We've learned about the basics of Instagram and how to set up an account and get started. However, there's so much more to this highly-visual form of social media than just hashtags and news feed posts.
By the year 2020, it is projected that millennials will make one-third of all purchases made within the United States. While it's often up for debate, most agree that this generation includes anyone born between the years 1981-1997. The millennial generation is known for gravitating toward anti-traditional advertising. Commercials and ads don't cut it. They want to come to YOU when they need you. So your job, as the marketing genius of your business, is to make them need you. This is also referred to as demand generation.
Instagram is the second most used social platform by millennials, beat out only by Facebook. This younger demographic prefers the newer-age ways of creatively expressing themselves via photos and videos.
Let's go over some other great tools Instagram has for you, as a business.
Somewhat of a generalization to the millennial population is their desire for instant gratification. Instagram pleases this need with its posting abilities, but also with Stories. Instagram Stories are added to by the user and displayed to all of his or her followers for only 24 hours. These stories can be created by selecting to add your photo or video to your story when posting a regular news feed post, or they can also be a standalone addition. Snapchat and Facebook also utilize similar story platforms.
Using the stories as a standalone is popular among millennials because they can document the highlights of their lives for their followers without posting the content for permanent viewing. It's also often deemed more socially acceptable to post more frequent content to your stories than it is to your news feed.
When on the Instagram home page in your mobile app, Stories appear along the top, displayed as icons of those users that have posted to them. Anyone appearing here is someone you have elected to follow and has posted a photo or video to their story. You can click on any one of these, and their story will appear. If you do nothing once you've clicked it, Instagram will automatically move you through to the next one, much like a slideshow. You can also make it go faster by tapping, which essentially skips you to the next slide immediately. Instagram will also automatically switch you to the next user in line's story, allowing a speedy viewing of all the stories available from the users you follow.
Instagram Story Highlights
While stories only last 24 hours, sometimes you want to highlight one - or essentially pin it to the top of your Instagram profile permanently. You can find Story Highlights below a person's bio in their profile, and above the grid of their news feed posts. Many people choose to categorize these. For example; "Family", "Pets", "Memorial Day Party". Content can only be added to your Story Highlights directly from your story (in other words, a photo or video must have appeared in your story in order to elect for it to be a highlight).
How to use these for business
As long as a user is following you, your story will appear at the top of their news feed. This is PRIME REAL ESTATE for your content - notice I said content, not ads. Remember: Millennials aren't looking for ads about your business, and if they see them regularly, they'll likely unfollow you.
What appeals to them is your content and the personal connection they now have with you. It doesn't mean you should never post anything relating to what you have to offer, but there needs to be a good balance. Some great ideas are "behind the scenes" photos of your company, community-related activities, fan-submitted images, polls, and anything else that encourages interaction and makes a person feel engaged with your business.
This isn't always an easy balance to find and does take a great deal of time and knowledge to strategize. Many marketing agencies that are specifically trained in Inbound Marketing, such as Captevrix, can assist in taking over these social media responsibilities to assure the best practices are used and your business benefits the most it possibly can.