Many marketers think that Instagram Marketing is all about simply posting one beautiful photo after another. Yes, you might get a double-tap for this. But that’s not enough, and it is certainly not the reason why most businesses are spending time, resources, and money on Instagram. Their goal is to convert viewers into leads and leads into paying customers. And the best way to achieve this is by having a solid content strategy.
In this guide, we will help you formulate the perfect Instagram content strategy for your business and the ways to build your brand on this platform.
What is Instagram Marketing?
Instagram Marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves Instagram to drive visitors to your business, bolster sales, and improve your brand visibility. Instagram Marketing predominantly involves promoting your products, brand, or content to a target audience. Also, since Instagram is a visually driven platform, you will be majorly sharing photos and videos. This makes it particularly effective for businesses looking to engage with their potential customers through visual storytelling.
Why Use Instagram For Marketing?
Here are some of the major benefits of using Instagram for marketing purposes:
Better Visibility For Your Brand
With 1.35 billion users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Having a solid presence on Instagram can help your brand increase its visibility among potential customers. And if you properly use hashtags, you can increase your posts’ discoverability and reach a larger audience interested in your industry.
Setting up an Instagram business profile is always free. Also, organic posting doesn’t cost you anything. This means you can start marketing on Instagram with zero investment. And even if you are planning to use paid Instagram ads, you can easily set specific budgets and target audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. This means you always get the most out of your advertising budget, adding to the cost-effectiveness of the platform.
Instagram’s focus has always been on visuals. This means if you can generate high-quality, eye-catching content regularly, you will be able to generate more engagement than other text-based platforms. The platform also offers several features like polls and interactive stickers that make it very easy to engage with your followers.
Higher Conversion Rates
Thanks to better visibility and improved engagement, you can automatically expect to see an improvement in your conversion rates. Instagram also offers a robust advertising platform that allows you to create highly targeted ad campaigns. By reaching users who match your ideal customer profile, you can significantly increase the chances of converting them into customers.
How to Build a Seamless Instagram Content Strategy
Step 1. Do An Audit of Your Instagram Profile
The first step is understanding where you are right now with your Instagram presence. You can start by analyzing your Instagram profile and checking whether all the information is complete and appealing. For instance, is your bio capable of attracting your target audience? Does it give a reason why people should follow you?
Then, analyze your feed. Find out what kind of posts you were sharing earlier. Were you publishing informative posts offering value to followers? Or were you simply churning out promotional posts one after another? Most importantly, were the posts relevant to your target audience? Getting answers to these questions will help formulate your next steps.
Lastly, you need to chart down your goals. In other words, you need to understand why you are on Instagram and how Instagram Marketing helps in achieving your overall business goals. Your goals could be:
- Increased brand awareness
- Better Sales
- More followers
- Higher web traffic
After this audit, you will know what is working and what isn’t in your existing Instagram content strategy. If something is working, you need to note that down and use it in the future. For instance, if you find out that videos are getting more likes on your Instagram feed, you may want to focus on publishing video posts in the coming days.
Step 2. Build a Content Strategy For Your Instagram
Your Instagram content strategy should focus on three things: Theme, Content, and Schedule. Since Instagram is a visual platform, following a theme that reflects your brand is very important. By theme, we mean anything from colors to fonts and filters to the format of your posts. For instance, if your brand has a playful theme, your Instagram posts should reflect that tone in terms of colors, fonts, and content.
When creating content, you must focus on the pain points of your customers. Your content should be able to help address those issues and point them towards your products as potential solutions. The goal of your content should be to educate or convince customers to try your products.
Lastly, you need to carefully determine the right posting schedule for your target audience. You need to post them at times when your followers are most active online. You must also decide how frequently you are going to post. You can do competitor research to determine this. Once you have finalized the frequency and time, create a content calendar so that you do not miss publishing a post.
Step 3. Amplify Your Content To Reach A Wider Audience
Remember, there is no point in creating great content if nobody is going to see it. When you publish a post on Instagram organically, only a handful of your potential customers are going to see it. Even fewer are going to interact with your content. Now, unless people like, share, or comment on your posts, the post is not going to get featured on the Explore page of a much broader audience, hampering your post visibility. Thankfully, there are some ways to amplify the reach of these posts. The easiest way is to invest in paid Instagram ads. However, if you do not have a huge budget, you can always try other methods like –
- Cross-promote your Instagram posts on other platforms. For example you can display your customer’s post on your website, like how Urban ladder has done below:
Source Urban Ladder
- Join hands with influencers who can promote your brand among their followers
- Create hashtags related to your business and encourage your followers to use them on their own posts
- Run contests regularly and reward participants. This will encourage more people to follow your account.
Step 4. Analyze Your Instagram Marketing Performance
The last step is to closely monitor your Instagram Marketing performance. You need to capture key data, particularly those that tell you which posts your audience finds most engaging. This will enable you to fine-tune your Instagram content strategy as you move forward.
Some KPIs you need to measure include:
- Followers growth
- Followers location
- Engagement rate
- Clickthrough rate
- Feed post insights
- Stories insights
10 Instagram Marketing Strategy Tips To Apply
Optimize Your Profile
Your Instagram profile is the digital storefront of your business – the first impression users will have about your brand. So, optimizing your profile is critical for making a positive impact on your audience. At a bare minimum, you need to pay attention to the following elements in your profile –
- Profile picture: Choose a clear and recognizable profile picture. It could be your company or a high-resolution image of one of your products.
- Bio: Craft a compelling and concise bio. Your bio is limited to 150 characters, so make every word count. Include essential information such as what your business does and your value proposition.
- Website link: This is the only clickable link on your Instagram profile. Use it to direct users to your website, a specific product page, a landing page, a blog post, or a current promotion.
Juicy Chemistry, the skincare brand, has nailed their Instagram profile by including a catchy bio that has highlighted its value proposition and a link directing to their website.
Source: Juicy Chemistry
Don’t Forget Your Captions
Just because Instagram is a visual platform doesn’t mean you can neglect the captions accompanying the images and videos. In fact, captions offer you an opportunity to convey your brand’s story in a better way. Besides, an image or video might not always be able to convey the complete message.
Captions also offer context about your content and will be able to better explain the significance of the post. For instance, it can help highlight the post’s relevance to your audience or any details viewers may not immediately grasp.
Here are some tips to master your captions:
- Encourage engagement by asking questions in your captions. When you pose a question, followers are more likely to leave comments with their responses.
- Use Emojis wherever possible. Emojis can add personality and emotion to your captions. They can help convey excitement, humor, or sincerity.
- Include a clear CTA in your captions to guide your audience toward a specific action. A well-placed CTA can drive desired user actions.
Here is an Instagram post from Myglamm that has an excellent caption accompanying their video. They have judiciously used an emoji and added a CTA at the end, which encourages engagement.
Promote User-Generated Content
Promoting user-generated content is one of the most cost-effective ways to boost your Instagram presence. It involves encouraging your customers and followers to create content featuring your products. It can include customer testimonials or reviews as well. Such user-generated content can build trust and a sense of community around your brand.
You need to offer incentives to motivate users to generate content. For instance, you can conduct giveaways or discount coupons in exchange for UGC. Once you have access to a UGC, repost it on your Instagram profile. If possible, highlight the best UGC in your Instagram Stories. Most importantly, don’t forget to give credit to the original creator by tagging them in the post.
Lastly, whenever users create UGC, engage with their posts by liking, commenting, or sharing them. This not only shows appreciation but also encourages others to participate.
Here is a UGC created by one of the users of the mattress and furniture brand Wakefit-
Stick To Brand Guidelines
While creating posts, it is very important to stick to your brand guidelines. This cohesiveness creates a strong and recognizable identity for your business. When followers consistently see the same colors, fonts, logo, and style in your Instagram content, they can quickly identify your brand amid the noise of social media. Here are some tips to achieve this-
- Use your logo consistently in your posts. Ensure that it’s the official and latest version.
- Define a consistent color palette and use only those colors in your posts. This will reinforce brand recognition.
- Choose specific fonts and text styles that match your brand identity. Use these fonts in your captions and any text-based content.
- Develop a distinct style for your videos and images. It could involve using specific filters, lighting, or composition techniques that align with your brand.
Chumbak, the home decor brand, follows cohesiveness throughout their Instagram posts. Right from the colors used to the type of posts published, everything is consistent and matches their brand guidelines.
Have a Distinctive Brand Voice
This strategy is all about having and exuding your brand’s unique personality, tone, and style of communication through your Instagram content. A distinctive voice lets your brand stand apart from competitors and makes your content instantly recognizable. When users encounter your content, they should know it’s from your brand, even without seeing your logo. That’s possible only if you have a distinctive brand voice.
A unique voice can also help create a sense of community around your brand. When users identify with your messaging and values, they are more likely to engage with your content, share it with others, and participate in regular discussions.
Lenskart, the eyewear brand, has a witty and stylish brand voice. You can see this tone in every Instagram post they create, particularly in the captions section.
Use Instagram Reels & Stories
Reels and Stories are Instagram features that allow you to connect with your audience dynamically. They help you stay relevant and at the top of users’ minds.
Reels are short video clips, typically 15 to 60 seconds long. You can use them to capture your viewers’ attention by showcasing your creativity and personality. They are the best medium to entertain, educate, and inspire your audience in an engaging way. High-quality reels can even appear on the Explore page. This exposes your content to a wider audience.
Stories are short-lived content that disappears after 24 hours. It is an excellent way to create a sense of urgency, prompting followers to regularly check your content for updates. Stories are perfect for sharing real-time updates, announcements, and promotions and for communicating time-sensitive information or limited-time offers.
Here is an engaging Story from Nykaa-
Use Hashtags Intelligently
Hashtags, when used intelligently, can considerably improve the discoverability and reach of your posts. They serve as a search function on Instagram- whenever Instagram users search for specific keywords or topics using hashtags, your posts can appear in search results.
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. However, that doesn’t mean you use 30 in every post. In fact, using too many hashtags can make your captions appear cluttered and spammy. Use them judiciously and aim for a mix of popular and niche-specific hashtags. An ideal number is anywhere between 3-5 per post.
The best thing about hashtags is that they can make it quite easy for new users to discover your content, even if they don’t follow you. This can help you reach a more targeted audience interested in your niche in a short span.
Here are some more tips for using hashtags in your posts:
- Create branded hashtags that are unique to your business or specific marketing campaigns. This can help create a buzz and make your brand popular.
- Monitor trending hashtags and incorporate them into your posts. Trending topics means higher engagement, and using these hashtags can, therefore, expose your content to a broader audience.
- Use relevant industry-specific hashtags. It can establish your brand as an authority in your niche.
Take a look at this example, where Lenskart has used only 3 relevant hashtags for their post. They are a mix of brand-specific and campaign-specific hashtags.
Run Contests And Giveaways
Everyone loves free stuff. Running contests and giveaways might be an old strategy, but it still works! These events are inherently interactive, and they encourage active user participation. Users tag friends or share contest posts, which lets your brand reach a wider audience, much beyond your Instagram followers.
Contests can also prompt participants to create UGC related to your brand or products. It can encourage users to share their experiences, photos, and testimonials. This not only provides valuable content but also builds trust and authenticity for your brand.
The good thing is that running contests and giveaways need not be an expensive proposition. You can give away free products or partner with another business to split the cost of a large prize.
Here are some best practices while running contests and giveaways:
- Select a prize that is attractive to your target audience. More importantly, it should be relevant to your brand. High-value prizes tend to generate more interest.
- Familiarize yourself with Instagram’s promotional guidelines. Always ensure that your contest or giveaway complies with Instagram’s rules.
- Create and publish official contest rules on the platform. Outline eligibility criteria, entry methods, entry deadlines, prize details, and winner selection processes.
- Specify the start and end dates of your contest. A well-defined timeline creates a sense of urgency and prevents confusion among participants.
Here is a giveaway organized by Boat, the wearables brand-
Partner With Influencers
This strategy involves collaborating with individuals who have a substantial and engaged Instagram following in your niche. These individuals, called influencers, have successfully built a dedicated band of followers over several years. By partnering with them, you automatically gain access to their followers, which helps expand your reach to a wider audience.
When an influencer promotes your brand or products, it’s seen as a personal recommendation. This can be more persuasive and trustworthy than normal posts or ads coming directly from you.
Here are some best practices involved in Instagram Influencer Marketing:
- Always partner with influencers whose content style and niche complement your products or brand.
- Build genuine and long-term relationships with influencers. Engage with their content, comment on their posts, and reach out with personalized messages.
- Before partnering with an influencer, clearly outline expectations, deliverables, and compensation.
Here is the furniture brand Pepperfry collaborating with a popular influencer in the home decor industry-
Experiment And Measure ROI
Our last strategy is to constantly experiment. Do not blindly follow a strategy because someone says so. It would have worked for them, but it might not for you. This is primarily because every audience is different. For instance, if a store owner says she has found success by posting content on weekday afternoons, maybe her audience comprises housewives who would have typically finished their household chores by then. But if your target audience is predominantly office-goers, this strategy might backfire.
Also, measure the ROI of your effort. This is the only way to know whether your strategy needs fine-tuning or you need to double down on your efforts.
The above strategies are not only mantras to grow your followers on Instagram but also foster meaningful connections with them. Having said that, you must understand that Instagram is a dynamic and ever-evolving platform. So, it’s essential to keep track of and embrace new trends and features as they emerge. Now, you need not be alone on this journey. We, ANS Commerce, can help build and execute your Instagram content strategy and help improve your presence on this platform. We are India’s leading E-commerce enabler who can handle the entire lifecycle of your online store, right from handling logistics to creating marketing strategies. To know more about us and how we can help, contact us now.