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VOL. 40 | NO. 35 | Friday, August 26, 2016

Here’s how Fortune 500 brands use Instagram

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Now with more than a half-billion users, mobile photo-sharing site Instagram has surpassed Twitter in popularity.

In fact, it is the fastest-growing major social media network, according to GlobalWebIndex.

So what is driving Instagram’s meteoric rise? Consumer appetites for photo and video content is certainly a dominant factor. But, demographically speaking, it’s young people that Instagram has to thank for its growth.

Sixteen- to 24-year-olds have been jumping on the Instagram bandwagon at a rapid rate since 2014, with a full 60 percent of Internet users in this age group having an Instagram account today.

Many small and mid-sized businesses have Instagram accounts, but few feel confident the social network is truly paying off. TrackMaven, a marketing analytics platform, recently conducted a study of the Instagram practices and performance of the Fortune 500 from May 2015 to May 2016. The findings shed light on adjustments that can improve your Instagram strategy and results.

For most Fortune 500 brands, Instagram is a pure engagement game versus a true community platform, as evidenced by the fact that 99 percent of interactions came in the form of likes with a mere 1 percent resulting from comments.

The big brands have a slight preference for posting Tuesday through Friday. They have a strong preference for the time of day in which they post, with 88 percent choosing 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, and with noon being the most common time.

However, engagement levels are highest on Sundays and any day between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., due to limited competition.

America’s biggest brands generate higher engagement scores when they use hashtags or question marks in their posts, with exclamation marks negatively impacting engagement.

Fortune 500 brands usually don’t use filters, as they upload predesigned photos and videos. When they do use filters, however, their preferences are Juno, Lark and Clarendon, though the filters driving the highest engagement are, in contrast, Mayfair, Hefe and Ludwig.

Which brands are knocking it out of the park? Starbucks, Old Spice and Taco Bell have the highest engagement levels, with frontrunner Starbucks averaging 24 likes or comments per 1,000 followers due to its content-driven brand affinity.

Nike is also a world-class performer due to the strength of its content. With more than 50 million followers, this brand is the most followed of the Fortune 500 with five times more followers than the next closest rival, Starbucks. Foot Locker is posting more photos per day (3.5) than any other in this esteemed group, and Live Nation is leading the pack in number of video posts at one per day.

Leverage these performance indicators to amplify your Instagram strategy before your competitors do, and you will win market share as a result.

Lori Turner-Wilson, CEO and founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at redrovercompany.com.

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