The “gram” aka Instagram is the hottest social media platform right now, and we want to show you how to “go ham” aka be an amazing Instagram marketer.
Instagram offers amazing potential for lending companies since the interaction level is through the roof! Seriously, if you are concerned about the “millennial lending crisis” there are two things that you need to do. First read this article and then get on Instagram! Even if you're not concerned with the millennial lending crisis you probably are concerned with attracting new customers, in this case there is one thing for you to do, get on Instagram.
Why you should be on Instagram
Obviously we are keen on using Instagram in the lending industry. We believe that with the right touch and with the right marketing plan Instagram can become a influential lead generator for your business. Here are 4 reasons you should be on Instagram:
- Increase your Interaction
- Cross Platform Usage
- Target Millennials
- Be a Trendy Lender
The reason lending companies are on social media (in general) is to inform, engage, and convert contacts into leads. Instagram is a great platform to achieve all three purposes.
Instagram has nearly 500 million daily users who are more willing to interact with you on Instagram than on any other social media platform. Instagram has a 2.261% interaction rate with Facebook coming in at second with only 0.216%. That means it is 10 times more likely you'll find customers and generate organic engagement with your customers through Instagram than Facebook. The formula is quite promising: lots of people in the top of the funnel + people willing to engage with you = more customers conversions.
Instagram and Facebook have tied the knot! Back in 2012 Facebook bought Instagram, which allows for easy cross platform usage of content and advertising. You may be more familiar with Facebook than you are with Instagram, but the good news is that both use Ad Manager allowing you to advertise or boost a post from a singular location on both platforms. You can even have your Instagram posts automatically posted on your Facebook page, to help streamline you social media marketing. You are also given individual Insight metrics for Facebook and Instagram so you know exactly where your contacts are coming from, giving you the power to optimize them. Further being on Facebook and Instagram helps you create a holistic social media presence, not to mention that Facebook and Instagram together account for 1 in 5 minutes spent on a mobile device.
As I hinted in the introduction, Instagram is a great way to reach Millennials, an age group that has been particularly elusive of lending institutions. Over half of Instagram users (55% ) are considered Millennials. The other half of Instagram users are roughly split between Gen X and Z. As far as we have observed this is the highest concentration of millennials on any platform and they're surprisingly responsive to advertising and business posts.
Instagram has about 25 million business accounts which is pretty good compared to the over 50 million small business pages on Facebook. With less businesses using the platform it will make your account stick out that much more. But don't worry, we wouldn't tell you to sail into uncharted waters. Several lending companies have already found some big success using Instagram
- Sofi: The online lending powerhouse ran three different campaigns on both Facebook and Instagram with a simple goal to raise brand awareness. They increased their recognition by 15 points and more impressively had a 39% increase of pre-approved loan applications.
- Akbank: Akbank is a Turkish bank that converted its TV commercial campaigns into Instagram story videos and gained another 3.3 million views and saw a boost in their brand recognition and ad recall.
- Mint: This popular financial organizer app had a goal to increase app downloads and utilized video on Instagram stories to increase downloads by 497%
Definitely take a moment to view these and other success stories and their pages (links found at the top of each success story.)
Well, now you know that you need to be on Instagram but like any social media platform, Instagram is an ever-changing jungle that you should only venture into as far as it is profitable for you. So before you dive into Instagram it is important to consider your goals for your Instagram account. Consider your goals, size, target, and budget to get the most out of Instagram and determine how far you will venture. There are a few options on Instagram use:
- No Use: If you choose not to use Instagram you won’t hurt our feelings, it honestly might not be the best fit for your marketing strategy or business.
- Advertise: So maybe you aren't too excited about keeping up an active Instagram profile but still want to reach all the potential customers that are floating out there on Instagram. Well, as long as you have Facebook you can use Ad Manager to place your advertisements on Instagram, which are relatively cheep for the exposure generated. You just have to make sure your ad is Instagram compatible (square photo for example) The downside, however, to not having an organic Instagram account is that it will be more difficult for Instagram users to find you outside of your ads.
- Business account: Your business account will be the organic page for your business on Instagram. Your business account will allow people to contact you more easily and give you extra room to describe who you are compared to a normal user. A business Instagram account will also give you access to analytics once you have 100+ followers to help you constantly improve your posts and your reach. A business account also lets you connect to Ad Manager so you can promote posts and drop some fire ads.
- Utilize Advertising: The next level into Instagram is actually using Ad Manager to launch advertisements supported by organic and promoted posts. This is the full meal deal, a comprehensive use of Instagram. This is where things start to get really good for lending companies. Advertisements can be specifically targeted to potential customers and can get your name out to potentially millions of people. Then with those advertisements being backed by a killer organic page that posts and uses cool new features like Instagram stories opens the flood gates to reach new customers.
How to do it
If you go to Instagram's website it does a good job of walking you through the process of setting up an account, but we are going to give some tips and insights we had as we set up a test account of our own account.
- First things first, download and launch the app, which can be found in the App, Google or Windows phone stores. Instagram also says that you can sign up on a computer, which is true but you can’t post or effectively manage your account from a desktop so we recommend keeping it on your mobile device.
- Next open the app and sign up, we suggest using the “Login with Facebook” method because you will have to connect with a Facebook page to change your account from a regular account into a business account anyway.
- To convert to a business profile within the app, find settings, then scroll down to Switch to Business Account. Once you have a business account, you can add in pertinent business information like store hours, business address or a phone number, as well as have extra room for your bio. You have limited room in your bio so we suggest you place your location in the first line (or a link to a page with all of your location if you have more than one location) and then a line or two about you being the greatest lending company ever. You should also make an announcement to any facebook followers or friends that you are also on Instagram.
- Now you are primed to begin your Instagram journey. First generate a few posts by converting some of your old content into post or taking some local scenery shots, whatever you think is going to resonate with your target customers. That way when your clients start following you have content they can see, then get into a little groove to make sure you are posting enough to keep your audience engaged but not enough to be distasteful. We suggest posting 1-3 times a day depending on how much engagement your content generates. Really post as often as you can get some good customer engagement. Don't be afraid to mix in videos as well, Instagram videos get more than double the engagement that photos do.
- Make sure that you are using relevant hashtags during your posts, the more hashtags you use the more engagement you will be able to drive, hashtags also can help you direct your posts to your desired audience. Also, it is never a bad idea to jump on a popular hashtag and put in your two cents or even make one or two of your own. You should try and use 8-15 different hashtags in your posts.
- Start following and engage with figures relevant to your geographic area and establish community. One of the easiest ways to generate content is by interviewing others or hosting an Instagram takeover from credible relevant figures, this could be an accountant teaching your audience how to budget, or a vacationer explaining how to make the most out of a travel loan. Further build your community by using the content of your customers by giving incentives for testimonials, or share some of their other content if it is applicable if it isn’t you can still send a like their way.
- Create great posts, obviously, the better posts you have the more traffic they will drive but unlike on Facebook your posts on Instagram should have some cohesion. Make your posts a story captured in photos and videos. Your story can take many forms but should be geared on how your financial service is helping your customers (maybe you can explain why your loans are better than eating tide pods, or heck start your own challenge). Make your story interesting and then you will generate more comments and hearts.
- Dig up your data, after you have posted on Instagram, make sure that you are checking the insights that can be found natively on the app for your organic or promoted posts. If you have an advertisement running on Instagram then that data will be found on your Facebook Campaign Manager. This data is critical in assessing how you are doing on Instagram and will help you make choices about what and how frequently you post.
Now go and give it a shot, run some tests, look at your customer data and see if Instagram will work for your company and go “ham” on the “gram.”