which they are creatively able to drive traffic on the landing pages.
In 2018, the new way to drive sales on Instagram is the integrated in-app shopping feature by which you will not need to leave Instagram to purchase the product in the Instagram Story.
Instagram shopping features will let the retailers and brands to tag their products in each photo by listing the item’s name and price right on the image. Users then will be able to directly purchase the item by clicking on those tags without leaving Instagram.
It will lead to a big boost in sales as the retailers and brands will be able to convert the traffic right on the Instagram instead of round-tripping them to the merchant’s website.
- Instagram Profile – the New Home Page
Your Instagram feed is equally as important as the home page of your website in 2018.
As more and more people are preferring Instagram over Google to search for brands, it has become essential to keep your Instagram profile aesthetic with the same intention that you’re applying for your website.
It is true that a very small percentage of your total followers visit your Instagram profile after following you, but having a consistent aesthetic will help the potential followers to decide if they wish to follow you.
Are you still not convinced how an aesthetic Instagram profile will help you?
The release of Instagram Stories Highlights which allow the brands to showcase their prominent stories permanently on their profile gave more importance to the appearance of the Instagram profile.
With a robust and aesthetic Instagram profile, brands found a new way to increase their followers, showcase their brand, drive awareness and education about the business, and sell products in a single profile visit.
- Instagram Stories Ads
Though the Instagram version of Snapchat like Stories doesn’t have that many features and filters, they quickly rose to fame with over 300 million daily active users which is double the size of Snapchat.
Using Instagram Stories for business must be an essential part of your Instagram Marketing Strategy as it’s all about reaching new audiences and what’s better than stories to connect with people.
Instagram Advertising through Stories is going to see a massive growth in 2018. The earliest you adopt them, the more success you will get from Instagram Stories.
Also, the advertising cost of Stories is relatively cheaper than the actual Instagram ads, so it gives you a big opportunity to experiment with them and find what works best for your brand.
With the growing number of Instagram users, more and more people are glued to their stories every day. This is a huge opportunity for the brands to generate creative stories which can lead to the conversion.
- Instagram User-Generated Content & Digital Rights Management
Instagram flourishes on user-generated content (UGC) and the rise in UGC increases the need of awareness regarding digital rights management for Instagram.
You will no longer be able to repost your customers’ user-generated content without their permission and explicit approval.
With the implementation of Facebook’s Rights Manager on Instagram, publishers, and creators can upload a library of their content on Instagram. They will be able to block their content if they find it posted by an unapproved source.
UGC is in high demand and it’s not going to vanish anytime soon. That is why; Instagram is currently testing its own repost/regram button so that brands can avoid conflicts over photo permissions as proper photo credit will be given to the original content creator.
Still, it will not be enough to manage the digital rights of the UGC. Brands are expected to abide by the social media policy and seek permission from the user before reposting their content on Instagram to avoid any PR conflicts.
- Micro-Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing on Instagram is a popular concept now. But in 2018, you won’t have to look for millions of followers or spend plenty of dollars to cash in on this trend.
Micro-Influencer Marketing is the next big thing and many brands are already riding on the success of working with Instagram users that have smaller but more engaged followers.
A micro-influencer is the one who has a significant number of followers, that could range from anywhere between 1,000 and 100,000.
An Instagram influencer is considered to be a celebrity, whereas as a micro-influencer is more like an everyday consumer. So anything coming from them is tend to be very relatable and trustworthy to the followers.
Brands are doubling down on the influencer marketing and expanding to micro-influencers. Moreover, it doesn’t always have to be paid as many micro-influencers are fine with receiving free products or hampers.
Micro-influencer marketing is quite beneficial to the small businesses which can use this as an effective and affordable way to grow their business.
- Keeping up with the Algorithm and Analytics
To have success from your Instagram marketing strategy, the key is to understand the audience and how the content is performing.
In other words, it is time to get familiar with the Instagram analytics so that you can get the best out of your Instagram Marketing Strategy.
The Instagram algorithm keeps on changing from time to time which decreases the reach and engagement across the platform. In order to get high impressions and engagement, brands, as well as influencers, need to keep up with the constant changes by optimizing their content according to the algorithms.
Though there is no official Instagram analytics tool available, there are plenty of third-party analytics tools which can help you do better with your posts as per the algorithm.
With the new Instagram Insights API and Instagram Stories Analytics, you won’t be limited to view the analytics in the mobile app. Also, there will be more robust Instagram analytics tools coming in 2018.
2018 is a major year for Instagram marketing. Instagram Stories, Instagram Ads, Instagram Micro-influencer marketing, and Instagram Analytics are going to have a huge impact on formulating the best Instagram marketing strategy for your business.
Also, since the time Facebook acquired Instagram, new features keep getting added to the photo-sharing platform, making it more exciting and playful for users as well as for the brands.
It is the right time for the brands to invest in Instagram marketing to reach out to the masses and get benefits of more conversion through Instagram.
About the Author:
Ashish Sharma is the Chief Marketing Officer at WeDigTech, a Mobile App Development Company. He is responsible for marketing activities that have to do with creating, communicating and delivering offerings that have value for clients or business partners.