Instagram isn’t just a digital photo gallery where users store and share memories. It’s one of the most important channels for brands looking to connect with consumers of all ages, and the influencers that motivate them.

But even the brands who already know this may not be using Instagram to its full potential. Here are some viral opportunities you don’t want to miss.

Micro-Influencers Creating Their Own Content

It’s not just celebrity and social influencers with millions of followers who can help your brand shine in the social realm. User-generated content (UGC) is a fantastic way to make use of the power of micro-influencers – i.e., an army of many individuals, each inspiring their friends and followers to love your brand the way they do.

Think about it – what could be a better testimonial than someone creating their own content as a tribute to your brand? Even if you give them the idea – via a contest or other incentive – it means something if they follow through. That’s to say nothing of the UGC truly rabid fans create just because they want to.

#IkeaHack shines a light on the Swedish furniture brand as consumers share their experiences

This is super useful given how much the opinion of other social users matters to consumers. It’s way more powerful than anything you could say about your brand. Campaigns built around UGC can be game-changing.

Treating Instagram Like the Unicorn it Is

Each social network has its own unique audience and vibe, but sometimes you can get away with cross-posting some content from one to another for simplicity and brand cohesion’s sake. Not so with Instagram, however.

Instagram is about pulling back the curtain to show a more personal side, or about appealing to the aspirations of its users. It’s not that marketing isn’t possible – it’s about how you approach marketing. Making things personal and individualized is always important, but on Instagram it’s a deal-breaker.

Slick graphics might work on Twitter or Facebook, and video with a lot of production bells and whistles might be right on YouTube – but these things can feel spammy on Instagram. Their audiences want to see brand realness in all its imperfect glory.

The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil brings a human face to American Eagle brand Aerie

It’s for this reason influencers do so well there. Instead of “brand” messaging, you’re represented by a human with personality and flaws – someone their followers want to “be.” And that means using the products they use and share – which is why you want them showcasing yours, if they’re a fit, of course.

Post Less and Engage More

Some social networks demand multiple posts per day for engagement success. For example, 3-5 tweets per day are recommended to keep engagement thriving on Twitter.  But if you were to post that frequently on Instagram you’d send engagement into a tailspin.

According to Dash Hudson:

“If you post once a day, that asset is likely to have a +3.39% individual improvement over your average reach, but it decreases from there. If you post twice a day, both assets risk having -3.12% of the reach that an average post would have gotten. If you post three times a day, it goes down to -6.17% of the average reach, and so on.”

This might sound counterintuitive, but that’s the way it is – generally.

That said, what applies to social consumers applies to brands as well – make no assumptions. Use social analytics to identify what’s working with your audience, and do that – even if it falls outside whatever is considered “normal.”

Instagram will continue to evolve, and brands must do the same. Recent changes to its API offer previously unknown opportunities to connect to your audience in the ways they most desire.

That will always lead to good things.

How have you fared with Instagram’s API updates? Get in touch to learn how we managed the transition for our customers without a hiccup.



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