With the dynamic development of the social media networking platform, Instagram has grown from a popular app to one of the leading social networks with more than 1 billion users worldwide, so brands are rapidly realizing that Instagram is a platform to increase brand exposure and get closer to users. More and more companies are using Instagram and its Stories feature to promote their products or services and build communities. Then, more and more businesses are using Instagram to find potential customers for their products. How can sellers maximize the effectiveness of their marketing on the Instagram platform?
What is Instagram marketing?
Instagram marketing is one of the channels of digital marketing, which is a way for individuals or businesses to use videos, images and other content on the platform to increase their brand awareness and sales. All small businesses can benefit from Instagram marketing, although specific strategies will vary from industry to industry. A successful Instagram marketing strategy can increase Instagram followers and engagement, converting them into customers.
How does Instagram marketing work
Instagram marketing is a process to capture business from Instagram profile creation by promoting their brand, product or service. First, companies will create profiles specific to their business, then post relevant content for their target audience and encourage engagement through effective call-to-action phrases (CTAs). This can increase brand awareness and sales conversions.
Instagram marketing begins by learning about your competitors through a Google search of your customers' top questions. Then, analyze your competitors' Instagram profiles for metrics including audience growth and fluctuations, top performing posts, best time and date of engagement, frequency of posting, type of engagement, and more. Once you have this data and know which content is working well, create goals to maximize the reach of your content.
If you successfully implement an Instagram marketing strategy, you will see increased brand awareness (increased user engagement and more followers) as well as increased return on investment (ROI) from converted sales and opt-in leads.
Who is right for Instagram marketing
Instagram offers powerful marketing tools for business-to-business (B2B) brands, business-to-consumer (B2C) brands and nonprofits. With more than 700 million active Instagram users per month, there are 8 million business profiles - up from 1.6% in 2016 - and 80% of Instagram users follow at least one brand.
Here's a more in-depth look at how nonprofits, B2B, and B2C businesses are using Instagram.
B2B brands in 2018 use Instagram to increase engagement with their target audience by creating an engaging persona that viewers can relate to. For example, real-time event images, product demos and live behind-the-scenes videos add authenticity to the B2B world, allowing business customers and clients to feel a deeper connection compared to professional brands.
B2C business generates sales based on a trusted relationship with the target audience. This trust is created by providing a relevant personality on platforms such as Instagram. By using this social channel, companies can add followers to the target through hashtags, mentions, user-generated content, live videos, stories, etc. Once consumers connect with a brand on a personal level, brands can run more successful ads and promotions while sounding less salesy and having a more authentic and engaging feel.
Nonprofits looking to raise money and awareness around their cause must do so through authentic storytelling. Instagram offers nonprofits unique opportunities to immerse followers in stories and events through Instagram's live videos, stories, images, themed hashtags and user-generated content. These help public benefit organizations showcase their worthy causes rather than plead their case. In turn, followers became more awake and passionate about the nonprofit's mission.
Different types of Instagram post
When creating an Instagram marketing strategy, it's important to understand all the available content types. Instagram goes beyond a simple photo sharing platform, allowing you to connect with users through a variety of engaging content types that will drive engagement between your business and your target audience.
Instagram's shareable content types:
Share still visuals with your audience, including snapshots, modalities and infographics designed using Instagram's size- and mobile-first platforms
Instagram stories can be viewed 24 hours before they disappear; with the Stories feature, you can share videos and images and then add polls, captions, hashtags and tags, and even make them interactive and engaging with direct messages
When you share a live video, your followers will receive a notification that you are live; they can then like or comment on the stream to make a live connection; then, once you are done, the video disappears; however, if saved to Instagram Stories, it can be replayed within 24 hours
Post videos up to 60 seconds long, just like shooting images; you can add filters, location tags and captions for more engagement opportunities
Create ads in Facebook's Ads Manager or turn one of your most engaging posts into an engagement ad
Instagram Shopping: Tag up to five products in product images; users can then click on the tags to access information such as pricing, descriptions and links to the website purchase process
Instagram TV (IGTV):
Share hour-long videos with your audience through the Instagram TV app within Instagram
Instagram marketing step-by-step
Instagram marketing is a step-by-step process of analyzing your competitors' performance on the platform, defining business goals based on this data, optimizing your profile and generating targeted content to achieve your goals. When successfully completed, Instagram marketing will increase your brand awareness and conversion rates.
Implement and optimize your Instagram marketing strategy
Determine if Instagram is right for your brand
To make the most of your Instagram marketing efforts, make sure your target audience is aligned with the audience on Instagram. Additionally, to help you better reach new audience profiles, consider which extended Instagram audiences might respond well to your Instagram marketing. Finally, because Instagram lends itself to mobile-first access, it's important to prepare your brand to receive mobile-first leads.
Understand Instagram user demographics
Each marketing platform has its own set of users that fall into unique demographics. For example, while only 29% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 use LinkedIn, 81% of the age group uses Facebook. similarly, Instagram has its own unique set of users.
Compare these audience characteristics with your target audience. If you run an advanced care facility, this may not be for you. But, be creative. Think about all audiences, not just the core audience. While advanced care patients may not be on Instagram, many baby boomers and millennials may be faced with the need to make decisions about the care of their elderly parents. Instagram can provide a platform to showcase the exceptional services you can provide for your loved ones.
Consider the mobile nature of the platform
Instagram users are 70% more likely to purchase products via their mobile devices. This means your brand must be set up to support mobile-first leads. For example, if your bio contains a link to your current campaign, your target page must be mobile-friendly. If you showcase your retail store through your Instagram store, your website must support mobile browsing.
No marketing platform should live in a silo. This is because few customer journeys can only run on one platform. Considering the entire customer journey means making sure the rest of your brand is set up to support visitors from Instagram.
Conduct a competitive analysis to develop your advantage
Competitive analysis is an in-depth look at how your competitors are performing. This allows you to mimic the content that works for them and the target audience they are not capturing. A successful competitive analysis will involve gaining insight into Instagram followers and engagement metrics to help you shape your own marketing goals.
First, visit your competitor's profile To find your competitor's profile, consider the questions your customers ask you most often, and then consider Google questions. You can find a list of merchants that are answering these or locating the keywords contained in them. It is best to do this in an incognito window, so the results are not affected by your own browsing history.
Next, make a note of a few competitors that rank just above you in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Also, note which brands are ranked highest. In this way, you can learn how to compete with your direct competitors and try to compete with those who are ahead of you in terms of market share.
Finally, search for these brands on Instagram. Set a time frame for data collection - say a month - and then dive into their profiles to get to know them. For example, if you want to know the goals of video engagement, analyze their video posts. Who and how many followers liked them? Who commented on their posts? Are their engagement levels higher on certain weekdays or at certain times of the day?
By analyzing the behavior of similar competitors and their audiences, and then optimizing your presence to deliver only the content desired by relevant audience members, you can build a competitive advantage. To do this, review follower growth; the highest ranking posts in general and by type (e.g., video and image engagements); audience preferences of audience demographics; hashtag usage; number of followers; frequency of posting; and optimal times and days of engagement.
Decide on your Instagram marketing strategy business goals
Once your competitive analysis has identified underperforming metrics, choose which goals will help you compete. Avoid ambiguity and thus liability. A robust social media analytics process can help you understand the goals you should set. For example, you may need to increase your new millennial female follower rate by 20 percent in two months to get ahead of your competitors. Start by asking questions about your business needs and go from there.
Engage and maintain Instagram followers
Instagram marketing isn't just a "one-and-done" strategy. Instead, cultivate better results by building a following and maintaining it. There are two ways to promote and sustain growth through internal and external influencers, and to achieve growth goals through giveaways and contests.
Grow quickly through influencers
Many people assume that influencers are well-known industry experts with a large following. However, influencers can also be ordinary people who influence how their audience perceives a brand. These can be both internal and external to your company.