How to Use Instagram for Content Marketing

Image-centric app, Instagram, is proving that a picture is worth more-than a thousand words, a couple dozen actions, too.

According to an analysis by Forrester, Instagram has given brands 120-times more engagement per-follower than Twitter and 58-times more than Facebook.

What does this mean for content marketers? If you’re not already on the bandwagon, you better jump on it, right away.

Here’s how you can use Instagram for content marketing:

1. Be Creative with Your Visuals

Using the app may sound easy enough, you take a photo and you post it, however it’s not that simple; the most engaged images are well thought out, relevant and original, like iconic fashion brand, Burberry‘s.

Images need to be sharp and high quality, which means you need to take lighting, colour scheme and equipment in to consideration. Avoid using your smartphone to take a boring photo of your product sitting on your table, underneath poor office lighting. Instead, take images of your brand in interesting settings and use the apps built-in editing features to play around with the contrast, framing and saturation.

A glimpse of engaging images on Burberry's Instagram.
A glimpse of Burberry’s Instagram.

2. Use Captions to Add Context

Although you may think your Instagram image speaks for itself, adding a simple caption underneath will make the message stronger. Descriptive captions help put images into context, as not everyone will look at it and understand what it means.

For example, popular California clothing brand, Pacsun, effectively uses captions to add context to their images that are not solely focused on their clothing, such as the one below.

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3. Post Regularly

Posting an image once a month isn’t going to maintain your following or build it further. Make it a goal to post content regularly and even establish a schedule to ensure you are achieving this. Regular posts will hold consumer interests, build a following and increase authority.

Big-brand, Taco Bell, posts an image daily and has seen much success from doing so. Each image receives, approximately, 20, 000 likes and 500 comments.

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4. Use and Create Relevant Hashtags

Just like Twitter and Facebook, Instagram uses hashtags to compile relevant images for users to search and navigate through. Using a relevant hashtag will help expand your reach beyond your current followers and increase your chances of engagement.

For instance, lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, uses Instagram to spark engagement during it’s annual fashion show, posting images under the hashtag #VSFashionShow. This hashtag receives high levels of engagement because of it’s straightforwardness; brand name and event.

A screenshot of the hashtag used by Victoria's Secret during it's annual fashion show. Note it's high engagement levels.
A screenshot of the hashtag used by Victoria’s Secret during it’s annual fashion show. Note it’s high engagement levels.

5. Involve Your Brand Community

Building a successful Instagram campaign does not end with the content you post. It is equally important to involve yourself and your followers in the community your brand is trying to build. This can be done easily by responding to follower comments, following relevant influencers and mentioning them in posts.

Another way Instagram allows you to do this, is through user generated content. You can create a hashtag, ask your followers to post a specific kind of image with the hashtag and then repost their content to your account. Brands, such as Benefit Cosmetic‘s, use Instagram’s UGC abilities to build intimacy, while also promoting their brand and receiving content, all at the hands of their followers.

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