Instagram Best Practices: The "Five R" Method for Success


It’s no secret that Instagram is a highly effective channel for B2C marketers. But you might be surprised to hear that Instagram is 20 times more engaging for B2B brands than LinkedIn. (Yes, you read that right. Check out our comprehensive research on B2B social media usage and strategy for more surprising findings.)

Certain B2B industries have a better handle on Instagram best practices than others. But overall, the results are clear: B2B brands have a major marketing opportunity on Instagram, with an average engagement ratio of 22.53 interactions per post per 1,000 followers.

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, there are a few simple steps that can help your brand take a stand on the ‘gram — and prove your impact. And we’ve got a handy mnemonic device to help you remember them.

Here are the “Five R’s” to up your Instagram game:

1. Repost.

User generated content is your best untapped resource. To put it to good to good use, start reporting. Take your cues from Ford (@ford), a brand that really knows how to use user-generated content on Instagram.

Most of Ford’s content is user-generated. They encourage Instagram users to take photos of their Ford vehicles not just so they can be featured on Ford’s company feed, but also so they can be warded titles such as “Best Cinematography.”

You can mirror Ford’s success by starting to repost brand-related content from your users, and even creating a hashtag that followers can use to submit their posts for consideration as a feature on your brand’s feed. If you’re just starting out on Instagram, you may want to provide a small incentive to encourage the use of your hashtag. You can create a contest with some branded swag as the prize for the best photo using that hashtag each month, or even week!

Which apps can I use to repost Instagram photos?

Some apps make reposting user-generated content easy to do, such as Repost for Instagram, Rapid Repost, and QuickRepost.

2. Redirect.

Instagram is a highly engaging platform. But some marketers question its direct value. The simplest stretegy to channel all that engagement is to redirect people to links in your profile. Here’s an example from The New York Times Food account on Instagram (@nytfood):

They use their photos to feature recipes by pointing followers to the link in their profile, which is essentially a curated recipe board. Click any of the images on this board, which is external to Instagram, and you’re taken straight to the recipe hosted on The New York Times Food website.

This curated recipe board even has a call-to-action that asks you to enter your email address to sign up for The New York Times Food newsletter. Therein lies the more concrete ROI.

3. Report.

If you do use the strategy in #2, then you better report on the results. Beyond engagement (which TrackMaven can measure), you can also track referral traffic from your Instagram account to your website in Google Analytics.

Don’t be surprised if your referral numbers are low, because users could be copy-pasting your Instagram URLs directly into their browser. In that case, those website visits would be captured in Google Analytics under direct traffic (“acquisition” → “all traffic” → “channels” → “direct”).

4. Reframe.

Part of the reason Instagram is so successful is because of its filters. As Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger explained to The New Yorker, the app’s ability to enhance people’s pictures with trendy filters is part of the reason the photo app took over the world. We’ve identified the best Instagram filters for brands, but remember you don’t HAVE to use a filter!

You can post professionally edited photos directly into the platform by uploading them to your phone. That’s how McDonald’s posts its authentic-looking, but perfectly staged, Instagram photos.

5. Rethink!
Keep in mind that best practices are always changing.The marketers that really make a splash don’t accept best practices as gospel. They take them and experiment until they find something that works even better. That’s how new best practices are born!

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