Instagram is always going through a multitude of changes in the digital marketing world. As an app that began solely as a medium to share the photographs taken by its users, Instagram as catapulted to become one of the key players in social advertising.
After Facebook bought Instagram, it finally rolled out advertising options for businesses. Within a year, they changed the algorithm on us, thus leaving it up to hashtags for organic reach. However as of recently, Instagram is slowly removing any organic reach brought on by hashtags, leaving it to the digital marketers to pick up the slack in the analytics. Instagram's API now restricts the number of hashtags in comments to 4 when posting images through a 3rd party. If you'd like to have more than 4 hashtags in the comment you're posting, you will have to do so natively though Instagram.
The new rules that are being rolled out are as follows:
1. The total length of the caption cannot exceed 300 characters.
2. The caption cannot contain more than 4 hashtags.
3. The caption cannot contain more than 1 URL.
4. The caption cannot consist of all capital letters.
5. Ability to turn off comments on certain photos (goodbye, haters).
When you’re an agency with as many clients as GTMA, posting natively is not feasible. We have compiled some suggestions on how to combat this new development, both through organic and paid reach.
Aesthetic- When push comes to shove, Instagram is all about the quality of the content. The aesthetic of your feed will be the determining factor when it comes to gaining new Instagram followers, obtaining their interest in your brand and everything it encompasses, and showing off the human voice of your business. When choosing which photo to push out to your audience, it’s important to ask if the single piece of content fits the total aesthetic of your page AND if your audience will want to engage with it.
Analytics- Find ideas that work- take a look at your analytics for previous performance to see what type of photographs and videos worked best. Analyze your competitors through various tools in order to figure out what performs for them and get inspiration from their work. If you do find a relevant hashtag or two, you should try to include them sparingly, but don’t go over three or four hashtags per post. Any benefit of using hashtags greatly declines after three hashtags.
Choose Wisely- After posting the aesthetically pleasing photograph and curating the perfect caption, it’s time to choose your four hashtags. The most important thing to follow while using hashtags would be:
Maintain the relevance with each defined word.
Should relate to your industrial niche.
Frame hashtag keeping in mind your target audience.
Don’t use someone else’s hashtag, for it may create a wrong impression.
Create your brand-specific hashtags like #WRSSpringsForward #GTMA.
See to it that your hashtags can be easy to remember and should work as brand recall.
Engagement- To keep the traction of your content going strong, it’s important to engage with your followers. Following people back, adding likes or comments to their photo to show mutual appreciation, and building relationships with your followers are some of the tactics that will greatly aid the growth in your Instagram following.
There are several ad objectives available on Instagram, including brand awareness, reach, traffic, app installs, post engagement, video views and conversions.
Post engagement ads, specifically, work best to make up for lost likes and comments from the change in hashtag policy. We've seen costs as low as $.01 per action with hundreds of likes on a single post in just a few weeks.
Like organic posts, Instagram ads should fit the aesthetic of your account's images. It should really convey the lifestyle of a property rather than a model unit photo.
Visually appealing content with little-to-no-text overlay performs best on Instagram, as users don't respond well to ads that are overtly sales-y. We recommend that properties send us photos that highlight unique and eye-catching amenities of the community, like a mimosa bar or sweeping rooftop views.
We can then target an audience based on their location and interests, which should reflect what's shown in the creative.
For example, a client sent us a photo of their incredible riverfront views. We created an ad for a property located right on the Willamette River in Portland, and targeted users interested in outdoor recreation.
The post engagement campaign reached costed a mere $.02/action and reached over 21,600 people in one month with an estimated 2,130 ad recall lift. In other words, 2,130 people were likely to remember the ad within 2 days.
Talk about brand awareness!
Instagram is one of the digital marketer’s best weapons, both for organic and paid reach. While the app keeps throwing curve balls and hills to climb, our experts at GTMA will continue to research the best practices for our clients!