Using Instagram for Business
It’s hard to scroll through your Instagram feed and avoid swiping past a branded post. Companies have caught wind that Instagram is the “new spot to be” on social media. However, the question still remains, how are they making money posting pretty pictures, and should my brand be on Instagram too? Before diving in and setting up your company’s profile, here are a few insights that your team should know to help realistically set Instagram expectations and start your campaign on the right foot.
Instagram is a great platform to use as a consumer, however, there are a few hurdles when it comes to using Instagram as a business. The platform has a few strikes against it in nature. The main issues are that it requires a lot of image assets, it is very lifestyle oriented (meaning soft product pushes), and the platform does not support hyperlinked URLs. Due to these hurdles, Instagram is not a social media platform for every business. This platform is mostly visual and often works best for lifestyle oriented consumer products or services that have visual personalities and existing visual assets that they can use without having to do much extra work.
Although the platform has many challenges, they are by no means enough to dismiss including Instagram in your social media plan. It is just important to know that when choosing to pursue marketing on this platform that the results may not be instant and it may take some time before you see a boost in your bottom line. In general, Instagram should be viewed as an opportunity to enhance your brand experience and to encourage keeping your brand “top of mind” for your consumers. At it’s best, Instagram works as an extremely effective top of the conversion or sales funnel tool in this way. In regards to tracking this platform’s potential, monitoring engagement is how you would want to initially track success.
So, after deciding that your business is ready to start marketing on “The Gram” there are a few best practices to know in order to properly approach posting content on this platform. In order to keep your users engaged and to best enhance their experience you should:
1) Keep a Balanced Content Calendar
Since Instagram is a lifestyle focused social platform, it is important to have a balanced amount of lifestyle and business focused images. When posting think of your target market and what images they would find engaging. One example of a company that implements this rule well is Kate Spade. They routinely mix in colorful and luxury photos to better connect with their customers in addition to product focused images.
2) Avoid Posting More Than Once a Day
Unlike other social platforms, posting on Instagram every day is not necessary to increase your brand’s presence. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s more important to have a powerful image to post every once and a while as opposed to posting less interesting visual content more frequently.
As a result, it is important to time your content to go out when they are most likely to reach the bulk of your audience. Unsurprisingly a good time to do this is during regular business hours (8a-9pm), but posting on weekends can often be just as effective in terms of engagement. As long as you avoid off-hours during the week, you’re sure to get the most out of your Instagram content.
3) Show Your Product in Action
In general, Instagram is a much more personal experience for users when compared to other social media networks. Using this platform you should keep in mind how consumers are using your product in their day-to-day lives. One media site that captures product in use images well is The Skimm. This product is a daily newsletter, targeted towards women, that is sent out every morning. The Skimm knows that their target market uses their product in the morning, so their Instagram is full of images of delicious breakfasts and morning rituals that show their newsletter in use.
4) Tell Your Other Social Media Followings That You’re on Instagram
If you don’t tell them, they won’t come. In order to build your following on Instagram, notify your customers and target market that you have joined the platform. Cross promoting your Instagram presence on Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail campaigns will help migrate your already active social media base to another platform. Having a following that is already accustomed to your brand via social media should help to improve initial engagement on Instagram substantially.
5) Convert to Business Account
Instagram now allows you to convert (for free) to a business account. With this feature you can add your phone number, email address, and directions. If you haven’t done so, now is the time.
6) Boosting Post
Like Facebook, you can boost a picture or video, for a very small amount, like $20.00 This feature allows you to select your demographics and other target ranges.