With over a billion people using Instagram in 2020 and spending an average 53 minutes a day on the platform, Instagram is undeniably a launching board for businesses looking to reach a very wide and highly engaged audience.
In a survey recently conducted, 83% of the respondents said that Instagram helped them discover new brands and 80% said it helped them make a purchase decision – whether or not they will buy a product or service. For marketers, this simply means that they should use Instagram beyond the awareness phase, engage at every step, and set the brand on a trajectory of success.
1. Craft your profile
The first impression that your brand makes on the audience is through the profile. It consists of your profile picture, bio and a theme for your creatives. Having said that, here are some optimization steps that you should not miss:
- Your profile picture should be gram-worthy and should have the correct dimensions (110×110 pixels). It should be the correct visual representation of your brand – perhaps a logo or a photo relevant to your business.
- Use the 150 characters available for your bio smartly. First, create a track-able short link using bit.ly or any other tool of your choice. Then use the remaining characters to define your brand and then add a call to action.
2. Define your goal
For new businesses, the objective is normally brand awareness. But remember that Instagram is actually good at influencing people to make purchase decisions. It’s good to set your eyes beyond brand awareness. This is especially true when you want to dip your fingers into Instagram Ads. For example, suppose you have a marketing budget of $1,000. You may want to spend 20 – 30% of that to create awareness through Instagram Ads. Then spend the rest of your money on activities that nurture your audience, for example, a guest posting service to increase the number of customers. You need to know what your goals are so you can allocate the right resources.
3. Create great content
Content on Instagram means captions, photos, videos, and hashtags. All of these elements have to be stellar to stand out on Instagram. If you are a food brand, your imagery has to be mouth-watering. If you are a travel brand, your images or videos of prime destinations have to be nothing short of breath-taking. Captions could add context to your image or engage your audience, so they are very important as well. The trick to creating good Instagram captions is to use the following elements when appropriate:
- Insert a call-to-action that’s hard to resist
- Give the brand’s perspective to user-generated content used
- Link the imagery to your brand’s back story
- Be relatable and try to inspire
- Have appropriate and well-researched hashtags
- Mention things that users can learn more about by visiting your website (Instagram captions can’t have links so always direct your users to the link in your bio)
4. Collaborate with the right people
We all know popular persons who have a huge following on social media. They’re called social media influencers. The followers these influencers have are usually highly-engaged and loyal too, so when these influencers make a recommendation, these followers usually take heed. Collaborating with these influencers allows you to tap into a huge audience that can ultimately be profitable for your business.
Collaborating with influencers doesn’t always require you to spend a lot of money right away. Some of these influencers are willing to collaborate in exchange for a free product or they may go with a profit-sharing scheme, which means you’re taking a smaller risk.
So understand your target market first and look for influencers in that niche. Ideally, you should look for micro-influencers that operate in your local market. Once you have them working with you, you can get the word out about your brand and start reaping positive business results.
5. Make your brand about the people – “Humanize”
Instagram users can get fatigue from seeing posts that are too commercial. That’s not what you want to happen. Of course, we want to grow our brand and our business on Instagram but we should “humanize” the way we do it. You can do that by using user-generated content, highlighting the people behind your brand, and showing that you truly care for noble causes – such as saving the environment and helping people in need.
Applying these tips does not guarantee success overnight. It takes time to build a truly successful brand on Instagram. However, with these fundamental elements in place, you can be sure that you have a watertight Instagram strategy that will allow you to gain Instagram followers that you can, in time, convert into your customers and even brand advocates.