Dec 21, 2015 Uncategorized 0 comment

What Are Some Instagram Marketing Strategies?

What Are Some Instagram Marketing Strategies?

What started as the most popular image sharing social media app for the younger generation has caught on among the “older set” and savvy business leaders. With over 300 million active users per month, posting approximately 70 million photos per day, this social media site is growing, coming up just behind Facebook and Twitter.  There are keys to success for all marketers who wish to use Instagram as another way to reach out to their target audience and engage them in an effective and meaningful manner. As part of any winning campaign, marketers need to ask themselves, “What are the objectives we want to achieve?”

Objectives

  • Identify your target audience
  • How will Instagram add value and incorporate itself into other sources of advertising?
  • Grow your business
  • Grow your target audience
  • Increase your sales
  • Introduce your staff
  • Increase your customer engagement (through likes, comments)
  • Keep your content fresh and up to the minute
  • Showcase new products
  • Through pictures, it allows you to show and tell your business story. Storytelling is an important part of having consumers identify with your company brand, values and products

Once your objectives are in place, there are other considerations to think about as part of your plan. One of the most important aspects of an attractive Instagram page is eye catching and visually pleasing images. The pictures should look professional and intriguing.

Importance of Your Brand

Successful companies stick to a message of consistency that their target audience identifies with. Instagram allows for a 150-character bio, so the description you wish to convey should be succinct and true.

Establish ahead of time as part of the strategy how often posts will be put on Instagram. It would be important to time your posts around special promotions, new products, or the launch of a new product. The use of hashtags inspires your followers to use the hashtag on their own sites to share information and spread your message. Whole Foods is an example:

instagram-1-whole-foods

They offer a link in their bio for their followers to click on with more information about their product lines. They provide a hashtag suggestion, in this case, #ShareTheCheer, inviting their audience to post photos of their own with the Whole Foods holiday hashtag. They offer to “regram” their favorites on their site. This excites followers, through gaining recognition from the company, and enhancing their own sites.

The hashtag #ShareTheCheer allows Whole Foods to search the Instagram site and find what people are sharing. The other important aspect is the caption underneath each photo. The caption should reflect what is in the image, and a way for users to engage. For example, Whole Foods posted an image of gingerbread pancakes. They included a professional photo, appropriate hashtags, and additionally, named a company in the industry using the @ sign. This also acknowledges other professionals in the food industry and builds networks between businesses.  In addition, a post like this asks their clients a question, “Who would you make these for?” This allows for customer engagement, and may promote other followers tagged in the comments to visit the Whole Foods Instagram site.

instagram-2-whole-foods

Other Important Details

  • If you decide to use a follower’s image that promotes your business, it is courteous to ask for permission first. Most users will be delighted to share and be recognized by a company they admire and buy products from.
  • Use modern and trendy language depending on the audience that follows you. It may be perfectly appropriate to use slang or emojis to convey your message. Refrain from inappropriate or offensive words and photos.
  • When possible, activate the geo tracker on your photos. Photos with locations have a 79% greater engagement than photos without locations. It allows for followers at the same venue to see if other Instagram users are there, such as festivals or in one of your flagship stores.
  • It is advisable to have one person handle your social media postings. This allows for consistency of message and design. Also, you should decide whether pictures and content should be cross-posted to other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr among others.
  • It is important to follow other businesses in your industry. For example, Whole Foods follows cooks, cooking magazines, chefs, natural food companies and others. Be sure the businesses you follow are reputable. Spend some time exploring their sites and get a feel for their products, their values and their followers.

Engaging With Followers

Instagram calls your audience your “followers.” These are the people and businesses that readily engage with your site. They leave comments, post suggestions, ask questions and may even complain about an issue. It is good business practice to try to answer and acknowledge each person who says something that requires an action. This may be next to impossible if you have several hundred to over 1 million followers, but attempts should be made. This is an extension of the customer service you would provide at your business locations. If a follower posts abusive or inappropriate content, comments may be removed as necessary.

How Do I Know If My Strategy Is Successful?

Instagram success is determined by how many followers a business or individual amass. Generally, a daily growth of followers is an indication you are doing the right things. Also, monitoring of “likes” on the images and the number of comments should increase with postings. If you add your likes and comment numbers together and divide that by the number of followers, this will spit out and engagement rate. You can use these data points to see which images and postings were most interesting to your followers, and which ones weren’t as successful. Stay on top of trends, provide fresh, valuable content and engage with followers and others in your industry. Be consistent in your message and true to your brand. Provide pleasing images and you should see your Instagram marketing strategy achieve the success you are looking for.