With consist growth in both popularity and engagement, Instagram is considered by many as the world’s leading social media platform — even though it lags behind Facebook by at least a few hundred million users.
Businesses are slowly but surely waking up to this fact. And in 2017, the number of advertisers on the photo-sharing platform more than doubled in just six months. Everyone is out to get their share of the Instagram pie, and with more than 60 percent of their users being members of the fickle millennial and alpha generations, it’s no surprise why.
That being said, for many businesses Instagram still represents a strange new world that seems impossible to understand never mind get trending on. But if we strip it back beyond all the gym selfies and staged #vanlife shots, Instagram is simply a storytelling platform. And as every business has a story to tell, providing you know how to tell it, Instagram can quickly become a goldmine for you.
So whether you’re polishing your strategy for the New Year or have just begun piecing it together, use our quick guide to Instagram marketing and find out first hand why the platform is the place to be in 2018.
1. Determine Your Objectives
If you set realistic and accurate objectives right from the start, then the rest of the process will go much smoother. In fact, all of the little details of your strategy will seem to naturally fall into place.
To laying out clear objectives, you need to ask yourself three questions: What, Who, and How?
- What does Instagram offer your business that other platforms don’t?
- Who is your target audience and which of them are Instagram users?
- How does Instagram fit into your social media strategy?
Depending on your business and its goals, Instagram can be used for everything from increasing brand awareness and showcasing company culture to gathering leads and driving product sales. By asking yourself these three questions right from the get-go, you carve out a clear direction and ensure all your further efforts won’t be in vain.
2. Develop Your Content Strategy
The next stage is to figure out exactly how you can use Instagram to deliver your objectives and showcase your business in the best possible light. Instagram is all about sharing beautiful photos and in-the-moment visuals, so the big question here is, What about your business lends itself most to this medium and style?
If you’re a product-orientated business, you may make them the stars of the show. The brand Califia Farms do this well by creating short playful videos and gifs around their natural drink products. If you’re a service-based business like Airbnb, you may create a content strategy centred around the people you serve and the issues they face. It frequently does this by focusing on a particular rental and the family that own it.
You may even want to follow Hootsuite’s example and highlight your quirky company culture, giving your audience an exclusive behind the scenes peak into your organisation. Yoga sessions, curling, and pets, along with their cute stuffed owl mascot, are all regulars on Hootsuite’s social feed.
When considering which approach to take, you also want to think about the type of content that best suits your target audience. You’ll likely find a balance of several types of content is key, and therefore that you should cycle through themes depending on the season and business objectives.
There’s no limit to how much you can optimise Instagram, as shown by the many brands that turn it into a highly effective marketing channel. Captions, scheduling, user-generated content, and hashtags should all make an appearance in your strategy at some point or other. But the real secret lays in not forgetting that Instagram is all about storytelling. If you do this and use the platform to craft and showcase a rich and compelling story around your business, then you’re such to find success and even rise to Instagram fame.