Instagram Etiquette 101

Instagram is one of the most effective social networks on the Internet. However, it’s a very different platform to Facebook and Twitter, with a very different set of rules. This article will explain how you should behave in order to get the most out of your marketing campaign.

Dealing With Negative Comments

Just like every other social network, Instagram has users who will post negative, inflammatory or inappropriate comments. If you’re representing a business and this occurs, take the time to comment and respond positively. Participating in a discussion or answering a question is common courtesy and may even help you gain more followers.

If you are managing your Instagram account via Iconosquare, regularly monitor the “Comments Tool” to mark comments as read or unread. In addition, always put in place simple criteria for responding to inbound comments that can be shared across the team.

These guidelines developed by HubSpot are a great starting point:

Positive + False = Respond

Positive + True = Listen or Respond

Negative + Not A Troll + Rant/Joke = Listen

Negative + Not A Troll + Not A Rant/Joke + Erroneous Information + Unhappy = Respond

Negative + Not A Troll + Not A Rant/Joke + Not Erroneous Information + Not Unhappy = Listen

Driving Revenue Via Instagram

With the exception of your bio, Instagram is a no-link zone. Consequently, driving website traffic from Instagram involves directing your followers to your bio and then having them click on the link. No easy ask!

Avoiding Boring URLs and CTAs

When you work hard to create captivating, compelling content, you should treat your bio URL the same way. Unfortunately, bios seem to be laden down with turgid self-congratulatory prose that is an instant turn off for most Instagram users.

One way around this Sargasso Sea of user indifference is to use an URL that is memorable and contains an unambiguous CTA. Your link should transport your followers to a unique page, which will allow you to track the traffic being driven via your Instagram account.

Reward Visitors

Enticing your Instagram followers to click through is only half the job. Once they have journeyed to your bio and responded to your call to action, you should reward their endurance and curiosity by providing them with something of value, perhaps special content or a special offer.

Achieving Conversions

The key to leveraging your Instagram account to drive website traffic and conversions is to be sparing with the hard sell. Nurture your follower relationships and only drop in an unashamedly revenue-oriented post every week or so.

Bringing Your Brand To Life

As with any aspect of business and marketing you need a clear strategy before venturing onto Instagram. Establish what subjects you will or won’t be posting on and allocate a weighting in your publishing schedule to each theme. There are nine generally accepted themes that the majority of Instagram posts cluster around:

  1. Food
  2. Product-centric
  3. Customer-centric
  4. Employee-centric
  5. Behind-the-scenes Images
  6. Motivational Posts
  7. Videos/Boomerangs
  8. Giveaways/Contests
  9. Guest Posters

One of the most challenging facets of adapting Instagram for business is translating the post themes into content ideas for a sustainable publishing calendar.

Here are 10 tips for Instagram content ideas:

  1. Behind-the-Scenes: Creates a sense of fun without it feeling fake or artificial. These forms of images and videos work well if you are able to creatively engage your followers’ attention and leverage their interest. Highlight anything quirky or unusual with a light human touch and inspire curiosity in the daily operations of your business.
  2. Create a Profile Image From a Collage of Content: Your Instagram profile is the launching point for followers to explore your brand. Using a collage technique to create a cut-through profile image that can attract followers and communicate the essence of your business at a glance.
  3. Provide a Compelling Story: Leverage an unusual or interesting story to flesh out your brand image. If it’s enthralling, people will read it and look for similar content.
  4. Unleash User-Generated Content (UGC): UGC can be a powerful source of connection with followers and often has higher-click through rates than corporate content thanks to the authenticity of peer referrals. Just remember to ask followers for permission before you share!
  5. Use Sneak Previews: Hype up the launch of a new product ahead of its formal announcement using Instagram to post teasers. Get people interested in your new product or service by creating word-of-mouth inspired ‘buzz’.
  6. Blasts From the Past: Flashbacks are a popular form of content on Instagram. They invoke nostalgia and give a brand a sense of community as well as talking points.
  7. Question-Driven Engagement: Asking Instagram followers a question is a proven way to reach out and encourage engagement by sharing opinions and commenting on the answers.
  8. Incorporate Influencer Marketing: Hire a guest social media influencer to add light and shade to your feed. They will help reinvigorate the hype around your brand and nurture trust.
  9. Hashtag Inspired Campaigns: Branded hashtag campaigns are a useful way to engage new followers while increasing brand recognition. You can monitor who is talking about your brand while watching how quickly the conversation spreads.
  10. User Content: Remind followers where they can make purchases, follow the latest in thought leadership, or find out more information by directing them to your bio link.

Hopefully, these ideas will provide direction for your posting strategy, general etiquette, and inspire you to create truly attention-grabbing content.

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