Currently there are more than one billion active monthly Instagram accounts worldwide, and 500 million of those are active every day. Moreover, 80 percent of accounts follow at least one business, making the social platform an extremely powerful marketing channel for brands.
Instagram should be a key component of every brand’s social strategy. While most marketers realize the value of the platform, cutting through the noise can be a challenge. Here, we’ll break down best practices for growing and promoting your brand on Instagram.
#1. Make your presence known
Once you’ve committed to using Instagram, you should focus on making your profile as visible as possible. To start, simply sign up for an account, click on the settings menu within the app and scroll down to select ‘Switch to Business Account.’ Then fill out your profile completely and make sure your description is keyword-optimized to boost your search ranking.
Make sure your profile picture is easily identifiable – so a brand logo is a good choice – and you can add clickable links to your profile to direct users to your website and other content that relates to your brand. For example, if your brand was recently featured in a news article or blog post, it makes sense to include a link to that.
Once you’ve set up your profile, take advantage of your existing contact lists automatically inviting friends from other social networks to follow you. In the settings menu, you’ll have the option of inviting contacts from LinkedIn, Facebook, Gmail and more. This is a great way to build your following and further establish your brand’s presence on Instagram.
#2. Know your audience
Like any marketing channel, it’s important to define who you want to reach on Instagram. Start with your best customer personas and using the tools in Facebook and other social platforms, review demographic data and segment which customers (if any) would be best engaged through Instagram.
It’s important to know that Instagram users trend on the younger side, with more than half of global users being 34 years old or younger, so generally speaking you’ll want you’ll want to focus efforts on younger segments.
After you’ve identified who is your target audience, dig deeper and analyze how members of this audience behave on Instagram. Look into what accounts they follow, content they “Like” and comment on, hashtags they use and accounts and locations they tag in their photos. All of these things reveal a lot about who each member is and what type of content they’ll likely to show interest in, to help you build your content strategy.
#3. Harness the power of influencers
Once you’ve defined your target audience, you should consider influencer marketing as a method for attracting and engaging those target users. It’s a powerful way to introduce your brand to new audiences, and particularly impactful with younger consumers that use Instagram.
If you’re skeptical about the value of influencers, just look at the power of the queen of influencer marketing herself – Kylie Jenner. The youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan boasts more than 142 million followers, relied largely on her own social influence to launch her flagship beauty brand, Kylie Cosmetics, which quickly became one of the most popular brands in the world.
When selecting an influencer to work with, it’s important to consider brand alignment to ensure that when they promote your brand it feels authentic to their followers. Pay close attention to the style of their content and the tone of their voice, and if that all aligns, take a look at contextual engagement.
A lot of marketers make the mistake of only looking at an influencer’s general engagement rates, which can be very misleading. For example, if a wellness influencer has an average engagement rate of 4 percent but only a 1 percent engagement rate on content related to fitness, that’s not the best influencer for a fitness brand to partner with.
Once you’ve identified the right influencer to work with, set clear expectations for what kind of content you’d like to produce and when, but resist the urge to micromanage. Influencers know their audience well, and their followers know them just as well, which is why it’s important to give them the creative freedom to promote your brand authentically. Their followers will be able to sniff out disingenuous, overly-promotional content, which defeats the purpose of influencer marketing. Trust that you’ve selected the right talent, and let them promote your brand to their audiences with minimal oversight.
Getting started with Instagram can be overwhelming if you’re new to the platform, but it’s such a powerful channel for raising brand awareness that it’s worth the time and effort. Remember to optimize your profile for maximum visibility, be deliberate about which users you want to engage with and partner with like-minded influencers, and you’ll be on your way to success in no time.
Making the most of your new Instagram traffic
Once you’re ready to kick your Instagram marketing channel into high-gear it’s important to make sure you’re tracking your customers to learn more. Be sure to tag your traffic with proper UTMs to see by campaign, source and medium. Here’s a great walk-through on UTMs and where to find in Google Analytics.
Limelight’s platform allows you to import data from social networks like Instagram and view reports and analytics on conversion rates.
When you know where your traffic is coming from and which campaign, you can decide what discounts, upsells and cross-sell programs are resonating and double-down on those that perform best.
You can also understand from these customers (by channel) what products are being added to the cart, and make sure you tailor future advertising campaigns (and discounts) from these tracked insights.
A big part of being a successful online seller is knowing the analytics and data related to your transactions and customer behaviour; likes and dislikes (churn and returns).
LimeLight’s platform offers a range of tools and solutions to make tracking and learning from your traffic (from Instagram or any channel you choose). To learn more about LimeLight’s platform and how we can help you sell more, check out Reporting and Analytics.