INSTAGRAM for MARKETING:
From once being just a social media application used on a small level to being a global platform with over 500 million daily active users today, Instagram has surely had a strong grasp on the market with its presence. Businesses today use Instagram as a medium to promote their business and expand their customer base. On a personal level, an individual is able to post and explore pictures through a wide network of brands, reporting 62% of users to follow a brand on Instagram (source: Iconosquare).
When handling an Instagram account on a business level, it is important to be able to reach the right audience, in order to grow. It is a known fact that social media today has the power to influence decisions. Marketers worldwide, consider Instagram to be a very productive platform for branding, marketing and reaching a wide clientele.
WHY INSTAGRAM? Your immediate goals:
What is it when you do not really have a sense of direction for doing what you do? The feeling is like being pretty lost on a disserted island with nowhere to go. Hence, whether you are new to the field of social media marketing or are looking to boost your presence in the market, you definitely need to have a few set goals in mind.
Why then is setting goals necessary?
Basically, it is like feeding your brain to do the right thing and giving it a sense of purpose. Establishing goals will help you define your marketing strategy on Instagram so that you can create content that reaches the mass audience, and of course your target customers.
Here is a list of common goals to look for while using Instagram for marketing:
|1. Showcase your products or services|
|2. Build your community|
|3. Increase awareness of your brand|
|4. Showcase your company culture and values|
|5. Advertise to potential customers|
|6. Increase brand loyalty|
|7. Share company news and updates|
Below is an example of the Instagram marketing strategy of a renowned brand, Buffer:
- “Our top goal is to build and nurture an engaged community of Buffer users and supporters.”
- “The second goal for our Instagram marketing strategy is to continually increase engagement on every one of our posts.”
Instagram Marketing Success- The formula:
In order to be among the top Instagram marketers, you need to have the following, alongside “nice images”:
A vision and strategy:
What you are and why should they follow you is a key element for marketers and brands and hence your approach should be cut-clear.
Instagram’s vision statement is “to solve three simple problems: Mobile photos always come out looking mediocre. Our awesome looking filters transform your photos into professional-looking snapshots. Sharing on multiple platforms is a pain – we help you take a picture once, then share it (instantly) on multiple services. Most uploading experiences are clumsy and take forever – we’ve optimized the experience to be fast and efficient.” The statement clearly states the ways through which the company strives to give its users the best online services.
The frequency is highly affected by the engagement rate and how “often” you post on Instagram. Be it twice a day or every 24 hours, more than what you post, when and how often you do it, helps create your brand image and resonance.
Developing familiarity with your audience
There are a few basic rules to follow in order to reach the excellent visual appeal on Instagram, as per Buffer:
- Images that are lighter are more successful, receiving 24 percent more likes than darker photos.
- The more background space, the better, as photos that are less busy receive 29 percent more likes.
- One color should dominate, as images with a dominant color or tone get 17 percent more likes.
One example of this is the very aesthetically appealing Instagram page @ihavethisthingwithfloors
INSTAGRAM MARKETING STRATEGY:
1. DEFINE YOUR GOALS AND PURPOSE ON INSTAGRAM:
While this may seem as a no-brainer to many, it is essential to answer to exactly why” you are on Instagram in the first place.
Are you interested in generating leads? Building a community? Brand awareness?
There is no “right” or single goal you have to commit to, either. That said, your ROI from Instagram really boils down to your goals.
For example, Nakedlabs is a shining example of a retail brand whose Instagram strategy is focused on body scanning, as mentioned in their bio as well.
And some brands simply use Instagram as a means to show off their team and go behind the scenes of their business. B2B brands like “Zapier” might not seem like they have much to gain from Instagram, but manage to use their platform to show off the brand’s human side.
2. OPTIMIZING YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT:
Once created, it is essential to attract users and brands to visit your page/account. For this purpose, putting up a suitable profile picture wit say, the company’s logo is a viable option. Next up, is setting a snappy bio to create a long-lasting impression. This is usually a summary of who you are and why you are here.
If you feel that your personal account is unable to reach the desired customer base, you can always focus on switching to a professional account. The business profile you upgrade to can make it easier for users to contact you and can help promote content.
What are your brand creatives?
Your brand creatives are essential to developing your Instagram marketing strategy and are often overlooked by many businesses that do not consider them important enough. These include your hashtags and bio, to be more specific. The process of creating a hashtag should not come as a daunting process for businesses. Rather, it can be simply the brand name or a slight variation of the brand name.
Hashtags act as a “call-to-action” process encouraging customer photos and stories to be widely viewed. The basic purpose of a hashtag is to encourage followers on Instagram to tag your brand and expect you to be able to do the same too.
Compelling bio? YES!
Despite being only 150 characters, your Instagram bio is invaluable real estate.
Your bio is the first impression that is resonated in the minds of the consumers and focuses on reaching the right audience, with obviously the right choice of words. Oh, and it is the only place that acts as a “funnel” for the Instagram traffic for your website and all your promotional strategies.
As part of your Instagram marketing strategy, make sure that your bio includes the following.
- Hashtag(s) related to your business.
- Some sort of call-to-action (“check out the link in my bio,” “tag your photos”).
- A trackable link to monitor the behavior of your Instagram traffic (Tap.bio and LinkTree are good options.).
3. WANT TO ATTRACT CONSUMERS? CREATE “CONSUMER-WORTHY” CONTENT:
Getting to create your content is like a real business. It is more like getting into the nitty-gritty scheme of your Instagram marketing strategy. It is a very ambiguous thought when it comes to what you can post. This is because provided that there are so many options available and in terms of creative content, freedom rears its head. So here arises the most prominent question; “Where do you even start with?”
In order to answer this very customer-centric question, it is important to have a look at the following marketing tips and tricks that can help your business with branding and marketing. There can be many tips that one can follow, but the ones mentioned below can be thought of as the cornerstones of your Instagram marketing strategy:
This is exactly what you need first and foremost to create engagement on your brand page. Styling snapshots with bright colored schemes and popping imagery is what can help. Photos featuring some sort of striking creative trademark, whether it be a stunning setting or bright color scheme, are the types of posts that reel in the “likes” and comments. Following are a few examples of such eye-popping pictures:
People-centric pictures and photos:
It might sound cliche, but social media is, well, social. That means centering your content strategy around people. 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.
What next? Use editing tools and life-saving filters of course!
Editing tools and filters can add life to your Instagram feed by enhancing colors, popping and zooming in perspective. So, for example, if you want to have pastels in your feed, or add a hint of the ravishing, this is your call. Be it, a breath-taking sunset or awe-struck dawn, filters can enhance your feed by leaps and bounds.
How to Take a Great Photo With Your Smartphone?
You might be thinking How am I supposed to capture the perfect, high-quality shot without a high-quality camera…? No worries! Mobile phones today have become so advanced that they can surely give competition to many DSLRs and other professional cameras.
Wonderful photography is no longer limited to those with a studio, lighting and professional cameras. You (mark my words, yes, you!) can take amazing photos your audience will admire, using a tool you already have in your hands. Following are some tips to drive growth and Instagram engagement:
1. The rule of thirds:
The most commonly used method to improve your photo composition is to “turn on camera gridlines”. These grid lines are available in your smartphone and mostly look like vertical and horizontal lines, when the camera is turned on. Many renowned painters, photographers, and nature-lovers tend to use this method, widely known as the rule of thirds. To click a properly centered picture, placing your subject at the intersection of one set of these grid lines is the best way.
2. Take advantage of negative space
Negative space is the empty space around your subject. Leaving negative space around your subject will draw attention to the desired focus of your image and prevent it from looking crowded.
4. Interestingly different perspectives work!
People are used to seeing the world from eye level. To create interesting and fresh photos, use shots from different perspectives. Change up your shooting perspective to capture a bird’s eye view or worm’s eye view. Experiment with different angles to find new perspectives on common sights.
Videos on Instagram:
Instagram also has this cool feature to upload videos, as long as they are a minute or less in duration. You can edit videos from your mobile phone application or a computer as well. There are many different apps that allow you to edit videos, change music, titles and add transitions. These apps include OpenShot and Splice. By default Instagram videos play without sound. The caption can be adjusted to prompt viewers to turn on the sound so as to attract viewership.
Open your Instagram and tap the camera icon in the top left-hand corner of the home screen. This is the in-app camera. You can also access this by swiping right on the screen.
Notice the settings on the bottom. The Normal setting, to which the camera defaults, takes still photos. You’ll see that the first setting to the right is Boomerang, which takes three-second, looping videos that play forwards and backwards.
4. MAXIMIZING ENGAGEMENT BY PUBLISHING:
Let us say you have your content ready to publish. What next?
Good question! Simply posting at random is not going to do you any good.
Keeping a unique caption for each post that you publish is immensely important. The engagement rate can be affected by even the seemingly smallest f details in your caption, and can hence decide whether or not your post will rank as discoverable to the audience. With 2,000+ characters to work with, you certainly have creative freedom. However, you will notice that many businesses take a “less is more” approach to their Instagram captions.
No matter what you are saying or selling, make sure that you include a combination of the following in your captions:
- A call-to-action (a question, “check out our bio,” etc)
- A touch of personality (use emojis, take up a conversational tone)
- Hashtags (including your branded hashtags, between one and five is considered optimal)
5. PROMOTING YOUR INSTAGRAM FOR THE LONG-TERM:
No matter what Instagram strategies you’re experimenting with, so much of your engagement depends on how you promote your Instagram.
Followers and customers do not show up by accident. As a result, you need to put your Instagram front-and-center across your other marketing channels. For example, make a point to prominently feature your Instagram on-site. Whether it is social buttons or a feed of your followers’ photos, customers should know that you are active on the ‘gram. Additionally, promoting your Instagram via email is a smart move. Also, adding URLs and links of your Instagram page on your Facebook pages is an even wiser option since it grasps a stronger hold with the customer engagement.