With active monthly users nearing almost a billion in numbers, Instagram has become one of the most important marketing tools today. With the right approach and the right strategy, you can have access to a limitless number of potential customers.
Almost every other day we get to hear about partnerships between two or more Instagram influencers to promote a page or a product.
But it’s not just about having an account and going on a posting spree, you have to have the idea about the kind of posts that work. You must stay relevant to the current users.
Here are some useful points that you can incorporate to boost your following and engagement rate.
Business or personal?
Right off the bat, you need to switch over to a business account. You are here for marketing, right? Then you need to have a page that says ‘Here for business’ clearly. Switching over to a business account is not difficult at all.
All that you have to do is to go to the settings menu that is located in the top right corner of your screen. You go to the settings and click on the bar that says “Switch to business profile”. And you are good to go!
Now, this is not just a tag change. It brings a whole lot many features along with itself. Your Instagram account is now like your website, your followers can click on the contact button to get in touch with you right from the page itself.
Did you know that Instagram is owned and controlled by Facebook? Well, that is why you have to advertise using Facebook tools. But when it comes to a business profile, you can create and publish your ads without having to depend on Facebook tools.
But the biggest advantage is that switching over to a business profile brings to you a whole lot of features that were previously unavailable. You can use Instagram analytics tools (Insight) to view stats and other data about the penetration of your posts.
The job doesn’t end here, you are just getting started! Now you have t put in the time and effort to regularly monitor, improvise and improve your account with the help of these tools.
Of course, you have to follow the right metrics too but we are going to cover it further down the tracks.
Let Insta lend a helping hand
Instagram provides a lot of options when it comes to a business profile. You get the option to keep track of your posts. Every week, you get a report that tells you about the engagement that you had for that period.
Your top posts and how many of your followers are actively interacting with you. Based on these data, you can make improvements to your strategy or alter it according to the need.
These tools that you get with Instagram for business are quite useful. Think of it like any other business, you need to know what your clients think of you to improve your sales volume. Familiarize yourself with your clientele with active interaction.
That is exactly what you do here too, Insight helps you in knowing the mood and trend of your followers and you custom tailor your t=strategy to suit that course of action.
As you increase your use of these tools, you will begin to realize the kind of content that gathers the most viewers. For the next time, you are going to be more specific about sticking to similar content. Data amassed over weeks can be turned into a handbook on what to do and what not to do on Instagram.
The whole idea is to center your posts on the followers who interact with you the mist, that way you get to increase your followers and engagement rate at the same time.
One of the best ways to hook in followers is to tease them with your content, don’t publish the entire product but just tease about what’s coming to your page. It will build up the mystique. And it brings us to our next section!
Advertisement is good but too much advertisement will scare people off from your product. Your followers will drop and so will your engagement rate with them; but only if you are going too heavy on the advertisement side.
What if I tell you that there is a better way to market your products on Instagram? One where you do not lose your followers and do not fall off the radar for being obscure either.
That is easy; all that you have to do is build up anticipation in your followers. All that you have to do is to get them to look forward to your posts. The first rule is that you have to be interesting about it, post teasers about what is coming to your page.
From there, give them the link to follow it to your website, or app, for a complete description. With that, you are also creating traffic for your other platform, so it’s a win-win.
The most efficient sales tactic is one where you don’t let the customer that you are pushing them towards your product. If you are being too heavy on the pitch, you are going to look desperate.
When you get a person genuinely interested in what you have to sell, you do not have to push them any further. They will be attracted to the product and buy them all on their own. This is what you need to work upon.
Product photos and teasers are a great way to get people talking about your page. An increase in online mentions will mean an increase in your followers. This is the time to do your homework.
Make use of analytics to figure the pattern of engagement and then play to the audience. Use metrics offered by Insight to help you along with this course.
Learn to track the right metrics on Instagram
The rise and fall in the number of followers are easy to keep track of. The hard work begins when you have to analyze your performance and take cues to step up your game. This is where Instagram metrics step in. Thinks of it this way, the more the data, the better are the chances of forming a working theory. Quantifiable results mean more clarity and better understanding.
These are the metrics that you should keep track of:
A) Engagement rate
This includes the likes and the comments that you get on your post. Over a week, the data is amassed and analyzed to let you know as to how you are performing on your page.
If your engagement rate is low, then you need a change in strategy. However, if you have a page with a million or over followers, then the engagement rate is bound to be lower.
Be sure to check out the engagement rate analysis to get to know which brackets you should fall under depending on your number of followers.
Or the Click Through Rate. If you are posting URLs on your page then you need to know how effective they are going to be in your business strategy. Keeping tabs on the CTR helps you determine that.
CTR can be monitored for all platforms. Although, traditionally, Instagram does not boast of a high CTR like Twitter and Facebook; it still is pretty important for brands.
C) Growth rate
Probably the most important metric of them all. This is what it is all about, the numbers game. You need to have a steady growth rate to boost your followers over time.
But like, engagement rate, it too suffers from the same course, if you are already high in your numbers then you are going to suffer in the growth rate.
Well, that was about the metrics, next in, the biggest motivator, money!
Money plays and money pays
When you bring in a paid promotion, you are boosting your visibility manifold. The reason behind this is that contrary to regular posts, your ads are visible to the demographic that you want to target. These go beyond what your current following stands at.
And there are multiple ways in which you can utilize this ad budget.
- Dynamic ads
Instagram offers a lot many options once you are ready to spend a fixed amount on your advertisements. You can also turn your existing posts into ads or provide a product teaser to do that.
All in all, this is a perfect opportunity to reach out to potential clients.
The biggest of brands on the platform use this to connect with their followers and enthusiasts. Before the introduction of sponsored ads, it was only the people following your account who could see your posts.
Depending on the option that you choose to go with, Instagram will ask for a fee. Multiple posts are costlier so I would suggest that you go with what you can afford. Start small if you do not have a sponsored budget.
On the other hand, if you are someone who is just starting, maybe give this one a break. There are other ways to reach potential followers other than a paid advertisement. Instagram stories are a good way to go!
Everybody loves a good story
Let us start from the beginning. Instagram stories are not like Instagram posts. They are available for only 24 hours and disappear afterward, though they can be saved to any device that you are using for Instagram.
They appear in slide show format and are not part of your regular feed but are displayed above it in the top row of your page. You click on them to get them playing and you can choose to skip or pause a story too.
You can upload pictures, links, or videos in the section. Many influencers use stories to promote content.
There are many benefits to this kind of story. For starters, you will always be at the top of the page of followers and not get buried under the previous posts to come up on the page. Thus, you get viewership for starters.
Another benefit is that you do not have to worry about the story is in line with your posts on your page. You can post a story even if it is not as high in quality as the posts on your page.
It can be used to provide an exclusive behind the curtains look for your page.
There can be only one objection to this. And that is, stories are available only when you use Instagram on the mobile platform. But a majority of the users use their smartphones to do this, it shouldn’t be much of an issue.
But before we move on to the next section, have you ever given any thought about giving shout outs to another page? Or for that matter, partnering with an ‘influencer’ for your page? Well, if not then that is something we are going to tell you about.
Partner with people to promote your product
Think about walking into a large room, filled with people, and nobody knows you. In such a place it helps to have someone introduce you to people and make you feel at home. This is exactly what an influencer does.
An influencer is a person who has already been able to amass a huge following for their page and is known to people. If such a person endorses your product, you are surely benefitting from the exposure that you will receive.
It pays to partner with such people because you are immediately gaining access to hundreds of thousands of people who were outside your reach and immediately too!
But don’t go for the very first influencer that you chance upon, instead, build your product up for a relevant influencer. One, who has the following of the demographic that you want to target. And aim high. Not just an influencer with a few thousand on you but look for someone who has half a million more followers than you.
It all depends on how you choose to approach it. Always aim for long term gains over short term profits. If you handle this step, you are opening up your brand to millions of people at the same time. And that is something that can seriously boost your brand awareness.
Focus on building relationships with people in the industry you work in. Slowly but steadily, you are going to climb up that chart.
While doing all this, do not forget to make your present followers feel included in your posts. They are the backbone of what you are building. User-submitted photos and descriptions can work wonders in building your credibility in the market.
Include your followers in your posts, #Regram
Not just feedback and reviews but user pictures and reviews can work wonders for your page too. The first thing is that you get to have a load of new content for your page without having to put in the effort. Saving up on both time and effort!
The second thing is that it makes your followers feel appreciated. In other words, it makes them loyal to your page. You get to have the kind of dedication that you would expect from followers of a mega brand.
Your followers too will enjoy having these users generated content more because they are authentic and not a made-up advertisement. Almost every major brand uses this trick to connect with their followers. From sportswear to leisure, companies are posting pictures of their clients enjoying their products.
At this point, you are probably thinking about what the user would have to gain by sending you their pictures, right? Well, it is fairly simple; even they are looking forward to increasing their followers. So, when you use a picture of a customer, just make sure that you are tagging them too.
But don’t let this get in the way of making your page aesthetically relevant. There are many things that you need to make sure of when it comes to posting such pictures.
- They should fit in the context.
- The person that you are tagging should have at least some credibility to their name. Check their following for this.
- The post that you want to share should be appropriate for your page and your followers.
But don’t let these things cloud your judgment too much. You need to include all kinds of people on your page. Give credit where it is due and focus on starting something creative of your own. Like a creative #, gets it trending.
Create your #campaign
It is another medium for people to relate to your brand and you. By the use of creative hashtags, you can easily look for the people who are posting our products and interact with them directly. Brands such as Levi’s and GoPro have built their posts on the backs of such hashtags.
They are popular with the people, and they show the creative side of your think tank too. In the modern age, it has been one of the most successful marketing campaigns. Advertising has never been so much fun.
It does away with the unilateral direction of advertising. With the use of your hashtags, people can get back to you with their responses to the advertisement you put out. And on top of that, it is free.
It means that every time someone posts a picture using your hashtag, they are promoting your brand. And free promotion is something that works best when you are underfunded.
Some examples of great hashtags can be of Red Bull, #givesyouwings or Coca-Cola, #shareacoke.
These are the companies that have built their market riding on the back of such creative use of free advertising. And you can take a page out of their book. Because these are the companies that do not have any shortage of cash for ads yet they choose to capitalize on every opportunity that they get.
It is basic economics. If you are not fully utilizing your existing resources then you are wasting the additional capital that you bring in. Posting from your followers’ accounts is a great way to embrace this.
However, it is not only about what you post but also about when you post it on your page that matters. The timing and the days that you do it on also affect the kind of exposure that you get on your posts.
Post at peak hours
In the fight to stay relevant and visible to your followers, do not go overboard and start posting too often. If someone logs into their account and all that they get to see are your posts then they will be the first one to unfollow your account.
On the other hand, do not be too sparse when it comes to posting too. If you post too few and too far in between then you stand the risk of losing the attention of your followers.
Also, if you post at times when few people are observing your posts, you are going to be buried under the new posts that come in when your followers are active on their accounts.
I know! Too many constrictions and no easy way out. Well, Instagram marketing is not easy, but once you get the hang of it, it is pretty efficient. When you are posting your content, try to be consistent about it. When users encounter a gap in the feed, they assume that the account might not be active any longer.
The best way to avoid it is to post regularly and to post when the peak hours are active. This information, you can avail of from your Insight tools available in your business account.
According to recent surveys, the best days to post your content are on Mondays and Fridays. Thursdays and Wednesdays are good days while Sunday is the worst day for your content.
You need to keep these trivial details in mind. Michelangelo once said, “Trifles make perfection but perfection is no trifle.” You get the gist!
Aim for the sweet spot when you already have such tools at your disposal to analyze your followers. Find out when your followers are the most active and schedule your posts to appear accordingly at that time.
On an ending note:
You have everything that you are ever going to need to succeed on Instagram. The tools, the analytics; what you have to work on is the end of the stick. Of course, there are going to be hard days but there are going to be good days too.
Start your business profile today and attract new followers. Improve your strategy; work on the relation with other people in the industry. Get creative. Use stories to provide a personal touch to your account, give a shout out to other accounts.
Use everything that you have, and invest some more into your account. Advertising and paid promotion might seem like an unnecessary expense right now but they work wonders for your account.
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