Instagram is increasingly becoming “the” platform for brands to reach the elusive Millennial demographic. A recent study says that 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35. Instagram also boasts an average per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%.
The numbers don’t lie.
So, as you look to build or expand on your Instagram strategy for your university or brand, engagement metrics should guide your content plans. To help you along the way, we’ve put together some simple Instagram marketing tips to help you grow a robust and engaged following.
- Consistency is key
If there is one thing we learned early on as we ramped up Instagram efforts, it’s the more frequently and consistently we posted for ourselves and our clients, the better our engagement rates were. We continue to see a consistent rise in followers on our accounts when we post at least once a day. The key to making this task manageable is to establish a content calendar. This will serve as your content road map and allow you to plan as far out as needed to ensure you can post consistently. By planning ahead and posting frequently your followers quickly realize they can expect quality content from you on a regular basis.
- Be responsive
Engagement begins with you! Take part in conversations, respond to questions and comments and offer fans a chance to connect. If you are consistently responsive, your fans will be more likely to engage with you in the future. Make sure when you respond to specific users that you include their handle or username so they will receive a notification. If you want to take the engagement even further, monitor your brand notifications to learn when others @mention you and reciprocate with gratitude.
- Establish and monitor hashtags
Establishing hashtags helps you organize and track your photos, while allowing you to also run and measure specific campaigns. Hashtags are a great way to give your followers the chance to join a larger conversation when they want to share experiences with you. By encouraging the use of branded hashtags, you will be providing your followers with hashtags to use at certain events. It is also critical to monitor hashtags and look for ways to engage with hashtags that were crated organically. You may try really hard to brand a hashtag, but ultimately find that one is already being widely used by your audience. Just begin using the one that is already popular and make sure to consistently engage with those using the hashtag. Sometimes your audience sets the rules, and that’s OK. Just play by them and your audience won’t mind!
- Monitor location check ins
Most Instagram users will attach a location to their content when they post. With a few simple searches, you can usually find a handful of locations where relevant content is being tagged. Make sure to tag your posts appropriately and then search to see who is also posting in the same locations. Engage with the most recent photos that are appropriate and then also follow those users when it is appropriate. When they begin to see that you notice their tags and engage with their content, they will most likely reciprocate. This is a great way to build your following with users who have similar interests as your brand. It also allows you to share user generated content from your feed. This will help fill your content calendar and is a good way to show how your brand is being showcased organically by loyal followers.
- Be conversational
As you participate in tips 2-4, the goal should be to make all interactions conversational. You’ll have learned a lot about your followers by the time you do the above, so interact with them in a way that is natural and conversational. Even though you’re a branded account, you are engaging with people. So, establish a brand voice that is similar to that of a friend. You will build trust with your followers and ultimately turn them into brand ambassadors by responding to questions, comments and concerns in a timely manner that also comes across as genuine and appreciated.
- Test and Learn
We say this a lot at Verge Pipe Media, but we mean it. The only way to improve on your efforts, or course correct your plans if necessary, is to test and learn. What types of posts have the highest engagement rates? Did using a certain hashtag drive new engagement? What hashtags have an active communities and did joining those conversations help follower count of engagement? Has building these new relationships led to hitting your KPIs? If the answers here are yes, then keep doing what you are doing. If the answers are no, then course correct or possibly scrap the ideas. Either way you tested and learned!
Instagram is a newer and sometimes intimidating platform for universities, but the chances for engagement make it a must for anyone wanting to reach millennials.
Instagram recently announced coming changes (algorythyms, analytics, oh my!) and also rebranded with a new color scheme and logo. So, make sure your content strategy takes these updates into account.
Posting relevant content and engaging frequently are the quick and easy ways to ensure these changes will have minimal negative effects on your strategy and ensures your content will still be seen.
Interested in learning more about Instagram engagement tips, what marketing appeals to millennials and what tactics can be used to successfully reach and engage this coveted demographic? Good! Click below to download our FREE eBook on attracting and engaging millennials.