Own a business that has physical products or services that need to be promoted? Are you planning on building your brand with the help of an online platform? Over are the days of TV scrolls -welcome to the socials. Here is a detailed guideline of one of the ‘Socials’ giants and how to utilise it to promote your brand out there.
Instagram has over a million users with a very business friendly setup. It is not only for the young hipsters wanting to be an influencer, it is becoming increasingly vital for businesses. Let’s look into how you too can take advantage of this platform:
1. Understand Your Audience through Insight
This is marketing 101- you need to understand your customer to sell something to them. Through the use of platforms like Instagram, you don’t need to be investing too much for market research. – Instagram insights will help you just fine.
You can reach anywhere in the world through instagram so your market isn’t confined to a certain location, even if they are not potential buyers, they can help you promote your brand in one way or the other. From insights, you can gather information like their gender, age, preferences etc. as well.
If you’ve already been on Facebook (owner of Instagram), you might be familiar with the basic concept of insights.
- Impressions: Number of views
- Reach: account numbers that viewed your account/post
- Website clicks: Number of clicks to your website from the link
- Follower activity: How often your followers are on Instagram daily
- Saves: Number of posts saved
2. Try to Listen
You need to know how people are perceiving your brand. This is important for getting new customers or followers on your page. This might need you to be constantly monitoring them using relevant hashtags. You also need to be on the lookout for hashtags from your competitions.
Another strategy to follow is searching for popular contents and image style you can adapt.. That will give you an understanding of what will work best for them.
3. Be More Human and Less Corporate for More Engagement
Don’t Spam your users with sales materials. This would make your account look like a money monger rather than a more relatable human brand. Engagement with your users is the key. The Instagram algorithm works in a way that the posts with higher engagements will be circulated more.
So the more your users share/comment on your posts- you’ll appear on more feeds. Tools like galaxy marketing can help you be more engaging with your audience.
A few tips on how to be more engaging:
User Generated Content: This will show your followers that you listen to them and appreciate them. You also get a wide array of branding materials to choose from- for free! This is an added incentive for the future buyers.
Contests: This will guaranteedly boost up the engagement. Use easy Instagram contests like:
- “Caption this”
- “Tell us in the comment if you feel like this…”
- Like vs Comment
4. Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags can be of two kinds. General and branded. It is a simple technique of making your posts easier to find. Proper use of hashtags can make your brand easily available to your customers and can help you categorize them.
General hashtags are usually content based and can depend on your post. These belong to a much broader category but you can still find niche hashtags relevant to your business. This will help your users to find you easily. A quick google search can get you enough hashtags for this. You can also use the most used hashtags among your followers in your post to appeal to them.
Branded hashtags are unique to your brand. When you want to create your own line of product or stand out from your competitors, you must have a branded hashtag. They are easy to track and you can judge the success of your campaign through the circulation of your own hashtag.
Some hashtag faux pas to
- Overdoing it
- Using overused hashtags
You must be familiar with this term. They are the internet celebrities, the industry VIPs. What they can do for your brand is take it to your follower base, talk about your product and promote it. But your need to look out for things like:
- They need to be influential. They must have a history of conversion among their follower base.
- They must have a big follower base
- They must be relevant to your brand
Of course you have to provide them with some incentives for it so be prepared for a negotiation. A lot of influencers may already be interested in your product and will gladly accept them for the service. If the influencers are willing to do a little publicity for your brand then you can offer them products from your upcoming season.
Another tactic is to promote each other using ‘share for share’ or ‘like for like’. You can easily find who is interested in such practices using the hashtags.
6. Visually Attractive Content
Instagram is strictly visual based and has some limitations (as well as advantages) when it comes to decision making. Around 93% of the purchase decisions are made from the visuals. You need to create your own theme- be it a color filter or some customized tint- try to match it with your overall follower base or brand itself.
You can find many tools online to help you in this regard. Contests, giveaways, behind the scene contents and relatable quote images are usually a great hit among the followers.
7. Calls-to-Action (CTA)
This is a very delicate act. This feature is where you tell the followers what to do and nobody likes the idea of being told what to do. You have to be careful so the customers don’t see through your strategy and even if they do, it is enticing enough for them to do it anyway. A good CTA will give you a guided direction of what to do next. A few guiding strategies are:
- You should tell them exactly where they can find out more about it. Link in bio is the only way it can be done-as there is no way around it.
- Be descriptive through your image and caption. If you want to know the sources of your sales, promo codes are a wonderful option. This gives users the incentive to buy and for you to gain more insight.
- Using captions is an option where the followers pick one out of a few and post it in the comments that can boost the engagement rate. You can also use the ‘Like vs Comment’ method for such purposes.
- Pick Your Time
There are a lot of studies done which gives you an idea of when is the best time to post your content.The peak browsing hour is between 7-9 pm.. But this isn’t very reliable for various reasons. First, if you have an international market, you can’t possibly post at everyone’s peak hour in your follower list.
You need to be aware of your audience to know when is the busiest time for them. You can also monitor the performance rate by comparing c between posts that are posted on different times. But a few general rules can be applied-
- Break hours
9. Tell Stories
This is one of the most attractive features of instagram.. You can post multiple stories in a day and they disappear after 24 hours, a wonderful tool for any narrative -which can be done using slide show feature. This can be a good way to ward off negativity as the comments of other people aren’t visible. This can also be used for polls, questions etc.
Here are a few tips for this feature:
- Be informal: Show your human side to it. A glimpse of your everyday life. This can help the followers relate to you.
- Sneak peaks for promotion/coupons: You can promote or create a hype for your products using this feature.
- Tags/Links: Try to use this for tagging purposes- influencers can come in handy here. You can also share the stories of other relevant accounts to create a bridge. Other than that, bio-this is where you can post links, so use it wisely.
- Narratives: Go into a ‘story telling’ mode. Give them a narrative and end with a CTA!
10. Get Verified!
It is definitely more appreciated by your followers if you have a verified business account. That way, you can avoid the risk of copycats and your followers will know which account to follow. This is especially important when you circulate coupons or free goodies for promotion. Getting verified is a simple process and anyone can do it.
This should be enough to get started. Now it’s time to put it into practice!