Maximize engagement on Instagram by carefully curating photos, shooting stories & using polls

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

When it comes to marketing on social media it is easy for companies to spread themselves too thin by trying to be everywhere and reach everyone, which is why the public relations experts at Konnect Agency recommend that firms pick one or two platforms on which to focus.

“Social media is part of everything we do today, and the channels available out there are multiple,”​ Konnect Agency CEO Sabina Gault told FoodNavigator-USA while at Nosh Live in New York City earlier this month.

“If you look at Snapchat and Instagram and Facebook and … Pinterest and all of these have subsidiaries themselves, so you have your Live of Facebook, you have your stories on Insta, you have your regular photos on Insta, you have now multiple photo options. There is so much you can do with social media today and so many people you can reach. But I think targeting the right people on the right social channel is the most important thing,”​ she added.

Gault explains that companies can pick the right channel by evaluating who they want to target and the assets they have to share.

For example, she explained, Facebook is better for reaching young parents, while Instagram is better for reaching Millennials and younger consumers. As for assets, she said that Instagram demands high quality visuals and beautiful photos that people want to look at. Facebook, on the other hand, can be a bit more lax and include other types of content.

Zeroing in on Instagram, Gault explains how companies can make the most of the platform and the diverse tools it offers, including when to use Instagram stories versus posting on their feeds and homepages, how extra features like swiping and polls can drive increased consumer engagement.

Instagram stories, for example, “is great for live, for events, for one-offs, for recipe creation. You can do a fun fast story where you create a recipe and show it right away, usage of the product is fantastic for a story,”​ she said.

Photos on the company’s main Instagram page, on the other hand, should be more carefully curated and intended for a longer shelf life, she said. For example, she recommends using the main page as a place to promote charity partnerships, brand partnerships and cobranded products.

When to use social media to drive sales

Other recent additions to Instagram, such as the swipe up feature in stories, is another way to drive consumers to a homepage for more information or even for sales – although Gault cautions against using social media too much for sales.

“Social media really isn’t meant for that, although I think we are moving into a more immersive social experience where people and brands come together to find what they like and click on it and buy it right then and there,” ​she said.

“Quite frankly, what the social network is there to do is to relate. It is there to create relationships, it is there to create awareness, it is there to create brand imagery,”​ she added. It also is a there for customer service, answering questions, and also asking questions of consumers, such as what new flavor or line extension they might like.

So, how does a company know when it is hitting the mark? Gault says a good target for consumer engagement is 2-4%, and if a company is at 1% or less, it needs to rethink its approach.

Gault also several new features are coming to Instagram, including a live streaming feature, similar to what is available on Facebook, as well as a group chat that seems to blend Twitter’s function with that of Instagram and promises to have a better search feature.

Right now she is unsure how these will change to companies’ marketing approaches, but says they are something to keep an eye on.

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