Instagram has become a critical social media marketing tool for businesses. According to eMarketer, 48% of brands in 2016 had an Instagram profile which is expected to jump up to 70% by the end of 2017. This is fascinating considering Instagram will leapfrog Twitter for the first time. It is an essential brand building tool which has even overtaken Snapchat’s market share.

This trend will continue since the introduction of Instastories. Without it, many companies can wave goodbye to their next generation of customers. Instagram is considered the ‘most important’ social network by teenagers. Instagram needs to be harnessed if businesses are to remain current and not fall to the threat of becoming a part of history amongst the next generation of consumers.

Companies Goals

Before creating an account, as always, the first step is deciding what you hope to achieve. These goals could range from increasing your website traffic to increasing sales or increasing brand awareness. Observe what others in your industry (both direct and indirect competitors) are posting.

A great tool which allows you to see what’s trending is Talkwalker. You can even use it as a keyword research exercise by seeing what words are trending and developing your content around it. Posting daily – once in the morning and once in the evening works best. However, it depends on your audience and what day of the week it is. For example, if it’s a work day, evening time, usually is most effective. And if it is the weekend, daytime posts may work better.

Instagram has its own built in algorithm which is based on quality content over quantity so make sure you’re not just posting for the hell of it.

Instagram Business Profile

With Instagram, you even have the ability to create a business profile. According to the Social Media Examiner, the best benefit to having a business profile is that your page will have a contact button. This will allow people to email or call you right from the app. To convert the page, all you have to do is link it to your Facebook page.

Instagram is all about visuals, so you need to build your brand identity. There are so many filters available through the app. Instead of choosing a different one for each post stick to one or two. This will allow your brand to become more easily recognizable.  And just about any business can start one from clothing companies, to design companies to even your average accountancy firm.

Posting images of your products are always an easy one, but you can also decide to post images of your staff members, happy clients, the office, filling systems, etc. You can also combine a sequence of images and videos to produce a better marketing message.

Instagram Live

Another reason to use Instagram for marketing is because it now allows you to create live videos. With Instagram live you watch the video in real-time. This means if people aren’t available when you are recording it, they will ultimately end up missing it.

However, people not following you can also view it by clicking in the Explore section on the app, which means more people may be likely to see it. It is very handy to offer quick teasers for example product launches. They’re even a great way to create an email list of prospective customers. By offering a Q&A session. Just ask people to submit questions before the live broadcast.

Within the platform, you can take 15-second videos through the app and it has great editing and filter features available. Try using this to create more brand awareness of your company and you can even save the videos and embed them in your website.

Measuring Effectiveness

The reason I mentioned creating a Business profile previously, is because this gives you free access to Instagram analytics. Ultimately, everything comes down to measuring your performance to see what posts work best. This allows you to see if you’re achieving the targets you set from the beginning.

Within the insights section of the app, you have the ability to find out more about your followers and how many clicked through to your website. This can help you choose what content works best. Union Metrics is another free tool that can help you analyze the best time to post and what hashtags to use. Ensure you check what’s working and what’s not on a weekly basis to achieve the greatest results out of your marketing strategy.

Conclusion

Overall Instagram marketing needs to be encompassed into your overall marketing strategy. I hope this article has helped you realize how you can fit it into your marketing strategy.

It too has an option like the other social media marketing tools out there to create competitions to help increase your followers and give back to your customers. This will resonate with your customers and facilitate in retaining them long-term. At the end of the day, it’s about adapting to your consumer’s needs. If they want to communicate with you through Instagram then it’s your job to make this possible.

Need some help with Instagram and social media marketing advice? Then don’t be afraid to contact us.