With more than 500 million active users, Instagram is the most popular visual marketing platform in today’s social media landscape. Digital marketers must be able to master Instagram marketing to connect with Millennials, tell their brands’ visual stories, and stake out a presence on visual media. Mastering how to connect with the Instagram market, however, is a challenge for many marketers.
Here’s an in-depth guide on how to navigate the Instagram for business landscape and how to market your business on Instagram.
The Basics of Instagram Marketing
Marketing on Instagram requires a basic understanding of how the platform operates. You probably know the basics. If you are unfamiliar, here’s the gist: Users take and share photographs or videos along with a caption, in turn, their community of followers can interact with the post by liking it, leaving a comment, or re-gramming it themselves.
Understand the platform: In the past, Instagram’s newsfeed did not have a sharing algorithm. What this meant is that when a user logged in, she had the opportunity to see every piece of shared content from the accounts that she followed. However, Instagram recently rolled out a new algorithm-driven which has replaced the traditional oldest-to-newest newsfeed.
Essentially, Instagram has made it harder for your posts to reach your entire following. What this has done is make it even more important to encourage your followers to like and comment on posts—so that your brand remains on the top of your audience feed. (When people actively engage with your brand, it triggers a user experience signal within the algorithm that will keep your posts showing up in your audience’s feeds.)
Focus on analytics: To truly understand marketing in Instagram, it’s critical that you create smart feedback loops. Don’t just post content and hope it performs well – use an Instagram analytics tool to help you objectively measure how your content is performing. That data can help you craft a more deliberate and effective strategy. As with all social media platforms, the more data you have access to, the better prepared you’ll be to deliver what your audience really wants.
Don’t be afraid to experiment: Your next campaign for the platform should be called Instagram Social Media Marketing: Experimentation. With a wide variety of potential subjects, photographic choices and different ways to connect with audiences, experimenting with your strategy on Instagram will help you connect most effectively with potential customers.
The Anatomy of a Successful Instagram for Business Marketing Campaign
A successful Instagram business marketing campaign has five key elements:
- It features original content that conveys something about your brand or product.
- It aligns with your audience’s interests and expectations.
- It takes advantage of the unique visual positioning opportunities on Instagram, such as filters and different technical configurations.
- It encourages engagement – such as likes and comments – from your fans and followers.
- There is a clear call to action that puts the image into a broader visual marketing campaign context.
Take the time to find examples of successful Instagram campaigns and accounts – especially those in your niche. By observing and analyzing what’s working now, you will gather real-time and industry relevant data on how specific businesses are making the most of their Instagram audience.
How Influencer Marketing Can Help
Instagram influencer marketing is a natural entry point for brands that want to reach Instagram’s users, but aren’t ready to launch a full-scale campaign. Consider partnering with brand influencers. Once you find a content creator who is active in your niche, you can work with that individual to create content featuring your product or service, and they share it with their audience. Ultimately, this can help drive awareness of your brand, products and services – as well as lead to sales.
Another way to incorporate influencer marketing into your media mix is to focus on user generated content. User generated content refers to content – such as Instagram photos – that is published by your fans or customers. One example could be a picture of a customer wearing your product on her vacation to Greece that she has shared on social media. Using a third party vendor, such as the one recommended here, consider curating shoppable galleries of these real customer photos into visual tableaus for your website. When visitors see something they love and click on a photo, it will bring them straight to the product page. Since this content serves as social proof for your products, this can have a big impact on your bottom line. Marketing with Instagram photos your fan base creates is a smart way to engage your audience and get more traction out of your existing visual library.
Marketing on Instagram requires an understanding of the platform and a commitment to determining how best to connect with Instagram’s audience. Spend time mastering the basics of storytelling on the platform, understanding Instagram’s general audience, and thinking about the best visual way to position your brand. Building your next social campaign with a solid Instagram marketing foundation will position you for success and help your visual marketing campaigns gain real traction.