Digital Marketing

Instagram marketing for your business

By Mark Ainsworth

Whilst social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn have long been seen as valid options for marketing, and frequently used for business purposes, Instagram has been a little slower in infiltrating the advertising industry. However, with over 800 million active monthly users, Instagram is clearly an important resource for businesses of all types, and one which is actually very easy to take advantage of.

Instagram users are highly engaged, and visit the site regularly, with more than half of users admitting to checking the site daily, and 35% saying that they check it multiple times per day. This makes Instagram a prime platform for advertising, ensuring an active and engaged audience.

50% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform, and 60% say that they have discovered a product or service when using Instagram. Because the platform is predominantly used for sharing images and videos, businesses need to be a little smarter with their marketing, as the image is the most important part of the ad, with text taking a backseat.

Here are some ways that your business can take advantage of Instagram for successful marketing.

 

First, understand your audience

Before you can start putting out interesting, engaging content that will appeal to your target audience, you first need to understand who this audience is. Instagram Insights works much in the same way as Facebook’s version, providing businesses with a tool that helps them to understand their current audience and what they are responding to the best.

Insights works by offering you data relating to:

  • How many times your content has been viewed
  • How many accounts have viewed your content
  • How many accounts have saved your posts
  • Information about your followers, including their age, location and gender

You can then use this information to work out which of your posts are performing well, and with who, allowing you to better target your audience.

 

Take advantage of hashtags

Obviously, Instagram is not the first platform to use hashtags, but hashtags tend to be more relevant here and on Twitter than elsewhere. Not only do your hashtags help people to find your content, it also helps you to categorise your images and videos for easier data collection and insight into your followers.

You can use hashtags in a variety of ways. Using popular general hashtags is an easy way to get your posts viewed by a lot of people, but many businesses find it better to use targeted hashtags that are relevant and help the right people to find your pictures and videos.

Branded hashtags are another important practice, as they offer a way to start conversations and get people sharing things specifically about your brand. You can also use branded hashtags to track whether or not a certain campaign is successful. You can invent your own branded hashtags and then encourage others to take part using that hashtag. A great example of a successful branded hashtag campaign is Coca Cola’s #shareacoke hashtag, which offers users the chance to share their own images and content to go alongside personalised bottles. The campaign was an instant success when it began and is still running today, 6 years later.

 

Tips for using hashtags

  • Use a few, targeted hashtags instead of lots of random ones
  • Keep it relevant. Hashtag spam tends to be annoying to users more than anything
  • Avoid overused hashtags. Using tags like #love or #picoftheday will have very little impact as they have so much competition

Include a call-to-action

Whilst Instagram is mostly about looking at and enjoying images and videos, there is no point using this for marketing if you don’t tell your audience what you want them to do with it. Try to sneak in a call-to-action with your posts, so that they know what to do next.

 

Here are a few popular strategies:

‘Link in bio’
Instagram does not allow links in the text that accompanies images, and you can only include one link in your bio. This means that you need to make it something that your followers can always navigate to (and have it be relevant) from your images. If you are a store, your link could navigate to your sales page. If you are offering services, perhaps have your link navigate to a price list, or even a blog which you keep regularly updated.

Promo codes
You can easily provide a promo code in the text that accompanies your image or video, or built right into the image. If you have a specific Instagram promo code this also offers a great opportunity for data collection, as you will know that anyone who uses it has come from your Instagram feed.

‘Like or comment’ polls
Creating a poll through your Instagram posts allows you to boost engagement and keep an eye on how your followers react to certain things. Ask followers to ‘like’ the image for one response, or ‘comment’ for another.

 

Don’t over-post

According to studies, the optimum post rate for any business on Instagram is 1-2 times per day. Any more than this and the likelihood is that your followers will see it as spam and unfollow you. People like their social media feeds to be unique and interesting every time they look at them, whether they look once or multiple times per day. If you feel that you do have more to say in your post, you can use the album feature to post multiple images in a carousel post so that users can choose to scroll through them or not.

The optimal time to post is between 8am and 9am, which is presumably when most Instagram users are on their commute to work and feel the most interested and engaged. You can use Instagram to schedule posts if you don’t want to risk missing this slot, so that every morning your post will be there waiting for that first scroll of the day!

 

Make your images beautiful

This should go without saying, but because Instagram is such a visual medium, it is critical that the images you are putting up are worth your followers pausing to look at. Choose interesting, high-res images that really catch the eye, so that users pause long enough to take in any other information provided in the post. Some businesses choose to stick to a colour scheme or have themed posts, whilst others will just use gorgeous, on-brand images. The most important thing is to keep it interesting and know who your followers are so that you can choose images that you know will appeal to them.

 

Final words

Many industry insiders thought Facebook was crazy for purchasing Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, but it has turned out to be a phenomenal buy. While it is, on the face of it, a very simple app with not much to distinguish it from 1,000’s of others, it’s ease of use means it been a hit with consumers and businesses alike – and for this reason it is formidable advertising medium and one which you should try an exploit.

For all your internet and advertising needs why not get in touch with the team at Maxweb. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be able to help you find a solution which looks great, fits within your budget, and also helps drives inbound enquiries. You can reach us on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk to find out more.

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