How to Leverage Instagram for your business: A marketing guide


If your brand has visually appealing products or a unique story to tell, there cannot be a better stage than Instagram. From luxury brands to media houses to automotives, each have carved a niche of their own and are leveraging Instagram for their businesses. In fact, automotive brands are the most engaged and well-represented. Lot of marketers contemplate whether Instagram can be an effective social media platform for their brand? Even if many marketers want to leverage Instagram for their business, they lack a quick guide that has the tips to build a successful presence on Instagram.

According to a McKinsey study,

  • 75% luxury shoppers carry smartphones
  • 86% brands among the Interbrand 100 have an Instagram account
  • 45% of these shoppers’ purchase decisions are influenced by digital content

A quick look at the above stats convey the fact that 50% of the sales funnel can be readily delivered to potential customers even before they step into your store. This raises an important question: does the might of premium luxury brand correlate to the might on digital platforms like Instagram?

Luxury & retail brands are way ahead of the pack: A Case Study

Hermes, that promotes a lifestyle rather than products, have leveraged videos, short poetic films on Instagram that strikes profound luxurious experiences. For brands like Gucci & Louis Vuitton, the majority of posts revolve around showcasing new collections and designs and getting engagement for the same. In many cases, they have also leveraged digital influencers to promote the products by tagging them and showcasing shots taken by them. Tiffany is another brand that a strong following on Instagram that is just not nominal. The strength of relationship can be gauged from the fact that the engagement on follower base is the highest among the brands mentioned. Let us look at some top tips to help build a strong Instagram presence.

Top 6 tips for deriving maximum returns from your Instagram presence:

1. Long captions aren’t a big NO! 

Including hashtags, the average caption length on Instagram is 135-140 characters which marks a significant focus from brands to avoid long captions. But there is no apparent proof of lower engagement rates for posts with lengthier captions as long as it adds to the visual story of the post.

2. Hashtags rule the roost! 

Hashtags allow access to specific interest groups and they are a great way to mark content that are discoverable organically. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags to be used, and studies show that posts with at least one hashtag get ~12% more engagement. Then, there’s no reason to shy away from using them.

3. Caption content is a NECESSARY integral!

@mentions generally results in more engagement underlying the fact that though the caption length may be immaterial, caption content definitely matters.

4. Geo-tagging boosts engagement 

The posts tagged with location gets ~30% more engagement when compared to their orphan counterparts because there are multiple apps and 3rd party discovery tools that allows location-based searches and content discovery.

5. Videos ≠ Photos 

It’s good to mix the content form and it’s true for any channel. On its own, videos are a great form of content but cannot replace photos on Instagram. Hence, it’s suggested to focus on photos as the central pillar of your Instagram strategy.

6. Call-to-Actions are important

A simple CTA like “select the design you like most” or “Tag your friend who would like this” would be ideal to help boost the number of comments and tags your post gets. The virality of your post has an exponential relationship with the number of comments and tags you get.

Instagram is cool, but it isn’t for our business! 

Does this quote have any resemblance to your boardroom discussions on your marketing strategy? The apprehensions are misplaced.

If your brand doesn’t have glamorous models to endorse your product or a Louis Vuitton bag to display, then does your brand have a place on Instagram? The answer is YES. There are ample examples of brands who lack stunning images but have succeeded in creating an engaged audience on sheer basis of their creative prowess and evoking original content.

From Google to conglomerates like GE to tractor manufacturers like John Deere, most brands are fast coming on Instagram and have many have quickly built an engaging community around their brand. In fact, General Electric is one of the biggest B2B companies on Instagram with ~180000 followers.

Intel definitely needs a mention considering the impressive posts that showcase their products and common problems to solve using technology. This gains good traction as it’s not just hard-selling Intel’s products. In recent times, Instagram has emerged as an effective platform for the hospitality industry with players like Raintree Hotels leveraging geo-location tracking to get walk-ins & bookings.

Measurement: The final frontier

Whether your brand is new on Instagram or have built a strong presence, measurement is an essential part of the strategy to optimize the efforts and extract maximum returns on your investment. Some of the metrics that can help you in this direction are:

  1. Total Engagement

The total engagement is the sum of likes and comments garnered by your posts. This gives basic insights on how well your strategy has worked to keep your audience active.

  1. Engagement per Post

When some posts get impressive engagement while others fall flat, this metric can work as a good measure to optimize the content being pushed on the basis of what is working well with your audience.

  1. Interaction Density

In a given time period, the total engagement gained divided by the total followers shows engagement as a %age of followers; which can be used to study the period-on-period impact of your strategy.

  1. Hashtag Volume

This is only applicable in case of unique hashtag campaigns with affinity to our brand. In such cases, it’s a fair measure of how ‘viral’ your campaign has been.

  1. Total followers

This is an important metric to track the popularity of your Instagram account. The higher the number of followers, the better the chances are of gaining engagements on your post, thus boosting the other metrics discussed here.

  1. Follower Sensitivity

It’s the rate of growth of followers, period-on-period; that can act as an essential measure to track the best performing campaigns and content types.

In case you would like any other information to be included that can be helpful for marketing businesses by leverage Instagram, please do let us know your thoughts as a comment to the post. We shall be more than happy to explore your feedback.

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