If your brand isn’t already on Instagram, you might need a rethink: Over the past decade, Instagram has created an immense space for itself in the marketing community. Instagram influencer marketing alone is worth over $1 billion. But as a marketer, that isn’t the only number that should interest you:
81% of Instagram users leverage the platform to research products and services. Do they buy these products? Absolutely! 50% of users have purchased from a website after seeing their product/service on Instagram. If you’re selling, Instagram’s an ideal global shop front. But it’s more than that: whether you’re in eCommerce, B2B, or something else entirely, Instagram will help you build great communities around your brand and curate a portfolio of content, images, and brand messages that say exactly what you are.
At Flying V Group, we’ve had lots of success with targeted Instagram marketing campaigns. When we focused on Insta for <Insert description or name here>. We increased conversions by X and enabled an ROI of Y. How do you succeed at Instagram marketing? How do you use Insta as a tool to generate qualified leads? This blog gives you a deeper understanding of our approach, along with tips you can put into action right now. Let’s get started!
How to start Instagram marketing or enhance your existing presence:
Whether you are just starting out or looking for ways to improve your Instagram marketing, here are some of the fundamental things you need to do:
Set your objectives and goals
Whether for Insta or any other platform, it’s always a good idea to have clear objectives for your marketing efforts: what do you want out of your Insta marketing efforts? More leads? A higher conversion rate? Direct sales? Define your expectations, then set achievable goals as a first step.
If you haven’t done any marketing on Instagram or if you’ve been using a personal profile, the first thing you should do is to create a business profile. If you already have a personal profile, Instagram lets you easily switch it to a business profile. A business account allows you access to a host of features that augment your marketing efforts, including:
- Post insights
- Shoppable posts
- Ad accounts
- A contact button
And a lot more! These additional options are available exclusively to business users and help you track, monitor, and optimize campaigns for success.
Optimizing your profile- A style guide
Instagram is a highly visual medium. You need to curate your content to create a portfolio that reflects your brand identity. Having a consistent portfolio helps augment your profile, potentially increasing your follower count.
First impressions matter: Users are going to scan through your profile before making a purchase decision or even following you. Having a uniform visual identity that reflects your brand’s image helps you pass this eye test. Create a simple style guide that lays out the specifications of the images you post, the colors you use, post descriptions, and other relevant details. Then make sure it’s followed, to the letter, every time you post.
You should also add a compelling bio that will tell visitors what you do and what to expect. Adding keywords in your bio will enhance searchability.
Also, make sure to add relevant contact information in your bio so that users can reach you effortlessly. Instagram is quite restrictive in terms of where to post links - the bio is the only place where you can, so make sure to take advantage of that.
Post regularly: As on any social media platform, it’s important that you post regular updates on Insta. Find the schedule that works best for you and your audience - identity peak engagement hours, then build your post schedule around them. Instagram algorithm changes have made post timing particularly important to increase the chances of higher engagement with your posts. The Insights section will help you assess this.
What exactly does it mean to post “regularly,” though? A rule of thumb is not to post more than twice a day or less than twice a week.
Hashtags are cool! They allow you to reach a wider audience than just your following. While posting content, be sure to use relevant hashtags that are popular and hence have a higher probability of being searched for. Instagram isn’t far behind Twitter when it comes to the importance of hashtags for search. Identify the hashtags that work for you and keep using these on your posts. You can also add hashtags to your bio.
Instagram is well placed for influencer marketing. Insta focuses a lot on communities and it is perhaps this emphasis that makes it a fertile ground for influencers. Depending on your business, it is a good idea to use influencers for your campaigns to increase visibility and build your credibility.
Find influencers that are suitable for your brand and engage them in your campaigns. Beyond just sponsored posts, finding creative ways to use influencers will help you stand out and achieve more on Instagram. It’s a great idea to collaborate with micro influencers - they have relatively small but highly engaged audiences that trust and value their recommendations. Sponsored posts don’t have to be your only angle of approach: send free review units or samples of your product to influencers in the right niches and encourage them to create original content around these.
Ads and sponsored content
Instagram has a well-integrated advertising suite. It allows you to promote your content in a wide range of formats. You can promote your posts on the Instagram feed, explore section, carousel posts, videos, stories, and more. For e-commerce businesses, you can also experiment with shoppable posts that allow users to shop products advertised directly from the posts.
Instagram ads go beyond just reach and visibility. The various kinds of ads allow you to run campaigns with different focuses, ranging from increasing followers to sales campaigns too.
What should you post on Instagram?
With stories, IGTV, reels, and Ads, Instagram offers a plethora of options that you can try out. Like any marketing effort, it will take a bit of trial and error to figure out the best approach for you. Here, we’ll talk about some of the specific steps that you should consider integrating into your Instagram marketing.
This is what Insta’s all about. The quality of images and photos on Instagram has gone up tremendously over the past few years. This makes it important for you to refer to your style guide. This’ll help you craft images that are consistent with your brand and to curate your aesthetic.
Carousels with text or images
Many brands rely on carousel posts since they offer more area for you to convey information. Carousel posts could be images or even text slides that convey actionable information to your audience.
Instagram videos have come a long way. Video content performs well on Instagram, and you have the option of posting short-duration videos or even longer content via IGTV. If your product/service allows it, you can also consider using the reels format to create and share your content.
Don’t shy away from using stories. Over 500 million accounts use Instagram stories every day. Post content with shorter life spans like campaign posts or teasers as stories to reach more people. Stories remain live for 24 hours so when to post becomes a critical question. Refer to the analytics in the Insight section to give you a clear sense of what time would be best for you.
Track, measure, and Iterate
Data is your friend in any marketing journey. Instagram allows you to track and measure the performance of each post that you make as well as your ads. Have a close eye on performance metrics to identify what’s working and what isn’t.
You can track important numbers like growth in followers, impressions, reach, and engagement numbers, conversion rates and others from Insights, and benchmark these against your goals to make sure that you are on track with your efforts.
Any social media expert would tell you that one size does NOT fit all. This is especially true when it comes to Instagram. Regardless of whether just beginning your Instagram marketing journey or you’re already on the platform, it’s critical to have a clear strategy that’s exclusively crafted for Instagram.
Figuring out the best approach is a trial and error process, so don’t wait for the perfect plan to emerge before you start. Follow some basic principles - Having a clear objective, visualizing how your profile should look like, posting regularly, and measuring your progress. With a bit of creative flair and some great content, your Instagram marketing will thrive!
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Arjun Krishna Lal is a Penguin-published author and currently a news editor at Notebookcheck, one of the world’s largest consumer tech platforms. He was the communications lead at Ciber Digita Consultants, a cybersecurity MNC. Arjun loves to travel and speaks four languages. He’s written hundreds of pieces on digital transformation, enterprise, and consumer technology.