If you run a business or planning to develop one from scratch, you absolutely need to develop a good marketing strategy.
In 2018, the marketplaces are extremely crowded in every possible niche. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t get our piece of the pie, right?
Instagram is one of the big pies that can be split into hundreds of thousands of pieces. The only trick is to know how to actually slice it.
The potential is huge.
A recent study reports that 71% of US companies use Instagram for business purposes, while a whopping 80% of Instagram users to actively follow a business profile.
In case you’re looking to start your Instagram journey, I have several guidelines that will help you get started.
Start with the Basics
If you don’t have an Instagram profile, download the Instagram app on your phone and press “Sign Up”.
Once you’ve completed your details, go to “Settings” and click on “Switch to Business Account”.
This feature will help you a great deal the moment you activate it.
Ensure that your Instagram’s username is identical with your other social media networks and with your brand name.
Select a professional picture (ideally the company’s logo) and write a short & concise bio.
Don’t rush with it – try to write it as well as you can, as it will definitely influence your business page’s performance.
Your Instagram marketing strategy should be smart.
Before heading down the road, you should establish precise short-term goals and long-term objectives.
First off, ask yourself…” What do I want to accomplish with Instagram?”
Depending on your company’s goals, you should identify the following probable motives:
- Improve brand awareness
- Generate sales
- Customer loyalty
- Attracting new customers/clients
- Developing long-term relationships with influencers
Develop an Instagram Content Strategy
Content is king, even on Instagram. When you start an Instagram page, everything is new. You must figure out how you’re going to build a strong audience, and that means you have to figure how you’re going to post your content.
- How frequently are you going to post?
Ideally, keep the rate the same and let your followers know what to expect and when to expect it. You should always respect your promises and maintain consistency.
For example, if you’re posting three posts a day for a few months and your followers have already gotten used to it, you shouldn’t drop the consistency to one post per day.
- What topics will you approach?
There are so many possibilities when it comes to developing an Instagram content marketing plan.
Instagram users generally like visual content, so planning out images and videos would be ideal.
You should even organize your content in different series that you keep updating over time.
For example, if you were covering an SEO tutorial, you can split the content into more parts, therefore creating a series of posts.
Also, you should post different types of content:
- Behind-the-scenes photos/videos/audio – improves brand trust and authenticity.
- Develop comprehensive educational posts – educate before you sell.
- Write inspirational/motivational words – these type of posts are always welcome.
- Repost other brilliant content – it should always reflect your brand’s purpose.
- Encourage user-generated content – here are a few examples of some of the most successful user-generated campaigns on Instagram.
- Videos, GIFs, Infographics – these are probably the most popular types of content in today’s social environment.
- How will you approach your audience?
Your content should have a specific theme. You should decide how you’re going to approach your followers and fans is truly up to you. You can be the funny brand, the confident brand, or the mysterious brand. Choose a theme and stick to it for the long term. The tone of your brand will be remembered, so ensure that your content will always reflect your brand’s culture.
Create a Strong Brand Proposition
Instagram, like all social networks, are simply distribution networks that allow you to develop the image of a strong brand. See your Instagram page as one of the places where you brand can flourish.
David Johnson, CEO and Marketing Specialist at essaygeeks.co.uk, brilliantly exemplifies:
Imagine a supermarket – when you go shopping, there are all sorts of products.
Some products stand out from the others because their brand has managed to win your trust.
How did they manage?
Well, for starters, a strong unique value proposition is the first essential aspect of your brand’s success on social media, especially on Instagram.
Ask yourself -why would any individual follow you instead of your biggest competition?
Identify your business’ unique traits and do your best to emphasize it through the content you post on a consistent basis.
For example, if 10 brands in a niche don’t offer “free shipping”, you should offer free shipping. If your competitors don’t offer any bonuses/discounts, you should be the first to do it.
Your unique value proposition must be very specific and aimed at a very specific audience.
Here are a few examples:
Evernote knows how to capture their prospects’ attention.
First off, they’re specifying their product’s benefits in one sentence (covering everything needed).
Secondly, they’re offering a 30 days free trial – an aspect that is hard to ignore.
Stripe is yet another brand that knows how to carefully leverage their unique value proposition.
Their statement is clear, concise, and complete.
Create a Branded Hashtag
Out of all the popular social channels, Instagram excels at hashtags.
Most Instagram users love to detail their posts with different hashtags.
The moment you post, let’s say #business, everyone who searches for this tag may come across your post.
What does this mean?
Additional traffic or, better said, free traffic.
Therefore, it would be ideal if you’d learn what type of hashtags work for your unique content and brand.
Lastly, you should create a ‘branded hashtag’, which refers to the creation of a specific, unique, and original hashtag that represents your brand’s culture, mission, or purpose.
And no, that doesn’t mean that your branded hashtag should be exactly the name of your brand.
Create something remarkable and therefore your brand will be remembered.
For example, Coca-Cola’s branded hashtag “#ShareACoke” is a brilliant example that you should analyze for inspiration.
You must have seen the trend – Coke bottles with different names on them, accompanied by the branded hashtag.
A great idea!
#IceBucketChallenge is another successfully branded hashtag that went viral.
The altruistic purpose also helped this campaign become outrageously popular.
Compared to Coca-Cola, this was a campaign created by a non-profit organization that hasn’t spent millions to get the trend going.
Actively Engage with Your Instagram Followers
Engaging with your audience means more than replying to your follower’s comments.
Engaging, in the professional sense, means to reach out to other followers by commenting and liking their posts, expressing your opinion on the matter, and offering advice, especially if those followers have mentioned your brand’s name throughout their content.
You should create interactive contests and different promotions that require your community to do certain actions for you.
For example, you can reward people who care to promote your brand by placing your logo in their cover photos.
Or, you can offer 1-10 big prizes to the lucky winners who have actively interacted with your content for a specified amount of time.
Think out of the box!
There are plenty of ways to improve your customer’s engagement, so don’t forget to do that!
Perform a Competitive Analysis and Get Inspired
You shouldn’t reinvent the wheel.
Instead, you’d better look for brilliant ideas that have already been applied and have been proven to work.
You must have competitors – every business has competitors.
Taking a quick peek and observing what they are doing, how they are posting, what they are posting, and what out-of-the-box tricks they’re using can help you find unique ideas.
“There’s nothing new under the sun” – follow this motto and don’t be afraid to get inspired from others.
The only trick is to know how to add your own twist.
This means taking the same idea and modifying it to make it better.
You can always improve someone else’s work, especially if you’re smart enough to look in more places.
If you find 10 posts on the same topic, you can create a post that exceeds all of them because you have collected all the “good” aspects from each of those posts.
Take advantage of some of the best social media competitive analysis tools and speed up the process!
Leverage Niche Influencers
To speed up the process and improve your Instagram’s page awareness and reputation, you should take advantage of the influencers within your niche.
An influencer is a person/page/brand that has already captured the attention of many individuals.
Generally, influencers earn their money by promoting other small persons/pages/brands to their audiences.
Partnering with the right influencers will help you expand your page and also sell products and services.
Simply put, if a trusted niche influencer recommends a page/product/service, people are likely to trust it more than they would trust a new page/product/brand.
The trickiest part is to connect and negotiate with an influencer whose audience is very similar to yours.
That means that his/her followers should be interested in what your brand has to offer.
In this example, the big “HP” computer corporation uses a respected influencer.
The purpose was to promote a contest that they were holding at that time.
Instagram marketing is incredibly powerful if you know how to leverage it properly.
Use these Instagram marketing tips to embark on this journey and continue learning on your own.
Test, optimize, scale – every remarkable result should be closely examined and later replicated.
Analyzing is key, so ensure you’re collecting all the helpful clues that come along the way.