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The number of businesses using Instagram for marketing continues to rise. One of the main reasons for this is that engagement is a lot higher than it is on Facebook. There are now more than 25 million businesses using Instagram for marketing. With over 800 million active users it is a good platform to promote your small, medium or large business on.
Stories on Instagram are growing in popularity and the platform has introduced more and more marketing opportunities for business. But as always you need to know how to approach Instagram marketing in the right way to get the best results.
Getting Started with Instagram
Instagram is for mobile device users primarily although you can use it on a desktop or laptop as well. The first thing that you need to do is to sign up for a free Instagram account. Here is what you should do:
- Install the Instagram app on your iPhone, Android or Windows device
- Sign up using your email address
- Choose a username that reflects your brand
- Create a short bio explaining what Instagram users can expect
- Add a high quality profile image (business logo etc)
- Change to a Business Account from the settings menu
- Once your account is setup follow potential customers, industry influencers and others related to your brand
- Add your Instagram details to your website and other social media channels
Decide what you want to achieve with Instagram Marketing
It is essential that your Instagram marketing efforts are a result of your goals for the platform. An ad hoc approach is very unlikely to be successful. So you need to ask yourself what you want to achieve from your Instagram marketing. Here are some ideas:
- Drive brand awareness
- Increase email list subscribers
- Increase sales of your products and services
- Increase your website traffic
- Finding and developing relationships with Instagram influencers
- Improving customer satisfaction
This is by no means an exhaustive list. When you have decided on your Instagram marketing goals use the SMART process to confirm them:
- Time Specific
Deciding on your Content Strategy for Instagram
- Use different types of content – don’t just stick to one type of content. Mix it up so that it is interesting for your audience. Images, videos, contests are all good.
- Decide on your story approach – what distinguishes your brand from others? Be sure to emphasize this in your stories. Use images that relate to your brand identity. Decide if you are going to use emojis and the hashtags that are appropriate.
- How will you drive engagement – do not use automated tools for engagement as these never work well. Decide how you will approach comments from your audience. What is your strategy for commenting and liking other people’s content?
- Posting schedule – you want to be consistent but you must focus on quality over quantity. Don’t go overboard with posting as your followers will not appreciate this. Test different posting days and times.
You need to develop a content marketing plan for Instagram that you can follow and tweak for the best results. Building a strong community is vital as this will assist you to achieve your goals. When you are deciding on your content marketing plan keep these things in mind:
Developing your Brand on Instagram
Instagram is a visual platform so you want to develop a brand identity that is easily recognizable. There are several ways that you can approach this and we recommend that use the following guidelines for the most positive impact:
- Be consistent with your images – Instagram provides a number of filters for you to use and you should choose one and use it for all of your images. This consistency will help your audience recognize your posts quickly.
- What will be the theme of your posts – you need to decide on a theme for your content. If you sell shoes then post images of shoes. You can also use lifestyle posts to attract attention and relate this back to your brand.
- Create your own hashtag – successful Instagram marketers normally have a branded hashtag. Be creative with this and don’t just use the name of your business. Come up with a hashtag that encompasses your brand and that followers will want to share.
Be Creative with your Content
A lot of Instagram users will just add an image with a filter and post it. In the early days of Instagram you couldn’t do a lot more than this but things have changed. Now you can post different types of content that will grab your audience’s attention and drive interaction. Here are some ideas of what you can do:
- Use captions – a picture may be worth a thousand words but help your audience out by adding captions to your images. Use captions to tell your story and don’t be afraid to inject humor
- Be bold with stories – a lot of successful Instagram marketers use stories. Stories will disappear so you can be as bold as you want. Your followers will love stories so create them with videos and images to grab attention
- Create albums – in a single Instagram post you can now add ten images and videos. Your audience will want to check out every element of your album and this can be very engaging
- Finding influencers – it is likely that you will be able to [link to influencers post] find Instagram influencers that are a good fit for your brand. Build a relationship for greater exposure
Instagram Ads can provide good Results
Instagram Ads are a good way for you to extend your reach. You can use them to reach a large number of people that fit your customer profile. It is important that you use the best ad format for your brand:
- Image ads – you can use compelling photographs to tell your story here. You can use a number of calls to action with image ads including call now, contact us, learn more and download
- Video ads – Instagram users love video and you can create engaging videos up to 60 seconds. You can choose an appropriate call to action from apply now, book now, call now, contact us and download
- Carousel ads – with this type of ad an Instagram user can swipe through a video and image series and there is a call to action button where you can use apply now, book now, call now, contact us and download
- Story ads – these are full screen ads that users will see between stories they are currently watching. Over 300 million users choose to view stories daily so this is a great opportunity. Calls to action are apply now, book now, call now, contact us and download
Canvas stories – as Instagram is part of Facebook you can use the Canvas feature to create quick loading videos for the best experience on a mobile device. There are several templates available and you can use apply now, book now and contact us as calls to action