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3 screenshots of Instagram stories. Runners in the Great North Run with caption 'About to cross the Tyne Bridge!'. A pair of hands holding a Macmillan Christmas, text reads 'Like our snazzy Christmas cards? Swipe up to get yours!'. A tin full of brownies, text reads 'Should Coffee Morning be a monthly event? Yes / No'.

4 ways to boost your brand with Instagram

Our Social Media Officer, Jessie Donnelly,  shares her top tips for Instagram success.

Oh, Instagram. It’s all just shots of people’s meals and heavily planned ‘candid’ travel shots, right?

Nope.

(Well… not entirely, but who doesn’t love a good bout of Insta-induced travel envy?)

Instagram is a social media behemoth with a growing user base, recently declaring 800 million global monthly active users. But these users aren’t just opening Instagram and liking a few photos – even if everybody in the UK, from the newest of newborns to the oldest Brit alive*, posted on Instagram, they wouldn’t be able to match the estimated 95 million daily posts.

But what use is Instagram for brands? Frankly… a lot.

Instagram is dominated by millennials, that oft yearned-for audience, who consistently engage with brands and businesses on the platform. 50% of Instagrammers follow at least one business, while 75% are inspired by posts to take actions such as visiting a website or making a purchase.

So how can you take advantage of Instagram with organic content?

Vary it up…

3 Instagram photos: Macmillan fundraisers cheering on a bus, three Macmillan Christmas cards on a counter top, a cartoon moon and stars against a green background - text reads 'Twas the night before Coffee Morning...'

Vary your content to keep things interesting

With so many Instagram accounts to choose from, you need to give people a reason to follow you. Posting the same content all the time won’t do that, but keeping things fresh by varying your content will.

Don’t try to achieve the same thing with every post, either – just because Instagrammers follow a brand or business, doesn’t mean they want to be encouraged to buy or join something with every post. Mix up posts with a CTA with fun ‘just because’ content or throwbacks to an earlier event!

… but don’t be afraid of regular features

2 Instagram photos. A green square with the words 'You are so much stronger than you think you are' written in the centre. A photo of a man standing on a wooden post in the  large lake with mountains in the background, text reads '#MeetMacmillan'.

Examples of our regular Instagram content

Regular Insta features (such as our weekly #meetmacmillan or semi-regular inspo posts) are a great way to ensure people continue following your account and means people can expect to see content they enjoy.

Most brands dedicate a specific day to a feature – for Macmillan, Fridays are #meetmacmillan days!

Features can also be a great way to encourage people to interact with your brand, whether it’s Lonely Planet sharing their favourite snap from #lpfanphoto or Vans cross-posting their five favourite #vansgirls photos to Tumblr.

Celebrate your supporters

2 Instagram photos. One with 5 illustrated green balloons reading '40000'

Show your supporters some love

Your Instagram followers aren’t passive consumers of your content, so don’t treat them as such.

Acknowledging that your supporters are helping your account to grow and praising their hard work ensures a committed group of followers.

Celebrating follower milestones is a simple and effective way to achieve this, especially as you can encourage your followers to spread the word and help you grow even more.

Also, try sharing user-generated content (UGC) as it rewards people for engaging with your work and shows the authentic side to what you do. Just make sure you always give credit for UGC!

Use Instagram Stories

3 screenshots of Instagram stories. Runners in the Great North Run with caption 'About to cross the Tyne Bridge!'. A pair of hands holding a Macmillan Christmas, text reads 'Like our snazzy Christmas cards? Swipe up to get yours!'. A tin full of brownies, text reads 'Should Coffee Morning be a monthly event? Yes / No'.

Bring your brand to life through Stories

Instagram Stories, challenging the idea that stealing is wrong since August 2016…

Sure, Instagram may have been ‘inspired’ by Snapchat Stories, but it’s now the dominant player in the game, with 300 million daily active users as of November 2017. Not only are more people on Instagram Stories than Snapchat Stories in general, it’s likely that you have a bigger audience on Instagram than on Snapchat – it makes sense to focus your content where your audience is.

A huge range of content is possible on Instagram Stories. It’s a great way to cover events ‘live’, letting your audience feel like a part of the day even if they can’t be there. Even better, using a hashtag on a picture or video in your Instagram Story will also include it in that hashtag’s story, which anyone can see if they search that hashtag in the app!

Instagram Stories are also a fantastic way to promote products, encourage people to sign up to an event, or share your content from elsewhere on the web. By adding a link to a piece of content in your story, viewers can swipe up to be taken directly to that page. This lets you get around the fact that Instagram still hasn’t made links clickable in post captions…

Plus, Instagram is adding new features to Stories all the time, so make sure you’re up to speed! Have you seen the recent addition of polls? Whether silly or serious, you can now ask your audience a question and see their responses in real time.

Oh the possibilities…

* Bessie Camm, by the way

For more Instagram inspo, follow us @macmillancancer.

 
 

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