Author: Walter Lim
Instagram is the probably fastest growing social network on planet Earth right now.
Touted by marketing mavens to be the most important social media platform for brands, Instagram is native to smartphones and tablets. Which means that it is a boon for any business keen to explore mobile marketing.
Now that you can advertise on Instagram, there are more reasons than ever to embrace this “social lite” visual marketing platform.
That’s not all.
Instagram is becoming the preferred primary platform for teens, youths and young adults to consume personal improvement and lifestyle content. If you aren’t already on Instagram, you are going to lose the opportunity to reach this hard-to-convince segment of the population. This is especially important if your brands are in the hyper competitive consumer sectors like fashion, beauty, food, hospitality, sports and fitness, or specialty retail.
The challenge, however, lies in this: how can you get your brand on Instagram in the quickest and most pain-free manner?
Consider these 8 ways to kick start your Instagram marketing efforts today.
First and foremost, you need to create a branded Instagram profile. Fortunately, this can be quickly and easily done.
To start an Instagram account, you need the following:
Here’s an example of a well written bio (courtesy of @theblogmillionaire).
Now that you are “legit” on Instagram, you need to start producing visual content. You may want to establish a consistent branded look and feel for your content, rather than whatever catches your fancy.
To create branded content that catches the eye, you should consider the following practices:
Here’s a truly fresh and eye catching Instagram post from Whole Foods (courtesy of Online Marketing Institute):
Like any other content marketing efforts, Instagram requires you to be fairly regular in creating stunning visual content and publishing it.
Establish a calendar of posts, and try to keep to a routine. This can be daily, once every two days, or even weekly. Start off more strongly with regular daily posts before tapering off to once every two or three days.
Study the best time to post your content. This may vary from industry to industry or category to category.
Avoid bunching up your posts. I know that it is tempting to snap and share 5 to 10 posts in succession when you are a great party, or having a grand dinner. Save those posts for a later time so that you do not spam your followers.
To grow in both reach and engagement (ie Likes and Comments) on Instagram, you need to participate in the wider Instagram community. There are two things you need to do here:
Using the right search terms or hashtags on Instagram, locate other folks passionate in what you can offer. Engage with them by liking their posts and commenting on them. The general rule is to give one comment for every five posts liked.
IMPORTANT: Beware of using generic comments like “Cool pic!” or “Great photo!” as those are generally regarded as spammy. Always seek to be sincere and relevant to what was being posted.
Do not neglect your followers. Reach out to them by responding to their comments to show that you are listening to what they have to say. It is especially critical for you to close the loop when those comments are issues related to customer service.
Beyond responding to them on Instagram, make it a point to visit the posts of your most devoted fans and reciprocate by liking and commenting on their posts.
Hashtags are all the rage in Instagram. However, you need to approach it with caution.
While you can technically include up to 30 different hashtags in your comments section, the general rule is that you should try to keep them to 10 to 12 max.
Overloading your comments or posts with hashtags may make you seem desperate and unfocused.
Here are some other points to take note of:
Everybody loves to receive gifts, and the same applies to social media platforms like Instagram.
What are the “gifts” that you can provide to your followers and fans?
Here’s an example of a giveaway (courtesy of SL Designs).
As the saying goes, you cannot manage what you don’t measure. Likewise, it pays for you to look at your Instagram analytics to determine what works and what doesn’t.
So how do we measure influence in Instagram? Generally, there are three indicators that you should look at:
Beyond tracking these KPIs, you should also embrace the following practices:
Here’s an example of the Instagram analytics from Iconosquare (courtesy of Dog-Eared Social):
Last, but certainly not least, serious Instagram marketers make use of automated platforms to up their Instagram marketing game. There are several available in the market, but the two most popular ones which I use are:
Now that you have learned the basics of Instagram marketing, the time has come to plunge into this exciting new visual marketing platform. Let me know how your journey is.
What I’ve covered above is just the tip of the iceberg. Social media marketing covers many other areas – from understanding how each social channel works, knowing which content format to use, to measuring and managing success.
After almost 10 years in social media marketing, I will share what I know in a comprehensive two day social media marketing training course. The next run of my course is happening in October 2016, so do hurry.
Done in partnership with Equinet Academy, this rigorous two-day course will equip you with practical hands-on experience in social media marketing.
At the workshop, I will use a problem-based step-by-step approach in tackling each aspect of social media marketing. This ensures that trainees will gain practical hands-on skills.
Click on the link here to sign up today.
Oh and let me know too if you’ve got any thoughts on what you can do to begin your social media marketing journey. I’d love to hear your ideas!