Some marketers make the mistake of lumping all social media platforms together when each platform has its own unique share of features, strengths and weaknesses. Instagram, for one, is the second most used social media app to date, surpassed only by its sister company, Facebook. With over 800 million users hooked on the app, it would be foolish for companies to not want to inhabit this space and capitalize on its diverse range of consumers. Understanding the Instagram Community As briefly mentioned, each social platform has its own set of differences; one of which includes community or culture. For example, the Facebook community is very much open to posts that are news-related or deeply personal/viral-worthy status updates, whereas Instagram is a bit more geared towards aesthetic posts and appealing to visiting accounts who are more interested in getting immediate inspiration than engaging in an ongoing relationship with the creator or brand. Of course, we’re speaking on a general level because this overall observation might not apply to every member on these platforms. Still, there is an undeniable difference in how the community treats and interacts with creators on platforms like YouTube versus Instagram. YouTube is less of a revolving door than the latter; subscribers on YouTube tend to be true fans of the creators they follow, whereas Instagram followers seem to be less vested in the people they follow. Perhaps seeing an entire video of a brand or creator is a much more personal experience than simply seeing a single frame of their work on Instagram. These are merely our own observations, but the point is to be more aware of how the overall culture and community works on each social platform so you can better optimize your posts for higher engagement. Evaluate Your Niche Before you even launch your brand on Instagram, it would be best to conduct thorough research on what your most successful competitors are doing in order to gain their amount of followers and engagement rates. Observe competitors at every level, but pay the most attention to the ones with over 100,000 followers. This includes scrolling back on their account (be careful not to like any posts from 400 weeks ago!) and analyze how their brand has changed throughout the months or years. If you do this often, you’ll quickly start to notice that every brand has evolved from when they first started posting. Learn from the things they have changed about their platforms so you can avoid doing that on yours. There are so much lessons that can be learned by simply scrolling back on a creator’s feed. Get yourself familiar with the Instagram ecosystem and its set of features. Learn how to best use stories, highlights, mentions, hashtags, giveaways, tags, challenges, and other marketing opportunities to your own advantage. Not all businesses have the resources to start creating excellent photos from the get-go, but every business has the capacity to create excellent campaigns. It’s all about being resourceful. Start Curating Once you feel fairly confident about what works best for your specific niche, start planning your posts. There are a ton of ways in which you can start, so you should weigh your options beforehand to make sure that as many people see your posts as possible. One of the most effective ways to launch an Instagram business is by starting with a giveaway. Make your first post one of high engagement by partnering with influencers, or other creators who have the same target audience as you, to give away your products or services on their platforms. You can make the terms of the collaboration to include liking or commenting on your first three photos (or however many you see is suitable) while the giveaway is still running. This initial boost will help you gain an interested audience who will interact with your posts and be exposed to your products. Conclusion Instagram is a highly lucrative platform that has the potential to completely transform your business. Think of brands like Daniel Wellington and SkinnyFit Detox, who took advantage of social media channels like Instagram and Twitter to skyrocket their sales and exposure. To get more marketing insights like these, be sure to check back on our blog often!