Table of contents
- What You Need To Do
Social media dominates all aspects of our life, and anyone who denies that is either unaware or lying. From shopping to everyday news, social media is what keeps us going. Similarly, internet marketing also depends on social media as a powerful marketing tool. Businesses and brands are now realizing how their existing and potential customers are consuming social media, which is why tapping into that space is very crucial these days.
One prime example of social media marketing tools is Instagram. With features like business profiles, automated messages, and interactive stories, Instagram is the new go-to place for businesses of all types for cost-efficient marketing. Brands make use of things like hashtags, customer-engagement via DMs and comments, and of course, Instagram influencers!
Instagram can be a great marketing tool, particularly for e-commerce businesses and small startups. This is because it is a cheaper means of advertising your product/service, and accommodates businesses and online stores to carry out their tasks easily. The user-friendly interface and nature of Instagram also make it easier for non-tech people to make use of it and help themselves generate the traffic they want to reach their marketing goals.
If you are new to social media marketing and wondering where to start, here is a quick guide about the most important steps in Instagram marketing.
What You Need To Do
Before jumping into the details, make sure you have a reliable internet service provider such as AT&T home internet services because a slow internet can do no good for your business. Other than that, make sure you are using a business profile and not a personal account! You can either make a separate business account or simply switch your current profile into a business one from the Account Settings option.
- Use the free tools
Yes, you read it right, Instagram does have some pretty insightful tools and features that are totally free to use! The “insights” tool gives you a fairly detailed look at engagements, likes, impressions and the reach of your posts and stories. This insights tool also breaks down your audience or engagements with your posts into demographics and several other strata. You can see which location or region you are getting the most engagements and reach from, age group, and gender. It also informs you about the busiest and most active hours so you can post at that time. There are two types of insights: one is general and gives you an overall overview of how your business account is performing and the other is specific to a particular post or story. So, let’s say that you announced a big sale on your Instagram feed, you can use insights to see how the post performed and can forecast (to a certain extent) how the post would help in your sale’s success!
- Create a hashtag
Even the biggest corporates and brands are putting use to the power of hashtags for their marketing goals. For example, Cupshe is an international brand of women’s swimwear and beachwear. Their USP is selling clothes for women of all sizes, with the size range as low as XS and as high as 4X. So, how does Cupshe use Instagram to increase their reach and popularity? They take help of customer-driven content by featuring posts and pictures from customers who use the hashtag #cupshe and tag their business account on their posts. This creates an immense amount of engagement for the brand.
So, creating a hashtag that you and your customers can use to get in touch is a free-of-cost yet effective way of increasing your reach.
- Sponsored ads
It is impossible to escape a sponsored ad on your Instagram feed once you open it to check what’s new. These sponsored ads are actually driven by lots of intelligent features and algorithms that make it look like that the ad was specifically meant for you – and it was!
Sponsored ads on Instagram allow businesses to set up a certain budget that fits well with them, and spend on the ad accordingly. This is unlike Facebook, where you have to pay a specified minimum amount and can’t change it! So, to appear in front of your target audience and potential customers, you can create an effective sponsored ad.
To make use of these ads, you should focus on content quality. Use a high-resolution picture or video with a clear message that gets through you to a customer. You can create an ad either by using an existing post on your account, or you can create a new one. You can set the demographics of your target audience, and let Instagram handle the rest.
What are the benefits of investing in sponsored ads on Instagram? More reach on your page, higher chances of engagement, more followers, and greater chances of making a sale!
- Don’t give away the details
This is not a must-do, but can rather be an effective digital marketing technique that you can include in your strategy. Keeping the element of mystery in your products or your whole brand image can actually spark a lot of questions and interest in the audience. You want them to stay hooked onto your page. To do that, post discreet, subtle, and less obvious pictures of your product/service, such that your customer opens the link given in the caption, or clicks on your account to find out what’s going on.
An excellent example of this technique can be Starbucks – the all-time favorite for millennials. Starbucks does not give away details about its new seasonal drinks and beverages right away in its posts. Instead, it posts an aesthetically pleasing picture, and use a very minimalistic caption, including a CTA with a link to more details. This encourages the audience to follow that link, or actually head out to their outlet and inquire about the new drink!
- BTS stories!
After snapchat, Instagram jumped on the bandwagon and launched stories feature too. These stories only remain on your page for 24 hours, unless you add them on your page as “highlights”. You can use these stories to share new post alerts, new product alerts, event announcements, and can also use Instagram’s free and built-in interactive features. These features include Question and Answers boxes, polls and even hashtags.
The best, easiest and quickest way of using the stories feature is to share behind the scenes! Packaging process of your product, product shoots, manufacturing processes, and anything along those lines should be up on your stories. Your account’s main feed is for only aesthetically pleasing content that appeals to the audience. The stories are for engaging and interacting with your audience, and you can do this by welcoming them into the side of your business that they will be very curious about. You can also use BTS stories to raise awareness about the processes and methods you use, and utilize them for sparking curiosity and sneak peeks of your upcoming launches.
Summing it up, hashtags, stories, likes, and free insights tools on Instagram can actually be lifesavers for businesses and startups looking for an effective fix for their marketing goals. Make sure to maintain an aesthetically pleasing account, and engage a lot with your audience.