Now is the time for brands to review their Instagram content strategy

When Instagram launched its web profiles and yanked integration with Twitter a few months back, brands quickly started to evaluate their content strategies in terms of telling a larger story with their photos. Now, with last week’s announcement of Instagram’s Web Feed, brands must look at their strategy again – perhaps changing course.

Bigger Pictures, Bigger Stories

While usage of Instagram.com is yet to be seen, there’s definitely been a hunger for a web-based experience for the product for some time. While the heart of the community will still be experienced in the palm of one’s hand on their mobile, the Web Feed will offer another way for users to experience images from brands – at a much larger scale.

What brands should think about

Think of how your images will be consumed in the new web experience. For most users, the images will be much larger than on their phone, but many will still be experiencing the web feed through a screen smaller than a laptop or desktop – most likely a tablet.

Know Your Audience

It’s not enough to simply post product shots on Instagram. Users aren’t looking for a stock shot, they’re looking for a something a little more “behind the curtain” in terms of brand content. Knowing your audience and the types of content they engage with is incredibly important to developing ongoing content guidance.

What brands should think about

Data is your friend. By creating topic areas and classifying all imagery in those areas, you can accurately judge your fans’ reactions to those images and optimize creation and publishing. If you’re publishing your images to your Facebook page as well, you can determine any differences or similarities in the types of content they wish to see.

Timing is Everything

With more chances to view Instagram thanks to the new Web Feed, users might not consume as much content as they typically did in one session. This starts to become important when you’re using Instagram as a way to deliver marketing messaging.

What brands should think about

Look at interactions on your content in day parts and be sure to publish content during times of expected high engagement. As more and more brands start to enter the community, share of feed starts to become incredibly important.

Broken Links

While links included in Instagram image descriptions aren’t yet clickable, there will surely be a time when they are. Once that happens, the way links are presented and the ties they have to content will determine their success on the social network.

What brands should think about

Watch for links to go live, but don’t hesitate including custom links in your posts now, where appropriate. If you’re using an easily-remembered link like brandna.me/Shoes or similar, those may be easily typed in a URL box.

Overall, the world of Instagram is changing quickly. As it becomes more integrated with Facebook, we’ll likely see higher levels of analytics available that can help drive content strategy and creation. Until that time, it’s best to start working on that strategy and refining based on all the information we can get our hands on.

Ron Schott is head Spring Creek Group UK, the London branch of IPG’s social media marketing and measurement agency.