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Insta-Cram: 3 Things You Should Know About Instagram

After reaching yet another userbase milestone, Instagram has cemented itself as an essential social network that should be ignored at a brand’s peril. Content, hashtags and measurement are the fundamentals to a successful presence, writes Jim West, Digital Senior Account Executive.

It’s just shy of a year since Instagram stole Snapchat’s clothes. Recognising the vice-like grip the ephemeral image and messaging app had on millennials across the globe, the Facebook-owned social platform launched an almost uncanny imitation of Snapchat’s chief feature in a bid to halt the young rival app’s lightning-fast trajectory and bolster its own arsenal.

The move paid off: “Facebook’s Instagram Stories crushes Snapchat with 250 million daily active users” read one headline last week, after Instagram announced that its own Stories feature had attracted a whopping 50 million users since April.

With this just the latest in a long line of victories for a platform that shows zero signs of slowing (it now boasts over a million advertisers and 700 million users worldwide), here are three things that everybody needs to know about the second largest social network:

  1. It’s all about being excellent. Instagram’s quality bar is exceptionally high, so brands should take a breath and prioritise beauty over speed. Whether you’re creating the perfect looping video in add-on app Boomerang (those quick-fire videos that bob back and forth) or a sped-up clip in Hyperlapse (those short moving epics that turn minutes into seconds), make your content a mini masterpiece to wow and woo. It’s not all about motion or Instagram Stories though: behind the platform’s new-fangled features, it is still very much the home of photo-sharing and therefore you can’t beat a jaw-dropping lifestyle image when it comes to engaging your followers and the wider Insta community. Sounds expensive, right? Wrong. It’s amazing what you can achieve with time, a creative eye, a smartphone and a low-budget lighting setup.
  2. It’s about hashtags. To those who are au fait with Insta’s inner workings, this is hardly a revolutionary statement – and yet it’s mildly baffling to still see so many brands putting out great content without using hashtags or only utilising a fraction of the 30 hashtags-per-post maximum. While some Insta-snobs may decry over use as spammy, it’s really rather simple: hashtags help expose a brand to large targeted audiences without a penny of advertising spend, something that allows them to reach and engage more people. So if the goal is to increase a brand’s footprint on the channel and get noticed, a carefully researched list of popular but relevant hashtags is an absolute essential. Conduct some thorough research, save a curated list and paste the selection that’s right for you into a comment below every single one of your posts. Bingo!
  3. It’s about measuring, refining and optimising. Learning and adapting is fundamental to all digital marketing, and Instagram is no anomaly in this regard. Providing a brand has a Facebook page, it can switch to Instagram Business within a couple of taps and start tracking the success of its Instagram presence. From here you can garner insights about who your following is and how many people see and engage with your posts, as well as open the portal to the paid tools that will allow you to add scale to your best-performing activity.

If you are looking for Insta-guidance, contact the Pegasus social team on socialteam@thisispegasus.co.uk

is a Digital Account Manager with over five years of community management and social strategy experience.