If you feel like you do not understand Instagram marketing, do not worry, you are not alone. On the surface, it may seem like more of a place for snapshots and selfies. The reality is that Instagram is an absolute goldmine for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
From social selling to community-building and beyond, there is a reason why Instagram is booming right now among businesses and consumers alike. That being said, Instagram’s ‘simplicity’ can be deceiving. Many brands struggle to grow or adopt Instagram as part of their social strategy and I get why.
You cannot afford to wing it on Instagram, you need a clear-cut actionable Instagram strategy if you want to grow a presence and attract customers. Here’s an Instagram marketing strategy guide.
- Defining your Instagram marketing goals and purpose on the platform
This may seem like a no-brainer but you need to be able to answer exactly why you want to be on Instagram in the first place. Are you interested in generating leads? Building a community? Brand awareness? Setting social media goals is crucial.
These goals will determine everything from your content strategy to how much time you spend on the platform. There is no ‘right’ or single goal you must commit to, either. That being said, your ROI from Instagram really boils down to your goals.
For example, Crate and Barrel is a great example of a retail brand whose Instagram marketing strategy is primarily focused on social selling. Their entire feed centers around showing off their products and encouraging followers to check them out also.
Meanwhile, beauty brands often focus on highlighting products while also building a community by constantly going back and forth with followers. For example, Glossier frequently features their followers in their feeds as well as inside jokes that only their customers will appreciate.
Local businesses often focus on keeping customers in the loop on their latest promotions while also building relationships. And some brands use Instagram as a means to show off their team and go behind the scenes of their business.
The beauty of Instagram is the amount of creative freedom available to you. Your Instagram marketing strategy begins with your goals and I recommend you take some time digging through Instagram to inspire your business’ strategy.
Follow some of your favourite brands, competitors and experience the platform as a user to understand how businesses and consumers interact with one another.
- Optimizing your Instagram profile for engagement
In terms of setting up your profile, Instagram is relatively straightforward. However, there are a few minor details to watch out for as you put together your profile.
Before you even think about creating content for Instagram, make sure you have ticked the following boxes. This rings true for new profiles and brands looking to fine-tune their Instagram marketing.
For starters, make sure that you have switched your account to an Instagram business profile. Doing this will allow you to highlight additional information such as your industry, location, phone number and email address as part of your Instagram bio. In addition, Instagram business profiles have access to analytics to help you see how followers are interacting with your account.
# Hashtags #
Next, you need to decide on your brand creatives. Although they are easy to overlook, your brand creatives are integral to your Instagram marketing strategy. Specifically, your hashtags and bio. The process of creating a hashtag does not have to be intimidating. For example, most hashtags are either brand name or slight variations on a brand name, #Topshop, #SketchersStyle.
The purpose of you having a hashtag is to encourage followers to tag your brand and enable you to do the same. Hashtags serve as a call-to-action to encourage customer photos and stories. In return, you and your followers can see who else used your tag and shared their snaps.
Next up is crafting a compelling Instagram bio. This is your brand’s first impression with customers and potential followers. It represents an opportunity to highlight what your brand is all about and encourage followers to take action. It is the only place where you can funnel Instagram traffic to your promotions or website.
As part of your Instagram marketing strategy, ensure that your bio includes the following:
- Hashtag(s) related to your business
- Some sort of call-to-action (“check out the link below”, “tag your photos”)
- A trackable link to monitor the behavior of your Instagram traffic
Finally it is time to choose a ‘gram-worthy’ profile picture. Pick something with the brands entire name that is clean and has legible text.
- Creating content for Instagram that your customers will love
It is time for the nitty-gritty of your Instagram marketing strategy: content creation. The concept of creative freedom continues to rear its head. With the amount of possibilities in terms of what you can post, where do you even start?
Here are some specific Instagram marketing tips that showcase the types of content that kill it based on best practices. Consider these tips cornerstones.
-Eye-popping imagery– stylish snapshots, exactly what put Instagram on the map. Photos featuring some sort of striking creative trademark, whether it be a stunning setting or bright color scheme. These are the type of posts that reel in the likes and comments.
-People-centric photos- It may sound cliche but so is social media. This means centering your content strategy around people. Specifically highlighting the humans who support your business. For example, user-generated content and customer photos are staples of Instagram.
Sharing such snapshots allows you to show off your satisfied customers and put your products in a real-world setting. And don’t forget about showing your team some love too! Going behind the scenes and celebrating your colleagues is a simple yet effective method of humanizing your brand.
-Videos- Video content is among the most popular and shared around social media, Instagram included. If you are not a professional videographer, do not fret! Many brands share bite-sized promos instead of large productions. And yes, you can create video that sells with little more than a smartphone.
Bear in mind that video content on Instagram does not have to fit traditional commercial styles. Vine-style looping videos and timelapse videos are insanely popular and can be put together in seconds.
-Memes and image macros- These are perfect for humor or inspiration, not everything on Instagram must come from your camera roll. In fact, memes and image macros are a way to break up the monotony of your feed, engaging followers on a personal level. This posts work.
-Instagram Stories- Brand are integrating stories into their Instagram marketing strategies like never before. Why? Well because stories enable you to ‘skip the line’ in your followers’ feeds by putting your account at the front of their story queue.
Time-sensitive content also taps into your customers’ sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). They are great for deals, company updates and just plain playful content. Stories are something that you should strive to create on a daily basis.
-Instagram marketing tools- No matter what type of content you decide to create, it is absolutely essential to track the performance of your content over time. This allows you to see which posts are actually resulting in meaningful engagement.
When starting out on your adventure to establish an effective marketing strategy for your Instagram, you need to understand a few things clearly. You must define your Instagram marketing goals and purpose on the platform, you have to optimize your Instagram profile for engagement and you need to understand how to create content for Instagram that your customers will love, appreciate and engage with. This piece provided a variety of marketing tips and tricks that you need to implement into your strategy. Stay tuned for part two!