Every business strategy today has one common thread when it comes to marketing in the digital age: Instagram. Today, Instagram is a critical part of growing your brand and your business, and the evidence is in the numbers: already 25 million businesses are on Instagram, and 800 million users in total are on the platform. Safe to say that if you're not taking advantage of Instagram, your strategy is most likely antiquated, not willing to beat the competition, and overall, non-effective. If you are on the fence of how to start your Instagram strategy for your business and don't know what foot to get started on, we've got a few pointers for you to give you some proper groundwork.
1. Reevaluate Your Current Kickoff Strategy
You may or may not have a kickoff strategy to get you started on Instagram. If you don't have a strategy implemented yet, it's time to start the building blocks. If you do, do you have the right one that will ensure that your brand is getting started on the right foot? While being on Instagram could just look as easy as posting a few pictures on your feed to get a few likes, here are a few things that you should ask yourself when building a viable strategy:
- What do you want to offer your audience aside from the product you're selling?
- Do you know the Instagram community that you'll be tapping into to help your brand grow? Do you know how to speak their language, without making it sound like it's a foreign language to you?
- Do you know what your KPI's (key performance indicators) are for your Instagram success and your business? What are you basing them off of, and are they realistic goals to achieve?
- What is the content that you're starting off with? If someone landed on your profile, would they know exactly what you're about or what is the lifestyle you want to inspire?
- How far ahead do you have content shot and planned out?
2. What are your brand guidelines and brand identity?
The most successful brands on Instagram are the ones that have a strong grasp on what their brand is, their identity, and have a consistent voice and vision throughout all of what goes on their profile. Just take a look at brands like Glossier, Refinery 29, and Oh Happy Day. All very different brands, but they share one common thread: they are consistent with their brand vision and voice throughout their entire posts. Once you establish a strong consistent brand identity from the top and ensure that all of your brand messaging moving forward follows suit, your audience will be clear on your message to them as well and be more likely to follow you. READS:Conveying Your Brand on Instagram,
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3. Instagram is Your Elevator Pitch to 800+ Million Users - Make Sure Your Profile is Presented Properly
Let's make one thing clear: the old adage of "you can't judge a book by its cover" is somewhat irrelevant when you're marketing to a social network that is mainly visual. When marketing in the digital space, Instagram is a prime real estate to the growth of your brand. As a visual platform, followers will judge a book by its cover, so make sure that when they land on your page and see your feed as a whole, they're already impressed and make a quick decision of whether your profile is worth the follow or not. This is why it's very critical to have a brand guide and brand identity right off the bat. If your feed is not cohesive as a whole, it's safe to say that your audience will not have a clear idea of what your brand is, so ensure that everything you post is as close to perfect (to your brand) as possible.
4. Make Sure that You're Implementing a Proper Engagement Strategy
You've already made sure to post only the best content in the highest resolution, added a witty caption, and a few hashtags. However, posting content is only half the journey when implementing a proper strategy. The only way you can ensure that your content is successful is by making sure you're following up with the audience that you're building, and reciprocate the love that they're giving you. This also means going beyond likes - you have to invest time in actually listening to your audience, creating a conversation with them within your posts by encouraging responses with having them share their stories, and going back to their profiles and commenting on their posts. Another thing to keep in mind is finding followers not just on hashtags that your community uses, but mining profiles that are similar to yours, looking at their followers, and engaging with them. When you start paying attention to your target audience in an organic way, you can bet that a percentage of them will follow you back.READS:Quality vs. Quantity: Why You Should Focus Less on Follower Count and More on Engagement,
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5. Are You Making the Best of All the Features Instagram Has to Offer?
Instagram has come a long way from it's 1.0 days when we were limited to only posting one picture, and videos were not even introduced until years later to keep up with the ever-comedic (and now extinct) Vine platform. Now, with multi-photo uploads, video uploads, Stories, and Live, there are multiple opportunities to connect with your audience in a more dynamic way. When creating your content strategy, try to find the ways in which you can use each of these features. Now more than ever is the time to begin integrating video into your content strategy, as it is one of the mediums that generates the highest kind of engagement if your video is exceptionally good. Also, Instagram encourages all users to use these features more and more, and the more you use them, the more you can find your content ranking higher within the algorithm.
"The most successful brands on Instagram are the ones that have a strong grasp on what their brand is."
Now that you have the basic gist of how you can get started on the right foot when getting started on Instagram, make sure that you keep a consistent strategy and avoid some of the common newbie mistakes a lot of people tend to do. Make your plan, work it, and your brand is set for success!