It’s official! Instagram is testing a pool of Canadian users to hide their like counts, in an effort to switch up the future of social media. What does that mean for businesses and brands? Take a look at our top 3 alternative Instagram marketing tips!
Noticing a new change on your Instagram account? It’s part of Instagram’s new change of hiding “like” counts in their users' accounts. Instagram has officially hidden likes from a test pool of users in Canada to experiment with this new tactic. It’s part of Instagram-owned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s new plan to focus on “time well spent”, redefining the fun user-friendly app to become good for people’s wellbeing, and moving away from the emphasis of getting likes for Instagram. Moreover, this change to hide like counts will incentivize users, influencer brands and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to focus more on creative content, rather than engagements that rely on like counts, which can all too often be a manipulative metric, leading to actions such as buying likes or followers. This new change will have massive implications for the future of Instagram marketing by brands, as they shift efforts away from garnering likes for Instagram and influencer exposure towards paid advertising and genuine engagement with their following. As for now, only time will tell as to whether Instagram will make hidden like counts a permanent feature. Either way, with this potential new change in mind, here are our top three marketing tips to boost your Instagram performance.
In a world where likes for Instagram no longer matter, how can brands build a loyal following and a lasting impression? Engagement! Instagram stories have a selection of useful tools and stickers that will open up the floor and give you deep insight and connection to your audience.
A favourite among influencers and KOLs, AMA (Ask Me Anything) is an incredibly useful tool on Instagram Stories that opens the conversation with your followers. It’s a fun, interesting and engaging way to spruce up your digital marketing efforts, and at the same time, allows you to hear and converse with followers who will be able to share their opinions, experiences and advice.
Speaking of advice, you cannot go without using poll or vote features, exclusively on Instagram stories. The whole point of Instagram stories is to encourage engagement and spontaneity. You can get innovative with these vote stickers. For example, you might get your followers to make creative decisions, perhaps choosing between two colours for your new logo, or choosing between two locations for a product launch event. Again, good branding is about making genuine connections with your followers and making them feel like they play a role in decision making, rather than counting your likes for Instagram.
At the end of the day, it’s content quality that matters. The rest is just an optimization strategy. Good content and the number of re-shares you get go hand-in-hand but the approach to Instagram posts is different from Instagram stories, which encourage spontaneity. When writing your posts, take time to carefully craft your content- not just the photo, but the actual caption itself, which plays a huge role in Instagram marketing. Instagram allows a limit of up to 2,200 characters per post. Sometimes, it’s short, cheesy captions or overused emojis that we scroll past and instead, it’s long, sentimental personal stories that we hover over on. If you’ve carefully curated and written a story, with an exciting hook and a conclusion and all, that will create a lasting impression on your followers.
And don’t forget that it’s not just what you post- it’s when you post too! You could be seriously missing out on your optimal Instagram performance by posting at the wrong time, so be sure to monitor your weekly performance and take advantage of Instagram analytics to see when the best time to post is.
You’ve probably seen this, but Instagram ads are sponsored posts that run similarly to Facebook ads, which can increase your targeted reach. Instagram ads generally run on a cost per click system. Our Instagram marketing tip is to keep it visual and interesting to increase likes for Instagram, reach (number of unique visitors), impressions (how many times it’s been viewed) and of course, clicks. A standout image that changes perspectives will get more likes for Instagram and attention from your following. In addition to that, be sure to keep the quality of content consistent, even in sponsored posts. Your call-to-action and brand image should remain consistent, natural and stay true to your message in an ad.
If you’re willing to take it one step further, take a shot at creating stunning and effective user-generated content (UGC) campaigns. What makes user-generated content so effective? There are so many reasons why brands rely on UGC. Take Instagram marketing tips from Coca Cola, who, back in 2011, launched their “Share a Coke” campaign, which consisted of followers uploading selfies of them with their personalized coke bottles. Ritz Carlton launched a similar campaign, “Ritz Carlton Memories” from Instagram travellers who upload posts using their hotel hashtags. For starters, it relies heavily on “fans” or unpaid content generated by users, so it’s cost-effective and simple. It’s also incredibly authentic, engaging, and creates a sense of transparency in marketing, as opposed to cookie-cutter digital campaigns by competitors. UGCs can increase your reach as this encourages fan accounts or posts by followers, instead of relying on likes for Instagram.
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