With hundreds of millions of monthly users, the marketing space on Instagram is not as congested as it is on other social media sites, and the audience there is far more engaged.
Instagram therefore provides your brand with a unique opportunity to market your services or products to the relevant audience without necessarily having a huge party.
Whether you’re a newcomer or an old guard in need of a strategy ramp-up, the following steps will help you take advantage of Instagram in a way that improves your presence on the photo-sharing platform.
1. Employ creativity while showcasing your services and products
Marketing successfully on Instagram is not about simply pushing your services and products in the faces of users. Your communication should place the most emphasis on the solution that your business provides. Instagram users want to see really beautiful pictures and videos but they also want to know what value you add.
If you run a service-oriented business, direct attention to the process that drives your service delivery. Some of the aspects of your business that you should highlight include your mission/vision and the culture in your company. Videos of various types – Boomerangs, GIFs, etc. – are very effective in this respect.
Instagram Stories are of immense value. Lasting for only 24 hours, Instagram stories appear in the form of a slideshow. You can, however, save storieson your phone and use them later. Parallels can be drawn between Instagram stories and Snapchat Stories.
Great developments have been made to Instagram stories since Instagram was bought by Facebook. Its benefits include the following.
- Instagram Stories appear right at the top of the Instagram feed, under the logo.
- Instagram Stories are particularly effective for posting behind-the- scenes clips or photos that may not be of the same quality as regular posts.
- You can give different types of content such as live videos and Boomerang videos a try using Instagram Stories.
- With Stories, you can tag and collaborate with influencers to increase your reach and get real Instagram likes.
- Stickers, text and face filters among other fun features are available when you want to edit your content on the go.
- Instagram Stories make you discoverable through hashtag and location search functions.
The content you post will be displayed in the order in which you uploaded and there is no limit to the posts you can add. Keep in mind that Instagram Stories are only available on the mobile app. They can also be sent as a direct message. However, unless you want to send custom content to prospective customers, the direct message feature may not be as useful.
2. Make sure you have a strong profile
If your business is like a lot of others, it offers more than one product or service. While creating your profile, don’t bother trying to include them all in your bio, which is limited to 150 characters. Your bio should focus on your main products/services or an upcoming launch or promotion for your product.
Instagram allows you only a single live link in your bio, positioned under your name. Use it to post up-to- date links to landing pages, your brand’s app download, registration for events, etc. Leaving it static would be a waste of the opportunity to drive traffic to your brand’s site.
Paid advertisements and Instagram business profiles have been a part of Instagram for a while now. Additional benefits that come with a business profile include a section for your business phone number and comprehensive analytics data. Set up a complete business profile for your business and manage it yourself or hire a professional brand manager to run it.
3. Include behind-the- scenes content
Customers are usually interested in knowing how the products they use are made or what goes into providing the services they are offered. Instagram can be a great opportunity to show them the lifecycle of your products or services. Companies that offer environmentally friendly products, for example, would find this particularly useful.
If you find it difficult to come up with behind-the- scenes content, share filled whiteboards, brainstorming notes, sketches and other stuff that gives your customers a glimpse of the process behind your services/products. Just make sure the content looks good before uploading it to your Instagram feed.
It may take a while before you figure out the type of content that your audience likes and engages with the most. Note that you need not delete non-performing posts because Instagram lets you archive posts.
4. Don’t overlook one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal: #hashtags
You can reach a vast audience using general or campaign-specific hashtags or a combination of both, provided they are relevant to your brand in general and to your post in particular. Even though general brand-specific hashtags are more effective for larger, well-established companies, it doesn’t hurt to come up with a good one for your business and use it sparingly across your social media accounts to make it easy for users to find content related to your brand.
Instagram lets you use up to 30 hashtags but many digital marketers consider it good practice to use three to six hashtags. More hashtags can, however, be used for brands in some industries, such as the fashion industry. For maximum reach and visibility, use a mix of general popular hashtags and unique, brand-specific hashtags.
Examples of general popular hashtags include #motivationmonday and #instagood. Hashtags such as #tech or #IT are commonly used by Instagram users in search of content related to the IT or tech industry.
Before you start using hashtags with your posts, you need to determine which ones resonate with your target audience best. It is therefore imperative that you use the most effective tools to analyze the performance of hashtags on Instagram. Top tools for evaluating Instagram hashtag performance include Sprout Social and Iconosquare.
Sprout Social is popular for its simple yet comprehensive analyses of hashtags, measuring your most frequently used and most engaging hashtags. Iconosquare’s in-depth analytics, post scheduling, and comment tracking and response features make is highly effective.
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