Dec 23, 2019

5 Tips on Building your Brand on Instagram

Written by Alex Layzell-Payne

This Member Spotlight piece is a practical guide to getting the most from Instagram for your brand. It's all yours to play for, so if you want to get in the digital marketing game and make an impact Submit your Own Piece for publication in our Community Insights!

Instagram has over one billion active monthly users and is the fastest growing social network globally.

Recent research of the top 100 US and UK financial services firms and their Instagram usage, showed that on both sides of the Atlantic a similar but surprising picture is painted.

Of the 100 US firms we researched:

  • Only 31% had active Instagram accounts
  • 21% had followings over 100
  • 11% had followings over 1,000

Of the 100 UK firms we looked at:

  • Only 30% were active
  • 20% had followings over 100
  • 6% had followings over 1,000

This means there is a significant opportunity to use Instagram to reach the audiences of the future; and opportunity that financial services firms are at present failing to capitalize on.

Below are 5 tips to make Instagram work for your Financial Services firm.

Tip 1. Optimize Your Images For Maximum Impact

Instagram has very precise image/video specifications, and it really important that you follow these. If not, then your images/videos will display poorly on your profile page and won't be making the most of your virtual real estate. Pay particular attending to recommended lengths of stories and videos. Instagram video specifications can be found here. Image specifications can be found here.

You should remember that users primarily view Instagram on their smartphones so all visuals should be optimized for mobile.

Instagram is all about visual identity. It is very important that images and videos are sized correctly. You must ensure that photos are of the highest standard (use a proper camera), and videos are specially made for Instagram. This may mean adjusting the size of the frame when filming so that it incorporates a square format.

Get to grips with the editing tools on Instagram itself. You can select a standard filter, such as Mayfair and Clarendon when uploading an image, or you can try manual editing for contrast, brightness, and warmth.

You should remember that users primarily view Instagram on their phones so all visuals should be optimized for mobile.

Tip 2. Track Your Efforts

As with all marketing efforts, it is crucial that you track your progress. Tracking informs future strategy. By monitoring which posts perform well, you can create content that is more likely to spike engagement. This can be done by signing up for an Instagram business account, which gives you insights on your audience demographics, meaning you can tailor your content to specific regions and age groups.

By monitoring which posts perform well, you can create content that is more likely to spike engagement.

An Instagram business account will tell you which of your followers are using Instagram and when. You can then schedule posts to appear at optimal times.

You should also monitor mentions and relevant hashtags/topics so that you can look for opportunities to engage with your customer base.

Tip 3. Create Instagram Specific Content

Instagram is not a platform to be used for pushing products or services.

Brands who are successful on Instagram take a more informal/creative approach to posting content, compared to the approach they take on other social media platforms. Our research showed that only 10% of UK financial services companies and 13% of US firms are utilizing video and gif content.

Content that is about your employees or related to charity or educational issues are usually the most successful options for Instagram. Only 12% of UK financial services companies and 8% of US firms currently use educational content. Differentiate yourself!

In addition, to maximize the reach of your content, include relevant hashtags in your posts so they can become part of trending topics.  Don’t overdo it though, crowding as many hashtags as you can into your post doesn’t look great.

Tip 4. Keep Your Branding Consistent

It is important that your visual identity is consistent on Instagram. Maintain a similar style on all your Instagram posts. It is worth picking a color palette and a selection of filters and fonts that you stick to when creating content.

Select a tone and a theme for your Instagram account. Whether your voice is playful, informal or professional is up to you, but once you pick a voice, stick to it!

Tip 5. Engage With Your Audience

Don’t forget to engage with your target audience. Follow relevant accounts, tag prospects/clients in posts and like photos to draw attention to your own presence on Instagram.

You can also regram (repost) other users’ posts if they are in keeping with your brand. Just make sure you include their handle in your post so that they feel recognized.

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A Digital Marketing Strategic Blueprint for the Banking and Financial Services Sector

Alex Layzell-Payne
Alex Layzell-Payne

This Member Spotlight piece was created by DMI Member Alex Layzell-Payne. Alex is a Digital Account Manager with Peregrine Communications. He holds the Certified Digital Marketing Professional from The Digital Marketing Institute, a Foundation Certificate in Marketing from The Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Online Marketing Fundamentals qualification from IAB Europe.  His experience includes integrated marketing communications including media relations, advertising, analytics, and event management.

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