Instagram was launched in 2010, and the growth of this new social networking site has been amazing. The platform went from 1 million users during the first two months on the market to over 800 million users by September 2017. According to Business of Apps, as a brand, Instagram is increasingly the most successful of all of the other major social platforms.
We know that Instagram is used by young people and adults alike, but how are businesses using it to successfully market themselves? Considering that the average user follows between 400-500 accounts and 95 million photos and videos are uploaded and shared daily, that is a lot of content for users to look through every day. Another thing to keep into account is that during the pandemic, Instagram is expected to see its time increase by four minutes over last year, taking the daily average up to nearly 30 minutes a day.
An estimated 71% of US businesses use Instagram.
We get this question a lot when helping advisors with their social media strategies – what about Instagram? Should I be on that platform as well? According to recent Sprout Social statistics, an estimated 71% of US businesses use Instagram. Additionally, small businesses currently make up the majority of Instagram advertisers and business profiles. When it comes to Instagram in the financial sector, it becomes a handy tool for firms to really show (not tell) how relatable they are and gives them much more flexibility in their storytelling.
We understand that adding yet another social media platform to the mix can be a headache but even more importantly – what’s the return on investment and how can the potential of it be maximized? Today we’re covering six tips on how you can best use Instagram for your financial planning firm.
8 Tips to Use Instagram at Your Financial Planning Business
1. Show, Don’t Tell
Images do a much better job of telling a story than just writing about it. Rather than saying your employees participated in a volunteer effort, you can show a picture of them doing this activity along with a small caption.
The below is an Instagram example from Twenty Over Ten client, Financial Strategies Group. Their employee is pictured dropping off supplies to Child and Family Charities. This is a fun and easy way to showcase the great things that their firm is doing as a way of giving back to the community.
2. Use Hashtags The Right Way
Using hashtags on any social media platform essentially helps users find what they’re searching for. The same is true on Instagram, so tagging your pictures appropriately allows for your company to become a part of the larger conversation.
Use hashtags that make sense for your company and make sure that they are specific so they don’t get lost among the other thousands of tags. Don’t be afraid to get funny and witty with your hashtags, they don’t always have to be serious or work-related. Using at least 5-7 hashtags is typically a good rule of thumb. Doing so will allow for your image or images to be shown more often, which will, in turn, could potentially generate more followers.
When it comes to hashtags, Lilly Woo, CPA of taxesandbubbly, does a great job of incorporating hashtags into their posts to make their content more visible and searchable. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post and using hashtags helps in the process of content discovery, similar to using hashtags on other social platforms like Twitter. By using hashtags your image basically gets cataloged so other Instagram users who follow or search for those hashtags can find your content.
Rather than using the most popular hashtags on Instagram consider hashtags that are smaller, more niche so that you can connect with a more engaged audience that would be relevant to the niche that you serve within the financial services industry. In the example below, @taxesandbubbly uses hashtags like #taxtipsforentrepeneurs #vancouvertaxaccountant to really hone in on her specialty of providing tax and CPA services. The important caveat here is to not use too many hashtags. Using too many will make your posts look spammy. So, although Instagram may allow 30 hashtags per post make sure your hashtags are relevant and authentic.
One final note about hashtags on Instagram is formatting. In the example above @taxesandbubbly uses hashtags without detracting from the beauty of their feed by separating the hashtags from their post content with a dividing line. Even though we know now that hashtags do work well on Instagram we’re still well aware that it is a highly visual platform so by keeping post content and hashtags separated we’re not muddy things up with lots of visible hashtags. Genius!
3. Create Good Visuals
Instagram is incredibly different from other social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. Instagram is a highly visual platform anchored in strong imagery. The network was ultimately created for people to share photos and that’s it. So, posting good images is vital to your success on this social media platform.
Some of the best Instagram accounts not only have great imagery but they have an underlying theme and tone throughout all of their posts. Whatever you’re particular niche is, try to find an overall theme and apply that to the images you are posting. In the example below, we can tell right from the start that Lawrence Financial Planning specializes in working with those who are going through a divorce. We know this from the images they’re sharing as well as what they’ve put in their bio.
As an advisor, we understand that you might not have the design know-how to create really compelling images, but that’s okay! There are tons of apps and tools out there that can help you create really stunning imagery that will stop scrollers dead in their tracks. At Twenty Over Ten we use and highly recommend a tool like Canva.
4. Post At The Right Times
This has changed in the midst of the pandemic, and according to HubSpot, on average, the best times to post on Instagram are between 2 PM and 3 PM CDT. The best day to post on Instagram is Thursday, not only at 3 PM, but at 5 AM, 11 AM, and 4 PM, as well. However, as 2020 has seen its share of changes, we are finding better times for posting on Instagram, as well. Now, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday mornings are the best times to post on Instagram, as well as a small engagement opportunity on Tuesday afternoons.
5. Consider Hosting A Contest
Instagram contests are widely popular and hosting one is a fun way to engage your followers and possibly even acquire new followers. Running contests is another way for your firm to get more involved with your followers on Instagram and interactive participation is a great way to show that there is a “real person” behind the account who wants to connect with others.
6. Use It To Build Positive PR
It’s important for companies to be involved in charitable services, to give back to the community and show how much they are invested in helping others in their local community. Instagram is a great platform to share moments like this that show the ways in which your employees are making your community a better place for everyone.
Financial Strategies Group does a great job of posting pictures of their employees becoming involved in charities and supporting good causes. In the example below, their team participated in the National Food Bank Day initiative posting a picture of one of their team members buying goods to donate to the local food bank.
7. Connect With Your Local Community
It is important to support local businesses that are also on Instagram. Your firm does not want to come off as “stuffy,” so it is a good idea to engage with others as being deeply rooted in your local community can often be a large part of a firm’s brand strategy.
For example, maybe there’s a local coffee or donut shop nearby that your office gets weekly treats from for the office. Consider following them on Instagram, posting a picture of your bounty, and tagging them. You never know – they may return the favor one day!
8. Boost Engagement
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to link your company’s Instagram account with your other social channels, as this is a great way to boost engagement across all of the channels with one post. It will also make your life a lot easier. Don’t forget to also include an Instagram icon on your website that links out to your profile to your website visitors can easily access your profile. Storybook Financial has its Instagram and Facebook icons on their page so that visitors can easily find their social media platforms.
Instagram is somewhat of uncharted territory for financial advisors but it is a fun and engaging social media platform. And when used correctly, it can really grow the brand of your financial company and help others to connect and engage with your firm on a positive level.
Instagram is still fairly new for many financial advisors, so if you can start utilizing this platform, it’s a great way to boost your social media strategy. People are on social media more than ever these days, so if you have the bandwidth, adding another social platform is a great way to get more traffic to your site from a different audience.
Struggling With What Content to Share on Social Media or via Email?
We are offering access to our content for advisors to use via Lead Pilot for 7-days completely free (even on our month to month plans).
About the author
Blair is a digital marketing assistant at Twenty Over Ten and has a passion for uncovering what drives online traffic and the highest engagement. She follows more animals on Instagram than humans and her greatest achievement is her daughter, Grey.