Social Media Day (#SMDay) is almost upon us! Saturday will mark the 9th Social Media Day since Mashable started the tradition in 2010. So what is Social Media Day? Well, since Mashable created the day, I’ll let them define it for us.
“Mashable launched Social Media Day as a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. Today, social media is the heart of global communication; and since its inception, Mashable’s been using social media to connect between cultures, movements and super-fandom.”
No one can deny social media’s impact on how we communicate. Though not even a generation old, social media has already massively shifted our dialog, introduced us to new and interesting people from around the world, and opened the door to global marketing in ways previously unimaginable.
From instant messaging (anyone remember AIM?) to Myspace, to the overwhelming dominance of Facebook and Twitter, social media has evolved a great deal in a relatively short time. It’s connected us as never before and fostered a culture of connectivity and sharing.
Today, we’re going to focus on the good social media does for our culture by looking at one of the up and coming social media platforms: Instagram!
Gettin’ to know THE ‘GRAM
Instagram is different than any other social media platform, telling strictly visual stories. It’s best used to show off who you are, the face(s) behind your brand, company culture, & products!
Instagram is also one of the fastest growing platforms. From September 2017 to June 2018, their monthly active users grew by more than 25% to 1 billion. For comparison, Twitter is sitting at 336 million and Facebook had 2.19 billion monthly active users in the first quarter of this year. (Statista)
If you haven’t started using Instagram, make sure it’s right for you, your brand, and your audience before diving in. It’s important to remember – you don’t have to be on every single social platform. With anything, do your research, figure out your goals for this specific platform, and define your success metrics. Additionally, understand your audience on this platform, listen to them, and then get started creating content and publishing!
Instagram makes it extremely easy to engage with your audience. Not only can you ‘like’ and comment, but you can now follow relevant hashtags – so find your audience and connect with them!
As a bonus, Instagram is full of user-generated content (UGC), meaning you don’t have to stress about creating something new every day. By following relevant hashtags, you can easily identify quality UGC and simply repost.
Pro tip: Create a UGC hashtag that people can use for their chance to be featured on your account. When reposting UGC, only post high-quality photos and make sure to tag the Instagrammer.
As we always say, start slow. Choose a few days per week and post once a day. You don’t have to post every single day right away. Choose the days based on what works best for your schedule and when your audience is most active on Instagram. Consistency is key.
Here are three things to keep in mind as you’re starting to develop your Instagram platform:
• Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post and 11am-1pm or 7-9pm are the best times to post. (Instagram Report 2018 by Mention)
• Test out different types of posts. Instagram offers a plethora of options – photos, videos, boomerangs, carousel posts, you name it!
• Each piece of content you post on Instagram should be high-resolution and visually appealing. But don’t worry, you won’t need a DSLR and a graphic design background to make your feed pop. Your iPhone and an image editing app will do the trick!
Pro tip: Keep your style consistent with your brand. Use the same palette. For example, stick to the same few filters for all of your photos. Also, don’t forget to include your URL or logo on your photos.
You can use your own branded hashtags or popular hashtags on Instagram. Remember you are choosing hashtags based on the conversations you want your posts to appear in.
The most popular hashtags may not always be the best choice because it will lessen your discoverability. If everyone is using the same tags, your content might get lost among the masses!
There isn’t a magic number for hashtags. Always keep testing! More hashtags does not mean more engagement. 33.3% of posts don’t contain any hashtags. If you are going to use them, around 5 max per post is generally considered ideal. (Instagram Report 2018 by Mention)
Pro tip: Search for people who are using your branded hashtags to find UGC if they haven’t tagged you. You can also use this to find Influencers to collaborate with!
Primarily, you get access to Insights to view your audience and post-performance data.
You also get access to Instagram Ads, which you can manage in Facebook Business Manager.
Plus, if you have a Facebook Shop page or a product catalog in Business Manager, you can also get access to Instagram Shopping.
Instagram Shopping is a way for businesses to tag products and create a storefront. Customers can easily shop products in posts, all within the Instagram app. When it comes to selling your book, the more options for buying, the better right?
To get started with Instagram Shopping, your business profile must first be approved by Instagram. Your business profile must also be connected to a Facebook Shop page. You can manage the Shop page through Facebook Business Manager, your Facebook Page, or through Shopify®.
If you don’t know already, Lulu has an eCommerce solution that integrates directly with your Shopify® store! Using the Lulu xPress App, you can sell your print-on-demand book simply and easily on Instagram too.
Shopify® and Instagram partnered up to make it easier for users to shop. Shopify® allows users to checkout directly through Shopify® all within Instagram. Originally Instagram created a beta program with 30K Shopify® businesses. You can enter your email to get started here: https://www.shopify.com/instagram.
Learn more about Instagram and Shopify®: https://www.shopify.com/blog/shopping-on-instagram
IGTV is a new platform that allows long-form videos. Videos can be published up to 60 minutes long, and they are displayed vertically. IGTV is a new way to get eyes on your content. Check it out if you’re sick of YouTube or want to publish videos longer than 1 minute!
Story Highlights on your profile allows you to create albums of saved Stories. Use Highlights to feature different products, events, or anything else you’re passionate about to expand upon your bio.
Pro tip: Customize the Highlight cover image of each album to match your brand colors. Use Canva to create the cover images.
Pro tip: If you plan to have more than 4 Highlight albums, make sure that the most important information is in the first four albums displayed (last 4 albums created).
WHAT’S HOT – The Latest Instagram Trends
Influencer Marketing: Influencer marketing is a fairly easy and budget-friendly (depending on who you’re working with) way to get the word out about your brand and products. Plus, people tend to trust social media Influencers and their recommendations over brand advertising because they are seen as trustworthy and relatable.
It isn’t about finding the Influencer with the largest audience but finding Influencers who hit your target audience and who potentially have fewer followers, but a closer relationship with them. These are the micro-Influencers.
- Pro tip: Choose Influencers with high engagement rates.
- Pro tip: Be transparent about your relationship with an Influencers. Include #ad in your Influencer’s posts.
- Pro tip: Use video to engage with Influencers. Interview them or have them do a take over to build interest among their audience.
Video & Stories: Videos have the highest engagement rate of any media type currently on Instagram. Just be aware that videos posts do have a limit of 60 seconds. So your videos will have to be quick, concise, and engaging.
300,000,000 people use Instagram Stories every day. The Story feature displays content in the form of photos or videos that only last for 24 hours.
Stories and videos have a few important benefits for you and your brand. As Instagram grows, the algorithms make feed posts harder to see and find, Stories are a good alternative to get in front of your audience.
Hot off the Press: A day after this blog went live we learned about a brand new feature Instagram added! Thanks to deals forged with a range of popular musicians, Instagram stories can now incorporate soundtracks.
With over 1 billion active users worldwide and 400 million using Stories a day, the right sound can be crucial in making your Story stand out. Learn more about Story Soundtracks from Social Media Day creators Mashable!
A few important things to note about Stories:
- Stories can now be seen by people who don’t follow you.
- You can now add hashtags to stories.
- Shopping in stories is only available to select businesses at this time but will be expanding in the future.
- Stories disappear after 24 hours.
- Pro tip: Use polls in Stories to get instant feedback from your audience.
- Pro tip: Download and save your Stories before they vanish and reuse the content on other platforms.
TOOLS TO HELP YOU KICK ASS AT INSTAGRAM
Posting (planning, scheduling & metrics):
Images (creation & editing):
Videos (creation & editing):
And that’s a wrap on our Social Media Day rundown featuring Instagram and Lulu’s own Social Media Manager. Everyone remember to celebrate this weekend!
And of course, stay social! If you liked this post, share it! Tag @luludotcom and use #SMDay on your favorite social channel! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!
Paul is the Senior Copywriter at Lulu, writing weekly blog posts and helping guide content for the company’s marketing. When he’s not deeply entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person, but considers himself cat tolerant.