When it comes to visual content marketing, Instagram is arguably the best place to showcase creativity and strengthen the brand image. Instagram has over a billion users, out of which more than half are active daily. This translates into tremendous exposure for brands, be them small businesses, or industry leaders. Apart from that, Instagram is already recognized as having the highest level of user engagement amongst all social media platforms, precisely because people seem to be drawn towards visuals that send a message, rather than reading entire pages of content. After all, we live in a fast-paced world, so you need to get your message to the audience quickly.
If those numbers convinced you to turn towards Instagram marketing, but don’t know where to start, keep reading to discover what are the five essential steps to set your campaign into motion.
#1: Focus on creating a goal-driven strategy
If you don’t know what you are planning to achieve with the campaign, then you will end up pouring resources towards something that may or may not succeed, and playing the lottery of success has almost never worked.
The first thing you need to determine is the ultimate objective of your campaign. Instagram can be used to accomplish a multitude of goals, but you may want to focus on one at a time, to ensure success, especially if you are new to Instagram marketing.
Maybe you want to raise awareness about your brand or to prepare a big product launch, or even to increase sales. No matter your goal, it should be clearly defined before you even start thinking about your next post.
After establishing the ultimate goal, it’s time to get into technicalities. You need to ask yourself two main questions:
- How much time do I need to achieve my goal?
- What are the resources I can pour into this?
The answer to those questions, as well as the ultimate goal, should determine the most effective strategy. But before we get into that, there is one other aspect that needs to be taken into consideration: your audience.
#2: Get to know your audience well enough
When you first launched your brand, you had an idea in mind about the people you want to attract. This is your target audience, and, ideally, all your decisions should be oriented towards them.
Who is your ideal customer? What are they doing on a daily basis? How are they spending their free time? This is what you need to know, in order to effectively interact with them.
Put a good amount of time into finding out who your audience is. The more you know, the more you can tailor your campaign to appeal to them.
Look back on your previous posts and focus on the ones that seemed to engage your audience the most. Which one of your pictures got the most likes, comments, or reposts? That is the type of content your audience wants to see.
#3: Decide on the message you want to send
With your target audience in mind, it’s time to start designing a message that will appeal to them. After all, the entire point of defining your audience is so that you will know how to “talk” to them. Take Dove for example.
Dove is one of the best representations of how social media should be used for marketing. The brand has made it clear they want to address to women everywhere, regardless of their financial status, skin color, age or looks.
This is why, for the past several years, all of their campaigns seem to be focusing on promoting diversity, natural beauty, and women empowerment.
People are not as attracted to direct product advertising as they were before, and Dove knows that extremely well. They managed to steer away from product advertising, and focus on consolidating their brand’s position when it comes to real-life issues that women are dealing with.
Their most recent campaign, #ShowUs, called for women to share everyday photos on themselves, to showcase that beauty is everywhere. They came up with this campaign after conducting a study that shows 70% of women are not pleased with how they are represented in the media.
#4: Connect your Instagram account to your website
I’m not only talking about putting a link in your Instagram description, that redirects to your website, but really making a connection between the website and your Instagram profile. If you are looking to create a powerful brand, then everything you do should align with the kind of message you want to send.
Ikea, for example, created a landing page that is shared on their Instagram account. The page is made to look just like their Instagram, which sends a consistent message to the customer. If you don’t want to create a different page, then make sure your website and Instagram account look like they belong to the same business.
Writing companies can help you create content for your website, which you can then link to your Instagram account. You can include the link in the description, as well as in your Instagram stories, by using the “swipe up” option, to direct those who view your story to the website.
#5: Choose one (or more) of the best Instagram marketing strategies
The last step you need to take is to decide, based on the information you have gathered, which type of campaign is best suited to achieve your goal. You can even go ahead and combine two or more strategies, as long as they work well together.
The most used strategies are:
Influencer campaigns: many brands partner up with influencers, to reach an entirely new audience. Influencers can review your products, give out promotional codes, or become an ambassador for your brand.
Hashtags: encourage people to share photos that relate to your brand, and use a hashtag that you have created, to form a community.
Giveaways: people can enter your giveaway by following your account, sharing a photo, making a story, or using a hashtag. You can then randomly select a winner. This will help, again, reach a new audience base.
User-generated content: encourage users to post content that is related to your brand, then go ahead and share their content. This will increase engagement and draw new potential followers.
The most important thing when it comes to Instagram marketing is not what type of strategy you use, as there is no exact recipe for success, but that the type of campaign you create speaks to your audience.
Whether you contact influencers for collaboration, decide to use stories, or user-generated content, you need to ensure that you know what your goal and your target audience are, to make sure you get as much as you can out of it.