Millions of people all over the world use Instagram every day, and they’re not just using it to follow their friends and family. In today’s social media-centric world online, businesses have never had a greater opportunity to successfully promote themselves on Instagram, but not every company is making the most of the potential engagement and outreach they could have with their consumer base.
To avoid missing out on sales that Instagram could bring your business, you need to tap into how consumers currently use the platform to interact with their favorite brands as well as how they use it to find new ones.
Here, we’ll go through how you can use influencers, collaboration, hashtags, and more to create a social media strategy for your business that makes the most of Instagram’s’ consumer culture.
Developing Engaging Content that Builds Brand Identity
Before trying any other strategies, you need to make sure that the foundation of your business’s Instagram presence is rock solid. To do that, you need a portfolio of eye-catching and engaging posts that will resonate with your business’s target demographic.
All of the other strategies recommended here will draw Instagram users’ attention to both your business Instagram and your products or services in general, so you want to make sure that their first impression is a positive one.
On average, brands on Instagram will post about once a day. To post quality content with that level of regularity, you will have to plan and create a content schedule. Services like Later and Hootsuite can be valuable tools for creating and scheduling future posts.
Make sure to arrange your content around a balanced mix of product or service promotion, customer engagement, and brand identity. Also, you’ll need to create a consistent Instagram aesthetic that matches your brand identity and the content of your posts
Use Hashtags to Get Fresh Eyes on Your Posts
On top of creating strong content, you’ll also need to strategize the best hashtags to categorize your posts so that new users can find your business’s content. Commonly, social media experts recommend that posts include five to ten hashtags, so you’ll need to research to find popular hashtags that will draw interested consumers to your posts.
Use platforms like Hashtagify.me and Tagboard to find hashtags that are related to keywords that you already use for your business. Make sure to check out how those tags are being used on Instagram before committing to them, as sometimes individual platforms can develop internal “colloquial” uses for hashtags that you might not expect.
A crowded tag can prevent potential customers from easily finding your tag in searches and decrease your chances of being shown on the Explore page of users who interact with similarly tagged content. Also, remember to perform periodical research and updates to your list of go-to hashtags, as changing trends can affect how well tags perform in the long run.
Invested in Sponsored Content on Instagram
So far, the suggestions we’ve provided are ones that can be done for minimal costs, assuming you don’t hire someone for additional social media management. However, paid content can be one of the most effective ways to reach your target consumers.
Although some customers may not respond to sponsored posts, enough people do that it’s a viable way to increase sales for your business. And, you don’t have to shell out for the most popular (and most expensive) influencers. Research has shown that micro-influencers, with follower counts between 10,000 and 100,000, have the highest engagement rates for Instagram marketing.
The Benefits of Sponsored Posts and Stories
Overall, the largest benefit for creating sponsored posts is that you can directly target influencer audiences that match your business’s consumer base. And, once you have a sponsored post with your business tagged, you have a permanent link from a visible influencers page to your business that others can use to find you over time.
Additionally, you can sponsor Instagram stories from influencers, which can often cost less than traditional posts. These have the advantage of the “Swipe Up” feature, where users can immediately access the webpage of the specific product or service being shown in the story.
The Benefits of Sponsored Ads
Within Instagram, you also have the option of creating promoted posts or Instagram Ads, which are separate types of content. With promoted posts, your post will look virtually identical to a normal post, except for the “Promoted” tag at the top.
With promoted posts, you can allow customers to click links to products to purchase within the Instagram app or you can direct them to your company website. This works great if you’re a consumer product-based business, but is less effective for other types of businesses that benefit less from impulse buying.
On the other hand, Instagram Ads can be a great tool for increasing brand awareness, especially as it will link directly to your brand’s Instagram profile. For both options, your posts will be shown to users with your chosen demographic who interact with the kinds of topics that you target when setting up your post.
Create Collaborative Content with “Companion” Businesses
Another way that you can increase engagement and gain traction on social media is to collaborate on posts with “companion” businesses, meaning companies that sell products or services that are often paired with those that you offer.
For example, a fencing company could create a promotional campaign with a landscaping company, using images of projects that they’ve completed together.
Not only will this give consumers better insight into how they could use your product or service, but it will also expose your business and its content to the partner company’s audience and vice versa.
Additionally, if you are a local business in a small or mid-size community, collaborating with another local business can encourage residents to support you out of community loyalty and connection, which will help your business develop customer relationships with long-term potential.
Once you have a steady content production schedule and develop relationships with influencers and other brands, you’ll want to make sure you’re linking your Instagram content with other areas of your business’s online presence. Make sure to embed your Instagram posts into your business’s website.
You can also feature solicit submissions using a brand-specific hashtag from consumers. That way you can feature customers’ experiences with your products or services, along with your Instagram profile, directly on your website. Finally, always make sure to cross-promote your business Instagram on other platforms so that you develop a well-rounded social media presence for your business.