Apart from Facebook, Instagram is probably the most important social network for businesses. In fact, many newer brands have cracked how to use Instagram for marketing and it’s now their primary marketing channel.
With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram has a reach rivalled only by Facebook.
In recent years, Instagram has evolved from being a photo-sharing app to becoming a conversation-based community for like-minded people. As a result, Instagram is the only social network that combines a huge outreach with fantastic customer engagement. No wonder most businesses today are trying to emphasize Instagram marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy.
What Is Instagram Marketing?
Instagram marketing is nothing but the way brands use Instagram to connect with prospective customers and talk about what they have to offer. There are certain features that make Instagram unique as a platform.
While many other social networks have tried to adopt these features, they are Instagram’s USP and are the reason why people flock to this app. These include in-app editing of photos, hashtags, short video sharing, and Instagram stories(which disappear after 24 hours). An Instagram marketing strategy is now an integral part of any comprehensive social media marketing strategy.
Why is Instagram One of The Most Popular Marketing Platforms Today?
While Instagram has been around for a while, its popularity has exploded in the past few years. Here’s why over 25 million businesses choose to promote their brand on Instagram.
1. Millennials Love Instagram
22% of millennials rank Instagram as their favourite social media platform. In fact, 65% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18 to 34. So if you’re targetting a younger audience, Instagram is the platform to be. Many categories that target the youth prefer going for an Insta-first marketing approach. These include high-end cosmetic lines, fitness products, and gourmet food items.
2. Instagram Has Fantastic Engagement Rates
A whopping 57% of Instagram users access the platform every day and 35% check it multiple times. In fact, engagement rates on Instagram are 15 times higher than Twitter and 20 times higher than Facebook. Such a wide gap immediately makes Instagram marketing one of the most effective tactics out there.
Consumers all over the world are getting inundated with excessive content and messaging from brands be it on Facebook or their email. As a result, people tend to switch their brain off to most forms of promotional content. No wonder brands want to market themselves on a platform that sees fantastic engagement from its users.
3. Instagram Works Really Well For E-Commerce Brands
Instagram users are also commonly avid online shoppers. In fact, 72% of Instagram users said that they have made a purchase after looking at something they liked on Instagram.
Moreover, it’s easier for online brands to display their products on Instagram in a visually appealing manner. More than 70% of Instagram users follow a brand on the platform. The fact that the Instagram audience has high-intent and converts quickly makes it a darling for e-commerce brands. This is especially true for categories like makeup, jewellery, clothes, and accessories.
4. Instagram Has Many Exciting Marketing Tools
For many years, Instagram chose to focus on its product and keep advertisers at a distance. Of late, however, it has introduced many exciting business-facing Instagram Analytics Tools. They make it a lot easier for brands to promote their product in innovative ways. These include links in Instagram stories and shoppable Instagram posts. These tools help you understand how to market on Instagram.
5. Instagram Is The Go-To Platform For Influencer Marketing
Influencers are people who have unique and creative content on their social media profile. Many people follow these influencers on social media due to the interesting content they post. If you’re not sure about how to market on Instagram, influencers are a great place to start.
Influencer marketing refers to promoting your brand by collaborating with influencers who have the same audience as you. In a survey of 2500 micro-influencers, 60% said Instagram was the best platform for influencer marketing. Facebook came a distant second with just 18%.
6. Its Visual Nature & Novelty Make Instagram More Appealing
Data from videos and images are processed 60 times faster than text. Moreover, visual appeal matters in 93% of cases where people make a purchase. Users love Instagram because it combines ease of scrolling with visually pleasing videos and images.
7. Instagram Reaches New Audiences Through Hashtags
Instagram makes it easier for brands to reach new audiences by using hashtags. Creating a post with a hashtag makes sure that the post links to all posts that have been shared with that hashtag.
While 5-10 hashtags are optimal, you need to make sure the hashtags are popular and related to your brand. This makes it much easier for people to discover your brand, especially if you use trending hashtags.
How To Market On Instagram
While marketing on Instagram should definitely be a part of your marketing strategy, it’s important to do it right. With over 25 million businesses vying for customer attention, getting the basics right is imperative. Here are some important tips on how to use Instagram for marketing.
1. Set Up An Instagram Business Account
Keep the following in mind while creating and optimizing your brand’s Instagram account for business.
(i) Use your business email to set up your Instagram account and not your Facebook account or personal email id.
(ii) Under “Full Name” in account details, enter the name of your business. This is your username on Instagram and will help users recognize you. If your business name is taken, make sure your business is mentioned in the username.
(iii) Pick a username that stands out and recognizable and easy to find. @pepsi, @levis_in, @newyorkermag are all good examples.
(iv) Use a logo or any other image synonymous with your brand for your profile picture.
(v) Your Instagram bio should give a concise summary of what you represent and why people should follow you. Remember, bios have a 150-character limit. Your bio is also the only place where you can have a link to an external site so choose carefully.
(vi) Make sure you switch to a business profile. This allows you to promote content, get in-depth insights, and make it easy for people to reach out to you.
(vii) You can also choose to hide comments with certain keywords or phrases. To do so, you will have to enter the phrases and keywords in the settings. This can help you hide comments that are inappropriate and offensive.
2. Take Advantage Of Free Instagram Marketing Tools
If you’re confused about how to market on Instagram effectively, you can use Instagram insights to understand what is working. Similar to Facebook Insights this tool helps you see the reach and engagement on your posts. You can also view demographic data including age, active hours, location, and gender. This is possible not only for your overall account but also for individual posts. You can use these tools to see what’s working and what can be improved.
3. Use Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is arguably the most effective Instagram marketing strategy. For those of you who are wondering about how to use Instagram for marketing, start by looking for influencers. From celebrity influencers with millions of followers to micro-influencers (less than 10 thousand followers), Instagram has many options.
It’s important to understand who the right influencers are for you. Many brands have had successful campaigns using influencers who had only a few thousand followers. The key is to make sure that the influencer has followers who are engaged and that your brand voice resonates with the influencer.
A great example of how to use Instagram for marketing is the successful Instagram influencer marketing campaign Fiji Water. They collaborated with influencer Danielle Bernstein who featured in 8-minute workout videos with trainer Eric Johnson. They videos subtly emphasized on Fiji Water by talking about why hydration is important in fitness and using the product in the videos.
4. Keep A Check On The Number Of Posts & The Timing Of Posts
Getting the number of Instagram posts right is absolutely crucial. While too many posts can turn off your followers, too few posts may keep you off their timelines altogether. The best way around this is to post only at those times when you know your users are online and active. Surprisingly enough, according to Coschedule, the best times to post on Instagram are between 8:00 am and 9:00 am, and 2:00 am. Moreover, according to SimplyMeasured, the best days to post are Mondays and Thursdays while Wednesdays and Sundays are the worst.
5. Track Important Metrics
It’s important to track the right metrics to really get a grip on how your Instagram marketing is going. For instance, the total number of followers is a vanity metric and doesn’t indicate how your current efforts are going. Your follower growth rate, on the other hand, is a metric that shows you if people are actually liking your content. A tool like Influencer Dashboard can help you keep tabs on your follower growth rate.
Another metric you need to track obsessively is your engagement rate. Engagement on your posts is nothing but the likes and comments. You need to capture both the average engagement percentage of your total followers and the average engagement rate on every post. This will help you get clarity on how your page is doing. If you have fewer followers, you should be looking at higher engagement rates.
6. Leverage Different Types Of Instagram Posts
Instagram’s strength lies in the variety of things you can do with your posts. From different content formats and in-app editing to posts with different goals. Here are the different types of Instagram posts and how you can make the best use of them.
Images are the most common format for Instagram posts. While using high-resolution images and impressive filters is great, it’s important to be authentic. Customers are looking for content they connect to, and images that are boring or too promotional will backfire.
Videos are available in different time formats on Instagram and see very high rates of engagement. With 64% of marketers saying that video will be the focus of their marketing strategy going forward, this is one form of content you just can’t ignore.
(iii) Instagram Stories
There are so many advantages to using Instagram stories for marketing. Since they disappear after 24 hours, you don’t need to worry too much about aesthetics and high-quality. You can experiment with interesting formats like GIFs, boomerangs, behind-the-scenes videos, and live videos. Moreover, you can tag influencers on stories and even add the link to your product in the stories.
Here are some great ideas for Instagram marketing posts using different content formats.
(a) Lifestyle Posts
Instead of just focussing on images and videos of your product, try to define your brand personality and design lifestyle posts around that.
(b) Behind-The-Scenes Posts
Behind-the-scenes images are also a great idea. They give people a glimpse into the inner workings of your business which people can connect with.
(c) Reposting Employee Posts
Reposting relevant content from your employees’ Instagram pages is a great way to get content that is authentic. It also helps humanize your brand for your followers.
(d) Influencer Posts
As discussed, influencers to talk about your product is a great way to reach your target audience. Make sure you collaborate with your influencers to plan the timing and theme of the posts in advance. Having common hashtags, post timing and themes can help the entire campaign stay on track.
(e) User-Generated Content
Curating content from your users and followers and crafting your Instagram marketing strategy around it is a great idea. It helps build credibility and authenticity for your brand. You can also create an additional buzz by starting contests to encourage users to create brand-related content.
With over 1 billion monthly active users, brands can no longer afford to ignore Instagram marketing. With its trendy and millennial appeal, many marketers may think Instagram is not the right fit for them.
However, Instagram is becoming more mainstream as it keeps growing rapidly. This is the right time to craft a well-thought-out Instagram marketing strategy before the platform become overcrowded. Make sure you follow the tips in this article to get your Instagram marketing approach just right.
Gone were the days when social media was only used for interaction purpose. Now, with the evolution of digital marketing, social media has become another valuable platform that has the potential of growing your business. To understand Social Media Marketing completely, enroll in our Social Media Certification Course.