Why and how to promote your brand on Instagram

A study by Simply Measured offers data points and insights to help you make the most of the visual-centric social media site.

Shiny social media toys come and go, but Instagram has become a mainstay for the digitally savvy.

As Instagram started growing in popularity, marketers began circling the mobile app like sharks circling prey. Many marketers have dived into the app and have tested engagement strategies that rely heavily on the use of hashtags and flooding feeds with images.

This approach works if you have the resources to pull it off, but most marketers do not. When resources are limited, you’re wise to summon the power of data to optimize your efforts.

Luckily for us, Simply Measured has shared a study that features vital data points to help marketers make the most of their Instagram efforts. Let’s take a look:

The data

  • Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the top Instagram brands’ social media managers said they post photos or videos at least once a week.
  • Half of all comments on top brands’ content came within the first six hours of the posting.
  • The average caption on content was 138 characters, but there was no overarching correlation between caption length and engagement.
  • Posts that feature another user’s handle in the caption nab 56 percent more engagement, but only 36 percent of brand managers included these mentions.
  • A vast majority (88 percent) of the top brands on Instagram included at least one hashtag in their posts.
  • Photo and video posts that include at least one hashtag see 12.6 percent more engagement.
  • Only 5 percent of posts on Instagram tag a location; however, posts that do include a tagged location get 79 percent higher engagement.

The insights

  • Instagram is not a “set it and forget it” type of social network. Marketers must consistently post photos and videos to Instagram to have viable impact. It would be ideal to set a loose content calendar to organize your efforts and keep a consistent frequency of posting.
  • Content lasts a few days on Instagram. Keep tabs on how long your content continues to receive engagement to determine what your minimum posting frequency should be.
  • Provide captions, but don’t go crazy on the length of text. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • If your post involves another user, mention him or her in the caption and tag the image if necessary. Spread the love.
  • Hashtags help your content get discovered. Use them.
  • Make sure you use location tags when appropriate. This is especially important if you are promoting a hotel, restaurant or other brick-and-mortar business.
  • Don’t forget that Instagram and Twitter make an incredible one-two punch for distributing content.

There you have it. Instagram is a perfect social network to build brand engagement and showcase visuals, but it requires continuous effort.

What do you think of this study? Did any of these data points surprise you?

Nathan Mendenhall is a social media manager at Cendyn/ONE in Boca Raton, Florida. He has extensive experience with creating and implementing successful social media strategies for both B2B and B2C brands. Connect with him at @NCMSocial. A version of this article first appeared on Social Media Today.

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