Instagram has recently announced a scheduling feature that allows Instagram business users to schedule Instagram posts in advance.
While social media managers will benefit the most, the update does come with a few caveats: currently, marketers can only schedule photo posts, which means videos, which are becoming increasingly important for brand engagement, have to be scheduled manually.
Additionally, the scheduling feature is only available via an API through third-party scheduling tools and social media management platforms like SproutSocial, Hootsuite, and any Facebook or Instagram Marketing Partners. Up until now, these applications could only arrange pre-written texts and send push notifications to remind marketers to manually post them. With the Instagram update, the full post (including text, photo, hashtags, and location tags) can be scheduled and published automatically.
The Instagram Graph API also includes an update called “Business Discovery,” which includes a “Mentions” feature that allows businesses to view all posts they’ve been tagged in, and “Business Discovery,” which allows users to sort through profile info of other businesses.
Each of these updates are centered around providing more opportunities for businesses to connect with their audience. If executed correctly, there’s huge marketing potential on the photo-sharing platform for marketers in every industry.
The Instagram Cash Cow
Instagram is a fine tool for selling products and services. It’s proven to be such a useful platform because it doesn’t discriminate small businesses from corporations, product-based businesses from service-based businesses, or one hashtag to the next. What matters is the effort and dedication brands are putting into their Instagram strategy.
In fact, Pew Research estimates that at least 31% of Instagram users earn $75,000 annually. The Instagram audiences enjoys a fine photo, and if they see something they like, they will make the purchase.
Artist Shane Miller generates 40% of his revenue through Instagram. Travel photographer Laurence Noah makes several thousand monthly. And major companies like Airbnb use Instagram as a discovery tool to connect guests with hosts. Check out renowned marketing mogul Neil Pate’s step-by-step guide on how to make money using Instagram.
The Path To Discovery
Instagram has three times more active monthly users than both Facebook and twice as many monthly active users than Twitter. This makes it a must-have component of any overall marketing strategy.
While visual marketing is a huge part of what makes any Instagram post successful, a powerful content strategy is necessary to complement it. After all, there are several ways today’s brands are getting discovered on Instagram, and it’s important for marketers to capitalize on all of them.
For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce business that sells custom boating equipment and accessories. A useful blog would make your content easier to discover via Google, and social sharing features on all your webpages allow readers to connect with your brand.
Providing valuable content is what’s most important, and researching the right resources is key. In this case, you might use a resource like Boat Planet to connect with boating professionals who can add value and authority to your content.
The Hashtag Advantage
According to SimplyMeasured, posts that contain hashtags get 12.6% more engagement than those without it. Furthermore, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded. These tags organize and categorize content that helps the platform present the right information to the right users.
Many brands are using specific hashtags to spread campaign awareness. Coca-Cola’s #shareacoke hashtag and accommpanying campaign was one of the most successful of all time. It drove a tremendous amount of sales and generated user-content from all corners of the globe. Coca-Cola consumption increased by 7% among young adults, and the brand’s Facebook page saw an 870% increase in traffic.
The same can be said for the ALS Association’s #IceBucketChallenge, proving that nonprofits and companies that can’t use products to frame visual stories can still create a viral hashtag campaign. This particular campaign brought in 100,000 new donors and $5.7 million in donations. It also allowed the association to create something even more powerful in the marketing world: an extensive email subscriber list.
An added benefit of using hashtags on Instagram is that when someone shares your content on Facebook, the Instagram hashtag goes along with it, expanding your social media reach even further. This offers you a huge potential for building communities, increasing your brand recognition, and reaching far corners of the Insta community.