By Megan Breukelman, Co-founder and Editor in Chief of Atlas Magazine
Instagram has quickly evolved over the last few years from a social networking platform for sharing blurry, over-filtered images of your day-to-day routine to an essential marketing platform for brands and individuals alike. Although we smirk and reminisce about the days of old with Valencia and X-Pro, these humble beginnings have built a platform unlike any other available today. With over 700 million registered users, and approximately 400 million daily active users, there is an expansive audience on Instagram with which to connect. So why not start using it to your advantage?
For publications, marketing yourself on Instagram is a bit different than the approach that a product or blogger would take. It’s easy to say “Okay, let’s market on Instagram,” but what is the best approach to marketing for your publication that will feel authentic? The most important preliminary step is to identify your niche — the focus of your publication. If you are an interior design magazine, for example, you’re probably better off not spending time and resources engaging with food-stagrams.
When seeking out an audience to engage with for Atlas Magazine’s Instagram, we tend to focus on creatives in our niche. We do this by looking through our contributors’ accounts and scouting other teams that they have worked with. For example, when we publish a photographer’s work, we often scroll through their Instagram feed to see with what other makeup artists, wardrobe, hair stylists and models they have collaborated. If the photographer is looking to work with us, it’s likely those accounts possessing our same creative values might want to work with us as well. We then try to engage with these accounts to build on our audience.
On our Instagram, we put up editorials that have been submitted to Atlas and that we’ve chosen to display on the web and social media. Each editorial we do becomes a cross-platform campaign to ensure maximum exposure for the artists that submit their work to us. Instagram is our most successful social media platform because it is where the majority of people in our niche like to spend their phone time.
In terms of visuals, your feed should be curated in a way that mirrors the editorial style of your magazine. With Atlas, our feed is laid out in sets of three to draw viewers into the story, not just the image. The editorials tell a story and those are what we’re “selling” through this technique. We tend to post one to two stories a day, which are cross-posted from our website. Unless it’s Fashion Week, we won’t post more than one to two lines of images per day. With that amount, we know that we are already quite prevalent in our followers’ feeds, and there is no need to overload them.
That being said, this method is not universal. When you look at an Instagram feed like that of Local Wolves, you’ll notice it is comprised of single images of different subjects that all match a cohesive visual style. What they’re “selling” is an aesthetic. Mad Sounds, on the other hand, posts 1-2 images per day with engaging captions to strengthen their images to deliver a fully-rounded story. These are successful Instagram accounts in no small part because of their curatorial styles — they know exactly what they are selling.
Example of Business account analytics
It’s also a good idea to use the tools that Instagram provides, which are free! Yes, there are third-party tools that allow you to keep track of your engagement, but Instagram for Business is a great start. Changing our account to a Business account (again, this was completely free) allowed us to gain valuable insights like weekly impressions, posts with the most engagement, statistics about our followers and more. It has allowed us to monitor which posts are the most successful and try to figure out why. You can then use these insights to cater your posts to your audience, and post at times that will ensure higher success.
Marketing your publication on Instagram is a deeply valuable (and necessary) tactic to grow and engage with potential and current readers. To do so, however, you must sort out who your audience is, and what they want to see. Remember that every image is an advertisement for something, so know exactly what it is you are trying to sell.
Now, check out the latest Atlas below!
For more Atlas Magazine, be sure to follow them on issuu. You can also follow Megan Breukelman on Twitter or Instagram @meganbreukelman.