However, the good news within this article is that native advertising doesn’t have to be deceptive, nor does it require your business buy editorial content from CNN. Nowadays we have unlimited reach and marketing potential right at our finger tips, the tool of choice here being Instagram.
Instagram is currently the fastest growing Social Media platform in the United States, with a user base that increased by nearly 60% in 2014. The go-to strategy with online marketing has always been to get it while it’s good. Here’s why Instagram is currently one of the most powerful marketing tools on the planet, completely free of charge.
Algorithms are basically a fancy word for saying “we filter everything how we see fit.” Naturally, algorithms are put in place to level the playing field based on valuable and quality content, but it doesn’t always seem that way.
For instance, anything that gets posted on Facebook is subject to innumerable placement filters that determine how visible your post will be to a given audience. Even if you have 10,000 people who “Like” your business page, as of January 2015 Facebook made adjustments that greatly decreased how many people will see your posts. Yet, they continue to offer “Boosted Posts” where they’ll gladly accept funding for your audience to see your content. Seems a bit ironic doesn’t it?
Instagram on the other hand operates on 100% visibility. If you post something it will be seen chronologically no matter what. This greatly improves how people choose to follow accounts in the first place, and adds up to a much higher ROI for those who put significant effort into what they post.
Hashtagging is now a cultural phenomenon by which we base casual references to everyday life. Although you can use them across most platforms (Facebook, Twitter), Instagram has the most useful interface for turning hashtags into prominent keywords that allow anyone in the world to discover your content based on common interests.
- How Many Can Be Used – Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags per post that will take the photo and place it chronologically with every other post with the same hashtag. This greatly extends the number of people viewing and liking your posts.
- Where To Put Them – Many people build hash-tags into the description of their post making them visible for everyone to see, which is a great way to create a trending tag. However, many people see hashtagging as cluttered and unattractive to a posts simplicity. By putting all the tags in the first comment, they will eventually be unnoticeable after 5 comments. Part of having a successful native strategy is hiding the hashtags since their primary use for businesses should be to get them in the categories your audience will see them. (See photo below)
- What Tags To Use –The more popular a tag is, the more likely people will want to browse it to find interesting posts. Only select hashtags people will find relevant to the post. In addition to using hashtags, you can also tag other Instagram profiles to make connections with those in your network. (See photo above)
- How To Find Popular Hashtags – While there are many websites that keep updated tallies on which hashtags are trending, or the most popular, Instagram also allows you to browse hashtags directly in their interface. (See photo below)
Creating Native Content
The whole point behind native advertising is to create content that doesn’t stick out to your followers as something being sold to them. We’re over commercials, our heads are full, and social media is supposed to be where we look for interesting media.
- Post Beautiful Images- Instagram is built to scroll, and photos that don’t catch your eye will be passed right over.
- Create Mini Videos- Instagram allows 15 second videos or less. Create one that shows your product or service in action to instill curiosity in your followers
- Create A Call-to-Action- By asking your followers to post pictures using your product, or by referencing your company, you’ll attract followers based on social correlations.
- Be An Awesome Company, and Show It- Part of why so many large companies have millions of followers is they advocate for environmental stewardship, express their values in their posts, and share their customers photos that show their brand in action. REI is an excellent example of a company meeting those standards, see below.