Since launching in 2010, Instagram has evolved into a platform where 300 million active users post an average of 70 million photos per day. Brands are hopping on board too – and they should, because at 4.21 percent, brand engagement rates the highest on Instagram. Keep in mind, that’s 58 times more engagement per follower than the average brand on Facebook and a whopping 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.
Companies understand the value of engagement on Instagram and many have already wholeheartedly joined the community. But before jumping into the ‘gram action and posting a #TBT companies should take note of some of the unwritten rules, or risk being called out on a list of Instagram “fails” (or my personal favorite, The Worst of Instagram Tumblr account).
InkHouse’s “PR Guide to Instagram” covers the basics for brands and businesses: Be active, keep your posts short, engage with other users and utilize location-tagging are all good places to start. But the platform has plenty of nuances, and being attune to the unique, unspoken rules of Instagram can make a good account great.
What should you share on Instagram?
This one is simple. Post interesting images! It may sound easy, but posts that are visually interesting will drive users to follow your account and double-tap away. The platform lets companies go “behind the scenes,” like how Skanska USA gives followers a chance to see construction from a new perspective. Also consider using methods proven to optimize your posts for engagement, like posting unfiltered photos containing green.
Filter with caution.
With so many options it’s tempting to get a little artsy, but it turns out that filters can be divisive. Photos can show off a product by capturing clean lines and a crisp aesthetic, which end up looking better without that Valencia filter anyway. GE is one company that does this particularly well. Even if you do use a filter, most people agree: “The Kelvin filter is to be avoided at all costs.”
Be judicious with hashtags.
We all have that friend who reminds us every day how #blessed she is. Don’t be that friend. For brands, hashtags are a great way to build a community and help users find relevant content. Social Fresh suggests using a theme or hosting a content competition. Remember that Instagram is a platform where you can offer a glimpse of your company culture, so tag posts of your wine and cheese night or recent win as one of BostInno’s Coolest Companies with #careers and #hiring.
Instagram continues to change and unveil new features – like the recent announcement that users can now upload portrait and landscape photos – and these unwritten rules will evolve as the platform attracts even more businesses and brands to the community. In fact, Instagram announced just this week it will soon be even easier for brands to advertise to users. What are some unwritten rules you’ve noticed? Let us know!
Molly is a core media and social media practitioner for her clients. Prior to joining InkHouse, Molly earned her M.A. in Media Studies at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Her background in media research and communication theory informs both her strategic and tactical thinking in PR and media relations. Molly is a not-so-secret font enthusiast and enjoys pop culture criticism, contemplating digital identity, and making plans to travel to new places.