In this 3rd installment of our Social Media Marketing series, Brent Haeseker and Veronica Buhl discuss Instagram and how to use it to promote your business. They also break down the demographics to help you determine if Instagram’s user base is the right audience for your product or service offering. You may discover Instagram is where you need to be reach your customers, or maybe not? Watch to find out.
Brent Haeseker: Hello I’m Brent Haeseker with NetSource Technologies, Web site consultant here, and I’m speaking again with Veronica Buhl and she is our social media expert. T he last two weeks we’ve been doing a series on social media and marketing on social media and talking about the different social media services that are out there that you can use. First week we talked about Facebook. Last week we talked about LinkedIn and this week we’re going to talk about Instagram. OK so let’s just jump right in and give us a quick overview of what Instagram is, if people aren’t familiar with it and go from there.
Veronica Buhl: Instagram is a social media platform that uses mostly pictures. People post their pictures of whatever, it can be food , funny cat photos beautiful pictures, it’s very visual. So it appeals to people who are very visual and artsy.
Brent Haeseker: What is the primary demographic of Instagram as compared to Facebook. We’ve talked about Facebook being kind of all over. Everybody uses it. And then LinkedIn was more geared towards professionals. So who is kind of the demographic on Instagram?
Veronica Buhl: On Instagram, the predominant people that are there are between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. Mostly women, but not by much. So it’s a much younger audience. Millennials really like Instagram a lot. They use a lot. But people 65 and over you’re not going to see much of them there.
Brent Haeseker: So if you’re selling life insurance to seniors, you’re probably not going to be on Instagram.
Veronica Buhl: There’s maybe 4% they’re saying of people 65 and older that use Instagram. So, not the best place to reach them. But a great place to reach even teens use it a lot. So anything marketing towards teens and products for younger people, for millennials and people up to about 35.
Brent Haeseker: And I know you said that teens, a lot of women are on Instagram. I know we kind of got a n age range, but what are some of the actual businesses that might be served well by using Instagram?
Veronica Buhl: Usually it’s more of an arts type of thing more visual, so you’re going to find travel and hospitality, fashion, health and wellness, arts and crafts, photography, autos , event planning, even food and beverage. Now having said that though I have to put one little thing in there is that even though that generally who is geared towards it. Any business can really advertise on this platform. The key here is to be very artistic when you do it. There are some really good examples of businesses that are advertising really well on Instagram. But the photos that they’re publishing are very artistic. So you have to really think about what you’re doing.
Brent Haeseker: It’s not just, here’s product photos” it’s a creative way to using it.
Veronica Buhl: Yeah. Lot of great things like lifestyle photos. I can show you in a bit if you want one of the best ones that I’ve seen so far is FedEx. Really good job at being artistic. I mean they don’t really fit into any of those things that I told you were the industries best served, but they advertise very artistically.
Brent Haeseker: I know you have a couple examples of them, why don’t we go ahead and share that?
Veronica Buhl: I don’t know how well this will show up. They tell a story when they do it too. Like this little guy here, if you can see it. It’s a little puppy in a FedEx box and nothing is said when you look at this picture online.
Brent Haeseker: So that’s where puppies come from FedEx driver.
Veronica Buhl: FedEx brings them. FedEx ‘ s little hash tag was happy National Pet Day. So it had nothing to do with them other than their little logo there. That’s a really smart way of doing it. I like this one because I’m an anglophile. But again, picture of the London Bridge and you just barely notice that a FedEx truck is going across. I forget the phrase with that one, but it had nothing again to do with to use our services.
Brent Haeseker: It had everything to do with just kind of being a visual with utilizing FedEx something people would say hey that’s pretty cool, hey there’s a FedEx truck.
Veronica Buhl: This is another one I liked that they did a picture of them going across the street in New York City.
Brent Haeseker: There’s the FedEx truck.
Veronica Buhl: But you notice there’s like leaves on the tree and they’re saying crossing over into autumn was the caption.
Brent Haeseker: In that case it’s more about awareness.
Veronica Buhl: Yes, it’s like an ordinary average day but they’re in it. So kind of showing you that they’re everywhere.
Brent Haeseker: Would you say that Instagram then is good for more awareness than for actually promoting a product.
Veronica Buhl: I think you could also promote a product very well. But the key here is to have very high quality pictures. Very visual very high quality and pictures that tell a story. So maybe just having your product on the screen is not the best thing. But if you have a picture of somebody using the product in everyday life showing how the product improves lives.
Brent Haeseker: I think You have this stat that you shared with me about, I can’t remember what the percentage off hand is, but if you put faces in your photos that you tend to get a much higher engagement.
Veronica Buhl: Yes. And overall engagement on Instagram is ten times higher than Facebook. People who use it are very visual people. So they’ll grab it quicker.
Brent Haeseker: So even though you’ve got less people on Instagram, you might not have as many people in your target audience on Instagram, but if you’re using Instagram, then those people that you’re reaching are much more likely to engage with your product if you’re doing a proper job of marketing on Instagram.
Veronica Buhl: The key always here is to be creative and to tell a story and show how your product makes life better. If you can do that artistically in a photo, people will follow .
Brent Haeseker: So there’s approximately about 800 million people on Instagram right now, and it is owned by Facebook. So 800 hundred, that’s nothing to sneeze at, that’s quite a few people. So I would probably say what Facebook’s around 2 billion, something around there. So it’s almost half of what Facebook’s audience is and it’s very engaged. And if you’ve got staff in your office that are creatively minded, it might be a good way to utilize that staff’s skillset to work to market on **Instagram** or you’re not very creatively minded, well that’s where we can help out with that as well. We learned that you know Facebook’s got a lot of tools that they offer. LinkedIn does. Does Instagram have as many tools that you can use, and what are those tools.
Veronica Buhl: Currently they have two different types of ads that you can do. One is called carrousel ad. And this allows people to upload a bunch of pictures and people can swipe through and see each picture or ad that you’re doing. The other one is story ads. These can be photos or videos and they’re basically what I was saying: you tell a story about your product. So you can post a video that tells the story of your product or your brand. Also you can put together photos to do the same thing and you can use those as ads as well. So they right now only have those two. Because they are owned by Facebook, I’m expecting more options t o come.
Brent Haeseker: And it’s pretty integrated with Facebook as well so if you have marketing on Facebook it’s easy to push some of that stuff out to Instagram.
Veronica Buhl: Within Facebook’s business manager, you can have the option to you know do the advertising through Instagram as well.
Brent Haeseker: And what are some of the techniques that you would use when marketing on **Instagram** I know you showed us some of the photos of what FedEx is doing. What are some of the best practices? Maybe you already covered everything in being creative and telling a story with the photos but is there any other best practices somebody should keep in mind?
Veronica Buhl: Yes. Always no matter what you do i ng, being creative and telling a story is what you have to always keep top of mind when working Instagram. The other thing to remember is that anything that you do on Instagram make sure you cross promote it with other social media platforms. Post it on Facebook and say hey check out my Instagram and tweet it and have people say check out my Instagram. This gets more followers on your Instagram. Plus it also gets you people that you may not have touched through Instagram. So that’s with any social media platform if you do something on Facebook, then link it on all your social media so that’s just one of the basic ones. The other thing is don’t over post. Some people and this again goes for all social media. Some people think that in order to be found or to be followed or to get a brand image, you’ve got to keep posting and posting and posting, the more you post the better. It actually can be damaging because after a while people get tired of seeing you taking up their news feed.
Brent Haeseker: Especially if it’s the same post over and over. I see that a lot, and it’s like yeah I’m going to unfollow them.
Veronica Buhl: Or it’s not creative, or it just seems like it’s always salesy or spammy. So the thing with Instagram especially, but with all social media, but especially with Instagram because it’s so visual: quality over quantity always. If you don’t have something good to say or something creative or of quality to show, it’s best not to post at all. Wait until you get something that’s really good and then do it. I would say try posting two times a day on Instagram first. See which kind of reaction you’re getting. And you could add a few more. With all social media, there comes a point where you post too much and you’ll know it because you’ll start getting less interaction and less engagement.
Brent Haeseker: Making sure you’re monitoring how your posts are doing and then responding based on that.
Veronica Buhl: Notice which ones you’re doing really well on. Which ones people are going crazy about and then do more of that, more of that type of thing. Not the same thing obviously over and over, But more of that type of thing. Like obviously FedEx has found something great that they do, is they put themselves in the photo but you barely notice they’re there. But it works really well.
Brent Haeseker: A lot of people share their stuff.
Veronica Buhl: Yeah they comment on it, it’s a really good method to do. It’s a good awareness like we mentioned. Other thing is talk to your followers, when somebody likes your picture or comments or something. Take a few seconds to respond to what they’re saying or even just to say thank you. You know we appreciate you stopping by and hope you keep commenting and sharing.
Brent Haeseker: Stay engaged with them as they stay engaged with you.
Veronica Buhl: Show them that you ‘ re really there , that you’re really paying attention to them. And that’s very important. And the other thing is hashtags. Hashtags are for those of you who don’t know , they’re little dollar sign thingy or if you’re a musician, they’re B sharp sign. So these are when you coin a phrase basically. I mean obviously if you go to FedEx they have several of them. You should have more than just one, but you should have one that represents your brand. FedEx obviously has #FedEx. Nike has #justdoit.
Brent Haeseker: I think you said dollar sign, so just to clarify it’s the pound sign, the number sign. Or as she mentioned you know if you’re a musician, it’s the sharp sign. So that would be the key of G. A little inside humor musicians out there.
Veronica Buhl: So hashtags are basically just a phrase or a catch. And you should have several hashtags. You should have one that represents your brand. Like I said Nike does just do it. They also have Nike, just plain old Nike so you should generally have one that’s you know hash tag your brand . A good way to use these too is have a contest. Like we’ll just use Nike the #justdoit. They encourage their followers to show them using their brand and use that hashtag just do it. What that does is it gets your followers involved with you first of all, but also when they do that just do it tag. They show up in your feed. So the more you do it and keep it consistent, the more you will get followers and more awareness. So you should always do that.
Brent Haeseker: When you use a hashtag, use it a lot don’t just throw it out there.
Veronica Buhl: If you use it once, it’s never going to catch on. So always make sure you have it on your photos, your brands hash tag, and if it’s a contest or something special, you know Nike for the holidays or something like that. Use it and get your followers involved. So that’s another thing.
Brent Haeseker: Now I have an Instagram account but I obviously don’t fall within the typical demographics. I actually don’t use it that often. But I have one, and I’ve posted at least two or three photos I’m sure yeah. Now I know you can also do video on Instagram in addition to photos. Is there a preference? Because on Facebook everything’s kind of moving more towards video? Is that happening on Instagram?
Veronica Buhl: It’s funny because on Instagram the majority of people still want photos. People are doing videos on there and they do OK. But I think just the means of what type of social media Instagram is, people looking for photos.
Brent Haeseker: It’s kind of built on photos, so at least short videos if you’re going to do that.
Veronica Buhl: Yeah. Very short. It’s not a place to put like a long two minute video or anything just do little brief snippet videos, those cute little ones. Those are good, but yes it’s kind of interesting because whereas all the other social media is kind of going towards videos everybody is crazy about videos. Instagram is still pretty straight forward with its photos.
Brent Haeseker: That’s good to know. Anything else?
Veronica Buhl: Let’s see. Another thing to do just one more thing is to repost content from other people. On Instagram like anything else you can follow other brands and people. If you see something that is relevant to your audience and you like what’s said about it, repost it on your Instagram. This does a couple of things. First of all, it exposes content to your followers that they’re interested in. It also gets the attention of the person that you’re reposting and they may actually if they like your stuff they may start reposting your stuff to their audience. So it causes a cross pollination if you will . Where you’re sharing your audiences basically. So that’s always a good thing to do as well.
Veronica Buhl: Okay I think we’ve covered a lot of ground here. At least a good overview of Instagram. If it’s a service that you think hey this might work for my business but I’m not quite sure I’m creative enough or have the time to put towards being creative in getting some clever photos and things like that I can use for marketing feel free to give us a call. We’d be happy to help out or if you just have any other questions on Instagram or any other social media services that are out there we’d be happy to speak with you, Facebook Live. So feel free to give us call the number to reach us is 1 800 7 0 9 3 2 4 0. And again I’m Brent Haeseker, Web site consultant here at NetSource and this is Veronica Buhl, social media specialist. There we go. So feel free to give us a call at that number or you can also view us online at netsourceinc.com. Thanks for watching. Bye.