It’s hard to believe that Instagram has been around for a decade! At this point, being present on the platform has proven to be very worthwhile for brands, especially if one of their goals is to increase social media engagement. Instagram generates four times more interactions than Facebook!
Ten years is a lot of time to add features, and Instagram certainly has not been stingy with those. Maybe you understand the value of Instagram, but aren’t quite sure how your brand should capitalize on it? That’s understandable. With all the new bells and whistles that have been released since the app’s humble beginnings, it can be difficult to decide how to best use the platform, especially if you have a business account. So, let’s go back to basics.
Here are nine tips for having a strong Instagram marketing strategy:
To do this, we recommend using the SMART Goal method, which you can learn more about here. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Setting SMART Goals requires you to clarify your ideas and focus your efforts, which allows you to allocate your time in a way that promises the most return and the highest chance of achieving your goals.
This process will help you set goals like increasing brand awareness or building online relationships, and it will also help you understand what reaching those goals requires. For example, if you're pushing for more awareness, try setting a number of followers you want to gain in a certain time frame. That elevates your goal from generic to SMART. Hoping Instagram can help you connect more with leads and customers? Set the SMART goal to increase the amount of post comments and direct messages your account receives next quarter. You get it; narrowing down your tactics is the best way to work towards turning dreams into reality.
Know Your Audience
To implement the right strategies that will help you achieve your goals, you must know who your content is targeting. Take a deep dive into the demographics and psychographics of the people you will ideally be selling to. What do those kinds of people want to see when scrolling through social media? When you have that answer, you’ll have an idea of where to start with content creation.
Create Engaging Content
In the past, there were some marketing theories that revolved around the quantity of Instagram posts an account should put up per week. Now we know that the algorithm favors quality over quantity. Instagram is a visual platform, so be sure that every photo and video that goes up is pleasing to the eye. Although this content can, and to some extent should, speak for itself, don’t lose focus when writing captions. Consider posing a question to your audience and prompting them to respond in the caption. Your content should be the start of a two-way conversation, not a tree in the woods that falls for no one to hear.
Quality content doesn’t just mean aesthetic content. It’s fine for some of your Instagram posts to be solely entertaining, but most of them should also provide value to your audience. Sharing tips, insights, and resources are all engaging and helpful post types. Don’t be one of those self-serving brands. If you’re only in it for yourself, that will become very clear to today’s extremely observant Instagram users.
Maintain Brand Consistency
When it comes to basic aesthetics, be sure to follow any brand guidelines that are already in place. This goes for written captions too. Your Instagram presence should be an extension of all your company’s marketing efforts, not a departure.
Create a Content Calendar
When you plan ahead, it’s easier to be consistent and keep a cohesive look across all posts. Do this planning in whatever way works best for you. If you can only spare a half hour each Monday to plan for the week ahead, that’s better than nothing! There’s no need to get too far ahead of yourself anyway. Social media is meant to be immediate and agile, so fully drafting posts more than a month out can leave you with content that goes stale before you even get a chance to publish it. There are also many tools that can help you plan, draft, and schedule posts. We use SocialPilot, but there are plenty of options so be sure to figure out which one suits your needs best.
Do Your Research
There’s nothing wrong with checking in on the competition. Look at what similar companies are doing on Instagram. What kind of posts get the most likes? Are there any that generated a significant number of comments? What do you think the post did successfully to encourage that kind of engagement? How can you recycle what you’ve learned in your own unique way?
Connect with Others
One of the best parts of social media in general is digital networking and engaging with like-minded communities, which is just as true for brands as it is for individuals. If you see a post you like, be sure to show that through your own engagement. Also, any time you can tag another account, take advantage of that, especially if the account belongs to an influencer! There are even third-party apps you can download that help you “repost” another account’s content. This allows you to engage with them, share their good stuff, and give them proper credit. Connecting with others is really what it’s all about so stop shouting into the void and start having real conversations.
Track Your Performance
We’ve come back full circle! Revisit your goals often to ensure you are implementing the best strategies possible for achieving them. If you’re not making the desired progress, that means it’s time to tweak your tactics.
Thankfully, everyone with a business profile has access to Instagram Insights, which is the platform’s free analytics tool. We recommend looking into the follower demographic information that the tool provides. That way you can make sure you always have the latest data on your audience, and you can compare it to your original target. If they aren’t aligning, you might not be using the right strategies to reach the people you want to be doing business with. If you would like more comprehensive analytics, there are third-party programs that can provide that for you.
These nine tips will give you a head start on your Instagram strategy journey. Of course, once you’re comfortable with the basics, there are benefits to kicking it up a notch by utilizing the fancy bells and whistles. Be on the lookout for a follow up blog that will summarize Instagram’s best features and why you should be using them!