In the digital arena, things evolve quickly as new platforms come along and change how we interact online. One of the most influential in recent years has been Instagram, a photo and video oriented social network. The platform, established in 2010, boasts over 600 million users. In size, it is second only to Facebook, which acquired Instagram in a one billion dollar deal in 2012. A few of the ways it has changed advertising campaigns:

1. It’s all about influence.
Why just place an ad on a platform when you can place it in the hands of someone people trust and admire? Aspiring brands have gotten a lot of mileage out of sponsoring some of Instagram’s most popular members. When a respected and well-known figure endorses your product, prospective buyers are more likely to create that emotional connection between your product and your sponsor. A successful endorsement can shift your prospect’s attitudes from merely wanting your product, to feeling like they absolutely need it. While it may be tempting to latch onto the first big name that responds to your request for an endorsement, it is important to choose the most relevant and appropriate sponsor for your product.

2. It requires beautiful but relatable imagery.
The largest group of Instagram users falls into the Millennial age group. This is a cohort that places high value on authenticity. To succeed on Instagram, your images and videos have to look like they belong there. Practice using the most popular filters and editing tools to capture the look of the platform and the attention of the prospects you want. Instagram’s primary purpose is hosting images and videos, so it is wise to limit the text used on Instagram posts. A brief message or product description followed by relevant hashtags is sufficient.

3. It requires interaction.
As social media marketing and advertising grows in popularity, the way that we engage with current and prospective customers is changing. Customer engagement is no longer the exception, it has become the rule. You can no longer stand on a soapbox and shout at your audience. To capture and keep their attention, you need to respond when they reach out to you. You need to pose questions and ask them what they think. When they comment, respond to them. Have your brand follow users that fit your demographic. Be a part of a conversation instead of a voice shouting from above.
And remember, it is important to emphasize when customers have positive feedback for your company, but also important not to ignore the negative feedback. Not only does negative feedback offer a platform for improvement, if the issue is addressed in a respectful manner it can often change the customer’s opinion.

4. It requires that you provide value.
Ads, sponsored posts and posts from your brand’s profile can’t just be promotional. Instead of showing why what you offer is great, you need to get down to what your brand can do for your prospects. Why should they do business with you? What’s in it for them? From your very first contact, you need to be focusing on the needs and desires of the customers you are trying to court.

Using Carousel ads on Instagram allows users to quickly gain access to your website and more information about the product. The advertisement is presented to users as they scroll down their Instagram feed. Consumers have the ability to swipe left to access the company’s website and gain more information about the product if the advertisement generates interest. The ease of use and accessibility makes Carousel an attractive option when using Instagram to advertise your business.

As Instagram grows and as other platforms adopt its most popular features, your brand will need to stay current with how communication now works online. Spend time on the platforms. Study the work of brands that thrive on social media networks. By understanding what your users want most, you can better provide promotional content that will promote a better response among consumers. Modern marketers must be flexible and adaptable to continue to grow and to prosper in the Instagram age.