As a result, Instagram is a viable platform for all brands to drive awareness, engage new audiences, and capture leads. In fact, most users are actively looking to connect with their favourite brands on Instagram or find new ones that align with their interests. Since 80% of users follow at least one business on IG, it's the social platform you don't want to miss out on!
You see, with a strategic marketing plan, Instagram can play a significant role in achieving your digital marketing goals.
In this ultimate guide, you'll learn:
- The five reasons why your brand should leverage Instagram marketing
- How to create a compelling IG profile to attract new followers
- The types of visual content that drive results on Instagram
- Your key steps to crafting a winning caption to entice engagement
- How to make money on Instagram
Let's get started!
5 Big Benefits of Using Instagram for Business
The advantages of Instagram marketing for businesses are too compelling to ignore. From increasing exposure to improving your SEO presence, here are a few key reasons why brands like yours are going full speed ahead on IG:
#1 Instagram's user count is growing close to 5% per quarter (Source: HubSpot)
The social platform continues to grow year-over-year with no intent on slowing down. Consequently, your company consistently gets in front of new followers for potential new leads and customers.
#2 68% of Millennials consume Stories on IG as opposed to 44% on Facebook (Source: Sprout Social)
If your target market consists of millennials, Instagram is where they hang out to view remarkable images and videos...and where they're highly interactive!
#3 Instagram is the second most important social platform for marketers, behind only Facebook (Source: Backlinko)
Your fellow marketers agree that Instagram is a key ingredient to their digital marketing success. It's important that your brand shows up too to get in front of those who are actively looking for you.
#4 60% of users discover products on Instagram (Source: HootSuite)
Instagram is a must-have tool for B2C brands. More consumers are learning about products for the first time on Instagram, making it highly effective for businesses to promote and get the word out about their products.
#5 72% of users have purchased a product they've seen on Instagram (Source: HubSpot)
People are taking action because of their engagement on Instagram, allowing brands to see exciting returns on their investment!
How to Optimise Your Instagram Profile to Attract New Followers
First, be sure you're using an Instagram Account for Business to leverage all of the features that are not accessible using the personal account. This can easily be done in just a few steps.
Secondly, aim to keep your username consistent across all social media channels. This will help make you easier to find and boost brand recognition.
With that said, optimising your IG profile is vital to attracting new followers and growing your presence on the social platform. Taking a few minutes to ensure your profile is optimised and complete positions you to create the best results.
Choose a Great Profile Image
When users see your image, it should be high-quality and recognisable. You want it to represent your brand...and well. Therefore, along with a consistent username, select a photo that you use across the board. Your logo is best, however, if you're an influencer, then upload a picture of you that represents what you do so people easily make the connection.
Include Relevant Keywords
In order for users to find you and understand what your company does, it's important to mention a few target keywords in your name and description. Consider keyword phrases your audience uses to search for brands and products in your industry. Naturally include them in your bio to drive new (and quality) followers.
Add Your Call to Action
The bio is the only opportunity for you to include a clickable link on Instagram, so it's important to leverage this prime real estate! Instead of adding your website that leads to your homepage, include a link that directs users to a capture page or blog post you're promoting. In fact, your link should change often depending on the campaign or promotion you're running at the time.
The Best Types of Content that Wins on Instagram
Instagram is all about visuals. But did you know there are certain types of content that performs better? With the average attention span clocking in at 8 seconds, sharing posts that stands out and gets noticed is key to an effective Instagram marketing strategy.
You see, you want to focus on content proven to drive engagement and allows you to showcase the creative, human-side of your brand. As a result, you'll gain trust, increase your following, and get more users interacting with your content.
Here are the best types of content to share to amplify your marketing and give your posts the slight edge on Instagram:
#1 Inspirational Posts
Quotes and inspirational content continue to fare well on IG, ranking in as one of the top most engaging pieces that encourages shares.
The key to separating your brand amongst other motivating posts is to share why the message relates to your brand and your audience. How does it resonate with your values and mission? What exactly can people glean from your quote that will improve and better their lives?
Taking a few minutes to do so will have a greater impact than just posting the quote.
Day-in-the-life content makes your company super relatable and personable. People crave authenticity and transparency. By taking your users behind-the-scenes into how you do business further humanises your brand, building the know, like, and trust factor.
Show people what it's like to work for your company. Bring them to the holiday party, employee cookout, or office potluck. These instances can have a profound effect on your IG marketing and overall branding strategy.
#3 Video Content (IGTV)
We can agree that videos are all the rave. According to Livestream, more internet users would rather watch a video than consume content via a blog or social media post. So by leveraging Stories or IGTV, you're giving the people exactly what they want...video!
IGTV is a winner because, like Facebook Live, it allows you to create long-form videos where you can deliver incredible value to your audience. It's the perfect way to get in front of your followers and position your brand as an authority. IGTV is also another layer to nurture relationships, getting users to trust your brand.
In conclusion, posts that vividly highlight your products, offers industry-related advice or reveal trends, and user-generated content are also types to include in your arsenal. The key is ensuring these images are high-definition and exudes your branding style.
Tips for Crafting Killer Captions on Instagram to Drive Engagement
Having compelling visuals is half the battle for Instagram marketing. An effective strategy also entails creating high-engaging captions that put emphasis on the visual and/or moves your followers to action.
In fact, according to HubSpot,
If you think of the caption on your Instagram posts as an afterthought, you're losing out on an opportunity to engage and delight your followers in ways you can't with just a visual.
Therefore, spending time crafting a great caption will bolster your engagement and drive results. It's also the perfect medium to further communicate your brand messaging and values.
With that said, a top best practice is ensuring you're including hashtags in your message. If your top goal is growing your following on Instagram, leveraging a hashtag strategy is the way to do it. They're one of the premier ways that new followers will find you. They also encourage interactions and shares.
A few ideas towards establishing your Instagram hashtag strategy include using your own brand name as a hashtag. As you continue to expand your influence and presence online, users will search for your company name. Having posts connected to your brand via the hashtag is an excellent way to garner new followers.
Also, visit your competitors' pages and get ideas by seeing which hashtags are driving engagement. Test a few of them in your posts to gauge their success. Additionally, industry-related hashtags are incredibly effective in attracting your target audience(s).
A couple of things to note: ensure you're using hashtags that relate to the message. Refrain from using industry or trending hashtags that do not align with the caption. Finally, commit to only using about 4 hashtags within the actual caption as to not look too spammy to users.
Play with Several Drafts
HubSpot recommends drafting several captions first before choosing the best fit and publishing. This allows for team collaborations, pondering whether it's indeed appropriate and relevant to your audience, and ensures your content is intentional.
In your drafts, add pizzazz by including emojis. You can get creative by using an emoji to replace a word, serve as bullet points, or simply at the end. Don't go overboard but use enough to enhance your message.
Also, don't forget to include your call to action. What do you want people to do next? Whether the goal is to drive them to your bio to click on your link, repost it, or take a specific action that will add value to their lives, be sure to mention it. The ultimate goal of marketing is to get your followers to respond and move on your behalf.
Use an Editorial Calendar and Automation
Planning your content in advance using an editorial calendar improves your IG strategy dramatically. It will help you maintain consistency and boost your team's productivity. You'll also have a better chance of aligning your Instagram marketing with your overall digital marketing goals.
Therefore, set aside a day or two each month where you'll map out your Instagram content for the next 30 days. Revisit your content and get your team's input and feedback. Then, leverage an automation tool such as HootSuite or CoSchedule to preschedule your content.
The Best Times to Post on Instagram (and Why Testing is Key)
Before we share the suggested times on when to post on Instagram, it's important that you monitor your analytics to discover when your audience is most active on the platform.
Whether you opt for the native analytics or you're leveraging a tool like Iconosquare for robust reports, reviewing your numbers and learning what's working (and what isn't) is key to improving your strategy over time. Consequently, you'll find out your peak hour times, which types of content are driving the most engagement, and how users are finding you. There's a wealth of knowledge available to you to better your ongoing strategy.
So, establish metrics that you will begin to test on a regular cadence. Ask yourself: Which hashtags are performing the best? How much traffic are we generating from Instagram? How many followers have we gained and lost over the last 30 days? What prompted this growth (or loss)? How many comments are getting per post? And, what times are users most interactive with our content?
Now, with that said, here's what HubSpot found to be the best times to post on Instagram in Eastern Standard Time (EST):
- Sunday: 11am-2pm
- Monday: 12pm-6pm
- Tuesday: 6am and 10am-7pm
- Wednesday: 6am, 12pm, and 4pm
- Thursday: 6am, 12pm, and 4-5pm
- Friday: 6am, 10am-5pm
- Saturday: 12pm
Leveraging an Instagram marketing strategy can play a huge role in increasing your exposure, attracting new clients, and improving your overall online presence. As you begin to implement the tactics in this guide, test your results to home in on what's working and to change--or get rid of--what isn't. Finding out what your audience gravitates to is key to creating more of it.
Through consistency, we know that you'll begin to generate desired results on Instagram.