Intro to Instagram Marketing

0
8 months ago
Intro to Instagram

by: Ernesto Comodo

As of March 2021 Instagram has roughly 1 Billion Monthly Active users. More than 60 million photos are posted each day, and 1.6 billion daily “likes” are given. Instagram like Facebook offers dramatic reach for brands no matter what industry you are in. 

In this article I will discuss 9 simple steps that will get you started on creating a successful brand on Instagram. I will discuss the following:

  1. Creating a business profile
  2. Clearly define your goals
  3. Know your audience
  4. Your Profile
  5. Profile Influencers
  6. Establish your brand look
  7. Know when to post
  8. Create interesting hashtags
  9. Engage

Creating a Business Profile

Before you get started with Instagram marketing, you need an Instagram Business account or an Instagram Creator account. If you already have one, you can skip this part.

If you’re brand new to Instagram or are creating a brand new account, here’s what to do:

Step 1: Download the Instagram app
Step 2: Sign up
Open the app.
Tap Create New Account (on iOS) or Sign Up With Email or Phone Number (on Android).
Enter your email or phone number and tap Next.
Create your username and password.
Fill out your profile info (more on this during webinar) and tap Next.
Step 3: If you already have a personal account switch it  to a business account
Go to your profile and tap the hamburger icon at the top right.
Tap Settings, then Account.
Tap Switch to professional account.
Tap Business and follow the prompts.

Why you want to have a business account?
A business account gives you access to features you can’t use in a personal account, including:

  1. Instagram Insights 
  2. Instagram ads 
  3. Instagram Shopping 
  4. Primary and secondary messaging inboxes
  5. Contact information and a call-to-action button on your profile

Creator Account
A creator account has its own set of benefits for influencers and content creators. But for most marketers, a business account is where it’s at. If you haven’t done so, convert your account to a business account.

Clearly Define Your Goals

All social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.. are tools. But you can’t use those tools effectively unless you know what you’re trying to build. Instagram marketing can mean different things to different marketers. 

Before you begin, define your Goals. Some of common goals include:

  • Creating an online presence for your business
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Getting new leads
  • Establish your brand as an industry leader
  • Sell products directly from the app

You might even want to combine several different outcomes. But unless you know where you want your Instagram strategy to take you, you’re unlikely to get there. If you are just starting, I suggest to pick 1 goal only and try it out for 12 weeks (3 months) at a time.

Know Your Audience

A little preliminary research can help you figure out who you can best reach when you’re thinking about how to market on Instagram. 

If you been in Instagram for some time the Business profile has Insights that can really help you get a better grasp what type of people you are attracting. You can get a breakdown of the demographics of your followers, including information on their age, gender, location, and most active hours. Insights aren’t just generalized, either. You can get specific insights on posts for the week that show you how many impressions you earned for that time period and what your top posts were.

With that information; compare it with your customer persona. Does it match? If so then you are on the right track. If not then you need to look at the past posts and see what is it that you are not attracting the customer type you are looking for.

You might need to change your profile description, use other keywords or hashtags that can be more attractive to your target audience. Or on the other hand; change your position and update your customer persona.

Your Profile

Profile Photo
For most brands, your Instagram profile photo should simply be your logo. This helps provide credibility and allows visitors to see at a glance who you are. Your Instagram profile photo displays at 110 by 110 pixels, cropped to a circle with a 110 pixel diameter. However, it’s stored at 320 by 320 pixels, so you should upload a file that large to make sure it still looks good if Instagram changes how profile pics are displayed.

If your logo is a square, you’ll need to zoom out to make sure the whole thing shows within the circle.

Username
This is your identity on Instagram. It’s your @ handle, and it forms part of your profile URL (instagram.com/username). Use a consistent handle across social networks to make it easy for people to find you. (up to 30 characters)

Website
This is the only place on Instagram where you can post a clickable link.
You can change the URL as often as you like. You might want to link to your newest or most important content (like your latest blog post, registration to an event), a  special campaign, or a landing page specifically for visitors coming from Instagram.

Category
If you have a business profile on Instagram, you can choose a category for your business. This appears under your name and can help people see at a glance what you do. Using a category for your business can free up space in your Instagram bio, since you don’t need to repeat this information. However, it only appears in the mobile view, so you can’t assume everyone will see it.

Contact information
Business profiles can include contact buttons that allow people to phone you, email you, or get directions to your business directly from Instagram. When you add your address to your Instagram business profile, it appears below your bio but does not use up any of your bio character count. This is another great way to free up space for more compelling bio information.

Verified Profile
Anyone can apply to get verified on Instagram. However, Instagram is notoriously picky (and in many ways mysterious) about who actually gets verified. If you feel that your account is right on the cusp of “being notable,” apply for the verified profile.

Just because you have a blue checkmark on Twitter or Facebook, for instance, doesn’t guarantee you’ll get one on Instagram.

Instagram is blunt, saying that “Only some public figures, celebrities, and brands have verified badges on Instagram.” In other words: “only accounts with a high likelihood of being impersonated.”

Authentic: are you a real person, registered business, or brand? You cannot be a meme page or a fan account.
Unique: only one account per person or business can get Instagram verified, with exceptions for language-specific accounts.
Publicprivate Instagram accounts do not qualify for verification.
Complete: do you have a complete bio, profile photo, and at least one post?
Notable: this is where things get subjective, but Instagram defines a notable name as one that is “well-known” and “highly searched for.”

If you’re relatively confident you meet these criteria, or you just feel like rolling the dice, it’s time to go ahead and verify your Instagram account.

How to apply to get verified on Instagram: 6 step:
Getting verified on Instagram is actually quite a simple process:
Go to your profile and tap the hamburger icon in the top right corner
Tap Settings
Tap Account
Tap Request Verification
Call-to-Action Buttons

You can encourage people to take action straight from your Instagram bio with CTA buttons. These allow your followers to take actions like book a table at your restaurant, or buy tickets for your event.

Bio
Your Instagram bio shows visitors who you are, what you offer, and why they should care. It’s worth investing some time to get it right. It might be the first point of contact for someone who’s discovered your brand by clicking through from an Instagram hashtag. 

Does your bio make it clear why someone should follow you? Does it showcase the very best of your brand?

A great Instagram bio highlights your brand personality and compels users to take action—whether that means clicking on your link, visiting your bricks-and-mortar shop, or simply following your account.

Be creative, try to stand out. Some tips:

• Play with emojis
• Use Spacing
• Use Humor
• Use Custom Fonts
• Add Special characters

Influencers

If you want to reach potential customers on Instagram, the fastest way to do that is through influencers who have already built an audience with a large following. More and more people are buying services or products based on what they see in their feed from the influential people they follow. They trust them.

What is an influencer?

An influencer is someone who has:

  • The power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience.
  • A following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of his/her topic of the niche.
  • It is important to note that these individuals are not merely marketing tools, but rather social relationship assets with which brands can collaborate to achieve their marketing objectives.

Social Influencer Type

  • Mega Influencer
    Influencers with 1+ million of followers on at least one social media platform
  • Mega Influencer
    Influencers with 1+ million of followers on at least one social media platform
  • Mega Influencer
    Influencers with 1+ million of followers on at least one social media platform
  • Mega Influencer
    Influencers with 1+ million of followers on at least one social media platform

Nano-influencers as being inconsequential, they can be of extreme importance to firms who make highly specialized and niche products. But for most businesses they lack sufficient influence to be much use. If you are just starting out or with low capital I would suggest to focus on Micro and possibly Macro Influencers. For the Mega Influencers unless you have an inside contact or are a multi national corporation will you be able to reach out to them.

If you partner with the right industry influencer, you can get your brand out in front of those users. The first step is to identify a few influencers that have an audience that aligns to your values, product or service. 

If you throw aside the short-term gains and direct sales that you can make from an influencer campaign, there are even more long term-benefits. If you build a relationship with each influencer, you’ll build lasting brand awareness with a new audience. And if you play your cards right, you could even work with a top influencer in the future to gain millions of likes,

A few ideas on what you can offer an influencer:

  • Have them on a retainer (you have access to post in their account) Monthly fee
  • Give influencer access to your products and/or services for certain amount of posts
  • Can pay per post

In marketing always play the long game so have a plan of at least 3 months with an influencer.

Establish Your Brand Look

Instagram is a visual medium, so your posts have simply got to look great. 

You don’t need professional photography equipment, but your photos and videos do need to be sharp, well-lit, well-composed, and in focus, at a minimum.

If you’re using images other than photos, like infographics or animations, make sure they’re crisp, clear, easy-to read, and eye-catching.

Even more important, your visual content needs to be compelling. Great photos are nice, but if they don’t tell a story, or get viewers excited, they’re not going to engage followers.

Once you decide what type of content to publish, you need to decide how it’s going to look. 

Your Instagram look should be consistent across your posts, helping followers easily recognize your content in their feeds. One great example of this is the Instagram account @themindfulmaison. The photos have a consistent color scheme, look, and feel.

An easy way to achieve this kind of consistency is to use Lightroom presets. If you find a creator on Instagram whose look you really like, it’s worth checking to see if they sell their own presets. The creator of @themindfulmaison does. Instagram filters allow you to create a cohesive aesthetic. 

That may not seem super important. But it could be the difference between someone following your company or not.

Visuals convey a lot of information.  Without a streamlined style, your brand’s personality can get lost in the shuffle.  Even worse, it could come across as chaotic and untidy.

Presets can help define your brand’s visual identity. For example, a dark and moody editorial look might fit a premium clothing company.  Bright and sunny might be a better fit for a travel or childcare business.

Once you determine a preset that works for your Instagram photos and fits with your brand, 

you can use the same one for all your photos instead of fiddling to achieve the same look every time you create a new post.

Start with a good photo

Not even the best Instagram presets can rescue a bad photo. So before getting started, make sure you brush us on photography 101. Image quality is important. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need a fancy digital camera. If you have access to one and know how to use it, you should. If you don’t, use your phone. Smartphone cameras keep getting better and better.

Stick to a few styles

Remember, one of the best reasons to use Instagram presets is to ensure your feed has a cohesive look.  That won’t work if you use too many different kinds.

Keep a few filters on hand that work for different styles of photos you post. This way you can add variety to your feed without compromising its overall cohesion. 

You can plan and preview what your feed will look like with Instagram tools like UNUM or Preview App

Or do it the free and old-fashioned way and storyboard. Just copy images into three-square grid in a Google Doc or related program.

After that you can go ahead and schedule your posts. 

Know When To Post

Over-posting on Instagram is a surefire way to turn off your existing followers.

If all they see is your brand on their news feed, they’re probably going to unfollow you as fast as possible. But you want to post on a consistent basis so that you stay in their news feed regularly. One of the best ways to do this is to only post during peak days and hours when your followers are online.

According to SimplyMeasured, the worst days to post on Instagram are Wednesdays and Sundays, while Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post. And according to research from CoSchedule, the best times of day to post are between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM, as well as 2:00 AM.

You can find when your followers are most active in Instagram Insights, so your best days and times to post might be a bit different depending on your specific audience. The research also shows that you should post between one and two times per day, but no more or less.

If you’re tempted to post more, then use Instagram’s carousel album feature to post multiple images in a slideshow format. That way, you won’t overwhelm your followers’ feeds.

After you’ve made these changes, track your metrics to keep an eye on areas where you can improve.

Not sure what to post? Here are a few ideas:

  • Behind-the-scenes posts: Give followers a look at your office, your storefront, or your manufacturing process.
  • Quotes and text-based images: Play with text to create visually interesting content with no photos required.
  • Regrams and UGC: User-generated content is by nature authentic and compelling.
  • Instructional posts: Teaching followers how to achieve a goal is about as compelling as it gets.
  • Videos: The maximum length of a video post on Instagram is 60 seconds, but you can go much longer with IGTV.
  • Reels: multi-cut video format.

Beauty Brand Glow Recipe uses IGTV videos to showcase skincare routines for different skin types using their products. 

Create Interesting Hashtags

What are Instagram hashtags?

A hashtag is a combination of letters, numbers, and/or emoji preceded by the # symbol (e.g., #NoFilter). 

They are used to categorize content and make it more discoverable.

Hashtags are clickable. Anyone who clicks on an Instagram hashtag or 

conducts an Instagram hashtag search will see a page showing all the posts tagged with that hashtag.


Why use Instagram hashtags?

Hashtags are an important way to expand your Instagram audience. When you use a hashtag, your post will appear on the page for that hashtag. If you use a hashtag on your Story, it could be included in the relevant hashtag Story, which also appears on the hashtag page.

People can also choose to follow hashtags, which means they could see your hashtaged post in their feed even if they don’t follow you. Instagram hashtags can be a great way of building community so people are motivated to engage with your brand. 

For example, as the way people work out suddenly changed in 2020, Nike Los Angeles used the #playinside hashtag to feature local people getting active in their homes. Hashtags are a key way to increase your visibility and discoverability.

You can use up to 30 hashtags in an Instagram post. 

But, realistically, you probably don’t want to do that. We recommend using between five and nine hashtags per post. More than that can look like hashtag stuffing, a spammy tactic that turns followers off.  Worse, if you use irrelevant or repetitive hashtags, users can choose not to see your content for that tag.

To get the most benefit, choose hashtags that:

  • Are relevant
  • Are specific to your niche
  • Do not encourage follow- or like-swapping (think #like4like or #followme)

Engage

Of course you want to rack up your followers, but ultimately, the greatest measure of social media success is an engaged audience, not just a big one.

As a business, it’s quality, not just quantity, that you should be striving for.

Imagine you threw a party, and tons of people showed up,  but they all just sat there silently. No small talk, no dancing, no conversations, no drinking games.

Was the party really a success? The RSVP list looks good, but did your guests have fun? Do they like your dip?

Activity and engagement is crucial for every social platform to build a positive brand experience,  and develop meaningful relationships with new and potential future customers. You can track the following metrics on Instagram Insights:

  • Audience demographics: Where do they live? Are they men or women? How old?
  • Optimal times: When are your followers online? What days and times are they active?
  • Popular content: What gets hearts? What posts get comments?
  • Ways to increase Engagement
  • Create Shareable content

That being said, don’t be afraid to get creative with these post ideas:

  • Contests
  • Asking questions
  • Polls
  • Encouraging your audience to ask you questions (try an “Ask Me Anything” session)
  • Test their knowledge
  • Media upload contests
  • Animated gifs
  • Spotlighting customers
  • Custom stickers or filters for Instagram Stories
  • Stay Topical

Not sure what to chat about on any given day? 

Just join a conversation that’s already happening. 

Commenting on current events and trends in a way that ties in your brand is an opportunity to instantly connect with an audience in a timely way.

Keep Conversation Flowing

Some may think of conversation as an art, but in some ways, it’s really more of a sport: volleying attention and questions back and forth. Online, you need that give and take, too. It’s important for brands to practice both reactive engagement and proactive engagement.

When you’re reactive, you’re answering direct messages, incoming mentions or comments. When you’re proactive, you’re the one sparking conversation with people who may be talking about you, but haven’t necessarily sent messages to you directly. 

Think beyond the feed

Comments or shares are great, but these public shows of engagement aren’t the only way to see that your audience cares. Private conversations, like direct messages or story interactions, are also powerful examples of an engaged audience, 

so make sure to treat them right (and track those numbers) too!

Conclusion

Instagram has dominated the social media world. It’s the go-to place for image sharing, with over 1 billion monthly users. Billions of likes are handed out each day, so you need to do your part to scoop some of them up.

First, switch your profile to an Instagram Business Profile if you haven’t already. 

This will give you tons of free tools and insights.

Next, check out your audience’s demographics, like their age or top locations.

Post product teasers to urge people to buy your products or services without being overly pushy. They’ll be more likely to buy if they don’t feel pressured.

Partner with influencers that have a wide reach in your industry. Their followers trust their recommendations.

Be sure to leverage the power of user-generated content by reposting images that your customers share. You can turn this into a contest with an interactive branded hashtag.

Choose a photo to share every week or every month that aligns with your brand’s message.

Post at the right times and avoid overposting. Post one to two times every day and check out when your followers are most active. Schedule posts to go live during those days and times.

Finally, be sure that you track the right metrics to see how your Instagram marketing efforts are paying off.

Keep an eye on follower growth rate, engagement rate, and your URL click-through rate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *