8 Ways to Shine on Instagram

By Allison DuPont

With the recent arrival of the New Year, we find ourselves reflecting on the year behind us and envisioning the year before us. From a marketer’s standpoint, it is also a time to evaluate current trends and determine their value to advancing success.

Is it time to explore new online marketing initiatives? Will a focus on visual content drive engagement? Is there a place for my organization on Instagram?

Here’s why banks can confidently answer “yes” to each of these questions in 2016.

In the ever-evolving world of online marketing, there is never a time to be complacent. New opportunities are always surfacing as society adopts new online behaviors. Mobile traffic is continually increasing and social media is a major freeway where users are driven by visual content and fueled by cutting-edge ways to connect. The report entitled,  “Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015” from We Are Social notes that there are 1.65 billion social media users who are actively accessing social sites via mobile devices worldwide. These users are attentive across the board, but now they are taking a more active role on Instagram..

Instagram made its debut back in 2010, and has since captivated coveted millennials through its mobile photo-sharing app. In 2012, Facebook bought the startup and, earlier this year, gave all Instagram accounts access to its comprehensive advertising platform. Instagram reports that there are 300 million active monthly users who, in total, share over 70 million photos per day. Furthermore, a Forrester study found that Instagram’s per-follower engagement rate is 58 times higher than Facebook and 120 times higher than Twitter. Simply Measured also reports that the average engagement per Instagram post has grown by 416 percent in just two years.

Businesses, including banks, are taking note of these key characteristics. Here are eight ways that Instagram can help online marketing efforts really shine:

1. Exhibit community involvement: Often, images speak louder than words. Instead of simply writing a post about employee volunteer efforts, showcase them in a photo. Actions can make a bigger impact when there is a visual to support them.

2. Give a peek behind the scenes: Allow a customer to connect with the bank on a more personal level by exhibiting what your bank stands for and who your employees are. Did something funny happen at a branch gathering? Are an employee’s efforts to go above and beyond praise-worthy? Highlight the personalities of your institution and give customers a reason to look forward to seeing what is happening behind closed doors.

3. Emphasize branding with graphics: Consistent branding is key to staying top-of-mind in the marketplace. Recognizable colors, fonts or graphics can be utilized to give your branding new meaning on the visually orientated platform.

4. Cross-promote content on social platforms: Instagram posts can be shared directly to other social sites, including Facebook and Twitter. Efficiently boost engagement across other platforms with a single post.

5. Host contests: Hone in on a new audience by hosting contests that are exclusive to the platform to increase engagement and spread the word that you are on Instagram. Unlike Facebook, third-party applications cannot be used to manage Instagram or promotions run through the platform. Even so, there is ample opportunity to engage with a widespread audience by asking users to share photos with a certain hashtag or by requiring a follow, like or repost to be entered. Based on Instagram’s functionality, your bank will gain the most exposure by using a hashtag or requiring a repost.

6. Create stories with hashtags: Want to encourage employees and customers to participate in telling your story? Generate a catchy hashtag that locals can use when they spot the bank out supporting an event or you can use to group certain types of posts together.

7. Connect with local organizations and businesses: As Instagram’s popularity grows, more organizations and business are joining the social network. Support each other by engaging with their content or even partnering with them for a contest.

8. Optimize ad campaign strategies: If you have braved the once seemingly murky waters of Facebook and discovered the benefits of its comprehensive advertising platform, then you are halfway through the door to Instagram. Instagram ads are placed through Facebook’s advertising platform, providing access to advanced targeting options and placement settings.

Instagram is a diverse community where users can connect with who and what they are passionate about. While embracing a less traditional platform can be a challenge, finding a place and a voice in an environment driven by visuals will shine new light on your institution. Give customers, employees and community partners alike a fresh opportunity to associate with your bank.

Allison DuPont is an interactive account executive at Pannos Marketing, based in Bedford, N.H.  Pannos Marketing is a communications firm specializing in strategic marketing, public relations, social media, e-commerce and website solutions for financial institutions. Email: [email protected]

Online training in digital, mobile and social media from ABA.