Instagram may have started out as just a place to share mobile photos, but its popularity has surged since it launched back in 2010. With more than one billion active users[i] every month worldwide, it’s also become a powerful marketing tool – here’s how you can tap into its success.
Why should I use Instagram?
The UK is one of the heaviest Instagram users in the world. Around 22 million people[ii] used the app in April 2019 alone – that’s a lot of potential customers.
Instagram users are also active users with 60%[iii] of them logging in every day which means Insta marketing potentially offers more impact compared to traditional tools like flyers and online directories. Not only do you have the possibility of reaching more people, you can interact with them, answering questions there and then –all the time raising your brand’s profile.
Using Instagram effectively
Having an Instagram account is one thing, knowing how to use it to boost your business is another – here’s what to think about:
Clarity – it might sound obvious but be absolutely clear about what your business is. When you create your account, you’ll have the opportunity to write a short bio – using this facility means users understand what your business is about.
Target your audience – a golden rule for any type of marketing but even more important when you’ve got the chance to talk directly to people. Your posts should reflect your brand. If you can, keep your personal and your business account separate. For instance, if you sell books, your posts should be book related – commenting about what you had for dinner will simply confuse and alienate people.
Post interesting content – this is a big part of knowing who your target audience is. Quality content is vital on any social media platform where posts can easily get lost. Interesting content is also more likely to be shared. Don’t be put off by the fact Instagram is picture based, there are a number of built in image filters which can smooth over any lack of photography skills.
Mix it up – don’t bombard users with ‘buy, buy, buy’ messages, not only is it off putting, it can look a little desperate. Mix up your content with posts by other people related to your business or start conversations like asking customers to vote on something. Anything that stimulates interaction between customers and between you and your customer is a good thing.
Have a shop, add a call to action (CTA) – whatever you post, make the point clear. If you asking people to buy something add a link to your website to your bio, and if you have a Facebook shop linked to your instagram account remember to tag the items in the post, making it easier for people to shop directly. Even easier if you have a shopify website!
Are you looking for answers? Then make the question obvious. Long winded posts with no clear intent just wastes your time and even worse – your customers’ time.
Use the #hashtag – don’t underestimate the power of the #hashtag. Tagging your post with a # means you can be found by anyone using that term as a search tool. For example, if you want to sell books by Agatha Christie, you could use the terms #AgathaChristie #Detective #WhoDunnitNovels. If you wanted to reach a more specific fanbase, why not try #Poirot #MissMarple.
Engage – social media is about connecting with people. Liking and commenting on other businesses within your industry, or those you work with increases your presence. You can only share someone's post from Feed to your story if their account is public and they've allowed resharing of their post, but note that sharing other people’s content will also increase the chance of them reciprocating – you may even get more followers. Remember – the more followers you have, the wider you cast your net.
Ignore social media as a marketing tool and you do so at your peril. While it can be difficult to measure specific successes or campaigns, don’t undervalue the impact it can have in getting your business known.
A strong social media presence where you interact directly with customers helps inspire trust and loyalty – essential (and priceless) for any business no matter its size.
But being the boss is inevitably a juggling act which probably leaves you precious little time to hone your social media presence. So, if you’re struggling to get to grips with Instagram and want some help or advice, call us on 01473 561023 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.