Hashtag your way to the top

Since launching in 2010, Instagram has fast become one of the most popular social media platforms. With over 400 million monthly users, it’s clear to see why so many global companies have opted to use it as a primary way to communicate with their target audience. According to a recent survey, 85% of the Top 100 Brands use Instagram, with 57% of top brand marketers averaging at least one Instagram post per week.

In June 2013, Instagram added an option for users to upload 15 second videos alongside the standard square photos. This instantly became a hit, with over 5 million uploaded within the first 24 hours. From a PR perspective, videos are a great way for a brand to express themselves to their audience. Mark Holden, Head of Futures at media planning and buying agency, Arena, explains that it “could grow into a tool for making reactive advertising that could be distributed beyond Facebook or social media.”

Brands are able to display products to their audience, showcasing them in their best light (or fliter) to entice customers and enhance brand image. Entrepreneur, Jeet Banerjee, states “I’ve found the greatest conversions/success through promoting on Instagram.” He then goes on to say “I have constantly used Instagram more as a running picture blog to showcase who I am and what exciting things I’m working on next.”

If one individual can create a connection with their audience by doing something as simple as adding a filter to a photo and throwing in a few hashtags, then it can certainly be done by big brands that already have their customers hooked.


A well-executed social strategy can do wonders for brand exposure. Here are a few simple tips that will help you create the perfect Instagram campaign:

  1. Post, post, post

The more you keep your audience updated, the more interested they’ll be in your brand. At the same time, you don’t want to bombard your audience with images and videos to the point that they become more annoyed than interested. It’s all about balance.

  1. #Hashtagsareimportant

The most successful Instagram campaigns will utilise hashtags. Users often discover brands by searching hashtags. So if you want to reach a wider audience, you need to make sure that they can find you. Following suit with the previous point, you don’t want to overdo it and end up with every word being a hashtag, 5 or 6 relevant hashtags per post is ideal – however this will vary campaign-by-campaign.

  1. Sharing is key

Instagram offers the opportunity to link most social media platforms together. Just as you’re about to post you can select which other sites you would like the post to appear, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. This allows a wider audience to be reached – including those who don’t have an Instagram account that would be missing out on the post otherwise.

  1. Make it personal

As important as it is to show the world your products, consumers will connect with a brand when it has a personality. Show them behind-the-scenes shots from your next big event, and let everyone get to know the team behind your brand. This will allow your customers to associate you with more than just a name and product line.

  1. Find a theme

For any social or PR campaign, consistency is key. By finding a theme that your audience can relate to, your customers will be more interested, and trust will be built. In turn, they’ll stay loyal to you.

Although Instagram is a fantastic marketing communications tool from a brand point of view, it is important to be aware that – due to the personal nature of it – you need to be prepared to go with the flow. Compared to Twitter and Facebook, it’s harder to create a schedule for Instagram, and if you do want to add those filters, you’ll need to be logged into the app on your phone. However, this is a small price to pay when compared to the return that can be seen from an effective Instagram campaign. With this social media platform – one of the most recent to have such a big impact on millions of people – it seems only fitting that it should be a key part of any campaign that aims to reach the masses in a visual way.


Photo via Jason Howie/Flickr

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