Why use Instagram to market your equine business?
With over 700 million active users, Instagram is second only to Facebook in terms of social following. It also has the highest engagement ratio of any social media platform; for every 1000 people that see a retailer’s post 35 can be expected to like the image.
Here’s some facts about its users:
- 60% are female, 40% are male
- 55% are aged between 18 and 29.
- 98% of use is on mobile.
- 66% are urbanites and 33% rural dwellers.
The sheer proportion of users on the platform means that you can reach virtually any demographic.
How it works
Instagram is very user-friendly. It is simple and easy to scroll, like posts, and follow accounts. Captions are limited to three lines, with the rest expanded when you press ‘see more’, and videos can last up to 60 seconds.
Direct links can only be posted in your bio, rather than the post. This means that everyone leaving your account is highly motivated to find out more about your business.
The app uses an algorithm that seeks to show users the content they will like. It will therefore prioritise high quality content. The algorithm considers:
- The user’s relationship to the account, i.e how often do they interact by liking?
- Interests – is this an activity they enjoy?
- Overall engagement – do other people like the post.
- Time – was it recently posted?
With this is mind, it is wise to keep your equine account horse-centric.
Tips on posting
Follow your values – It is very important to convey the culture/values of your business through your posts. For instance, if you sell Equine medicinal products, users will appreciate caring images of healthy horses etc. Quotes have been shown to perform very well.
Mix business and pleasure – The most popular equine posts are of course pictures of beautiful horses. Practice re-gramming, uploading other users’ content (with permission) to try and create content that will be engaged with via likes. This will boost your other posts which market your business.
On that note, posts that do advertise a product or a service are much less likely to be engaged with. This is not a bad thing, those who do engage are likely to be interested in the product, improving your analytics and perhaps sales.
Utilise stories – Over 200m people view ‘stories’ every day, more than snapchat. Stories are a chain of 1-10 second ‘clips’ of images that appear at the top of the user’s screen. Through these you can advertise products and blog posts; again, directing traffic to your website. This could be mixed with pictures of your horses to maintain interest!
Share your photos on Facebook and Twitter.
Consider the grid – The ‘grid’ is the sum of the images which you have uploaded. Three pictures wide and situated on your account, it is important to make this aesthetically pleasing. Visitors will ask ‘Do I want to see this each day’ when they see it.
To do this you can keep posts on brand, with a consistent colour/filter scheme, or include local recognisable content – familiar people, places, and animals.
Post more, often – Studies have shown the following:
- Accounts with 7 + posts a week grow following by 56%, which is 42% more than those who only upload once a week.
- Increasing posting by 100% improves engagement by 19%.
Get help – Software such as tailwind or hootsuite are brilliant to schedule posts and organise hashtags. It is much better to control your account via desktop, as this allows you to analyse what hashtags work, plan ahead, and develop a social strategy. Here at the Equine Business Association, we use Grum for our instagram scheduling.
How to grow your following
Engagement. With your fans and the community, both are equally important.
With followers, reply to comments with interest and the aim of provoking discussion. Also encourage contests that require tagging, liking, and following. Posts which do this perform 70% better in the algorithm.
Also, USE HASHTAGS! This is crucial to engaging with horse fans, getting your business out there and exposed to new potential customers. These can be placed in the caption or first comment; nine is the optimal amount to use. Remember if they are in the caption you may have to press ‘see more’ to use them.
It is important to stay engaged with your following, and understand why they are on your account. Present an on-brand, aesthetically pleasing Instagram that does not stray from your business’s’ values/mission.
Hashtags and competitions are a great way to attract new followers and remember to include some non-business horsey posts in your story/grid to maintain interest; when you do advertise a product it will stand out more!
Intern, Equine Business Association
Adam Chambers is a historian in the final year of his undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol. After jobs washing dishes, sampling raspberries, and writing blogs, he took the plunge into the world of horses with the Equine Business Association in September 2017.
Since joining the association as an intern he has become very interested in the role of tech start ups in making the industry more connected and innovative and has been inspired to start his own social media marketing business, combining his new found passion for tech and his lifetime love of history. In his spare time Adam enjoys learning new languages and cycling around busy Bristol.