I'll admit that Instagram is probably my least-used social network; I'm more of a LinkedIn/Reddit sort of guy. I might be alone in that, with the popular visual network recently announcing that they have over 500 million active users every month. My favorite Boca Raton coffee shop, The SEED, uses Instagram as @theseedboca to stay connected and engage with their customers on a daily basis, and they're doing it right.
Local businesses like The SEED have a lot to gain from using Instagram well. More than 300 million people are active every day on the network, so it's a great way to engage with your prospects and customers. Here's what The SEED does well:
- They're consistent and active
- Every photo communicates their brand character in a genuine way
- They use the unique features of the medium
Thanks to these best practices, The SEED achieved an engagement rate of 2.55% over the course of September and October 2016, nearly double the benchmark average of 1.3% found by LocoWise in September 2016.
Let's take a closer look at how they do it:
Consistency Pays Off
(data from simplymeasured.com, covering the 8/26 - 10/26/2016 timeframe)
The SEED gets points for posting regularly, with 5-10 posts per week, or about 1 per day. You can see a strong correlation between the number of posts each week and the total engagement. When they post more, they get more engagement.
Watchout: You may be tempted to post more and more in order to get engagement, but there's an upper limit. The more you post, the less time each individual post has to get likes and comments before it's pushed down by the next one. 1-2 per day is about right.
Be True To Who You Are
Instagram is a visual network. While captions help engage your followers, it's the picture that draws them in. The SEED does a fantastic job of staying focused on coffees and juices, while providing enough variety to keep followers interested.
A photo posted by The Seed Boca (@theseedboca) on
Ignore the captions and text for a moment and see how this photo communicates the visual brand of The SEED with a few key elements:
- Coffee is front and center
- A playful tone helps amuse and entertain the follower
- The seasonal nod to Halloween makes it timely and relevant
Use the Best Features of the Medium
An old adage in design is to Embrace the Medium. If you can use photos, don't fill them with text. If you're on video, make sure you use motion to convey your idea.
The SEED knows that Instagram users expect to see interesting, stylized photos with tags that help them explore other related photos. They compose each picture to use the square photo aspect ratio of Instagram well, and strive for well-lit, colorful images. This helps them get an average of 175 engagements per post.
Tip: Experiment with using different filters like Clarendon, which is showing an 11% increase in engagements over photos without a filter applied.
Stay Focused, Be Smart
The SEED is doing amazing work on Instagram, with strong engagement and great branding. It's not random -- they follow the princicples of consistency, brand fidelity, and embracing the medium. It's no surprise that they're doing a great job with Social Marketing on Instagram.