As a platform with over 500 million monthly active users, Instagram has launched businesses into the world of social selling. What was once a platform for people to look at images of their family and friends is now a hunting ground for discovering the latest fashion trends and to promote your brand. As a business, it’s important to make the most of this change in behavior and alter the strategy to match this evolving social trend.
Every image or video uploaded on Instagram is an opportunity for brands to connect with a potential customer and engage them. But simply capturing a photo and applying filters is not enough. Before you start using Instagram for marketing your business, it is important to set aside specific goals and expectations from your campaign.
Capture the right KPIs
The first step in your Instagram marketing strategy must be to decide on the right KPIs to measure your progress. Ideally, you must stay away from vanity metrics like followers and reshares and instead measure performance tracking metrics like user engagement or brand awareness. Although such metrics are a lot more abstract than counting the number of followers or comments, they help measure the performance of key factors that make social media marketing in general and Instagram marketing in particular, valuable.
Tell a story through images and text
While it’s important to craft high-quality visual content to showcase your product or service, it is all the more important to communicate the experience to the user. While this is different from using Instagram’s Stories feature, you may also use this feature to create engagement. Use evocative text in the caption section to tell a story which gives life to your product instead of simply stating its purpose or benefit. A well-crafted caption that complements a compelling image or video can totally change the impression of your brand as people buy into the brand experience. Of course, there is no one size that fits all and so it is important to figure out what kind of story-telling works best for your audience.
Place products in context
Add value and appeal to your products by creating a lifestyle for visitors to buy into. Use real-life imagery and scenes to place your product in context. This way, potential customers would be in a better position to relate to the aspiration that your product strives to provide. One company that does this strategy really well is Nike. Their Instagram account frequently publishes images of runners against beautiful backgrounds like a park, beach or the hills. To viewers, this lifestyle is aspirational and they are convinced to believe that Nike shoes help them move towards such a lifestyle.
Partner with influencers
Influencers are individuals who have the power to sway purchasing decisions based on their perceived authority and knowledge in a specific niche or industry. Such people have a large number of followers on Instagram and a product review or mention from them provides access to their wide audience network. For maximum impact, make sure to research your close competitors to determine with whom they are connecting with (and how). Once you have identified your list of influencers, build an authentic relationship with them by engaging with their content. If you have a marketing budget to sponsor Instagram users for partnerships, it is better to directly reach out to these users via email or phone. The cost of a sponsorship can vary depending on the number of followers and can cost anything between a thousand dollars to tens of thousands.
Showcase user-generated content (UGC)
A user generated content (UGC) strategy relies on content generated by your fans who are either provided incentives (like contest giveaways) to contribute content or do so for vanity purposes (like being featured in front of thousands of users). Whatever the reason, make use of UGC to boost awareness and highlight genuine endorsements from your existing customer base. Human nature dictates that people are more likely to trust third party recommendations over branded content. By showcasing genuine reviews and words of praise from your fans, you are likely to create credibility among newer viewers of your Instagram account. Another way to use UGC on Instagram is to ask your customers to share pictures of them using your product and resharing this to your follower-base.
Traditional selling strategies like call to action and sales copy do not work on Instagram. But by creating an engagement strategy and working on your branding, businesses can enable your target demographics from viewing or experiencing your product virtually that can drive them towards buying your product.