Instagram Marketing Key Takeaways from DGS4

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Watch a replay of the Instagram Marketing Panelists at Digital Growth Summit:

[su_youtube_advanced url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTc7WQi599Q" width="840" height="460" controls="alt" showinfo="no" rel="no" fs="no" https="yes"] Jay Symonds, Moderator, Amazon - Misha Talavera, NeoReach - Nicole DeRuiter, USC - Danielle Wolfson, Activision - Matthew Seigel, VaynerMedia - Ryan Detert, The Influential Network


Consistency is key. Your Instagram images need to scream your brand. - @MishaTalavera

Instagram best practices

Consistency is key. Your image needs to scream your brand. Hire a team of people to help you who are already big on Instagram. - Misha Talavera

Instagram is a place you go only when you have the most important, or best images to share. It does not need to be every day. If you don’t have anything good - and fresh - to post, then don’t post anything. - Nicole DeRuiter

The strength of Instagram is in its visuals. Ensure that you have excellent quality images and video for this platform. - Danielle Wolfson

Instagram is a place you go only when you have the most important, or best images to share. - @DwriteN

Instagram is a place to go when you are looking to be inspired, or transported. Every pixel matters. - Matthew Seigel

That is a really important point because it isn’t true for all social media. The focus on quality over quantity sets Instagram apart. - Misha Talavera

An Instagram account is curated carefully. - Danielle Wolfson

The 3 things we look at for Instagram best practices are: audience, content and distribution. Once you know your audience, you have an idea of what content they like and can develop a distribution strategy. You may pay influencers to promote your content, or determine another way to get more eyeballs on you. - Ryan Detert


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Be sure that you have a call to action, for people to share your post. - @DanielleWolfson

Instagram posting tips

What is the correct frequency? Are there better days, or times of day than others?

How often to post and what time to post radically depends on what type of brand that you are, who your audience is. Time zones come into play. As far as frequency, most brands will do well with one post per day. - Misha Talavera

Knowing your audience is so key. At the University, we know that students don’t get up in the morning, so that is a bad time for us to post. For any brand, though, the best thing to do is watch your data. Then you will know. Test and learn. - Nicole DeRuiter

Testing is the secret sauce for all social media. - @MattSeigel

Testing is the secret sauce for all social media. The best agencies strategize content through the results of testing. - Matthew Seigel

Evenings are a good time to post to Instagram. Be sure that you have a call to action, for people to share your post, tag their friends. - Danielle Wolfson

We recommend calls to action for user generated content. This drives engagement. - Ryan Detert

When you post user generated content, be sure to give photo credit to the creator. Most people are more than happy to share with a brand if they are given credit. - Danielle Wolfson

Instagram is a platform for inspiration, so think about “How do I inspire?” - @MattSeigel

At the University, we ask a user before we post, and also give proper credit to the user. - Nicole DeRuiter

On the topic of consistency, I wanted to address the difference between cadence, which is how often you can anticipate that someone will post, as opposed to consistency in the images and how they represent your brand. You may want to think about color schemes, the framing, the stories that you are telling. Instagram is a platform for inspiration, so think about “How do I inspire?” - Matthew Seigel

On the topic of cadence, I follow all of the political candidates and at one point, they were all posting at the exact same time. Perhaps they all read the same article, but it was very funny, and has since changed. - Misha Talavera

You should have brand guidelines that show what to post on Instagram. - @DanielleWolfson

My initial comment regarding consistency referred to consistency of content. One good example is Nike. We can pick out a Nike ad anywhere, because they are extremely consistent, while still being interesting. A beautiful athlete, in mid-exertion, in a beautiful layout. It is inspiring. - Misha Talavera

GoPro with the fisheye photography is also very consistent and immediately recognizable. - Misha Talavera

You should have guidelines that show what to post. - Danielle Wolfson

You may have a great picture, but if it doesn’t fit within your brand guidelines, then it should not have a place on your Instagram feed. - Misha Talavera


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Instagram analytics

How do you do these tests on Instagram? What sorts of data are you looking at? What tools are you using?

Now that Instagram is offering a similar self-serve product, you can really target your ads. - @MattSeigel

We have periodic meetings with all brands that we work with recapping engagement of all social channels and evaluating whether we hit activity targets. We ask what works in terms of engagement, in terms of response from followers. We then take that knowledge, and share it with the team to expand upon for the next period. - Misha Talavera

There is a difference in how a brand may test with dollars, ad testing which Instagram provides analytics for, as opposed to testing engagement. - Matthew Seigel

We look at our impressions, we look at our reach. Your likes and sharing are important. - Danielle Wolfson

Facebook analytics were a game changer in this space. Now that Instagram is offering a similar self-serve product, you can really target your ads. You can test your audiences, and many variables in the content with paid ads and receive a tremendous amount of information back. - Matthew Seigel

Fashion brands, like Forever21, are creating landing pages that reflect the Instagram feed. - @DanielleWolfson

At the University we use a tool called Zuum that helps us with data. - Nicole DeRuiter

We have a patent pending tool that assists with tracking on Instagram. - Ryan Detert

Fashion brands, like Forever21, are creating landing pages that reflect the Instagram feed, but also have direct links to buy the product. - Danielle Wolfson

The self serve Instagram ad platform does support direct links within the Instagram ad to drive purchases. - Misha Talavera

Instagram is not yet as cluttered with ads as Facebook is. So now is the best time to test since the prices will go up and it will become more cluttered. - Danielle Wolfson


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Instagram tools and tricks

Any new 3rd party tools that you are using, or any tricks that you have discovered recently?

We never underestimate the power of the hashtag search. It is a very powerful tool on Instagram. - @DanielleWolfson

We use our own tool, which is a search engine that breaks down the audience by demographics. - Misha Talavera

Gramfeed helps me with geographic searches because we get lots of tag spam. It is free and open source. - Nicole DeRuiter

We never underestimate the power of the hashtag search. It is a very powerful tool on Instagram. The Instagram algorithm is very smart and once you search follow one account, it will recommend others. - Danielle Wolfson

One of the main features of the platform is that you can see by geolocation what people are saying about your brand, and engage with those accounts. - Matthew Seigel

In the not too distant future, brands will know exactly who they are advertising to. - @RyanMDetert

Our product partners with a number of 3rd party tools so that you can see many demographic variables within our tool. This allows us to contractually guarantee with our clients that we will reach the right people, the correct target audiences. It is very different from TV and radio ad buys where target audiences are in no way guaranteed. I think, in the not too distant future, that it will be common practice for brands to expect to know exactly who they are advertising to, or else why would they spend the money? - Ryan Detert

When you look at all of the data across all of your social channels, you can get a very complete picture of your audience. - Danielle Wolfson

From a user perspective, if you are going to get ads, why not get ads about things that you actually care about? It’s about context. If you have the context to tell a better story, it’s better for the user as well. - Matthew Seigel


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Working with Instagram influencers

Let’s talk about influencers. How do you recommend working with influencers?

We like to ask the question: who do we already have in our network who is an influencer? - @DwriteN

I recommend starting now. This type of marketing is expanding very quickly. Influencer marketing is still a great buy, but prices are increasing. Picking the right influencer is critical, and building a team. - Misha Talavera

We like to ask the question: who do we already have in our network who is an influencer? We work with on-campus influencers who already love their university and we don’t need much from them. - Nicole DeRuiter

While that is excellent for the University, the primary complaint that we get from our influencers is the amount of requests that they get for freebies. Bear in mind that building an influencer reputation online is hard work and they deserve to be paid for gains that are derived from that work. - Misha Talavera

Relationship building with influencers is important. - @DanielleWolfson

Relationship building with influencers is important. We have developed a relationship with iJustine and that is mutually beneficial. - Danielle Wolfson

A great influencer for your brand may not be one of the widely known influencers like Justine. At USC, all we need is the attention from students who other students pay attention to. They may not have massive followings, but they may have the right followings for your brand. For us, our students and groups are thrilled to be involved in our social media outreach and recruiting. - Nicole DeRuiter

Some influencers may not have massive followings, but they may have the right followings for your brand. - @DwriteN

There is something to be said for micro-influencers. Even though their reach may not be a great, the amount of attention that comes when they really care about something is great. With the software that we are seeing being developed, this may be an excellent way to go. - Matthew Seigel

I bring a unique perspective in that I was an influencer 5 years ago, I had over 30 million fans on Twitter and Instagram. We built a platform that helps the influencer manage their day to day lives, because I had the perspective. - Ryan Detert


Instagram micro-influencers

For brands that have some budget, but not a huge budget, is a micro-influencer the way to go?

Absolutely. Think about influencers who may already be familiar with your product, start thinking about people who are in that space. - Matthew Seigel


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Instagram conversion rate

Should we focus on conversion rate in our Instagram posts?

Putting too many calls to action and links in an Instagram post can turn it into spam. - @MishaTalavera

There is a flip side to focusing on conversion rate as your primary metric. There can be too many calls to action and links in a post, and it can take away from creating great content. Having a link there can almost turn an Instagram post into spam. Better to use Instagram for building brand awareness. - Misha Talavera

Consider using links and purchasing calls to action on some but not all posts and using Instagram primarily to build brand awareness. - Danielle Wolfson


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Instagram marketing goals

What should be the overall goal of posting on Instagram? Comments, Likes, Impressions, Followers?

Comments are a good indicator of the popularity of an Instagram post, as likes can be fake. - @RyanMDetert

Comments are typically a good indicator of the popularity of a post, since there are such things as fake likes. Don’t worry so much about the links in Instagram, be more concerned with people discussing your product or brand. - Ryan Detert

Real people with real profiles sharing or @ tagging someone is an endorsement of your product. Never underestimate the call to action. - Danielle Wolfson

As digital marketers, we have become like-obsessed and engagement-obsessed. However we know that if we are trying to build awareness of our brands and we have this beautiful imagery, and we are not being unfollowed, the campaign may be working, even with low engagement metrics. - Matthew Seigel

Since you asked about followers, Instagram is the one platform where followers do matter. Since Instagram does not have an algorithm, your followers are seeing your feed. Right now, having a follower is very valuable on Instagram, more so than the other platforms which may or may not display your content. - Matthew Seigel


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Successful Instagram campaign examples

Please name one or two companies who are doing a really good job on Instagram.

Lord and Taylor - Misha Talavera National Geographic, UCLA - Nicole DeRuiter Beats by Dre, Forever21 - Danielle Wolfson Jason Sperling “Look at me Book” - Matthew Seigel #keepingithonest - Ryan Detert


Instagram Marketing Panel Digital Growth Summit