In Part I of the Instagram Series, we looked at the ways in which you can share content on Instagram. In this section, we will take a closer look at how to share content in order to promote your webshop and raise awareness for your brand.
Your feed is the place where you can share photos and videos that remain visible to the audience – unless you delete them. You can place a photo or video on your feed by clicking the plus in the menu bar.
You can add tags to every photo or video you post here. The tags provide additional information about the photo or video, making them easier to find. This is one way of increasing the reach of your photos and videos. There are three ways of adding tags to your photos and videos:
Hashtags in caption.
The caption is the description or explanation you add to the photo or video you want to post on your feed. It can consist of text, emoticons and hashtags and has a maximum length of 2,200 characters. The caption adds context to the photo or video where necessary. Hashtags are words or phrases with a # in front of them. Using hashtags, Instagram can sort all content by medium and efficiently display content that is relevant to the user. Adding relevant hashtags in the caption increases the reach of your post and increases findability for the audience. That way, your posts also end up with people who don’t follow you. There are hashtags relevant to each industry, sport, brand and product that ensure that posts are placed in the right category. Read more about the aim of hashtags and how to use them here.
Instagram profile tag.
You can tag other Instagram profiles in your photo, video or caption. The content you post using a tag gets a special place on the Instagram profile you tag, which in turn has a positive impact on the engagement and findability of your posts.
You can add a location tag to every photo or video you post. In doing so, you provide Instagram with more information about the photo or video. It could be the name of the place, park or restaurant where the photo or video was taken. The location tag also increases the reach and improves findability. You can simply add the location tag to your photo or video before you upload it. Instagram even offers location suggestions while you are posting the photo or video.
In Instagram Stories, you can place a series of consecutive videos and images. This is also called your ‘story’. Stories are separate from what you post in your feed and are visible for 24 hours. They then disappear from the summary. A summary of your own story and stories belonging to people you follow can be found at the top of the home screen in the app. You just click on the story you want to view. When a story ends, the next story is shown automatically. If you want to go to the next story sooner, you can click to the right of your screen. If you click to the left of your screen, the previous story will reappear. The pink border around the story button indicates that a story has been posted over the last 24 hours that you have not yet seen.
To post, all you have to do is click the camera in the top left-hand corner of the home screen or click your own profile picture with the blue plus next to it. You can also view your own story here when you have posted. With Instagram Stories, you can take and post a photo or video on the spot by pressing and holding the capture button. Alternatively, you can retrieve a photo or video you have already taken from your camera roll. Before posting the photo or video, Instagram offers you lots of options to design and edit it. You could use special filters, fun emoticons and gifs, for example. Below is a summary of the options that are relevant to your business and may contribute to increasing the reach, engagement, interaction and findability of your posts:
You can add a hashtag to your story using a sticker (this is an option in Instagram Stories) or just in the text. You can place up to ten hashtags in your story and make it your own. This is another way for users to discover content. Adding hashtags with the same purpose as for your content feed is not a bad idea. Your story will be easier to find it contains hashtags.
Instagram profile tag.
Just as in your content feed, you can tag other Instagram profiles in your Stories and other people can tag you. This contributes to your followers’ engagement and loyalty and is an effective way of increasing your follower count. It is another way of increasing your reach and allowing the audience to discover content.
Within Instagram Stories, you can share your location. There is even a special location sticker that allows you to do so. This also contributes to the reach and findability of your Instagram profile. If you tag your location in your story, it can be found by the audience more easily. We therefore advise you always to use the location tag.
By placing a poll in your story, you can learn more about your audience in an easily accessible way. The poll can consist of two answers, and all you have to do is add a question. You might want to get feedback on products, gather ideas, share tips, etc. Here are some creative ways to use Instagram polls.
Whereas in polls you obtain information by allowing users to ‘vote’ on questions you ask, by placing questions stickers in your story you can ask users questions. They can then answer the questions themselves and they can ask you questions. This is the easiest way to interact with your audience and create engagement.
This feature is a bit more fun, but can be useful. You can use the emoji slider to ask a question. The viewer of your story can use the emoticon-slider to answer the question. The question might be ‘Do you like my webshop?’.
The ‘Swipe up’ feature is only available for Instagram business accounts with more than 10,000 followers. Viewers can ‘swipe up’ your story if it contains an underlying URL that redirects to your webshop, for example. This is guaranteed to increase your conversion.
If you don’t want to let go of a story after 24 hours, Instagram has a solution for that as well. Instagram Highlights allows you to show stories on your page for an indefinite period of time. They appear in the buttons on your profile above your content feed. You can create multiple highlights so you can categorise the stories you want to keep visible. For example, you could create three highlights and call them ‘Products’, ‘New’ and ‘Fun’. Choose a relevant name and cover photo for each category. In future, you can then add stories to each category and make sure they stay visible.
Instagram TV (IGTV) is an app for publishing videos, such as on YouTube. The app is a feature in the Instagram app. The app is free and can also be downloaded and used separately.
IGTV allows you to publish videos but not create them, as you can with Instagram Stories. Therefore, the video needs to have been created and edited before you can upload it. In IGTV, a video can last 10 minutes (some can even last 60 minutes), whereas an Instagram story can last up to 15 seconds. In order to upload videos, you need to create a channel, just like on YouTube.
Consistency in your message.
If you use Instagram to increase your brand’s awareness, visibility and findability, it is important that all of your posts are aligned. In other words, you need to create a nice, consistent feed that always reflects your brand’s corporate identity. Your stories and highlights also need to fit in with this. We have come up with a list of tips to help create consistency the message you convey: