#Instagram – a marketing goldmine yet to be uncovered

The image-sharing platform has also seen around 1.5 million users switch to its ‘Business Tools’ programme, since its launch earlier this year, giving users instant, one-click access to brands. Not only are consumers able to get a business’s contact information, but they can even get directions from their current location. Business users are also able to gain information on what resonates well with their customers with Instagram Insights, and see the impact that their posts have in terms of impressions.

As a business, you don’t just want to exist in the Instagram space, you want to add value, generate awareness and increase revenue. So, with the 500 million-user app firmly on the radar, what can marketers do to measure the success it’s bringing to their brand?

Value comments over clicks

One of the very first metrics marketing teams can look at is the level of engagement being achieved. Just as you would on other social channels, such as Twitter or Facebook, make a point of evaluating your interactions.

When it comes to Instagram, some believe it’s all about the number of likes you get for photos. However, a like is easy, but a comment is more valuable. Almost 99 per cent of interactions come in the form of likes, with comments only accounting for roughly 1.1 per cent.

Comments take longer to write and require some thought, meaning whatever you have posted has sparked a reaction from those it’s reaching. Think about the content you’re posting and work out how best to entice a response from people. It might be that you run an Instagram-based competition, asking users to comment and re-share content, or that you move beyond posting just images, engaging video as an additional extra. Moving images are an even more engaging way to grab the attention of your audience and Instagram’s introduction of video app Boomerang enables users to bring everyday moments to life.

If you notice that the number of comments on your content begins to increase, you’ve successfully boosted your engagement, but remember, not all comments will be 100 per cent positive. In a study of 100 top brands using the app, engagement per post has grown 53 per cent year-on-year. In fact, B2B brands see 20 times more engagement on Instagram than on LinkedIn, a platform solely designed for business interactions.

Watch the clock

Marketers getting the most out of Instagram are those that not only consider the ‘who, what, where, why’, but also the ‘when’.

An Instagram post typically has a lifeline of around four hours before it’s buried on a persons feed, making them a lot less likely to see it at all. For brands, this means choosing the time you know the majority of those you’re trying to reach will most likely have eyes on their feed.

The average Instagram user is likely to interact with a brand either first thing in the morning between 8.00 and 9.00 am (checking their phone before or on the way to work), during lunch at 1.00 pm, or in the evening at 5.00 pm (just as they finish work). Knowing this information, but more importantly using it, will help marketers develop a posting timeline that will be most effective.

By keeping track of your most engaged posts and the times they were published, you will begin to see a clear pattern of activity and pin point your audiences optimum time.. Getting an idea of what content works best, at what time for y our brand, means you’re one step closer to connecting with your target audience.

Start tracking traffic

One of the most important things for marketers is knowing just how effective Instagram is at driving leads to their site. This is where the platform’s new ‘Business Tools’ offering comes in handy.

With a business profile, brands can choose exactly how they want people to get in touch with them, be it via phone, email or even text. Instagram’s addition of the ‘contact’ button makes it effortlessly simple for marketers to monitor just how many people are reaching out to them, and their preferred method for doing so.

Not only that, it makes it easy to monitor your followers, tracking both boosts and drop-off’s on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, depending on how suits you and your business. That being said, while tracking daily will help you stay on top of your account, it won’t provide enough data and results to assist in making informed decisions.

The only way to make improvements to your social media offering, including Instagram, is to know what works for your business, something that can only be achieved by tracking, monitoring and benchmarking over time. Learning more about the people that follow and engage enables you to create more relevant and relatable content for your audiences.

The platform has some of the highest engagement rates and lowest bounce rates across social media, meaning the traffic produced is extremely valuable for any business. So, if you’re not measuring your engagement on Instagram and ploughing the learnings back into your overall marcomms strategy, you’re missing out on this touchpoint with key audiences.