10 Techniques to Enhance Your Instagram Marketing Strategy
by Ron Dod
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In the digital age, interacting with social media platforms has become a part of everyday life. For eCommerce companies, these channels offer vast potential for engaging with customers to strengthen relationships and present your brand to a whole new audience. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world reaching more than one billion monthly users in June 2018, a record high for the social media app. With such an incredibly high number of people engaging with the site, eCommerce merchants have a great opportunity to implement social media marketing strategies that grow their businesses. Find out more about our top 10 recommendations for creating the perfect Instagram marketing strategy.
Grow Your Followers Organically
When Instagram first started to gain popularity, many business and influencer accounts tried to fluff their number of followers by purchasing fake bot followers. At the time, this practice was thought to be useful because it made your page appear to be more popular than it actually is, but now, this strategy does more harm than good for your business.
Most importantly, buying fake followers breaks Instagram’s guidelines, and these followers are never going to bring in actual money for your company. You want to be attracting real people who have an interest in your industry. Many Instagram users are familiar with the process of buying bot followers and can easily recognize an account that has done so, which could negatively impact your credibility and make it even more difficult to attract real followers and customers.
Engage with Similar Accounts
Growing your list of followers organically can be tedious and time-consuming, but it’s well worth the effort once your business page has begun to gain traction. Instagram is the best place to reach potential customers directly and engage with them. To help gain quality followers, you should begin following other accounts within your industry and interacting with them by liking photos, commenting on posts and even sending direct messages. You don’t necessarily want to engage with businesses that are your direct competition but look for companies that you can create more of an alliance with. Influencers are important accounts to follow as well because they can put your products in front of a large follower base and lead people back to your site.
Run Targeted Ads
Instagram has dozens of useful features for business accounts to help identify users who fit your target demographic and display your advertisements to drive these people to your page. Once you’ve set up your account, you can select specific posts to display as sponsored advertisements that are guaranteed to appear in users’ newsfeeds. The most beneficial aspect of this Instagram marketing feature is the ability to target users based on interests and behavior, making it much more likely that they will be attracted to your account and engage with your page. The more often users are exposed to your account, the more likely they are to remember your brand and, in turn, visit your site. However, there is a limit to how often you should post advertisements. Your Instagram account should have a nice balance of regular posts and ads.
Develop a Theme or Color Palette
While most users only post one photo at a time, creating a theme or color scheme within each post will give your page visual appeal. It also makes your business look professional and gives a nice comprehensive view of your brand identity. Without a strong brand voice and identity, your Instagram page may seem random or fragmentary. Before you can run a truly successful Instagram account, you need a solid understanding of your brand and how you want to convey your company’s values and lifestyle to your potential customers. Then, you can begin implementing elements of your brand into your Instagram marketing.
If your company’s logo has a bright color, you might want to include posts with this color on your Instagram. When users view your account, this color will stick out, giving your page a themed appearance and helping users connect your logo to your company. Before you try using a theme in your posts, you should photograph products, models and scenes with similar lighting. You should also be consistent with how you edit photos, using the same filters or adjustments to give your page that comprehensive look.
Create a Social Media Calendar and Post Regularly
Using an Instagram marketing strategy calendar is a great way to keep you on track and help you plan your posts ahead of time. It can be tough to remember to post every day if you need to spend time on each post selecting a photo, editing and creating a caption. Instead, create a calendar and prepare your posts in advance so you can simply press “share” when it’s time to post.
You should also factor in how often you want to add photos to your page. You should be consistent, so that users see and remember your brand, but you don’t want to post so often that your followers’ feeds are saturated with your posts, as this may lead them to unfollow. One post per day is pretty standard for business accounts, but it’s acceptable to post two or three in one day on occasion. The only times you might want to do this are during a big sale that you’re trying to promote or while running an Instagram giveaway or contest. With each post, you should have a goal in mind—what do you want followers to get from this? Are you trying to lead them to a product page? Build awareness? Share with other users? This can help you develop a more successful strategy and keep you on track.
Use Instagram Live Feature
Aside from posting photos, Instagram has two other major ways to engage with followers—Instagram Live and Instagram Stories. Both of these options are additional outlets for connecting with followers, but unlike photo posts, they do not save to your actual page. Instagram Live is a slightly less popular feature to use, but it can be greatly beneficial. When you go live, you are literally live streaming to your followers, which can be the perfect way to help build a human connection to your brand by showing real people. If your live posts get enough attention, Instagram may add it to the Discover page, suggesting your stream to other users who have interests similar to your account.
Post to Your Story
In addition to Instagram Live, you should also be posting to your story. Both going live and posting stories do not need to be as frequent as your actual photo posts. These outlets just provide other methods of connecting with your audience. Your stories can announce new products and include a “swipe up” feature that leads people directly to the product page. You can also use stories to repost content from other pages that have mentioned you or promote sales and media features (for example, if your company was featured in a magazine recently, you can link to the story).
Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing Techniques
Influencer marketing is one of the most popular types of social media marketing. Influencers are people within your industry–though not business owners or companies–who have a large follower base. You can research and discover influencers who engage with your target users and develop a partnership between your accounts. Influencers will promote your products and lead people back to your site and, in turn, you can offer free trial products or a social media mention of their account to help increase their platform’s influence as well.
Don’t Post Too Many Advertisements
Instagram is a place where your company can show off its personality and brand identity. Though advertising features like sponsored ads are great and undoubtedly useful, users will become frustrated if everything you post is salesy or advertisement-based. Instagram is where you can make a genuine connection with followers and customers. Try to use ads sparingly and include a lot of posts that feel more natural and less commercialized.
Run Giveaways and Contests
Giveaways and contests can be an outstanding way to lead new followers to your account, but before you try to run one, you need to familiarize yourself with the platform’s required guidelines. Most Instagram contests offer a prize to their users, and the process to be entered into the running includes following the company’s page, tagging a friend or two and potentially sharing the post on their own page. Instagram users are very specific about how they present their posts to their own followers, so asking people to repost something on their page may alienate some. But, you should definitely encourage users to tag friends because this is one of the best ways to introduce your brand to a group of new people.
Visiture Knows Social Media Marketing
Our eCommerce marketing experts at Visiture have years of experience working with brands on their email and social media marketing. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to see how we can help develop and implement strong Instagram marketing campaigns to gain followers and lead potential customers directly to your site.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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