It looks so easy. Pop a few videos up on Instagram; make people laugh, cry, think… and you’re golden. You’ll gain traction, your audience will clamor for more, and you’ll win over prospects, delight customers, and cement your reputation as the top choice in your space.
Except… It isn’t that easy. There are one billion people on the popular social media platform, and an estimated 90% follow at least one brand daily. Those are positive and powerful reasons to focus on Instagram marketing; but you are also competing with over 200 million businesses for their eyeballs, their likes, their shares – and their dollars. How do you break through and achieve success with your audience? How do you see measurable results? And how do you do it now?
4 Tips for Instagram Marketing Success
Marketing on Instagram goes beyond filters and witty videos. Behind the scenes, it is a world of strategy – and persistence. While sustainable results take time to achieve, there are steps you can take now to improve your standing:
Build a Solid Foundation
While it’s tempting to just dive in, take the time to start at the beginning. Do you have an Instagram business account? You need one; it’ll give you access to Instagram Insights, Instagram Shopping, ads, primary and secondary messaging inboxes, and the ability to add contact information and a call-to-action button on your profile. All of these are key to maximizing your presence – and making it as easy as possible for your audience to reach and engage with you.
Following up on this, it is crucial to optimize your profile. Of particular importance is your bio. You need to immediately engage with people, capture your brand personality, and persuade people to follow you – all in 150 characters! To make the most of this space, carefully craft a compelling bio and make use of the other fields available, such as:
- Your brand name (30 characters) and your username (up to 30 characters). These are both included in the search.
- Your website with a clickable URL.
- Category. Clearly define what your business is about; doing this saves you some room in your bio as well, so you can make more of an impact.
- Contact information. MUST HAVE. Ensure it is always up-to-date.
- Call-to-action. This button enables your followers to easily interact with you right from your profile page.
Another critical component is your profile picture. Capture the eye with a professional-quality image or your brand logo.
All of this is great, but if you don’t clearly define your goals and your target audience, any further efforts will not yield the outcomes you truly want. What do you hope to achieve through your Instagram marketing efforts?
- Create a compelling online presence?
- Raise awareness of your brand and its offerings?
- Attract new leads?
- Position your brand as an authority/leader in your space?
- Sell products directly from Instagram?
Knowing what is most important to you will empower you to create a strategy that drives results. Part of this is, of course, understanding your audience. Generally, the most active users are between 18 and 29 and they tend to be urban residents.
That doesn’t mean people outside those demographics do not use Instagram; it does mean, however, that you need to develop content that is tailored to your audience’s needs, wants, and interests. Doing so will help you select the appropriate targeting options for your ads, as well.
Create Compelling Content
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Cliche aside, this is 100% accurate when it comes to marketing on Instagram. Every image you use, from photos to animations to infographics, needs to be sharp, clear, well-lit, focused and composed to maximum impact. They also need to tell a story. You want to go for more than a quick like as someone scrolls past. You want engagement. To get it, try:
- Behind-the-scenes content. What goes on as your team strives to provide the best products and services?
- User-generated content. Why not share videos and images posted by your audience? For example, a clothing brand may post photos of real customers trying on their new outfits. This is engaging – and it gives potential customers a look at how pieces really look!
- How-tos. Teaching people something is a great way to keep them engaged – and wanting more.
- Videos. You’ve got 60 seconds. It’s amazing what you can pack into a short video!
- Reels. Even shorter at 15 seconds, Reels are a great way to share entertaining content that resonates.
- IGTV. This feature allows you to post longer-form videos that dig deeper. This is great for tutorials, for example. You can post short previews on your newsfeed to get people to slide over to IGTV and engage further.
Above all, you want to be share-worthy. What will prompt people to share your content with their networks? Does it teach? Entertain? Provoke thought? Before you post, ask why you would share this with your friends, family, and coworkers.
Capture Attention with Captions
Captions can be up to 2200 characters, so this is an excellent opportunity to engage in storytelling. Now, be aware that only the first two lines appear in the newsfeed (users then have to tap “more” to read on).
You need to ensure that those first few lines are compelling enough to get people to engage further. While you do have some room here, it is often best to keep organic posts to between 138 and 150 characters and Instagram ads at about 125.
People read online content differently than print content; they’ll skim and scan rather than give it a thorough read. If you have more you want to say, by all means… make sure your storytelling is relevant, informative, entertaining, and aligned with your brand identity.
Hashtags do help increase your odds of being found via search, as well as boost your brand’s visibility. But we’ve all seen profiles that take advantage of all 30 of the hashtags allowed in a post. This can backfire as people see it as spammy or irrelevant. Instead, selecting five to nine hashtags is enough to accomplish your goals. Ensure that they are all:
- Targeted to your industry/niche
- Spam-free (do not use hashtags like #followme or #like4like)
Here’s your bonus tip: when you put the work into creating a winning Instagram profile for your brand, do not let it wither on the vine, so to speak. Make sure that you engage with your audience and other profiles. Take action now by:
- Responding to comments on your posts. This is the very least you can do!
- Following popular accounts in your space and interacting with them in a way that is not self-promotional. You’re just being a good Instagram neighbor.
- Engaging with those who tag you in posts and consider re-sharing it in your story or newsfeed.
- Pinning comments from top followers.
- Pinning comments from users that may spark conversations and discussions.
- Do not ignore negative comments. While you should move to block obvious spam and toxic trolls, don’t waste the opportunity to engage in honest discussions with people who have legitimate concerns/complaints. If it turns hostile, take it to a direct message.
Implementing these steps will go a long way towards improving your marketing on Instagram, but remember, you’re after sustainable success. To make progress towards your business-building goals, contact THAT Agency.