Have you added Instagram to your social media marketing strategy? Or, perhaps you're thinking about adding it to your marketing mix? You’re not alone! In fact, many businesses (especially those in the lifestyle industry) are switching to Instagram to capture a new, engaged community of over 400 million active users.
But is it really worth the extra hassle? In our opinion, yes, yes and YES! An active Instagram presence can help your brand increase exposure, generate new leads and drive sales growth, making it an important part of your social media marketing and sales funnel. While the current Facebook algorithm sees many limitations for brands when it comes to reaching their followers, Instagram (at the moment anyway) is great for organic reach and impressions if you use the platform strategically, following our guide to Instagram for business.
To help you navigate the world of Instagram for business, here are our top tips on how your brand can use Instagram to increase exposure, generate leads and drive sales growth:
- Tell your story. What is your brand all about, how was it founded, what are your morals and values and who are the people behind the brand – these are the things that encourage consumers to build a personal relationship with your brand and ultimately become lifetime customers.Instagram is all about sharing visual stories, so jump on board and let your new and potential future customers get to know you better.
- Build a community. While Instagram is a marketing channel and it's also part of your sales funnel, it’s not all about hard selling. Create a community around your product and niche, whether that’s living a healthy lifestyle or following the latest trends, build a community and share information on the topic you all have in common.
- Think like an influencer. Follow the lead of influencers in your industry and run your account by following in their footsteps. Get ideas from influencers about content, captions and engagement, and then go out and do it on your brands account. Be inspired by influencers and how they work and grow their profile, but never copy.
- Collaborate. Collaboration is the key to growth on Instagram because it is a great way for new followers to discover and start following your account. Collaborate with local businesses in your area to promote each other, host a joined giveaway or leverage influencer marketing to reach more of your followers. Collaborating with other Instagram users will help more visitors land on your page, join your community and eventually, they'll become a customer.
- Dabble in Influencer Marketing. Speaking of influencer marketing, I recently wrote a blog post on the 24 Reasons Why Brands Should Work With Influencers and you guessed it, increasing brand exposure and driving sales were most certainly on the list. Implement an influencer marketing strategy to run parallel to your Instagram account to help it grow and become exposed to more people. That's what influencer marketing is all about.
- Engage, engage and engage some more. You’ll only see success on Instagram if you spend time and resources engaging with the community you’ve built, and the one you are building too. Always double tap if you generally like something, and don’t be afraid to leave a comment if you have something nice or valuable to say. When you put good things out into the Insta-world, good things will come back to you.
- Use hashtags. We can’t stress this one enough – every Instagram update should include up to 30 relevant hashtags that promote your post and make connections with other movers and shakers in your industry. Instead of putting hashtags in the image caption, publish a comment below with the hashtags you want to use for that post. This way, your Instagram caption is clean and clear, and the hashtags are in their own space. Check out this Instagram post as an example.
- Post regularly – If possible, it is ideal to post on Instagram at least once daily, but only if you have enough great content to do so (see below tip). Experiment with posting at different times during the day and then analyse the results at the end of the week to see when your followers are most active and engaged. As a general guide, 6-9am and 5-8pm experience a lot of activity on Instagram because it is just outside of the standard workday.
- Focus on the visuals. To do well on Instagram you need to have great visuals (mediocre just won’t cut it). If you have a dedicated content team, make it one of their tasks to produce great visual content exclusively for your Instagram account. If you don’t, produce as much as you can personally, and then fill any gaps with fabulous stock imagery. To produce your Instagram content in just one hour per week, check out this post.