Instagram has been around for a while but most businesses haven’t yet figured out how to best utilize the platform.
Here 5 actionable Instagram marketing ideas for you to start with!
1. Invest in Instagram Ads
This tip is contributed by Janette Speyer (Partner at Web Success Team and Hot Ice Media)
We run a small agency in Los Angeles specializing in consumer goods. Many of our clients are in the food industry. As we all know, Instagram is a powerful visual messenger. It did not take long to convince everyone to try it out.
Our Facebook rep showed us how to navigate Power Editor. (Power Editor is a 3rd party app that Facebook uses for ad placement.) Although I am used to working on many ad platforms, this one does take a little getting used to.
Once we found our way around the app, we were ready to think strategy. The holiday season is a perfect time to start promoting any product. So we built a concept around the time of year when shoppers are looking for new ideas.
We debated if it was best to show the product in the imagery or just stick to a single picture that would convey the brand's qualities.
It is often difficult for our clients to omit their packaging pics in the message. We opted to indulge them and let it run to see what came back to us.
Targeting the right audience
The benefit of using Instagram on the Ad Manager is that you can use the same parameters that you use in other Facebook ads. Our target markets are already defined and it is a good starting point for our first campaigns. We can always tweak later as the results come in.
We are happy with our initial findings. Although far more expensive than regular Facebook ads, Instagram ads are worth the money. Even more so if you are if you are in the consumer goods business. Prices range from about $1.50 an impression to $3.50 on the higher side as opposed to Facebook that ranges at $.10 to $.60.
What about B2B?
We did a personal test for our business to see what kind of engagement we would get. B2B is not as appealing as a good piece of pumpkin pie or a turkey. Surprisingly, we got lots of positive feedback.
So a few takeaways
- It is a visual vehicle so this is a great opportunity for "show and tell"
- You can use videos to tell the story
- It is not widely used yet. So now is the time before the noise level gets too high
- 80% of traffic these days comes from mobile
- You can use your budget for both Facebook and Instagram at the same time for more exposure. (Facebook will show that same ad on both platforms)
Paid reach is a necessity for most business. We have a unique opportunity with these low-cost platforms. Take advantage of this now before those prices go up. I was around in the days of traditional advertising and the price was prohibitive.
If you have experience in Instagram advertising, please also help SEOchat forum member in this thread.
2. Re-Market Your Creatives
This tip is contributed by Martini Fisher (Author of "History, Prehistory and Biological Evolution" and many others)
I started on Instagram about two weeks ago. It was only about a week before my last book came out. I used Instagram to show my face. People respond to faces and they don't get to see my face in my books, of course, so Instagram is good for that. I also used it to put a few snippets of little paragraphs and dialogs from my upcoming book, as well as some visual triggers I used.
In my research I took a lot of pictures – so I chose some good ones and uploaded them on Instagram. And I put some photos of random daily activities there.
It works for me. The photos involve my readers in my writing process, and they get a sort of "backstage pass" to what I look like and what I do on a daily basis. The dialogs I put in there give them little teasers of my upcoming book, and I met a couple of bloggers, reviewers, and fellow writers through Instagram as well.
3. Build Your Personal Brand
This tip is contributed by Sunita Biddu (Social Media Strategist & Blogging Coach )
I have started taking Instagram seriously just recently. I haven't marketed any project yet but personal brand marketing has worked very well. Well enough that it got me one big collaboration and two high paying clients. Played with this FAST social networks and figured out three most important things.
- RIGHT Instagram Hashtags Matter. I could clearly see the difference in response for posts with hashtags, without hashtags and posts with right hashtags. There are some key hashtags such as "awesome", "amazing", "instagrammers", "instadaily" etc. that flood your posts with response when used. Plus the most relevant and popular hashtags about your posts.
- Right Timing: A post made at 9pm received 85 responses within 5 seconds of posting. A post of similar quality posted at 2pm receives hardly 6 responses. You can imagine the power of timing.
- Your Bio Counts. Once you attract your audience, they would like to know more about you and that's where you bio would make the difference.
4. Build Loyalty
This tip is contributed by Lukasz Zelezny (Head of Organic Acquisition)
My personal experience with the platform differs in many ways from the potential that it offers many different brands. Any brand that wants to maximize organic reach will definitely be able to extract plenty of value from Instagram. Personally, I have not yet used Instagram for marketing in any formal capacity and I personally believe it will be difficult to use it in my specific case for selling anything in the near future.
However, there are brands that will be able to utilize the platform for marketing, and it is in some ways better than Facebook. I've read studies which show that Facebook users are far more likely to turn away from brands than Instagram users; in fact, Instagram users are actually receptive to following up with brands and engaging with them in a proactive fashion.
Instagram isn't as crowded when it comes to marketing. Virtually all marketers today use Facebook to promote products and services, but less than half report using Instagram. Because of this, I would definitely recommend that brands take a look at Instagram to see whether their business model is compatible with marketing in Instagram broader community.
It's also worth noting that Instagram doesn't filter out organic reach in order to force brands into paid marketing. Facebook used to offer a similar approach, but then limited organic page reach to boost marketing revenue. Instagram theoretically allows 100 percent of followers to see each post. Because of this, it's hard to deny that Instagram has marketing potential.
Instagram – at least for some brands – can be a great way to boost reach and fulfill marketing objectives. Its effectiveness will vary by industry and niche, but it's definitely worth looking into.
5. Extend Your Connections, Increase Your Interactions
This tip is contributed by Doyan Wilfred (Growth-hacker and content marketer)
Just like on all the other social media platforms out there, visibility is key.
In order to be successful on Instagram, begin with interacting. You should publish less and be actively engaging with other users.
Comments are more powerful than likes. Comment a lot!
Here’s how to manage your Instagram comments and likes.
Bonus Ideas and Resources
- Create an Instagram-based service. For example, this site lets you print our Instagram photos easily
- Integrate Instagram into your current site content to co-promote your Instagram channel and visual content using site. There’s a wealth of WordPress plugins for that (Here’s a handy guide on how to install WordPress plugins)
- Partner with a charity. Instagram is full of active non-profit startup that enjoy huge engagement. Support one of them to both do something good and build visibility on Instagram
Are there more Instagram marketing ideas? Please share in the comments!
A few weeks ago, Google has published their official Search Result Quality Rating Guidelines instructing their human raters on how to evaluate Google SERPs.
The guidelines provide lots of insight into how Google defines quality and what they mean their algorithm to understand.
I asked fellow marketers and bloggers to provide their main take-away from the guidelines and here are the answers:
Quality is Equivalent to the Average User's Judgment of Quality
My main takeaway is that Google is looking for pages that help searchers, exactly as it has always said. Quality is basically equivalent to the average user's judgment of quality.
Yes, that is still vague, but we all know a low quality site when we see one. Similarly we all know a high quality one. We might differ in the details, but if we are talking about general perception I think most people will agree.
Keep Your Content Fresh
Google's Quality Rating Guidelines are a reminder for small business, especially e-commerce, to keep their content fresh. The Guidelines give special attention to freshness as a measure of its "High Needs Met" (HNM) ratings.
Page 141 of the report tells us,
"For these queries, pages about past events, old product models and prices, outdated information, etc. are not helpful. They should be considered “stale” and given low Needs Met ratings. In some cases, stale results are useless and should be rated FailsM."
If you are providing product information, make sure it it is well maintained with current data. This should include a review of the on-page SEO factors such as buzz keywords and relevant trends. You can also add value and improve your score in this area by adding fresh content surrounding product updates and new releases by a well maintained blog on your site.
For E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) websites, (which might include technology blogs or tutorial sites, for example), the freshness scale is less important since a fair amount of content in this field does not change (Think software tutorials or a first aid procedure). But business should still take advantage of the freshness factor and aim for a High Needs Met Rating by updating, improving and adding value to existing, static content from time to time.
YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) Sites Are Held to Higher Standards
According to the guidelines, Evaluators hold YMYL sites to higher standards.
YMYL is short for Your Money or Your Life sites and include medical, financial, health, safety, sites that require personal identification, provide advice on major life issues, even ecommerce sites that sell expensive products or products that have major life implications:
- Online banking pages
- Pages that provide info on investments, taxes, retirement planning, home purchase, buying insurance, etc.
- Pages that provide info on health, drugs, diseases, mental health, nutrition, etc.
- Pages that provide legal advice on divorce, child custody, creating a will, becoming a citizen, etc.
- There are many other web pages that fall under YMYL at the discretion of the Evaluator.
When an Evaluator identifies a YMYL site, they will research its reputation:
- Does the site have a satisfying amount of high quality main content?
- Does the site have a high level of authoritativeness, expertise or trustworthiness?
- Does the site have a positive reputation?
- Does the site have helpful supplementary content?
- Does the site have a functional page design?
- Is the site a well-cared for and maintained website?
YMYL sites must convince Google Evaluators that they possess a healthy level of credibility and online reputation.
Google Strives to Identify "Main Content" on a Web Page
I thought one of the big takeaways for me was Google's emphasis on "main content." Google was clear in instructing raters that they should be on the lookout for, and actively encouraged to, downgrade pages that have a hard time distinguishing main content from ads or other distractions on the page.
To me this is all about user experience and Google's continual desire to make sure their index provides preference to site pages that have a clear separation between advertising and content. Quality raters are encouraged to provide a less than helpful rating on pages where the lines between this separation is blurred. And that, to me, provides a great benefit to users.
Google Does Rely on Humans for Algorithm Evaluation
David Waterman (SEO Rock Star)
Having worked in the SEO industry for over 10 years, the release of the latest Google Quality Rating Guidelines is yet another reminder that Google doesn't rely 100% on bots and algorithms to determine quality online content.
It layers on a human component to ensure the results Google provides are quality and match the true intent of the search query.
Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
The biggest takeaway for me was to make your site mobile friendly if it isn’t already. A large proportion of the guidelines was focused around mobile and it is clear Google now views this as a sign of a quality website.
If this is the case, it means that anyone producing amazing content on a site which is not mobile friendly is going to be viewed as low quality. This should be avoided at all costs.
Google Wants to "Think" Like Human Beings Do
"Quality" and "relevancy".
It just couldn't be simpler than that.
That's what users are searching for when they use a search engine like Google. That's what Google wants to offer its users.
Google aims at thinking more and more like a human being so that it may "understand", "feel" and "see" what a user understands, feels and sees when he / she visits a website suggested by a Google search.
And what are people looking for? Quality relevant sites or web pages.
Put Your Users First
Put your users first and foremost.
- Write high-quality, in-depth, well-researched articles.
- Write for users. Optimize for search engines.
- Provide helpful navigation-think breadcrumbs.
- Invest in clutter-free, User-friendly, mobile-friendly design.
- Display your address and contact information clearly.
- Create and maintain a positive reputation. Content won't save you if you send hitmen after your customers (true story!).
Expert Content will be Rewarded Irrelevant of the Domain Authority
From what I can gather, one of the main takeaways is that we're coming increasingly closer to a point where quality, expert content will be rewarded irrelevant of the domain authority of a website.
It seems the algo is coming increasingly intelligent and capable of determining the best content, so those that put the effort in sharing details and info will be rewarded. Personally, we're probably still a while away from this as an absolute, but from the look of the guidelines things are going that way.
The Fundamental Principles Are The Same: Provide Quality, Put the User First…
There's really nothing new here, it's very similar to the guidelines leaked (supposedly unofficially!) in 2008, and a few times since. The overall message is the same as it always was – you need to build sites with original, quality content that provides real value to the searcher.
They have defined a quantitative process for assessing this, including Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, and how well it meets the searcher's needs. The process is interesting, but not revolutionary, it's simply a formal definition of what we all understood anyway
Many people will flock to this document, in the hope it will give some insights into how to 'game' the system, which of course it won't! Although the general principles of the guidelines will be familiar to anybody involved in SEO, it's still well worth a read, just to make sure there aren't any key areas you have missed in your own site. It will show you how to view your site through the eyes of a Google rater, and more importantly, through the eyes of a user.
The Emphasis is on the Quality
It's clear that Google prefers information posted by a human rather than machine generated information to evaluate quality. They also place more emphasis on relevant indicators such as time spent on the website etc. and customer reviews. Again, the emphasis here is on content of the reviews and not the number of reviews.
And what’s your main take-away?
Video is one of the most forgotten aspects of SEO today. We’ve know about the positive effects of incorporating video in your SEO strategy for a long time, but it is still something that a lot of people overlook when trying to rank their sites.
The fact is that video allows you to tap into the second largest search engine (YouTube), helps increase conversion rates, makes your brand stand out in Google search, and make your visitors engage more with your content, both on your site and on social media channels.
The guys over at Shakr, a video ad template startup, created this handy infographic about the 5 most important YouTube SEO tips that will help you rank your YouTube videos in Google SERPs. Have a look:
Featured SEO tool: Video Schema Generator
More on Youtube marketing: