Content marketing is a highly competitive e-sport and to give you a boost on Facebook and Instagram we’re going to run through some tips so you can own it like a Kardashian. Facebook and Instagram are the dominant social media platforms with 1.59 billion and 1 billion active users respectively (Facebook 2019). Vying for consumers attention are over 80 million active businesses on Facebook (Hootsuite 2018) and over 25 million businesses on Instagram (Instagram 2017). Given the amount of advertising on these channels you would be forgiven for thinking Facebook and Instagram are business networks rather than social networks. Which is actually why we're here. To help you with the business of social media.

Fortunately for brands hoping to entice consumers, 38% of internet users say they follow their favourite brands on social media and 27% follow brands when they’re thinking about buying something from them (globalwebindex 2019). Combine this with an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day spent on social media globally and consumers have the capacity and inclination to digest our content (globalwebindex 2019). Provided, of course, it’s worthy of consumption.

In our recent article on the ‘Evolution of a Digital Strategy’ we talked about understanding your audience’s social behaviours and motivations, as well as understanding the role each platform plays in people’s lives. We touched on ten digital platforms. Here we’ll dig a little deeper into Facebook and Instagram. We’ll take a look at what’s happening on these platforms and how brands can put their best content forward in the eyes of their consumers.

Best for participation, sharing and calling people to action.

  • Think mobile and keep it square or portrait
  • Video beats photo
  • Live video beats pre-recorded video (for engagement)
  • Facebook polls and 360º images rock
  • You CAN still reach young people here (and older ones too)

For every piece of content, you have to think about how it will look on a mobile device. That means going for square or portrait video. Globally 96% of users access Facebook on tablet or smartphone (Statista 2019). On the news feed square videos take up 78% more space than landscape videos. Not surprisingly that makes square more effective. In a study by Buffer in 2017 square video outperformed landscape video in terms of video views, engagement and completion rate. In some cases, square video resulted in 30-35% higher video views and an 80-100% increase in engagement.

If a picture paints a thousand words, how many words does a 6 second video paint? People gaze five times longer at video than at static images on Facebook (Hootsuite 2019) and over 100 million hours of video content is watched on Facebook daily (Facebook, 2016). What’s exciting for marketers is that the videos are influencing behaviour. After watching video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online (Forbes, 2017). Studies also show that people have the ability to recall 65% of the visual content almost three days after seeing it (HubSpot 2017).

If you’re one of those people that still thinks you can just throw a TV commercial on a social platform, well, stop it, stop it now. Mobile optimised Facebook video lifts brand awareness to 67% compared to only 40% for recycled TV video ads (Hootsuite 2019). Video is the star of social media but it should be created specifically for the platform. Make your video short, get to the point early, be relevant and make sure you include subtitles, as 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound (Sprout Social 2019).

To perform even better with video, go Live. People spend six times longer watching Live video than a pre-recorded one and Live videos receive ten times more comments (99firms 2019). Facebook Live has only been around since 2016, but already the view count is over 2 billion viewers. It isn’t for the faint hearted though as you are operating in real-time, with the chance of making real-time mistakes. However, if you’re up for it and can record at an event worthy of being live, it’s worth trying. Just make sure you promote your Live event in advance so people know to tune in.

Two other formats that are generating great engagement for us are Polls and 360º images. Polls are great as they give your audience a one-click way to engage, plus the chance to see their influence once you share the results. The 360 images we’ve created get good engagement and shares. They stand out nicely on the platform and few brands are using them so they’re a rare treat for audiences.

But what about the youth, are they still on Facebook or have they abandoned it for newer social media platforms? Despite assumptions to the contrary there are still plenty of young people on Facebook. 26% of users globally are 18 -24 and 32% are 25 – 34 (Sprout Social 2019). With 1.59 billion using Facebook daily it’s fair to say that there are still a lot of young people active on Facebook (Facebook June 2019).

Extra Points of Interest about Facebook
Its purpose is to 'Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together'.
1.59 billion active daily users.
Facebook is aiming to launch Libra its cryptocurrency in 2020.
Facebook is the top B2C AND B2B platform (Hootsuite 2018).
74% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes (HubSpot, 2017).
Split Testing, launched in 2017, is an invaluable tool to increase ROI.

For: Sharing our best brand lives, imagery over words, behind the scenes and calling people to action.

  • Tell us Stories
  • Go long on IGTV
  • Hiding Likes
  • Sell your product with tags
  • Be found by new customers with Ads in Explore

Snapchat led the way but Instagram have really embraced Stories. So have Instagram users and brands. A third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses. (Instagram Survey 2017) and 62% of people say that they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories (Facebook Stories by Ipsos Aug 2018).

Stories make full use of the mobile screen, offering a beautiful distraction free canvas. They give brands the chance to connect with over 500 million accounts using stories daily (Instagram 2019) and can help awareness, recall, purchase lift and sales.

Brand Stories have an 85% completion rate (Conviva 2019) and Stories with stickers outperformed those without 83% of the time (Facebook 2018). Using stickers is an authentic and quick way to express key messages. Just don’t get too carried and create a stickers graveyard.

Stories can also be interactive and adding a polling sticker is a playful way for businesses to build better connections. When Dunkin’ Donuts released their Dunkin’ Fries they achieved a 20% lower cost-per-video view with the polling sticker vs. the same ad without (Instagram 2019).

For new product launches, add a countdown sticker on Stories to build anticipation. Prompt your followers to tap 'Remind Me' so you can send them another message when the day finally comes.

On the back of an 80% increase in time spent watching video on Instagram (Instagram Survey 2017), Instagram launched IGTV in 2018 which allows creators to upload 10 minute videos (or up to an hour for verified users). Brands were initially a little slow on the uptake but the introduction of a one-minute preview has helped increase views and engagement, and therefore increased use of the channel. If you’re looking to introduce some longer format video, then IGTV is a great way to share. Just remember to click ‘post a preview’, optimise for silent viewing, include the most important information up front (as you should on all social media videos) and cross promote on your other channels.

But what if no one likes it? Instagram started hiding likes in Canada in April to ‘remove the pressure’ people feel to get likes. It then hid them (under the bed) in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. According to Instagram, the algorithm continues to work as it always has, although 41% of Canadian Content Creators disagree and said that engagement dropped after like counts were hidden. (Hootsuite Oct 2019). However, given that Instagram is rated as the worst platform for young peoples’ mental health in the UK (Royal Society for Public Health 2017) we think it’s worth giving up a few likes for the sake of reduced anxiety.

Plus, you can still be commercially successful without a lot of likes. According to an Instagram Survey (2015) 60% of people said they discover new products on Instagram. With the introduction of the Instagram Shopping feature in February 2018, brands are able to tag products directly in posts (and Stories) and take customers directly to the item they want to purchase. Earlier this year they also added the ‘checkout’ so users don’t even have to leave Instagram to purchase the items they discover.

Stories, videos, long videos and selling…Instagram sounds like the place to be. But wait, there’s more. If you’re looking to reach people in a discovery mindset extend your ads to audiences who are looking to expand their interests beyond the accounts they follow. More than 20% of Instagram Accounts use Explore every month. We recommend exploring ads in Explore too.

Extra Points of Interest about Instagram
Its purpose is 'To capture and share the world’s moments'.
1 billion plus monthly active users (Instagram 2019).
71% of user are under the age of 35 (Statista 2019).
63% of Instagram users log in at least once a day. 42% check it multiple times (Hootsuite 2019).
Seven out of ten hashtags on Instagram are branded (Sprout Social 2018).
Instagram Threads, launched on 3 October 2019, is a messaging app for ‘close friends’. Business accounts can use it too for their ‘close friends’.
How-to tutorials are the most popular form of Instagram video content, followed by behind-the-scenes posts, interviews, and news coverage.

Both Facebook and Instagram offer the possibility of reaching large audiences in meaningful ways, and ways that are very specific to their platforms. There isn’t a single approach that will lead you to social media glory but if you engage with your audience and learn from their responses, you can keep up with the Kardashians, and maybe outperform them occasionally too.