What is Instagram Marketing for Business?
Using Instagram as a strategic marketing channel for promotion of a brand or business to its target audience, is Instagram Marketing for Business.
It’s not a textbook definition, hence the lack of popular business jargon. It’s not even a quote from someone, hence the lack of forced inspiration. It is a simple and original definition that I just came up with, for the purpose of this article, hence the rawness.
We will use this definition as the big picture of Instagram Marketing for Business, for putting together this useful guide and will get into the depths of each of its parts, step by step in a coherent manner, so that not only it makes perfect sense but also puts all the smaller pieces together, first individually and then into this big picture.
Who is this Instagram Guide for?
Before we get on to who is this guide for, first let’s get it out of our way who this guide not for.
This guide is not a beginner’s guide.
It’s not for you if you’re new to Instagram.
This guide won’t help you if you’re just starting out on Instagram.
This guide also won’t help you if you want to learn how to use Instagram as your personal account.
This guide is not for you if you’re hoping to find a guide on Getting Started with Instagram for Your Business.
This guide is not for you if you’ve been on Instagram for awhile but you still don’t understand why you’re not getting the followers and likes like your other friends.
In short, this guide is not for an Instagram newbie or for personal Instagrammers.
So who is this guide for?
Simple. This guide is for those who want to tap into Instagram for marketing and promotion of their business and/ or brand.
If you want to know how to make Instagram work for your business, then this guide is for you.
If you’ve been thinking of using Instagram to promote your brand, then this guide is for you.
If you’ve been using Instagram for your brand and want to take things up the notch, then this guide is for you.
If you’re a marketer trying to learn ropes of Digital Marketing, then this guide is for you.
If you’re a Digital Marketers trying to figure out Instagram Marketing, then this guide is for you.
So have you figured out, whether this guide is for you or not? Let’s get moving ahead.
Is Instagram the right channel to market your business?
This is where most marketers stumble the most and don’t get it right.
Just because Social Media marketing is so accessible and easy to use, doesn’t mean that you go all gun blazing with your brand all over Social Media. Stop. Pause. Think. Think again.
Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean that you should do it. There is a difference and there is power in that difference. Spot the difference.
Just because everybody seems to be promoting their brand on Social Media, doesn’t mean that it works for everyone. Find the sense amongst the noise.
Instagram might be a great tool for some brands and totally irrelevant for others. By using Instagram as a marketing channel for your brand, you might make a huge positive difference and create great value for your brand. Or by using Instagram you might confuse your audience and worse still, you might end up making a mockery of your brand if its completely irrelevant.
Spend some time and effort in analyzing whether Instagram is the right channel for you to reach out to your audience. Find out answers to some basic questions like does your TG hangout at Instagram, if they do what exactly do they do on Instagram, what segment are you in, does your brand have the potential to create a visual imagery for your brand (remember Instagram is all about visual imagery) and is mobile the right channel for you to reach out to your TG etc.
First, do a proper in-depth analysis of whether Instagram is the right channel for you to professionally market your brand. And then, dig deeper into defining how to use Instagram for sharing your Marketing Communications in the right way.
Don’t even think of proceeding before you’ve got this step right.
What is your Instagram Marketing Objective?
So you’ve decided that Instagram is the right channel to become part of your brand’s Marketing and promotional strategy. Congratulations and welcome to the bright, shiny and deceptively simple world of Instagram Marketing for your business.
Now is the time to get the second piece of puzzle in the right place – defining your Instagram Marketing Objective.
Before you sail forth to make your brand a rocking superstar on Instagram, it’s important to know what is the core objective that you’re expecting to achieve out of your Instagram Marketing Strategy.
In the last section, we mentioned about finding out how best to use Instagram for promoting your brand once you’ve decided to use it as a marketing channel. Defining your Instagram marketing objective is crucial in doing that.
Defining your Instagram marketing objective clearly, you would be able to fine-tune your communication strategy. It would also help you to identify what is the kind of brand persona that you’re aiming to create for your brand on Instagram.
Defining a clear objective for your Instagram marketing is even more important if you’re planing to explore this medium for paid advertising. Campaign objective plays a huge role into your advertising campaign’s success (or the lack of it), on digital platforms.
Here are some of the objectives that you can chase using Instagram as a marketing tool:
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Reputation
- Product Promotion
- Attract Talent
- Drive Quality Traffic
- Personal Branding
- Influencer Marketing
Take the one most suitable to your marketing strategy and you’ll be good to go ahead.
Becoming an “Instagram Brand”
Choosing the right Instagram niche for your brand?
Instagram is a platform on which people and brands engage and interact over shared interests. This community-oriented behavior has made Instagram into one of the prominent platforms for Influencer Marketing.
In order to make your brand a leading voice on Instagram behind whom the community would line up, you would first need to find the right niche for your brand.
What exactly is it that you stand for? What is it that you want to be known for? What value do you have to offer to your followers on Instagram? Why and who should follow you? What is your unique identity? What is your USP?
Choosing your niche will help you find right answers to these crucial questions. E.g. If you’re a salon brand, you could create a niche in unique short haircuts for females. Or if you’re fitness brand, you could create a niche in the unique fitness programs and workout that you offer.
If you understand your audience well, identifying the right niche won’t be an issue for you. Just follow what your audience cares about and what conversations and topics they indulge in on Instagram.
Hashtag is a serious business while on Instagram
The medium for getting discovered on Instagram is Hashtag. Instagram is the platform which completely thrives on using right hashtags. No hashtags, no discovery. No discover, no social voice. No social voice, no social media existence.
Spend some time and search for the most trending relevant Instagram hashtags for your brand. Also search for relevant hashtags for your chosen communication niche that might not be the top trending ones but is used by the relevant accounts. Make a list. Use right hashtags. Get discovered. Become part of a thriving conversation. Be known for what you have to share.
It’s debatable whether you should use hashtags sparingly or go all out with those. In my personal experience, I use a good mix of trending and niche relevant hashtags for each of my posts and once in a while also experiment with some new hashtags. Using a good number of right hashtags has always worked for my posts. So experiment and find what works for you. Hashtags also help your audience know about your niche.
Content Strategy for an Instagram Business Account – A Story of Getting Things Right
Developing your content strategy for Instagram is not complicated. In fact, it’s a lot of simple things done right again and again over a long period of time, that wins you the legions of followers. Wait, isn’t that true for most of marketing, or even for most things in life?
Getting the audience’s taste right
By now, you must have understood what your audience likes, or dislikes. Do they respond to intense, emotional posts or they like to have some quirky fun? Do they like classy still images or funky vector designs? Some initial experiments will give you the direction, your content should head towards.
Getting the posting scheduled right
To get this right, you’ll need to experiment with posting at different times and analyze the audience response on that time. You can easily find out industry insights about the best times to post but it’s a generic insight. You can take that as a starting point and test out objectively to find which are the golden times when your audience is the most responsive to your content.
Getting your Content Themes Right
A grip on understanding your audience’s taste on Instagram would give you a good sense about the themes that you should be working on in your content strategy. It should ideally be a good mix of relevant themes. Over a period of time, your theme would refine if you’re tracking the response consistently.
Once in awhile, get creative with your themes to keep things interesting and to touch base with newer audience. Also, keep a look out for new trends and join the conversation. It goes without saying that your content should still be relevant to your brand.
Getting your Brand Styling Right
What is the mood that you want for your brand? Choose your typeface, color palette, moods of the posts and define some detailing about what goes into making your post stand out for your brand. How your brand logo gets represented? How you present helpful information to your followers?
Like any other marketing channel, your Instagram presence also speak for your brand and should be recognized for the same.
Getting the Audience Engagement Right
Search for the leading accounts in your niche and follow those. Follow back your relevant followers. Respond properly to all comments, reactions and direct messages from your audience, and respond timely. Make your posts inherently interactive. Ask questions to your audience, ask for their opinion, ask them to vote for a choice, open a dialogue. Don’t make your instagram a platform only to brag about yourself.
Remember, it’s all about your audience. You get your audience engagement right, and Instagram will be worth every effort that you might have invested as a marketing strategy.
Instagram Secret Sauce: To love and be loved back
We will close this guide for Instagram Marketers with a very simple yet underrated concept. All said and done, at the core of any Social Media channel to work sits only one concept – Sense of Community.
That’s true for brands and business accounts as well. Follow back your followers, follow the accounts relevant to your business, applaud other brands’ efforts, respond to comments, messages and feedback in timely manner, show support to others efforts and engage in relevant conversation with meaningful contribution. Without any doubt, it can be said that you can easily earn money from Instagram.
Remember, those who shall spread love on Social Media, shall be loved back in bountiful manner.
Image Courtesy: Buffer Social, business2community, maximizesocialbusiness.com