Social media is a critical tool for businesses. With a worldwide reach, having the right social media strategy can make or break your brand. But, with so many different social media platforms, how can you know which is right for your business? If you think Facebook is all you need, think again! Instagram is one of the best ways for brands to engage with their target audience and build their following. Here is our helpful guide on how businesses should use Instagram.
Why Use Instagram?
According to recent data collected by CNBC, Instagram currently boasts more than one billion users, with over 400-million daily users. This is more than double Snapchat’s 191 million daily users. With the addition of IGTV, Instagram’s newest innovation, and Instagram Stories, brands have excellent access to key demographics – including 55-percent of the nation’s 18-29-year-olds and 28-percent of all 30-49-year-olds in the US.
Brands on Instagram enjoy much more engagement with their followers than Facebook and Twitter. While Facebook and Twitter generally experience user engagement levels of less than .1-percent, on Instagram, brands enjoy engagement with 4-percent of their followers. In addition, 70-percent of user’s report looking up a brand on Instagram, and 62-percent following a brand on the platform. With such high engagement rates, it’s surprising that only 36-percent of business marketers use Instagram – a far cry from the 93-percent who use Facebook.
Instagram is also a wonderful way to personalize your brand. By featuring a behind-the-scenes look at day to day life at your company through Instagram Stories, featuring launch or design ideas, or offering studio tours, your followers can connect to your brand on a much deeper level.
In addition, Instagram is very user-friendly, with a host of apps and tools available to help you get the most out of the social media platform. One such app is Planoly, a visual planner which allows you to schedule a month’s worth of content ahead of time.
Keys To An Eye-catching Profile
Having a great profile is essential to your businesses success on Instagram. Your brand’s Instagram profile is equivalent to your website’s homepage. Each profile provides visitors with an understanding of what exactly your business is, and what you have to offer – it even can drive traffic to your website.
Having an engaging profile is easy! The trick to having a fantastic profile is making sure it addresses these four areas:
- Bio – Make sure your profile’s bio states who you are, what you do, and your brand’s slogan. Use a hashtag if there is room. This will help other accounts find you for your desired keyword.
- Photo – Set your profile’s photo as your company’s logo or mascot. If you have a personal brand, then use your headshot.
- Link – Always have a link to your site, so visitors can quickly access it. Linktree is an exciting tool which provides followers instant access to all your recent content, from one convenient link in your Instagram bio!
- Emojis – Since characters are limited, emojis can help summarize what your account is about in a fun way.
Instagram Marketing Strategy
Before you begin posting, you need to develop a result-driven strategy. Devising a simple plan for telling the world your brand’s story is an effective – and easy – way to create a unique voice for your business. This will also allow you to attract followers and customers to your website.
Your Instagram marketing strategy does not have to be complicated to be successful. When beginning your Instagram debut, keep in mind the brand message and the aesthetic you want to commit to. The key to being unique on a heavily influenced social media platform is sticking to your brand’s guidelines and theme. When a new user hops on your profile, consistency will make them hit that follow button and keep them coming.
Original content is the key to thriving on this visual-driven social platform. Pictures and video are going to be your best friend. Make sure you have creative assets in order before you begin posting. There is nothing worse than an unoriginal Instagram profile.
Hashtags to Instagram are like keywords to SEO. Instagram uses hashtags like a search engine – to display the best possible results to the user. Take a look at your top competitor’s hashtags and search Instagram for trending ones. This will result in more impressions and higher brand visibility across the platform. Start compiling a list of hashtags, you can save these in your notes so you can copy and paste when you post or saved as groups in a scheduling program.
As mentioned previously, Planoly is an easy-to-use scheduler that allows businesses to fill their calendar with months of curated content. It saves time and it gives brands the ability to post from your desktop – a major win!
If you want users to engage with you, you need to engage back. Liking and commenting on other profiles is an awesome way to get people to click on your profile. If you want to be a trusted source in your industry, you need to be human-like with your current following.
Using Instagram stories is one of the best ways to engage with your following in a genuine way. We’ll dive into the details of Stories a little later. .
To recap, here is a checklist of the basic marketing strategies you should put into place:
- Have a brand vision
- Gather creative assets
- Complete hashtag research
- Use a scheduler
- Engage and ask for engagement
- Use Instagram Stories
The work-out fashion brand Lululemon is a great example of how creating a coherent content marketing plan can drive engagement on Instagram and boost their brand’s profile. The company was founded on the concept of cultivating community through working out together. According to Lululemon’s company website:
“Our vision for our store was to create more than a place where people could get gear to sweat in, we wanted to create a community hub where people could learn and discuss the physical aspects of healthy living, mindfulness and living a life of possibility.”
This simple vision has helped them create a dynamic Instagram presence – and a narrative that is easy to follow and get excited about for followers. This is a reliable template to follow for your business, as it helps to get your brand’s message and ethos across to your target audience.
Released in August 2016, Instagram Stories lets users post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours – like Snapchat. Over 300-million people use Instagram Stories every day, making it a fantastic way for businesses to reach their desired audience. In fact, according to Buffer, 33-percent of the most viewed stories are business stories, with 20-percent of them resulting in direct messages from users.
There are several effective ways to utilize Instagram Stories to invite your audience to engage from with your brand. These include:
- Supplementing your main content – Stories are a great way to show more personality than your basic Instagram post. And unlike Snapchat, Stories offer a public, viewable profile for all your content. You can, for example, show your audience that you have a new blog post or even share 1 tip from your post. Then, ask them to read your blog so they can get the rest of the tips.
- Behind the scenes content – Instagram Stories offers a look behind the scenes of your business or brand. This allows you to humanize your brand and allows people to see your company in a new, more personal light.
- Instagram takeovers – Instagram takeovers are when someone temporarily takes over an Instagram account to post guest content. Takeovers offer great value for businesses, as they are fun and can attract a new audience to your brand.
- “Swipe up” – For those brands who can boast over 10,000 followers, Instagram offers the ability to add links which users can swipe up to access. These links invite users to explore your brand’s latest projects, products or content – and increase your web traffic!
Tracking Results with Instagram Analytics
With your Instagram account up and running and your marketing plan well-developed, it’s now time to monitor how your campaign is doing. Instagram Analytics enables your business to pay close attention to the growth of your audience, which posts are resonating with them, as well as details on the number of comments and likes you receive. This data will provide you with crucial evidence of what is – and isn’t – working, and what can be done to improve your results.
Instagram analytics is only available to those accounts which are business profiles. This means, that if you wish to gain access to all that Instagram Analytics has to offer, you must convert your personal profile into a business profile. Once you have a business profile, a graph icon will be available in the upper-right corner of your Instagram profile – this is the location for Instagram Analytics.
Instagram Analytics offers an impressive array of metrics and insights for measuring your business’s performance. With Analytics, you can understand the overall performance of your Instagram marketing campaign.
Take Your Social Media to the Next Level
If you’re thinking about using Instagram to boost your company’s profile, now is the perfect time to partner with a team as dedicated to building your business as you are. Next Level Marketing’s world-class marketing team has the know-how to provide you with cutting-edge social media marketing techniques. Our experienced team will work exclusively with you to discover what sets you apart, create a compelling strategy to dynamically develop your business’ visibility and take a holistic, evolutionary approach to deliver exceptional results.
So, if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, give us a call today at 1 (844) SEM-NEXT for a free consultation.