Instagram Marketing: A Preface
When Instagram first popped onto the scene back in 2010, it was just like any other social platform: filled with selfies, pets, and pictures of food.
Fast-forward to 2019 and Instagram’s transformation from a simple photo sharing app to a full-on marketing channel is nearly complete.
Just look at some of the platform’s newest features! In the last year alone, Instagram has released dozens of new tool for businesses, including advanced analytics, shoppable Instagram posts, and new ways to drive traffic from Instagram Stories, and the new standalone video platform, IGTV.
Whether you work in ecommerce, education, or media and publishing, it pays to build a presence on Instagram. But if you really want to get ahead, you need to know the platform (and your audience) inside and out, including what kind of content resonates most, how to build an Instagram Stories strategy, and how to track your metrics and KPIs.
Why Instagram Marketing is Key to Ecommerce Success
We all know how great Instagram is for sharing photos and videos with our friends and family, but it’s also an incredible channel for ecommerce marketing. But why?
Well, an obvious reason is Instagram’s format. Because of this visual nature, Instagram holds massive opportunities for ecommerce businesses looking to showcase their products. Whether through regular photos, videos, or Instagram Stories, millions of businesses have learned that building a visual presence on Instagram can hugely compliment their ecommerce marketing.
What Is an Instagram Marketing Strategy?
An Instagram marketing strategy is a set of goals, actions, and processes defined by businesses to use Instagram as a channel for achieving its marketing as well as business goals. An Instagram marketing strategy is a part of social media marketing and is aligned to its goals and processes.
1. Optimize Your Instagram Bio
An Instagram bio is a small area below your username on your page that is used to share information about your brand, as well as the content that you intend to share. This area generally includes the name of your brand, product or service description, profile details, and contact information. Instagram also allows you to share a URL of your website or portfolio in your bio.
Your Instagram bio is the first thing that users will see when they land on your profile. To make sure that you engage these users, you need to build a bio that is informative, captivating, and engaging.
In your bio, make sure to share a proper and concise description of your brand or product. Also, include a line or two about the content that you intend to share on your page. To make your profile more relatable and fun, use emoticons that are in sync with your content and brand language. You can also add a hashtag and a link in the bio apart from your primary URL to drive traffic to another social media page. But remember, a link in the bio that is not a primary URL will not be clickable.
2. Create a Content Calendar for Instagram
An important step toward getting the maximum output from Instagram as a channel is to be consistent in publishing content. Hence, having a content calendar in place helps marketers keep their posting schedule on track. It allows them to forward plan, and automate the process of publishing it when their audience is most active.
Your Instagram content calendar must have the primary fields of content type, caption, hashtags, graphic or video link, and the day, date, and time of publishing. Plan your content at least two weeks ahead of time so that you can keep your calendar flexible for alterations.
To keep your audience engaged, use the right mix of content types and formats in your calendar such as images, videos, text graphics, quotes, memes, and infographics. A content calendar will also help you easily access your historic posts in case you want to republish your earlier content.
3.Incorporate Relevant Hashtags
The hashtag game is very strong on Instagram. Instagram allows content search on its ‘Discover’ tab based on a hashtag search query. Users can also follow these hashtags just like Instagram profiles, and the content published using these hashtags will show up in followers’ feeds. Instagram algorithms use hashtags to make content suggestions to users or help discover interest-based profiles.
According to Sprout Social, Instagram posts that use hashtags gain a 12.6% increase in engagement compared to those without. This is why it is critical for business profiles on Instagram to use of hashtags. Hashtags are used in Instagram captions similar to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks.
With the rising competition of Instagram marketers, hashtags have also become more competent. Instagram allows you to use up to thirty hashtags per caption. And although it is tempting to utilize this allowance with all relevant hashtags to your business, you must have an Instagram strategy in place to make the best out of hashtags.
Experts suggest that the optimal number of hashtags to use in a caption per post is 11. Also, avoid hashtags that are overly-popular, such as #fitness, #health, #business, and #marketing. Build a hashtag strategy that has a balanced combination of highly popular hashtags, industry-relevant hashtags, self-made hashtags, and low search volume hashtags.
4. Leverage Instagram Stories
Instagram’s stories feature has one of the highest engagement rates on all social media platforms put together. It is a powerful tool for brands to connect, impact, and engage their audience in just a few seconds. An Instagram story is a short video clip or image with gifs, a link, and/or text that your followers can view directly from the top of their app within twenty-four hours.
You can use Instagram stories to promote your content and engage with your audience in various ways. For example, you can share a preview of your new Instagram post or feature products with a link to the actual content. Through Stories, you can also prompt your followers to ask questions with the ‘Ask me anything’ feature. These questions will reflect in your Instagram messages and you can share your responses to the story, which can serve as FAQs to others watching your stories. You could also host a poll on your Instagram story to increase audience engagement and excitement for your next launch.
You can also host a series of content snippets on your Instagram stories with a theme or script in place so as to engage users and push slightly older content. Use stickers, gifs, captions, hashtags, mentions, filters, and emoticons on your stories to make them more attractive and engaging.
5. Give IGTV a Chance
IGTV is a stand-alone video application built by Instagram that also acts as a functionality on the Instagram application. IGTV allows users to share videos of time limits between 15 seconds to 10 minutes. The limit for high-value users goes up to 60 minutes.
IGTV is a great platform for brands to host video content longer than the limits established by Instagram. Brands are leveraging the features of IGTV in many ways and you can take inspiration to implement in your own strategy.
Instagram Marketing Tools
While using Instagram to promote your business, it is vital that you monitor your Instagram statistics regularly, with the goal to analyze what’s been fruitful on Instagram, and what hasn’t been so effective.
We will discuss here some of the tools that you can use to monitor Instagram statistics.
Tagboard is a tool to experience content from social networks. Each tagboard is a collection of social media posts that share a typical hashtag. Tagboards can be inserted on websites, coordinated into mobile apps, and shown on displays. Viewers can choose favorites, retweet, reply, comment, and like right from the tagboard.
Iconosquare is a tool to oversee and promote your Instagram account. Deal with your group, study activity, and follower development. Promote your account over other social networks with feed tabs or photo widgets. Draw in your community with photograph contests. Set up, promote, moderate, monitor, and publish results of an Instagram contest all within Iconosquare.
Crowdfire is a tool to manage your relationships on Instagram and Twitter. It is used to find inactive users and unfollowers, and find significant users to follow. Monitor your social Twitter/Instagram accounts.
Collecto permits you to connect to your Instagram account, and after that it will run some statistical investigation on your Instagram account. It will provide you with information. For example, it will show how many followers you have, how many likes you have received, and how many comments you have received. It will show which filters you have used that have been the best so that you know, later on, it is most likely a good idea to use the same filter that has been so successful.
Instagram Marketing Apps
Following are a few Apps that help in making your Instagram experience better.
- Layout − Layout is Instagram’s collage app, and it is a very easy-to-use app. It permits you to combine 2-9 of your photos into one image. There are three options from which you can pick your photographs – camera roll, recent photos, and an interesting faces option where Layout accumulates the photos you have of various individuals. Additionally, there is a great deal of creative features included such as mirroring, flipping, resizing, and rearranging with only a couple of taps.
- TakeOff − TakeOff is an application from Crowdfire to schedule Instagram posts. It serves to consequently schedule posts for times when they will be seen by majority of your followers. TakeOff studies your captions to propose relevant, high discovery hashtags. You can likewise add clients or group members who help you review or create content for Instagram.
- INK361 − INK361 is a web application, which helps to manage your Instagram account. By using it, you can make albums, discover new contacts, sort who you follow into Circles, and set up alerts for new posts. You can likewise get an unmistakable overview of your Instagram stats to keep track of your social effect after some time.
- Tapshop − Tapshop from Piqora helps to get your Instagram fans shopping. With this your clients will get a custom page of products which they have liked and receive an e-mail with links directly to your product pages, as you gather e-mail addresses. It additionally measures the likes, clicks, orders, and revenue generated by your Tapshop page from within your Piqora Publishing Dashboard.