Building a successful social media marketing strategy requires patience, determination, and research. First, you need to:
- Know your consumers
- Know what social media platforms they are active on, andKnow the best ways to interact with them online.
One of the most popular social media platforms is Instagram. In recent years, it has become one of the top social media marketing tools as businesses began reaching out to consumers online. So how can you take advantage of Instagram’s popularity and capitalize on the app’s more than 500 million users?
Get a Business Account
You don’t need to be a professional photographer to be successful on Instagram. Like any other social media platform, it requires interaction and strategy to grow your brand online. This past July, Instagram released an app update that now allows users to create business accounts. Don’t panic! You don’t have to create an entirely new account and start from scratch. If you already have an Instagram account, you can convert to a business account through your settings.
Like a regular user account, an Instagram business account links to your business’s Facebook page, but the business account also features a new “contact” button with information (address, phone number, and email) pulled from your Facebook, allowing consumers to contact you and get directions to your location directly from the app. Within your app settings, you can also manually input contact information and decide how other Instagram users can contact you. In true digital era tradition, you can adjust settings so that your consumers can text or call you through the app.
An Instagram business account also gives users analytics of their posts through a tab called “Insights.” If you have a Facebook business page, you’ll be familiar with the analytics and information. The Insights tab tracks the impressions, reach, and website clicks (based on the link in your profile bio). After one week, it also provides you with insights on your followers, such as average times they are most active on the app. Yes, that means you can plan to post your content during peak engagement times; however, this analytics element requires you to have at least 100 followers, so you may need to interact and gain some new followers before your follower information becomes available.
Planning and Posting Your Content
Before you begin posting, think of your profile bio. Use this area to give a brief description of your business and services and ALWAYS, I repeat, ALWAYS link to your website! Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to start posting. First things first, it’s important to keep in mind Instagram’s square photo layout when choosing your visual content. If your phone or mobile device has a “square shooting” camera option, USE IT! This will help you avoid accidentally cropping any important content out of your photo when posting. There are also square-shooting photography apps available for both iOS and Android devices.
In addition, don’t be afraid to vary up the content you post. Use your posts as an opportunity to share your products, services and behind-the scenes-looks at your business. While consumers do want to see your products and services, they also love to see the ins and outs of your business. Some of the most popular Instagram business posts are those that show brand personality, including employees in the office or behind the scenes processes. In addition, not all of your posts have to be related to your business. Feel free to shout out clients, events in the community, or special occasion-related content in your posts.
You can also mix up the format of your content. Video has become increasingly popular online, especially since Instagram increased its 15-second video length limit to 60 seconds. Apps like Instagram-partner Boomerang are also popular because they allow users to create short three-second video clips that play quickly and continuously (similar to GIFs).
Finally, plan to post at least once per week. Ideally, you should try to post once per day (Tailwind suggests between 1-6 posts per week). With Instagram Insights, you’ll be able to discover the best times to post to engage your consumers.
Engage Your Followers and Be Active
Like any other social media, you must be active on Instagram to engage your current followers and gain new viewers. In addition to posting, take advantage of trending hashtags and research industry-related categories to find the most popular and effective hashtags for your posts. By including hashtags in your posts, you increase your reach, so more people will see your content. For example, you can use the popular throwback Thursday hashtag, #tbt, or one related to your field, such as #marketing.
You also need to follow and interact with other accounts on Instagram. You can also search hashtag terms by selecting the magnifying glass from the navigation list that runs across the bottom of the app. By searching hashtags, you can discover new businesses and accounts to follow; however, following isn’t everything. Interacting, such as liking and commenting on posts also increases your chance of gaining new followers and interactions. Don’t be afraid to include emojis in comments and posts to express emotion and show your business’s brand personality!
Lastly, as a business account, consider boosting your individual posts. Like boosted Facebook posts, a boosted Instagram post will increase your reach and impressions within your designated budget.
Your social media marketing strategy and online presence are vital to the success of your business. When done correctly, having an Instagram business account is an effective way to spread awareness of your company on social media. It allows you to connect with consumers in multiple ways and drive traffic to your website. So embrace your inner photographer and start gathering snapshots around the office to share online!