Instagram is not a marketing strategy. Not by itself, that is.
These statistics from Instagram and other sources reveal that if you’re not on Instagram, you might be missing out on a competitive edge:
- 80% of usersfollow at least one business on the app.
- 60% hearing about a product and service through the channel.
- Over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, called a business, emailed or direct messaged a business. These Instagram fans can be considered as leads.
- At least30% of Instagram users have purchased a product they first discovered on Instagram.
Instagram is simple, efficient and economical in broadcasting product and service news and making offers to prospects and eventually building a loyal brand community.
Instagram can also be a critical spoke in today’s marketing wheel – conversation. The channel can help you create, build and nurture brand conversation.
So, if you decide that Instagram is right for your marketing and communications efforts, you will succeed if you follow these 10 guidelines:
- Evaluate your Instagram and your competition’s accounts – look at themes, content, graphics, dramatizations, storytelling, collaborating, content curation and followers’ interests. Sprout Social has great ideas and insights here.
- Clarify Instagram marketing and communications strategies – be sure to understand how and why Instagram can be a relevant and powerful brand, know who your target audience is and who is active on Instagram, and finally understand how to synchronize Instagram with other strategies and channels.
- Identify your Instagram marketing objectives – Instagram can be a valuable channel for achieving these brand objectives:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Building customer engagement and loyalty
- Showcasing products and services
- Enhancing, dramatizing and complementing event experiences
- Providing incentives for customer engagement
- Creating a more engaged community
- Motivating and aligning with influencers
- Driving website traffic
- Boosting brand conversation
- Synchronize Instagram with all digital and traditional marketing channels – nothing stands alone in digital, social or traditional channels. Each channel should synchronize with others to amplify and reinforce each effort to drive traffic and sales. What works on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and especially your site can be repurposed for Instagram and vice versa.
- Create an Instagram content approach and strategy – all content should either inform, educate, engage or even entertain. And to be effective, it must concentrate on showing and not just telling your product or service’s distinctive and valued benefits. Specific content will consist of themes, a variety of content (video, photos and copy) and a fluid content calendar.You will benefit from working with your entire organization including product innovation, development and production, sales and marketing to identify themes that illustrates your brand and the solutions it provides. Stuck? Here’s some great content ideas including milestones, novel product uses and even founders photos. Check out this additional ideas, especially as a small business, to use Instagram. Determine what the variety of your content will be videos to graphics and even Boomerang videos. And shows don’t tell your story. Have a calendar like this from HubSpot to guide your efforts but that is flexible to accommodate timely opportunities.
- Amp up your posts’ creativity – here are some Instagram apps can add creativity to your posts. The Instagram suite of apps including Hyperlapse for shooting stop-motion time-lapse. The camera moves a short distance and the action between each shot is rapid. Layout combines photos and videos in a single Instagram post using custom layouts. Like a GIF, Boomerang, Boomerang plays a short cut video forward, but also backward, repeatedly to create a nonstop motion.
- Guide Instagram influencers and ambassadors – if you plan to use influencers in your post, assure they are relevant, respected and recognizable to your target. Also assure that they reinforce the brand message. Be mindful of FTC rules regarding influencers on social media.
- Manage engagement with customers — including support or customer service inquiries, negative or disparaging comments, job questions, sales leads and spam.
- Track keywords – monitor keywords to see who is talking about your brand name; product names, service or events and any terms related to your brand. Here’s how to track hashtag performances.
- Analyze your results to see how your content performs and your followers’ growth. As such, you can evolve your Instagram strategy based on posts that resonate with your customers and motivate action. You also see what content flow and engagement. Here are free tools recommended by Klear and
- Know real and fake followers – there are services that can help you identify and weed out fake followers.
Is Instagram a marketing strategy? Yes, and especially when it is incorporated into your marketing strategy and tool mix.
How are you assuring the success of your Instagram marketing strategy?
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