It’s only been a decade since Instagram has been around, but it has grown faster than most platforms out there.
In Canada, it’s the Number 1 fastest growing social media platform with 1 billion users worldwide.
Systrom, the founder of Instagram, took advantage of one simple analogy to make his platform successful.
90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual.
Instagram runs purely on picture and video content, making it much more engaging than other popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Last year, 85% of teens said that Instagram was their second app of choice (the first being Snapchat).
However, this is not what was surprisiInstagram Marketing Strategyng.
In 2017, this number was only 24%, making it a big jump.
In fact, it’s not just millennials that use the app.
23% of people aged 50-64 said they used the app last year and that number grows each year, making Instagram the perfect app for businesses that target millennials as well as small segments of older age groups.
If you fall in this category, here are a few tips that will help you curate and implement an effective Instagram marketing strategy:
#1. Create a business account
Business profiles on Instagram are absolutely free.
To create one, download the app, sign up for a normal account and then go over to settings and click on ‘Switch to business profile’.
However, if you’re a local blogger that relies on organic reach and creates content for the fun of it, a personal account could also work for you.
This is because the main differences between a business and personal account are purely analytical:
When it comes to a business account, your bio is extremely crucial for brand personality and awareness.
There’s a character limit of 150, so make every word count.
Use one line to explain your business, preferably limiting yourself down to 3-5 words.
Emojis are also a great way to describe your business so you don’t use up extra characters.
Then, add your business details i.e. timings, address (if any) and a link to your website.
This ensures that you don’t bore profile visitors with unnecessary information and those that are interested in details or purchasing have the proper platform to visit.
In a business profile, you’ll also find a contact option where you can add a phone number and email:
#2. Set the timing and frequency for posts
This is something so small yet so important for your instagram marketing strategy.
There are two things that you need to consider:
- When your target audience is most active on the platform
- Statistics for best timings to post
If we’re looking at statistics that come from extensive research and testing, here is the breakdown of the best days and times to post:
This study was carried out by HubSpot but is also backed by Sprout Social, making this a very rock solid template that you can follow for your business.
However, this is a generalised approach that estimated global engagement rates.
If you need a detailed overview, here are the best times to post on different social media platforms with an industry breakdown of each.
Apart from this, if you have the capacity to carry out primary research, you can always monitor the times when your own target audience is active and post accordingly – because at the end of the day, that’s who you want to market your brand towards.
#3. Take advantage of user-generated content
This is something marketers love, and rightly so.
It’s great for your marketing strategy and it costs you nothing!
User-generated content is created when a customer tries out your product or service and tags you on social media.
This could be in the form of a review, video, picture, story or any other form that clearly links the content to your brand.
But that’s not even the best part.
Train your social media managers to look out for positive reviews and re-post the content in order to improve your brand’s reputation:
You could re-share a post with a simple caption, an entire review, or even a picture itself as long as it depicts that customers like your brand.
However, you can only share the content of public accounts, so it’s a good idea to stay connected with the trendiest bloggers and influencers in the industry because sharing their content means getting the approval of all their followers as well.
#4. Invest in influencers
Before, bigger brands used to hire celebrities as part of their Instagram marketing strategy.
While that is still the case, studies show that influencers will generate a much better ROI as compared to celebrities.
But what’s the difference between influencers and celebrities?
Influencers are those people who have a significant fan following on online platforms which gives them the ability to influence other people’s decisions.
This means a celebrity could also be an influencer, but if they’re not active on social media, they don’t fall in this category.
Ever since the rise of social media platforms, millennials have begun to trust influencers more than celebrities; the sole reason being that celebrities gain fame from their line of work whereas influencers gain followers due to hard work and expertise in their field.
Plus, influencers cost a lot less than celebrities, which is why smaller brands are on the same footing as larger businesses now.
Even if you’re a startup, you can hire a local influencer that has limited following but can be compensated with free products/services instead of large cash payments.
Determine the size and capacity of your brand and hire influencers accordingly.
Check out my complete guide on hiring influencers on Instagram.
Also, make sure you don’t just hire influencers.
You need to invest in the entire aesthetic appeal that you want to convey to followers because that goes a long way in determining your brand personality.
Do you own a high-end brand? Make your posts look classy.
Does your business give off a casual vibe? Incorporate humor and behind-the-scenes to engage followers.
Invest in photographers, locations, lighting, makeup and whatever it is that you need to make your posts look good because no matter how amazing your products may be, customers will not be will not be willing to try them if they do not look appealing.
#5. Always incorporate hashtags in your Instagram marketing strategy
You’d be surprised to know that the use of hashtags in an Instagram marketing strategy has its technicalities as well.
Who thought it would be so hard to get hashtags right!
The first and foremost thing you need to do is create your own hashtag.
Every time users post content related to your brand, they’ll use the hashtag; thus, making it rank higher and become more discoverable.
The automotive brand Audi took advantage of consumers’ love for wanting to own a sports car and launched a hashtag campaign featuring the sporty R8:
After all, who doesn’t want an R8?
Followers quickly made this campaign viral by posting their own content with the hashtag #wantanR8, especially race car enthusiasts.
Similarly, your campaign can also feature more than just a consumer want.
For example, L’oreal Paris launched its campaign with the hashtags #shareherjourney and #worthsaying.
With feminism and gender equality on the rise, L’Oreal empowered women to speak up and share the struggles they faced.
This campaign started in 2016, and while hashtag campaigns on social media are usually a one-time thing, L’Oreal took it a step further and collaborated with Tiffany’s to relaunch the campaign in 2018.
With every story a woman shared, the brand donated 25 cents to Tiffany’s, motivating women to come forward for a good cause.
The campaign was so successful that even celebrities like JLo became a part of it:
Thus, it’s a great idea to incorporate similar campaigns into your instagram marketing strategy as well.
If you want to opt for maximum reach, be sure to balance the amount of hashtags you use.
Experts suggest that 2 hashtags per post are optimal for brand awareness.
They make it easier for the platform’s algorithm to discover and rank your content.
#6. Use free and paid tools to track performance
It’s always a great idea to leverage free tools, but there are also some situations which require you to invest in paid tools for better insight into your brand’s performance.
Thus, it’s best to use a mix of both.
First and foremost, you have Instagram analytics.
You can access these in settings through your mobile or desktop app and use them for a number of reasons.
First, it’ll help you segment your target audience into different groups:
This way, you’ll know you to target on all your platforms because this demographic is most interested in your content.
Another benefit that you get from analytics is knowing the best times and days to post.
Since it provides you with a detailed overview of engagement, it gives you a good idea of when to post.
Lastly, the activity tab will allow you to monitor reach, impressions etc. which help estimate whether you are reaching goals or not and if your content is effective or not.
However, since it’s free, you can only view insights for the past week.
If you feel that your brand needs a more detailed insight into its social media performance, then you can invest in paid, third-party tools like Buffer and HubSpot.
Not only do they offer detailed insights, but they also offer automation that makes the job of social media managers much easier.
Check out my guide on the best online marketing tools that will help you save time and money.
#5. Target and retarget potential customers
According to Hootsuite, Instagram has a potential advertising reach of approximately 850 million users.
Plus, targeted ads are so effective that 68% of companies are spending a significant budget on them.
On Instagram, there are 2 ways you can use targeted ads:
If you pay for a story ad, viewers will be able to see it for a few seconds before the next story.
If you’re using these to promote a product or sale, make sure you use the swipe up button that directs the viewer to the website or page where they can purchase from you.
The other ad that you can post is on users’ timelines.
While scrolling through their feed, they can view your ad and click on your profile to visit it.
If you’re using these, another great tool you can take advantage of is a product tag:
For one picture, you can use up to 5 product tags, so for example, you could dress up your model with different accessories and tag each one of them.
This creates great convenience for customers because if they like the product, they can view the price instantly and tap on the tag to purchase it as well.
Thus, if you’re marketing a specific product, make sure to use product tags rather than the shop now button.
#7. Always incorporate giveaways
If you want to increase your brand’s reach organically, your best bet is to take a page from the old-handbook and host a giveaway.
Users are motivated to participate for a chance to win free products/services so make sure your reward is worth it.
In exchange for the reward, every participant has to help increase your reach through different ways such as liking your page, sharing it, tagging friends in the comment section etc.
The rules are up to you, so make sure you engage the maximum number of followers.
So that sums up marketing strategies for Instagram.
Different things work for every business, but the above list is full of tried and tested ideas that work for most businesses.