Instagram quickly rose to become one of the most influential marketing forces in the social spheres – next to its elder brother, Facebook. Its speedy shot through the ranks of social networks started with the integration of live video in Instagram stories and the ability to shop directly for stories using product stickers.
It all began with Facebook acquiring the platform back in 2012 for $1 billion. What would follow is rapid-fire growth – with the number of its users doubling up in 2015 and making a frog leap in 2017 to an upward of 700 million users.
This comes as good news to online marketers looking to take full advantage of the big number. You can draw thousands of purchases, likes, comments, and views to your IG posts and stories with a little bit of creativity and a few tricks to set you off on the right path.
Founded in 2010, the platform came with in-built photo filters as one of its top-selling features. This allowed users to take in-app photos and even edit them in-app before publishing them on the platform.
The feature no longer exists, but back then, it was all the craze. Nowadays the trend has morphed into third-party apps such as VSCO and Lightroom that Instagram users edit their photos with to the required industry standard.
The problem comes with treading on the fine line between what’s trending and what’s original. If you’re NOT careful, then there’s a huge possibility of reproducing the same content as other Instagram users, save for slapping your logo or signature on it.
This post focuses on helping you develop fresh ideas for the posts you make instead of recycling the same content hundreds of other Instagram users are posting.
Before we delve deeper into the topic at hand, it’s important to understand that marketing your business or products on Instagram has never been easy for anyone. There’s always so much to do and learn – each requiring lots of hands-on experience to truly master the craft.
Here’s a top list of all the ideas you need to start marketing your business on Instagram like a real pro:
Sound Course of Action
The plan you come up with is what determines whether your business is in for-profits or just angling for likes. As a business person, your primary goal is to ramp up the number of sales you’re getting through the platform, and NOT a shot of dopamine fix as with many Instagram users today
The plan you come up with should begin by defining your target audience. Get to know them on a personal level. What is it that they do for fun? What are their shopping habits?
The content you create also has to resonate with the kind of followers you have on board. Go ahead and internalize the nature of your ideal customers. What are their demographics, concerns, goals, and motivation; and how best can you structure your message to sink in well with them?
The point is to try and get your followers interested in checking you out. And the easiest way to achieve this feat is by appealing to their emotions. Simple — just try to make your interactions more personal as it’s humanly possible and you’ll be halfway there.
All this is done to help your customers share your content around, and in the process, help you stretch out your followers and come up with a sound marketing strategy for your business.
With this simple tactic, you can, among other things:
- Increase your brand awareness
- Build up Your Customers Loyalty
- Drive even more sales compared to what you’ve been driving
- Complement event experiences
Get yourself to define your business goals, and you’ll have an easy time figuring out the best approach forward.
Make Your Instagram Account Authentic
You want your followers to trust you, including those interacting with your business for the first time. Then find a way to make the account look authentic.
The first thing to do is to make all the necessary adjustments and tweaks to the account to keep it in sync with your brand. When somebody visits the account, they should be able to tell from a casual glance that it belongs to your business.
Another common mistake web owners do is pulling their content off other people’s accounts and slapping their own logo on it to pass it as their own. Stay off this path if you intent to make the account appear authentic and more reflective of what you do or your true potential.
Can the account win somebody’s trust just by looking at it? Does it allow them to take a more transparent look at how you operate or conduct your business?
There’s this tendency within the online community of people zoning in on the good part of their life while ignoring the not-so-good side. You don’t want to sell an illusion, but the reality aspect of your business and what it represents.
The stories you post should be realistic enough to be believed by great majority of your followers with little to no doubt on their part. You’ve probably come across the caption “Instagram vs. Reality.” By the understanding of many, Instagram is the opposite of reality. What people line up on the timelines are the ideal images and stories of themselves, and which is parsec miles away from their shitty reality.
In whatever you do, it’s important that you try to avoid hopping into this train by supplying your followers with a reality they can relate with instead of an illusion they can only dream of and quickly pass it as another Instagram ploy to amplify fleeting glorious moments.
In a world where everyone is trying to be something they’re NOT, you can easily beat the competition by being yourself and very transparent with how you conduct your business.
Another way to look at it – every time you’re cooking up a good plan and strategy to take your business to the next level, it’s important to consider your past customers in the content you create. These are the people who have already interacted with your business. They therefore know about your brand quite well and can tell when you’re blowing smoke or being realistic with what you’re posting.
In the same vein, if this group of customers can’t trust you for the word you say, then you’re bound to also have a hard time convincing the rest of your followers.
Trust is the only thing that consumers need to let go of their last minute resistance. You know, that final point when you’re about to make the final decision to buy, but you’re NOT convinced enough NOT to doubt the decision.
If the business makes the mistake of evoking the slightest doubt, then they’d have lost the customer for good. Don’t let Instagram ruin it up for you.
Transparency is all about making your followers believe they truly know your business. As a matter of fact, it’s the only thing you can do to make your online followers, particularly those you’ve never transacted with before feel like they’re part of your business.
A lot has changed in the world of digital marketing of late. Brands are beginning to take a more eco-friendly approach in almost everything they do. The f0od industry is putting a lot of emphasis on gluten-free. If your business happens to be involved in a new strategy or new mode of operation, then don’t be afraid to make it known, as is.
You can start by walking your followers through a step-by-step guide on how your products are made. Or make a stunning list of the ingredients you use. And what the followers are likely to gain should they decide to try any one of your products out.
The point is to try and make your online interaction with every single one of your followers as honest as it’s humanly possible.
Think of your Instagram account as a direct channel of communication. You can use the platform to address your followers on a personal level, or to interact with some of them on a one-by-one basis.
Photo Ideas for Your Instagram Business Account
Your Business Story
Begin by giving a detailed narration of how your business came into being. What was motivation behind the idea? And what actually pushed you to get started? Not to forget, if you encountered any hurdle or hardship along the way?
Even the smallest of the businesses you know have an interesting story to tell. Don’t be too mean to your ardent followers when it comes to giving out a juicy narration of your journey as a business person.
Whether it’s a rag-to-riches story or a simple story of a person with a relentless drive to revolutionize the industry and how things are done.
Use #smallbusiness hashtag to dig out for real-time examples of business stories and the motivation behind it.
Learn to celebrate your business and the little achievements you’ve made this far. You also stand a chance of creating a trending topic with the story you create if done right. Just find a way to apply a special spin to the narration you give and you’d have succeeded in creating an interesting piece to drive an insane amount of traffic to the posts you have.
Behind the Scenes
Behind the scenes images of your business operations are good for transparency. What happens is that you’re simply shedding some light on what’s involved in the production process of your products and services.
Your followers are used to seeing edited photos of the products you’re selling, perfectly shot and edited to the required standards. So why NOT serve them with something entirely different?
Create a visual representation of how you manufacture your products. It can be a clear step-by-step guide in picture form, showing every detail of the manufacturing process your products go through.
Often times, people use the term behind the scenes to refer to the captured scenes of videos sessions, more so in the production of movies and music videos. But it can be used in pretty much everything to showcase the process involved in producing something or getting something done.
For a restaurant, you can take detailed photos or videos of the process involved in preparing the food you serve. It can be a simple recipe of your signature menu item or a sweeping shot of your chefs doing their thing in the kitchen. For an office setting, you can create a short video of your staff at work or an office party or event that you organized in the recent past.
In short, be prepared to walk your followers through the details of what your business is involved with.
Make a video of your products while in use. If it’s a back pack, let someone wear it and capture them in the midst of wearing it in the streets.
One way to do this is to make a simple how-to video. Find a product you’re certain there will be a few followers who won’t understand how to use it or get a footage of someone using it.
You can take photos of some of the creative signs at your work place and post them on your business IG account. Works even better with a brick and motor business. As boring as the tactic sounds, a long host of well established companies have been using it, and can actually attest to its effectiveness.
You’re simply reeling back your memories and capturing all the possible triggers in your surroundings.
All you have to do is make the images quality enough and professionally shot to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your account.
Another trick would be to come up with a perfect spot that entices your customers to take shots for Instagram. You can then encourage them to also consider tagging your business in the photos should they decide to post them on Instagram.
Marketing Tips: How to Use Instagram to Your Advantage
Organising an Instagram contest is one of the most effective methods to sell your brand on Instagram.
Whether you want to increase your following, generate leads, or advertise more products on Instagram, organising a contest is the most effective way to accomplish these goals.
Suppose you’re a frequent user of Instagram. In that case, you’re probably aware of the numerous brands that utilise freebies, picture contests, and giveaways to grow their follower counts, increase engagement, and sell more.
Consider the following ways that Instagram contests may help you carry your business’ Instagram campaign a success.
Host an Instagram hashtag contest with your brand’s hashtag.
Create an outstanding hashtag campaign for your business by utilising an Instagram contest tool like Wishpond.
Participants post pictures to Instagram using your business hashtag, and these photos are instantly displayed in a gallery on your contest hashtag. This is where individuals may vote for their favourite images and view those of other participants.
By permitting polling on your contest page, you may gather names and addresses, which is essential for growing your email list and driving sales via email marketing.
Host an Instagram sweepstakes.
While hashtag contests are fantastic, having contestants post a photo to their profile with a branded hashtag can occasionally be too much to ask.
If this is the case for your business and target demographic, try instead conducting Instagram sweepstakes!
The procedure for entrance is slightly different. Create a sweepstakes page using your contest apps of choice. Include details about your event, the reward, and a form for gathering data from contestants.
Then, plan a series of Instagram posts and Instagram Stories telling followers about the sweepstakes and sending them to your freshly created contest with a call-to-action. A smart practice for Instagram marketing is to provide this URL in your bio so that people can quickly connect and join.
Instagram sweepstakes are very effective if you have an advertising budget. This is because Instagram advertisements are the sole option to direct people to an external link within a post. Directing them to your sweepstakes is essential for gathering email addresses and acquiring entries.
You may offer your followers to comment on a post, mention one or more people, or use a certain hashtag in an Instagram contest. It’s quick and easy, and with an Instagram comment selector, you can pick your winners at random.
Increase your follower count with an extra entry contest.
While Instagram marketing is fantastic, it is useless if you have no one to promote. Whether you’re a new business hoping to get started on Instagram or an established brand seeking to grow your follower count, a bonus entry giveaway is ideal for you.
Bonus entry competitions are the most effective method of fast building your following and engaging your audience across numerous social networks, which is important for any growing business. They are extremely effective at growing your social following since they immediately reward participants who interact with your business on social media.
For instance, someone who joins your bonus entry contest may get five additional entries for liking your picture on Instagram, two additional entries for Tweeting the contest link, or four additional entries for referring a friend to participate.
Promote your contest with an Instagram Ads.
While most companies are capable of running a profitable Instagram contest, if you want to boost your contest’s chances of success, there is one task worth putting money in Instagram Ads. This is one approach to ensure your contest is seen by a large number of new potential clients who are extremely inclined to be interested in your business.
Since Facebook powers Instagram Ads, it utilises the Facebook Ads platform, and that’s an immensely useful tool that enables you to target individuals based on information Facebook has about them, such as characteristics, interests, and more. It’s a beneficial technique to contact individuals who could become consumers rather than merely selling to your regular followers.
Feature your reward in your contest advertisement since this is what will eventually entice people to click. Consider using concise language (“Click for a chance to win” in your advertisement to capture your viewer’s attention.
Using Instagram to Increase Sales
Use Instagram Ads to drive traffic to your eCommerce page.
One of the simplest methods to use Instagram to increase sales for your business is to create advertising for your goods that connect to your ecommerce website.
Post a snapshot (or a short video) of your product with a caption that includes a detail or a call to action. Then, encourage your consumers to make a purchase!
To increase your chances of making a sale, try including a special offer or rebate in your adverts. Providing customers, a motive to act or purchase first rather than later is an efficient strategy to boost your advertisements’ conversion rate. If you provide a service, consider making an offer (such as a consultation or evaluation) that you may provide in return for a possible client’s contact information.
One of the most critical components of a successful advertisement is the landing page – if it is not optimised for conversion, you will not get a gain on your advertising investment.
Additionally, you may run an Instagram advertisement that directs viewers to your Instagram shopping business. With this technique, you may entice users and offer them a product all within the app. This Instagram marketing plan has the potential to significantly increase your revenue.
Advertise discounts and coupons
Instagram has a reputation for being a pretty inactive site. This means that individuals check their feeds inadvertently – they often do so to stay current with their contacts or kill time.
If you want to increase sales through Instagram, it’s essential to connect followers with content that converts them from casual scrollers to enthusiastic followers.
In general, consumers respond well to advertisements when they are paired with visually pleasing product posts. Highlight your goods with a brand photo and content that emphasizes an offer or discount code.
A proper Instagram marketing plan ties deals and discounts to a specific event, such as Festive Season. This helps your advertising feel more up to date and helps you prevent devaluing your merchandise in the client’s eyes (which can occur if you’re continuously offering discounts for no reason).
Invite clients to follow your Instagram account in exchange for a discount.
If you want to increase your Instagram following, your current clients are an excellent way to start. This strategy is especially effective for retail consumers since it is so simple to implement – simply ask them to demonstrate that they follow your Instagram account at your point-of-sale and then grant them 5% off.
Construct a popup or landing page for your site that encourages visitors to submit their email and includes a special entry action that rewards them for following you on Instagram. Once they’ve completed this, create a scheduled email that instantly gives them a voucher.
Content on Instagram
Include high-resolution images of your products. A mixture of nice pictures and an action-oriented description may undoubtedly aid in your Instagram marketing success. A robust and good branding plan for Instagram is to share images of your items on a regular basis with some extra info included in the caption.
Consider emphasising the product’s selling merits, mentioning its price, and directing them to where they can purchase it in each caption.
Demonstrate how your product works
While product shots are fantastic, one way to increase their relatability to your followers is to demonstrate them in action. By including a photo of a person using your product, you help your followers connect with the image, placing them in the mentality of “This would look good on me” or “This might work for me”.
This is a critical component of social proof, and your Instagram marketing plan is an excellent place to use it.
Demonstrating your product in action also provides the function of demonstrating the many scenarios in which it may be utilised – which may even influence a follower’s purchasing decision.
Learn other content
Though this is not a marketing plan in and of itself, it is a smart concept to stay updated on the many sorts of material that Instagram allows businesses to upload. Try employing reels when a single shot is insufficient or utilising Instagram’s Carousel function to convey a story or emphasise a product through many images.
By utilising a variety of content formats, you can optimise your platform’s exposure. As video is the most compelling type of material available, don’t restrict your Instagram marketing to solely photographs.
Share your client testimonials and reviews
Although it’s one thing for you to convince your potential client that your products are good and that they should purchase them, if you have feedback, reviews, or experiences regarding your product that have been given to you, post them on Instagram!
Once again, social proof will significantly influence your Instagram marketing efforts.
Post your content on schedule.
That social media marketing can be excessively time-consuming is something we don’t have to skirt around – and Instagram is a great example. It takes a significant amount of effort to capture excellent photographs, retouch them, and write smart descriptions. Utilise a scheduling service such as Later or Buffer to schedule out your Instagram posts days (or months, or weeks) ahead, allowing you to make the most of the time you do have left.
You can also schedule posts utilizing the Facebook Business suite, which avoids the need for third-party tools.
Instagram Stories and Instagram Live
Keep updating your Story – and do so on a regular basis.
The ability to share your content through Instagram Stories is fantastic – it’s like having a special pass to the top of your followers’ newsfeed.
Keeping your Story updated on a regular basis is an ideal way to keep people interested. Stories appear at the top of your followers’ News Feeds, making it a convenient approach to encourage them to see what you’ve been up to lately. If you’ve just shared a new photo or video, you may utilise your Story to refer others to that post or video. The options are virtually limitless!
Instagram Stories are a great way to showcase new or highlighted products.
For example, as previously stated, one of the most significant advantages of owning an Instagram Business profile is the ability to connect to external URLs from your Instagram Stories (functionality that is noticeably lacking from non-business accounts).
Take full advantage of this by promoting goods from your business on your Instagram story, and include a swipe-up link that customers may use to make a purchase from your store.
The same principle may be applied if you are conducting an Instagram contest. Make it as simple as possible for followers to join your contest by including a link to your Instagram Stories.
Create Instagram Stories that shoppable
Instagram Stories that may be shoppable can be created if you have an Instagram Shop setup. Customers may now click on a product in your Stories and be sent directly to your store instead of being forwarded to your website. They will be able to buy the product from this page without ever leaving the app. This is an excellent method of leveraging your tales to increase your sales immediately.
Instagram Live allows you to interact with your followers in real-time.
Maintaining the theme of utilising various types of content, Instagram Live is a fantastic option to explore if you have the appropriate number of followers. The ability to communicate with your followers on a deeper level is a fantastic feature of Instagram Live.
There are a variety of styles that may be used for your Live broadcast – some of the most effective include Q&A sessions, product launching, and influenced takeovers. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. Remember to publicize your broadcast well in advance in order to offer your broadcast the greatest possible chance of doing well.
The next step is to have some form of purpose for your broadcast – whether it’s getting people to explore your website, participate in a contest, or purchase anything; knowing what you want to do will assist you in organising your broadcast and encouraging people to buy.
Observe and respond to comments
Despite the fact that you may believe it is a no-brainer for Instagram marketing. While this strategy is less possible if your postings receive thousands of comments, it is an excellent way for a small business trying to develop its following and gain more consumers to engage with each and every comment they receive.
No matter how basic a comment is, such as “happy you enjoy it!” or “hope to see you around someday soon,” comments help to personalise and strengthen your brand’s connection with your target audience – which may make all the difference when it comes to closing a sale.
Once it comes to Instagram marketing, it is important not to lose sight of the social component. This is going to make a significant difference.
Partnerships and Influencer Marketing are two types of marketing that are becoming increasingly popular.
Collaborate with other companies and brands
As a marketer, one of the most exciting things that social media has brought is the dramatic growth in the amount of partnerships between brands.
Try collaborating with other businesses that will complement your own business in order to execute joint marketing campaigns.
For example, if you own a food/eatery business, you may collaborate with local food products to publish a series of articles aimed at promoting their food and vice versa. Pick a brand that targets demographic is similar to your own, and you’ll discover that you may generate a significant amount of revenue via this mutually beneficial partnership.
It’s a Wrap
Marketing your business on Instagram can be pretty tough for someone who’s never done it before. This guide strives to make it all easy for you, besides taking a simpler approach to walk you through the insider tricks professional marketers use to drive colossal amounts of traffic to their websites using the platform.
For those who lack the time and technical expertise to handle all this, you can contact MediaOne today for help in managing your Instagram account or free social media consultation.