Take Your Social Media Marketing to the Next Level With This Powerful Visual Medium
Today, over 70 million photos will be shared by the more than 300 million users on Instagram. The photo and video sharing app has quickly become a fan-favourite in the world of social media marketing, and as the masses flock to this platform for the viewing of selfies and latte art en masse, businesses should absolutely be taking advantage of this opportunity to engage with their target audience. Almost every industry can find a way to use this social media channel to build their brand, engage with their fans, and drive sales; here’s how.
Create a Brand Identity
Instagram is an amazing social media marketing tool for defining your brand’s identity and increasing brand awareness. Before you begin posting, it’s important to think strategically about how you’d like to portray your brand to your followers. In an age where people are no longer likely to read and digest your company’s mission statement, Instagram is an opportunity to tell your company’s story with images. Show potential clients and customers what your company is all about by curating products and philosophies into a visually enticing medium.
If you’re a B2C company, it makes sense for your product to be the star of the Instagram show, so to speak, but if you’re a B2B company, perhaps it makes more sense to focus on your company culture, and even on team recruitment. Once you’ve narrowed your focus, the options are endless; you can post photos of your product in action, show customers how your service will impact their lives, or post inspirational quotes that accurately represent your company’s core values. There really is no better means today for visual representation of a brand.
It has been proven that Instagram posts generate a much higher engagement rate than posts on all other social media networks. This platform presents an unrivaled opportunity to engage with fans of your brand, so view every photo posted as an opportunity for growth and connection.
Beyond leveraging your existing networks, your best shot at connecting with the right people will be the use of relevant hashtags. Researching and adding industry-specific hashtags to your (hopefully well-thought-out and well-written) captions will result in more exposure, leading people to your profile who may not have found you otherwise. Be sure that the hashtags you’re using are in fact related to the photo and caption, and to your industry. If you host or attend an event, make use of dedicated event hashtags to forge connections with other attendees.
Once you’re connected, you should treat all of your followers as potential customers; because they are. Always respond to comments and questions, and interact in a way that aligns with the brand image that you’re trying to convey. If it’s appropriate, you may also want to follow some of your followers; if they post a photo that’s relevant or intriguing to you, there’s an opportunity for creating an engaged user simply by liking their photo.
Above all, use this social media marketing tool as an opportunity to connect with your followers on a level that other social networks simply don’t allow for. Showcase pictures of your staff and customers in real-time, and go behind the scenes whenever possible. The mobile nature of this app lends itself to capturing spur-of-the moment photos and giving followers a chance to instantaneously interact with your brand in a more casual way, so don’t take yourself too seriously!
Many businesses have difficulty viewing Instagram as a sales driver. After all, besides the main link in your bio, there are no direct links on Instagram, and barring the use of a third party app, it can’t seamlessly lead to a direct online sale in the same way that other social media platforms do. But if used correctly, Instagram can be a great tool for promoting your products and services–and yes, even driving sales.
Instagram is essentially a visual marketplace, which certainly has the potential to generate leads and directly influence a purchase decision. Use your profile to create buzz, interest and brand awareness–announce promotions and sales by posting photos of your product, or visually showcasing the ways that your business can help people. Use calls to action prompting or directing customers; try “Shop Now!” or “Download our App!” If you’re selling a specific product, consider posting practical tutorials showcasing or highlighting special features.
Another way that Instagram differs from other social media channels is in its lack of a built-in analytics tool, which certainly makes tracking the success of your strategy more difficult. But if you’re committed to using Instagram for business and for social media marketing, measuring how your content performs is essential, and will allow you to adjust your strategy as needed. Tracking even some simple statistics will ensure that the content you’re delivering is what your audience wants to see.
The most obvious metric to watch is your follower growth rate. While the number of followers you have doesn’t necessarily dictate your success on the platform, the rate at which you gain followers is often directly correlated to what you’re doing and posting. If you see a rise in followers, take note of your recent activity: what kinds of photos and videos have you been posting? Did you host a giveaway that required a follow to enter, are you posting higher quality photos? The same questions should be asked if you see a decline in followers.
Your engagement rate–meaning the number of likes and comments divided by the number of followers you have at the time of the post–is also extremely important. The rate at which your followers are engaging with your content can help you determine which posts resonate best with your audience, as well as the best time of day to post your pictures and videos.
No matter the goals you’re looking to achieve with your Instagram strategy, measuring these factors can help you determine what success will mean for you and your business. As you determine what content is more likely to achieve these goals, you can continue to refine your strategy, and ultimately expand your reach.
If you could use a hand with your Instagram strategy, or with any other social media marketing efforts, contact SEO TWIST today. And hey, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!