Knock Knock. Who’s there? INSTAGRAM.

If you haven’t added Instagram to your marketing mix, it is definitely worth considering. Currently, Instagram has over 400 million active users and those users stay active with 56% visiting the platform every day. Of those 56%, 35% report visiting several times a day.

Who is on Instagram?

Your customers are on Instagram. (Primarily the younger demographic.) According to a survey conducted by AdWeek, Instagram users ages 18 – 24 make up over 27% of all users and ages 25 – 34 make up over 32%. This means over half of the 400 million users are under the age of 34. This is a big group of potential customers that should be considered when looking to reach new customers and help your company’s long-term profitability and growth. The Instagram community is showing such an upward growth, stats for the social media platform change monthly.

Telling your Customer’s Story

Instagram is a great tool for communicating with your customers and sharing stories. In the outdoor industry, there are a lot of stories to tell. When used properly, Instagram can be a highly beneficial platform that allows businesses to better connect with followers and craft a unique online presence.

For businesses trying to make the most of their Instagram account, being responsive is key. Bring attention to your posts by applying appropriate hashtags and emoji, and by responding to user comments. Instagrammers love to share what is important to them and what they are passionate about, and tag their favorite brands. Engaging and helping customers share their story helps build relationships with them.

Building Content

Instagram has less and less teenage selfies and more and more engaging content. Businesses don’t need the most expensive camera or latest software to create content. Apps such as Text Swag and Post Designer allow for easy editing and adding text to your photos. Instagram filters can also make a big difference in your photo’s appearance.

Content curation will take time but it can be fun and exciting. When creating content, look at what your target customers are engaging with. Search what hashtags are being used, what is trending, and the aesthetics of the photography that is getting the most interaction with your target audience (angle, filter, coloring, text).

A good thing to keep in mind is that even though content from users is typically real time, this is not always the case for businesses. Plan out content ahead of time. Plan for days or events such as holidays, Motivational Monday, or Throwback Thursday. This content can easily be organized in a content calendar or excel spreadsheet. With a calendar, you can prepare copy, hashtags and images and schedule a day for it to be posted. Having posts planned in advance reduces the stress of coming up with content daily, which is important. Posts can also still be created “on the fly” as worthy content presents itself and optimized with trending topics for that day.

Ads for Instagram

Ads on Instagram are unique in style but use a familiar ad platform. You’ll create your Instagram ads using the same tools you use to create Facebook ads. You can create ads for Instagram using Ad Creation, Power Editor or the Facebook Ads API. Objectives for Instagram ads in Power Editor are similar to Facebook ads. They include page post engagement, clicks to website, website conversions, mobile app installs, mobile app engagements, and video views.

The styling of the ads for Instagram will differ from those used on other social media outlets. Instagram ads are native. The ads look very similar to a regular post, but will have the “Sponsored” label where the time stamp is normally placed. Ads should be relevant to your audience, use engaging photography, and be boosted during peak engagement times. You can even use content generated by users within your ads (with their approval) to help build engagement and trust with consumers.

Instagram is currently one of the fastest growing social media outlets and offers some of the highest interactions with consumers. Now is the time to tell your story and help customers share theirs.