Over time, Instagram has evolved from being a simple app for sharing pictures, to a social media network, to a content creation platform, and now, to a powerhouse combination of all of these.
But now, more than ever, is a great time to move Instagram to the top of your social media priorities. The simple reason is that all forms of content can be shaped into an IG post, whether you’re an individual or a brand. Let’s take a closer look.
If you are looking to build an audience for yourself, Instagram combines the essentials of Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube for your convenience. You can use the Stories feature to interact with your followers, post behind the scenes footage, or announce daily updates. A lot of content creators have found that Instagram stories have a much wider reach and are easier to access than Snapchat. Take Marques Brownlee (aka MKBHD) for instance, a popular tech YouTuber who immediately saw about 4.5x increase in his audience as he moved from Snapchat to Instagram.
Apart from just a bigger user base, Instagram also makes it easier for new people to find you. People who regularly interact with posts similar to yours can find you popping up in the Discover tab, or come across your posts if they’re following some of the hashtags you use. Some people also use location tags to find out what’s going on around them. There are just so many ways for an interactive audience to organically build itself around you without even promoting your user handle the way you might if you’re on Snapchat.
But that’s just why IG is generally a good social media channel. The reason why it’s a great space for brands to be in right now is a combination of two things. Firstly, more people are online than ever before. The lockdown has ensured that everyone stays indoors, and time spent browsing through social media has considerably gone up. Add to that the fact that Instagram has constantly focused on the quality of the content, and keeping it as easy-to-consume as possible, and you’ll find that most of that increase in social media consumption comes from there. In the UK, for instance, it has gone up by about 15% on weekends, and in India, the number of times people open Instagram every day has shot up by 59%.
So why wouldn’t you want to cash in on this surging user base that has multiple natural means to get to you? Partly, the reason it isn’t as simple as it sounds, is because most brands get the method wrong. Their feeds are almost always exclusively pictures of their products, their advertisements, their workplaces, and so on. Their content gets promoted on their stories a couple of times, but that’s it. However, there is a high probability that people will continue scrolling or tapping or swiping instead of actually pausing to check out your latest blog, watch a long webinar, or read a report.
The smarter way to lead more people onto your website is by adapting your content into Instagram post form. And it’s entirely possible. Blogs, for instance, can be condensed into an image that depicts the essence of the blog and its relation to your brand, and a particularly attention-grabbing excerpt can feature either on the caption or within the picture itself. Websites dedicated to blogs do it all the time, like in this post by Maria Popova, for instance. Not only does it usher in more readers, people might even post it on their stories as an interesting quote, thereby also spreading the word about your account and your blog.
Another trend (albeit a slightly unfortunate one) that the lockdown has given rise to is webinars. Suddenly, every brand is doing one live webinar after another, and it now seems like we might have reached a saturation point. Webinar fatigue is becoming a very real thing, with people growing either increasingly annoyed with the number of invitations they’re receiving, or tired of watching too many webinars. Even brands seem like they’re running out of topics.
Webinars started as a way to convey information and provide help in a way that’s not only extremely detailed, but can also be freely consumed by a user at their convenience. But over the past few months, they’ve become a routine task to maintain the brand–audience connection, resulting in webinar fatigue. Instead, a good way to run a webinar schedule would be to tone down the frequency, and post the presentation slides on Instagram. This creates a two-way flow. Your instagram followers might head over to your webinar recording out of curiousity, and viewers who attended your webinar might use the Instagram post as a quick refresher, and maybe even give you a shoutout.
Using short highlight snippets from webinars and videos you post on your website or on YouTube is another way to facilitate movement from Instagram to your brand, and vice versa. Admittedly, if most of your work revolves around video content, there is no way to monetize it on IGTV (yet) apart from brand collaborations, which makes it a good place to start, but not anywhere close to the level of YouTube.
Reports, white papers, surveys, and listicles can be a little tricky to translate visually. One method might be to convert them into vibrant-looking infographics (much like how this account presents statistics). If you upload podcasts regularly—apart from putting up posters on your feed—you can talk about the topic on your IGTV to introduce your followers to the guest, or post a highlight from the recording on your stories. Here is another post that takes advantage of the “visual medium plus complimentary text” layout of the platform pretty well.
The common thread to all of these is to never ignore the caption field. More often than not, the tiny “website” space on your account bio is seen as more important, as content creators and marketers try to push traffic to the link. However, if the caption does a good enough job to push your audience directly to your website, and only mentions the link in your bio as an addendum, it works way better.
Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed out on anything, or if you have any of your own thoughts on this. Until then, all your website content should be made for the ‘gram!