They say a picture is worth a thousand words. On Instagram, it’s also worth over a thousand opportunities for your brand. Currently, the total number of monthly active Instagram users is 700 million. The total number of daily active users is 400 million. These statistics speak for themselves. In addition to its massive user base, its visual nature makes it the ideal medium to promote physical products, making it a primary social channel for e-commerce stores. Used properly, Instagram can be a highly advantageous advertising channel for your brand.
A recent study revealed that brands have 25% more engagement with their customers through Instagram than through any other social platform. So, if you haven’t already, incorporate Instagram into your marketing strategy in order to build your brand and widen its reach. Like any other social network, there are some ways that work better than others. Here’s how you can leverage Instagram to your brand’s advantage.
- Build your bio
A successful e-commerce Instagram strategy hinges on your profile bio, as it is usually the first thing that users see when they land on your account. Being the only place your audience can click through to learn more or shop, it has immense potential for promoting your brand. A powerful bio can drive more clicks to your call to action (CTA), increase discoverability and enhance brand perception. So make sure you craft a bio that is engaging, relevant and specific to your brand.
For an effective Instagram bio, include:
- Brand name and contact information
Your contact information could be your email address or telephone number, depending on how you want your customers to get in touch with you.
- A CTA linking to your website or blog
You could also use a shoppable link or a link leading to a page promoting a specific product or details for upcoming sales.
- Branded hashtag
This lets your community know how to tag photos of your products. It also makes it simpler for you to collect user generated content to repost later. You should however note that the hashtags in your bio are only clickable on the web app, not the mobile app.
- Emojis for key information
Emojis add some flair to a bio, but don’t go overboard with them. Use the simple ones to highlight phone number, email address etc.
- A short description of the brand
Make sure the total length doesn’t exceed 140-160 characters.
- Grow your following on Instagram
You can use Instagram to increase engagement through building a massive following in a few, simple steps.
- Use hashtags strategically
Hashtags open your brand to large and targeted audiences. They make your pictures easily discoverable and increase your chances of engagement. Using branded hashtags (those that are unique to your business) in combination with community hashtags (general hashtags that connect like-minded users to a specific subject) creates value. Also, use hashtags strategically. Instead of using the most popular, which will gain you a few more likes, use the top hashtags that are specific to your audience. To find these, take a peek into what your audience, your competitors and industry leaders are already using. Or, you could use a free online program like Websta or IconoSquare.
- Use the right filters
Instagrammers were found to respond more favourably to certain filters. These could impact engagement with your audience. The top 5 filters according to IconoSquare are Normal (no filter), Clarendon, Juno, Lark and Ludwig.
- Post at the right time
Use IconoSquare’s optimization section to analyze your posting history and engagement. You will be able to identify the best days in the week and the best time of day to post, when engagement is maximum.
- Engage with your competitors’ followers
Follow a user, like posts or comment on a picture so that you become more visible and attract those audiences.
- Use tools to maximize your marketing
Manage your Instagram account with the help of these tools:
- Social Insight
This provides in-depth analytics which helps you monitor your growth. It lets you decide the best time to post, based on post history and account engagement, shows you all the data on the followers gained and lost, post engagement and much more.
This tool assists in managing your following on Instagram. It helps you unfollow accounts which do not follow back, follow accounts that are likely to be interested in your product, get lists of new followers, and those who have unfollowed you since you began using Crowdfire. If you’re trying to grow your following on Instagram, then this is a must-have.
This helps you schedule posts from any device, freeing up your time for other important work.
Sharing user generated content was never this easy. This tool helps you repost and credit the Instagrammer with the tap of a button.
- Facebook Power Editor
Run ‘sponsored’ posts on Instagram through the Facebook Power Editor. Its key features include advanced targeting through location, age, gender, habits etc., a dedicated call to action button leading to an outside URL, and flexible pricing with a larger reach and exposure for a larger amount paid.
- Take advantage of influencer marketing
Why do you need an influencer? Simply because customers trust recommendations from a third party rather than from the brand itself. Apply it on a personal level and you’ll see it makes sense. You’d rather trust the recommendation of a friend, rather than an advertisement for a product, because you trust your friend’s judgment. Influencer marketing works pretty much the same way. It allows you to target your niche audience through an influencer whom they trust.
Collaborating with an influencer will bring you their audience along with their networks, and drive traffic to your site, increase your exposure and enhance sales through their recommendations. Of course, you’ll need to find the right influencer for your brand. They will have to fit the context, have a substantial reach so that your content is shared and your message recommended by them to as many as possible. But most important, their recommendations should turn into action.
In your search for an influencer, consider:
- Relevance to your brand
- Engagement with their audience
- Number of followers
Old Navy, the clothing chain has collaborated successfully with social media influencer Meghan Rienks. Rienks appeared in a series of promotional posts on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, where she shares tips on styling outfits for different occasions, using Old Navy. With over 1.3 million Instagram followers and 2 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, Old Navy effectively promoted its offerings through her social media channels.
- Run contests
An Instagram contest is a great way to increase your organic reach and connect with your audiences. First, you’ll need to set goals and develop a clear strategy on the kind of contest you want to run, such as like-to-win, tag a friend, comment-to-win, photo challenge etc. Then, fix the duration of the contest. If you’re awarding prizes, make sure those are relevant to your brand and its message.
Observe the contests your competitors have held and make sure yours is unique. Design interesting themes, create a unique hashtag and promote your contest over various channels. Measure the results and make changes accordingly. A successful contest will effectively promote your product, generate additional leads, increase sales, and increase brand awareness.
The premium whisky brand Macallan ran an effective contest on Instagram where fans were urged to upload a picture of them enjoying a bottle of Macallan using the hashtag #meandthemacallan. 5 winners were selected and winning shots were featured on the Macallan blog and official Facebook page and Twitter feed. The response to this 4-week competition was excellent.