Social media marketing offers a variety of platforms to engage with customers, but with that comes a variety of challenges. On Facebook it is hard to be seen, on Twitter you are limited to 140 characters and on Snapchat you only get 10 seconds to make a lasting impression. Instagram is different. Your followers will see your posts, your caption can be as long as you need it to be and the images never go away. This is why Instagram dominates all social media when it comes to interactions per thousand followers.
As great as Instagram’s numbers are (59% of the 18-29 demographic is on Instagram and 51% checks it daily), having the right content can be the difference between growing your reach and remaining stagnant.
The Top Ten Ways to Stand Out From the Crowd on Instagram: Part 1
- Variety of content
An array of posts will allow you to connect with a larger market. Mix it up—serious posts, funny posts, nostalgic posts, posts that offer great savings, etc. This will help create great content that people want to see. Also, the more diverse perspectives that can be brought to your platform the better. Arrange some student takeovers. For a day, recruit a store employee, a contest winner or anyone you choose to run your Instagram account. Present it as a day in the life of a student or a campus store employee (create rules for what can and cannot be posted). You could also do weekly staff book recommendations or even start an Instagram book club where you post a book of the month and arrange an instore discussion. (For more ideas, check out The 17 Best College Instagram Accounts)
- Visually captivating photography
Beautiful images do well on Instagram. Perhaps you have a great photographer already on staff, or if you are on a campus, contact the art department or a photography professor. Propose a partnership with them to share student projects. Your store can host an art show of student photography. This allows you to engage with students directly, share (and credit) their art and provide you with beautiful content that attracts students and alumni to your page.
- Enticing captions
The pictures on Instagram are definitely the most important part, but don’t forget about the power of a great caption. A picture of a squirrel outside of your store is cute, but add a witty caption of what’s currently happening on campus and suddenly it’s relevant to more people. For example: Finals makes us all a little nuts, squirreling away study snacks or just say meme me and share the best posts. A great caption can turn a mediocre picture into a fantastic post.
Hashtags are one of the best tools you have on Instagram to direct people to your posts. The words or phrases that make up your hashtag are what enables people to find you organically based on their interests. Use your official school hashtag, research other relevant tags that your followers are using and follow the trends. At the end of 2016, the hashtag #best9of2016 was trending. People made a collage of their favorite nine pictures they took during the year. Anyone can participate. Look at the content being posted to the hashtags you decide to use. For example, do a search on Instagram of your official college hashtag. Any photo posted using that hashtag will come up. Now you can like some of the pictures or follow the person who posted them. The more you engage, the more others will engage with you. (Start You Own Instagram Hashtag)
- Share on other social media sites
If you spend time creating a great Instagram post, why not get the most use out of it that you can. Share your posts on Facebook and Twitter. The people who follow you on those platforms will follow you on Instagram too if they enjoy your images. You don’t have to share every post if you are worried about too much repeated content. Share the posts that get a lot of interaction on Instagram to entice new followers, or share the ones that didn’t perform as well as you thought they should to boost that post’s reach.
When someone follows you on any social media platform, they are investing part of their day into listening to what you have to say. These first five tips are designed not only to build your audience, but to entice them to follow your store because you are creating content they want to see. Find the next five tips that cover how to market your sales events, use Instagram Stories and engage your community here.
Good luck! We would love to hear from you about any marketing campaigns that your store has done.