By Luke Pickering
When it comes to social media marketing, it can all seem very complex and confusing. We’re all told that it is essential to get your business out to gain the maximum exposure possible, but it’s not always about being present everywhere – just the places that matter most. Instagram is a powerful platform used by millions of brands to advertise and connect with their customers on a daily basis.
An increasing number of companies are now realising the true power of Instagram; with over a billion monthly users – it’s one of the biggest social media platforms in 2020. With its constantly improving features and highly engaged community, Instagram can help to maximise your exposure and massively impact your businesses growth. It’s all about being clever with your Instagram strategy and following best practice.
So, what should you include in your Instagram marketing strategy?
Hashtags are a way for Instagram users to search for specific words and topics to find images and accounts they don’t already follow. Some hashtags get a large amount of traffic, and although this seems great for visibility – it’s likely that your posts are going to get buried quickly and not gain much traction. The best way to achieve visibility is to use a mix between popular hashtags and niche hashtags, so you have the best chance of being seen by the Instagram community. Making sure you use hashtags effectively is a really good way to build a following and become known within your target market.
It’s simple and effective, however, there are a few things you should probably think about when putting in your hashtags. There are a number of ‘banned’ hashtags which you should avoid using on your posts, some are more obvious such as explicit words – but these also contain some words you wouldn’t expect. For example, #beautyblogger, #mustfollow and #valentinesday are all banned hashtags!
Good quality content really is the pinnacle of growing your presence on Instagram. If you’re wanting people to follow you and engage with your posts you need to be pushing out good content – nothing else will matter if your posts are no good. You need to understand what your target audience is going to want to see; this is going to vary between every business.
There are certain things you should keep an eye on when it comes to posting content – one of the big ones is looking at what is trending. There are new trends every day so figuring out what these are and using them to your advantage is a great way to get your content seen and get people interacting. Popular trends from the past few years include things such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Mannequin Challenge and the Harlem Shake – remember those? Instagram is always adding new features to their platform – arguably the best being Stories and Instagram Live; these are 2 brilliant ways to provide your followers with additional content.
Stories are a blessing when it comes to providing different forms of content to your followers. It allows you to be more experimental in what you’re posting, and you don’t need to worry too much about them as they only last for 24 hours. Stories are great for sharing things like influencer photos, product photos, follower generated content and behind the scenes. Make your customers feel valued by resharing their content onto your story if they’ve posted a photo of them using your product.
Most people feel like being live in front of the camera is scary, but you should start opening up to the idea, we’re in 2020 and it can do so much for your business. People love raw content, they’re not as bothered about the polished content anymore. Q&As, interviews and events are a good way to fill live stories; be honest with your customers and they can get to know you on a personal level. You can also use them to build excitement and answer questions about an up and coming product.
Try adding a relevant and attention-grabbing caption to your posts to encourage people to stop and engage with your content. A great example of this is if you’ve got a new product coming out but in several colours, get them to comment their favourite colour. Topman had a great example of this for getting people talking about their new shirts.
Running a contest is a great way to build your followers and increase your engagement rate quickly. Most competitions require users to complete certain criteria in order to be entered into the raffle. This criteria usually includes things like tagging their friends, following the account, liking the post and posting onto their story. By doing this you can get your post in front of thousands of people that wouldn’t normally see your content. All you have to do is just decide what to give away that is going to appeal to your customers. For example, the prize could be your products, a valuable gift card or maybe even a holiday – but it’s all just about deciding what you can afford and what your customers are going to want.
Instagram now allows you to put up an image on your story and then add an interactive sticker over the top that allows the user to vote on something. These polls can be used to help make decisions within your business but also make the followers feel valued and involved.
Many brands overlook the idea of micro-influencers, but realistically they can do a lot of good for your business. If you’re just starting up, it’s easy to think that you’re not able to afford someone who will promote your products. This might be right for the big influencers like Kylie Jenner, who charges $1.2 million for a single post. However, there are many influencers out there who are in the 2,000 – 15,000 follower range who will be more than willing to promote your product for a much-reduced price. With some claiming a rule of thumb of £10 per 1,000 followers, it’s much more likely that micro-influencers will be more in your price range.
There are numerous ways in which you can go about finding an influencer for your brand. First, you could try going onto Instagram and searching for a hashtag that is relevant to your company/product and see who is posting about it. Then you can start putting together a list of people who have similar interests to your brand, and when you’ve done this it’s a case of reaching out to them. Giving them incentives to work with you is important, this includes things like payment or even just gifting them products in return for a feed or story post. If you find this difficult, there are brilliant sites such as Aspireiq and Hypr that can help. These sites are home to a directory of influencers with information such as how much they cost, their interaction rates and follower count. It’s websites like these that make searching for influencers much easier and also simplifies the reaching out process (If you want to find out more about influencers check out our blog post).
Instagram is a very powerful platform that has so much potential for helping you to grow your brand – it just requires a carefully planned out strategy. If you would like to know how we can help with your Instagram marketing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our social media experts.