How to approach Instagram marketing strategy for business?

Instagram is a photo-sharing platform that also allows you to post videos of up to 60 seconds long.  Instagram is important because it has ...

Instagram is a photo-sharing platform that also allows you to post videos of up to 60 seconds long.  Instagram is important because it has over 400 million active users.  This is a large audience that you cannot deny engaging with.  In fact, Instagram users generally have a larger engagement rate than those on Facebook and Twitter marketing strategy for business, which is why you cannot look past Instagram. Instagram is shaping up to be the next Facebook, allowing you to actually link your two accounts together (including Twitter and many other platforms as well) instead of having to post on each social media platform. A lot of users are choosing to post only on Instagram, but still have their photos uploaded to Facebook. Instagram is a lot more personal in the way that Facebook used to be with lots of photos and lots of insight into your own world. Instagram attracts a lot of younger followers, while still branching out to the entire community. While their parents and even grandparents would have a Facebook account, not everyone will have an Instagram account. You can think of Instagram as a great tool to use to engage with a younger audience, staying connected with those you wouldn’t necessarily get with Facebook. People like looking at pretty things, so it’s no wonder that Instagram has been doing as well as it has been.

Instagram marketing strategy for business

The major difference between Instagram and other social media platforms is that you are only posting photos and videos.  Your marketing strategy has to be different and well thought-out. You must be creative, visually inspiring and efficient in communication to tell your story.

YOUR BUSINESS INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT SETUP

Instagram allows you to create your Instagram account with your Facebook account.  I recommend that you do not do that.  Instead, use your email address to setup your account so that the two social media platforms are set up separately.

As you set up your account, make sure you choose a recognizable name that fits with your brand identity.  Your business name or something similar to that so that your customers can find you.

Your profile picture is just as important.  It is the thumbnail that everyone will see.  It should be your business logo or something that is also recognizable and identifies you as your business (again do not import this image from Facebook as it will ask you if you want to).

Your profile basics will be set up next.  Put in your business name and a phone number (primary business phone number that customers can use).  After that, you can start finding people to follow.  My suggestion is to wait until you have your profile and page fully integrated.  So, for now, skip this step.  Now you can complete your profile adding your website and bio fields.  For your bio fields make sure you include who your business is, what you do, where you are located, etc.

The last thing you have to do is set up your social sharing.  Now you can link your Twitter and Facebook accounts.  It is best to do it here because you can always unlink them.  They never HAVE to be tied together.  Once they are linked, you can share your Instagram posts to those social media platforms seamlessly. This is a great idea, saving you time and money in having to post to each platform separately, for the same photo or event update.

At this point, you can start posting.  I suggest you get a few posts under your belt and make sure you fully understand the new app before you start connecting with others so that you can communicate with them. If you do not like an image or have uploaded one that you thought looked better than it does once you scroll through, you can delete this without many people seeing it. Remember to use hashtags like Twitter to engage with users and find new likes and followers. It is a fairly simple app, so go have fun with it and get to work on your marketing campaign.

MARKETING CONTENT FOR INSTAGRAM

As we discussed above, photos and video are the focal points on Instagram.  Before you start posting any photo or video, sit down and think about your objective and create a strategy.  There are a few things you need to ask yourself to understand truly what direction you want to go on Instagram.

  • What makes Instagram different?  What can you do differently on this platform that you cannot do on other platforms?
  • Who is your target audience and which of those people are on Instagram?
  • How can you integrate Instagram into your other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter?

The essence of Instagram is to capture moments, share your unique business culture, show off your products and services, introduce and showcase your team, increase brand awareness, incentive customer engagement, share your events, share news about your business, and connect with other influences.

To do all of these things you need to develop an eye-catching theme that fits with your business and deliver it on a consistent basis.  Determine what aspects of your business you are willing to share based on the ideas shared above.  Perhaps you have a really beautiful storefront and want to showcase it. Perhaps you and your business are really great at giving back to the community, or are heavily involved in the community. You could post photos of your store (bringing in more recognition to those who may pass by it), or of other storefronts and parks around you. Once you know what subjects you want to share with your audience, brainstorm and determine how you can do that.  From there decide if video or photo is best for each objective.  Focus on being creative, unique and insightful.  There are several apps that you can use to help create the right photo or video.  Use these to your advantage to get the right message to your followers.

Establish a content calendar so that you know how often you are going to post, what you will post, what themes you will use, etc.  Make sure you set updates for key campaigns and events because this will help you as you develop content.  You will have a timeline of due dates and know when photos and videos need to go live.  Of course, you can always be spontaneous if something fun or exceptional happens.  Spontaneity is a key look to your followers that you’re more than just a business. Posting something every so often, at a different time of day, is a great way to keep your Instagram account a little more personal. The schedule is there to keep you honest and engaged with your followers. However, if you’re out with your employees from work or are celebrating something, definitely post this to Instagram. People love to see the inner-workings of a business and showing them the lighter side and your achievements will have people engaging.

It is also best to have some guidelines for what you are going to post.  Your overarching style and brand image.  Make sure you keep these in mind as you go through this process and that your team understands this. Will you be posting certain things on certain days as a ‘feature’ or will you only be posting products and product tips? Map out a game plan before you start posting so as not to just jump right into cold and rocky waters. You want to come out strong, engaging fellow Instagrammers.  You want to be consistent so that your followers can easily spot your advertising.

BUILDING YOUR INSTAGRAM FOLLOWING

Hashtags are critical on Instagram.  Everyone uses them, but what do they actually do? Hashtags are used to link related content with each other.  When you click on a hashtag, a search engine is run and a list of all relevant content is brought up.  The reason you want to use hashtags is because it will enable you to increase your engagement following.  Choosing specific hashtags will allow you to connect with others that are using similar tags. Take a look at which hashtags are performing better than others, and stick to those ones. Make sure that they convey the same meaning you intend them to, and that they are relevant to your post.

All major social media platforms use hashtags, with the exception of LinkedIn.  Twitter is also very prominent in the hashtag world.  Although I did not mention hashtags in my Twitter post, Twitter is notorious for hashtags.  In fact, the first hashtag was created by Twitter for groups.

Your hashtags need to be specific, relevant and unique.  Don’t post a photo with 30 hashtags, annoying your followers, or a hashtag that is far too long. Save the last one for your own personal posts that can be construed as a joke to your own followers. There are several hashtags that get used frequently.  Some of the top used hashtags are:
  • #love
  • #instagood
  • #me
  • #follow
  • #tbt
  • #cute
  • #like
  • #photooftheday
  • #tagsforlikes
  • #happy
  • #picoftheday
  • #instadaily
  • #selfie
  • #friends

Using the correct hashtag for your photos or videos is a hard thing to learn.  You need to remember that getting an increase in followers is different than getting an increase in engaged followers.  Those are the ones that will increase sales.  Do not use hashtags for the sake of getting more likes and followers. Use the above tips in the Twitter post with using hashtags on Instagram. Tag your photos and videos properly so that you do get relevant followers.  There are apps out there that can help you find the right hashtags.  Take advantage of these until you learn what hashtags are correct.  Two of the most popular are IconoSquare and Webstagram.

Instagram marketing strategy for business: Filters

Strangely, filters are essential to getting a response on your posts.  Certain filters are highly popular on Instagram.  These filters will increase your engagement.  It seems that Mayfair, No Filter, Lo-fi, and Rise are the most popular for increasing engagement.  However, for getting more likes and comments, X-Pro II, No Filter, Valencia and Rise are the most popular filters.  Try posting with different filters and see what kind of response you get.

Using the hashtag ‘no filter’ (#nofilter) can get you more likes and followers, as there are tons of posts with this hashtag already, and is always growing. Try using it with something that is naturally beautiful, such as an outside shot of your store or warehouse with a great sunset. Once you get the hang of that particular one, keep going and try out other different filters. Using hashtags and filters together, in a correct manner, will help make your account look more desirable to outside followers.

Filters can also help with photos that would be great content, but needs a little photoshopping. Using the filter Clarendon is a great way to brighten your photos, especially of those with nature or buildings, making your post more attractive to viewers. To soften features, with simultaneously brightening the right colors in your photo, use the filter Lark. This filter will make your post look the most similar to your original photo, without taking away, or adding, too many extra colors. Rise will also do the same, giving a softening feature that works wonders on selfies.

Instagram marketing strategy for business: Posting Time Table

The timing of your post almost always has an effect on your performance.  It is a good idea to run some analysis on your post to see what is working for you.  The afternoons seem to be the perfect time to post.  Most people appear to sneak a peek at their phones and tablets during the lunch hour and certainly spend some time on their social media profiles after work.  The afternoon is a good opportunity to start posting and then use some analysis to determine if there is another time that might be more beneficial.

Another great time to post your photos is first thing in the morning right before 9:00am. People will be just arriving to work, or have already put in a few minutes, but aren’t yet ready to sit down and do actual work. They’ll be having their coffee, maybe some late breakfast and will scroll through their phone while their computer starts up and they can get to work. If putting up a post at certain hours of the day isn’t working for you and your schedule, there are lots of great programs that can help you set this up, freeing you to log your posts for a week ahead of time, posting it at whatever date you prefer, letting your users think you’re posting in real time. This tool is great to use for holidays, letting you stay engaged with your Instagram following while relaxing away from the office.

Instagram marketing strategy for business: TOOLS AND FEATURES

Instagram Ad Solutions

Instagram offers an Ads Solution to business owners to help them create and target followers.  Their service includes creating the ads through Facebook applications: Ads Manager and Power Editor.

Both are excellent applications with themes and content creators to help you create the perfect campaign. You can create photo ads, video ads, or carousel ads.  Carousel ads allow you to add multiple photos to the ad so that users can swipe through additional messages.  To learn more about designs and getting the results you want visit the Facebook ads guide.

Instagram ads can also include call-to-action buttons.  The call-to-actions buttons include clicks to website, website conversions, mobile app installs, mobile app engagement video views, reach and frequency, page post engagement and mass awareness.  All of these are ways to get a user to do something whether it is to promote your website, engage with your ad, drive awareness, download an app, shop, or to simply get more activity.

Right now, you can use any Facebook targeting options on your Instagram account. You will need to read and learn about Instagram’s Facebook Marketing API to get the most out of your experience.

The solution also provides you with analytics so that you understand the performance of your ads and what campaign is the right campaign for you and your business.

Instagram marketing strategy for business: Instagram Direct

This is a great tool to use when you want to directly message one of your followers or if one wants to message you. When you put out any contests, events, promotions, or even new hires, asking the users to direct message you are a great way to get personal engagement on Instagram. Instead of chatting through comments, you can have a real conversation that can help you connect with the user better than an impersonal post could. You can send other photos of products, along with a link to your website and set up appointments with direct messaging. Treat this tool as your own real-time chat box for any issues or concerns that may come up with your customers and/or followers.

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