Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has taken the world by storm and has grown into a powerful social media platform. With over 1 billion monthly active users, the photo-sharing platform is undeniably one of the most prominent social media channels. Creating stunning visual content will be the key to success on Instagram, as content shared on the platform primarily includes photos, videos, and live videos.
WHY SHOULD YOUR BUSINESS BE ON INSTAGRAM?
- Visual content is dominating the social media world. Over 50% of marketers stated that they use visual content in more than 90% of their online posts. Studies show that people have the ability to recall 65% of the visual content that they see almost three days later. Instagram thrives on visual content so it is essential for your small business to market on Instagram.
- Your competitors are probably already on Instagram! Instagram has more than 1 million monthly advertisers and 8 million business profiles. 7 out of 10 #Hashtags on Instagram are branded and an estimated 71% of US companies use Instagram for marketing.
- Consumer behavior on Instagram - 80% of users on Instagram follow at least one business account. Instagram users have pretty deep pockets. 31% of users make over $75000 per year. 30% of Instagram users have purchased a product they first discovered on Instagram.
Using #hashtags wisely while Instagramming can get your business a much higher engagement. Categorize your content and identify high volume hashtags for these topics. Such #hashtags make your content more discoverable because anyone who clicks on a hashtag and searches for it will see a page with all the posts that tagged this particular #hashtag. The more likes you get on your post, the more discoverable it would become because engagement will determine your post's location on the search page and a higher position on the search page would result in being discovered more often.
HARNESS SUCCESS ON INSTAGRAM FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
Before you start marketing your small business on Instagram, be sure to switch your account to a business profile. This will activate various business specific Instagram features like a contact button, Instagram insights, ads, and shopping tags which are vital to success. Also, include a great bio for your business with the most relevant #hashtags and a valid URL redirecting followers to your mobile responsive website.
Treat you Instagram feed like your product gallery. Create and share astounding product-based images. Your posts needn’t explicitly talk about selling the products. Instead, marketing a theme where your products would be a great fit is a brilliant strategy! Use stories and live videos to connect better with your audience and improve engagement. Post more often, say around 1.5 times per day on an average so that you can maximize views.
Engage with your target audience. Reply to their comments on your posts. Comment and like on posts related to your industry niche to get more visibility. You could also run contests on Instagram to make your audience engage with your brand actively.
Instagram users love to see their peers getting recognized by leading brands. This is why user-generated content drives a higher conversion rate.
INSTAGRAM SUCCESS STORIES
If you master the nuances of Instagram marketing for your small business, you can fuel your lead generation strategy by a significant extent. Read this article on how these 5 small businesses have a killer Instagram marketing strategy to boost their conversions.
Influencer marketing is extremely popular on Instagram. Top influencers, commonly referred to as the ‘Instagram Rich List,’ make a fortune. Kylie Jenner who ranks number 1 on this list with over 111 million followers makes $1 million per post and Selena Gomez with 135 million followers makes $800,000 per post. They charge such huge sums based on the estimated engagement their posts are likely to receive. Kylie charges higher than Selena due to her high post engagement. In fact, she holds the record for the most liked social media post with over 13 million likes. Brands who want to tap this potential connect with the influencers for sponsored posts.
Here are a few more Instagram success stories that could inspire you!
POSTING ON INSTAGRAM AND AUTOMATED POSTING
Plan your Instagram content strategy based on your understanding of the target audience. Based on the shortlisted list of #hashtags, create relevant content. As a small business, you should focus on the quality of content to be posted instead of quantity. Even if you post only once or twice per day, carefully pick the right hashtags and promote your business and brand.
Instagram doesn’t allow automated posting. So even if you use a wide range of available auto post tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, Sproutsocial, Later, Autogrammer and Agorapulse, on Instagram, you could just use these tools to schedule the content to be posted at a particular time and set reminder notifications for you/your team to post manually at that time when you have scheduled the post.
These auto post tools allow you to upload images and videos, add a caption with #hashtags and select a time to post in on the calendar. You need to make sure you are available to hit the share button when you want the content to be posted according to the calendar.
VIDEOS ARE IMPORTANT FOR YOUR INSTAGRAM STRATEGY
25% of Instagram ads are videos. Videos can be up to 60 seconds long but shorter videos of around 15 to 30 seconds duration tend to receive higher engagement. Here are 17 inspiring video examples for Instagram video marketing.
Stories are one of the most popular features on Instagram. As of June 2018, Instagram stories alone has 400 million daily active users. So do not restrict your Instagram marketing initiatives to just photographs and regular videos. Plan to use short and concise live videos to tell unique brand experiences and market on Instagram. Stories feature allows you to post such bitesize 15-second videos. Here are a few brilliant examples of how to use Instagram stories for marketing your brand.
USING AUTOMATION TOOLS TO GAIN MORE FOLLOWERS AND ENGAGE WITH THEM
SocialDrift is an Instagram automation tool that allows you to grow your Instagram followers organically by automating follows, likes, and comments. Using smart filters, you can target users by location, #hashtags, usernames, and more. The platform safely grows Instagram following by using machine learning to help customers engage with their target audience. SocialDrift also has Secureboost, which ensures that your brand remains within the Instagram permissible limits. And the tool is compliant with Instagram’s terms and conditions making it a safe option. McDonald's uses SocialDrift for their Instagram automation.
Combin helps you find posts and Instagram users by hashtag or location and perform combination searches by hashtag + location. Once discovered, the tool allows Combin users to manually follow, like, and comment; manage follows and unfollows on the same page. Combin tracks the number of actions. If too many actions are performed, it automatically schedules it to a later date.
Popsocial is a similar automation which allows users to acquire Instagram followers in a short amount of time. Popsocial has big clients like Microsoft and Porsche. But there isn’t much information on how the tool goes about acquiring followers and engaging with them. Neither does the tool mention if it complies with the Instagram limits.
However, you must be very careful while choosing an automation tool to increase your follower base and engagement for your business Instagram profile. This is because Instagram has very strict policies against automation. Instagress, an extremely popular automation tool was shut down by Instagram classifying it as unauthorized commercial communication or spam. You must choose a tool which complies with Instagram’s policies and stays within the permissible limits.
HOW INSTAGRAM MARKETING FITS INTO THE BUYING JOURNEY
During the initial stages of the buying journey when users are not aware of the problem they are facing or the available solutions, Instagram ads that drive brand awareness are apt. When potential customers are in the middle of the funnel, influencer posts and user-generated content could motivate them and convince them about the authenticity of the brand. And when they are in the purchase and loyalty stages Instagram shopping would be a great option.
Visual content drives more conversions by attracting users. Small businesses can now create a virtual shopfront on Instagram with its shopping on Instagram feature. If you want to use storytelling to sell your products, then you could use shopping in Instagram stories which is expected to be launched soon.
Be authentic, have fun, and use appropriate brand voice for the channel.
Understanding your brand and creating a brand voice is crucial to Instagram marketing. Instagram is a platform which almost entirely focusses on original content. So, in order to be successful on the platform, create authentic content that rings a bell among your target audience.
Fun posts also do extremely well, so ensure that you have an optimal mix of fun versus other informative posts. Be extremely consistent with the kind of content you post on your account and blend your visual brand into each post of yours. This will help you develop a brand voice on Instagram.