Instagram: The Hottest Form of Social Media

10 Actionable Research Based Instagram Marketing Tips

Research Based Instagram Marketing TipsInstagram is the hottest form of social media.

Why? Instagram takes advantage of the power of visual content (both photographs and videos) and mobile devices, specifically smartphones and tablets.

As such, Instagram is the perfect social media stage for your brand, products and company. Leveraging both photographs and videos, Instagram feeds social media’s content marketing needs.

As a marketer, you must stake your Instagram turf and develop your marketing strategy soon. Instagram’s growth curve is starting to slow with annual audience growth projected to be less than 20% going forward. To this end, you need actionable research based Instagram marketing tips.Actionable Research Based Instagram Marketing tips

Instagram: The Hottest Form of Social Media

Still not persuaded? Here are the numbers you need to make the case for incorporating Instagram into your social media and content marketing plans. Instagram's evolution

  1. Instagram was the 7th largest US mobile app in 2013 with 33 million unique users, a 66% increase from 2012 according to Nielsen.
  2. About 40 million US users will access Instagram on a monthly basis in 2014 according to eMarketer. That’s roughly a third of the 123.7 million US 2014 smartphone Facebook users. Instagram users represented 16.1% of Internet users.
  3. Instagram is roughly one eighth the size of Facebook, yet has 15 times the engagement and twice the engaged user base (i.e.Total Community Size x Engagement Rate) of its parent company.
  4. Almost 25% of US smartphone users interact with Instagram at least once per month.
  5. Roughly 67% of US Instagram users are between 18 and 44, namely millennials and GenX.

Actionable Research Based Instagram Marketing Tips-age

93% of prestige brands have a presence on Instagram, up from 63% in July 2013 according to L2 Think Tank research.

  • Brand accounts post 5.5 times a week on average
  • 99% of user engagement is likes. 

L2-Intelligence-Instagram-2014-Top 10 Photos

72% of prestige brands post Instagram videos, almost triple from July 2013 yet video posts account for a mere 4% of brand content. This is attributable to the expertise required to produce high quality short-form video. Translation: Instagram videos require resources and talent.

  • Brand accounts post less than one video post every 2 weeks or 0.38 per week on average. Like television ads, Instagram videos run 15 seconds.
  • Instagram photo post engagement is 1.5 times greater than Instagram video posts on average. Reposted advertising and contest posts generate the most video engagement.

research based instagram marketing tips- video vs photo

L2-Intelligencet-Instagram-2014-top 10 videos

Featuring user-generated Instagram photos at the point of purchase can increase conversion as much as 7%. BUT engagement doesn’t necessarily translate to sales. (Here’s the secret sauce for Instagram engagement that leads to sales.)

  • Only 14% of prestige brands utilize Instagram’s user generated content (aka UGC) on their website.

10 Actionable research based Instagram marketing tipsResearch Based Instagram Marketing Tips

Convinced you need to add Instagram to your social media marketing mix but don’t know what to do? Here are 10 actionable research based Instagram marketing tips to help you.

1. Give prospects the basic content information they seek.

Use Instagram to educate prospects as to how to use and style your products. This is the reason that beauty products have experienced such high growth and engagement on this visual social media platform.

2. Show your brand’s personal side.

Think insiders’ club. This is particularly important if your founder or key executive has high visibility such as fashion brands. Instagram allows brands to form a bond with its audience making them feel like they’re part of your inner circle. To this end, show images that spotlight details from your daily life

3. Monitor what your competitors are doing on Instagram.

Watch what your competitors and related businesses are doing on Instagram. What types of images and videos generate the most engagement and shares? Apply the key elements of this type of content to your Instagram accounts. BUT make sure you do so in a way that’s relevant to your brand.

4. Offer a constant stream of fresh Instagram content.

Unlike other social media platforms where you can post quality content and work to attract an audience, with Instagram, you must keep your content flowing.

5. Get your employees involved in your Instagram content creation and sharing.

Let everyone participate in the Instagram fun. Before you do, make sure that you have a set of social media guidelines, distinguish between business and personal accounts, and train employees how to use Instagram to support your brand.

6. Leverage the power of hashtags.

Add hashtags to your Instagram content. Take advantage of on-going social media memes like #ThrowbackThursdays. Alternatively, create hashtags related to your brand and products.

7. Take advantage of Instagram video’s untapped opportunity.

There’s less Instagram video activity so your brand or product can stand out. Instagram video will be harder to figure out and produce than photos. Using video now means that you can test what works best for your offering. (Here are 10 video content elements to make you a director.)

8. Actively distribute your Instagram content across social media and owned platforms.

Remember to keep your branding consistent across channels so that your target audience recognizes your products and brands even if they’re out of context.

9. Encourage Instagram engagement and sharing by setting up an Instagram photo station in your store.

The goal is to make it easy for potential shoppers and customers to take and share Instagram content in your establishment. Bear in mind that prospects may want a second opinion and their photos may influence other shoppers. Consider providing free wifi as well.

10. Reward customers for sharing their Instagram images.

Spotlight a customer of the week or reward customers who upload and share Instagram photos with a coupon or other incentive.


Take advantage of Instagram’s combination of social media, visual content and mobile. Get on Instagram and start snapping now!

What other actionable Instagram marketing tips would you add to this list and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen



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