Dogs have Instagram profiles now. Hedgehogs too. Yes, even hedgehogsmarket themselves on Instagram (how do they even selfie?!)
And if you're one of the 300 million active monthly users, you've probably joined in on the sunset pics and posting your 'Throwback Thursdays.'
Maybe you're even one of the 2,500 brandswho now use Instagram for business. If not, I'm telling you now, time to get serious about your Instagram marketing.
"Marketing" just got a lot less intimidating. Here's your 5-step gameplan for maximizing this new power.
#1 Create Attention-Grabbing Insta Posts That Convert Customers
o Post to Impress – Use high quality, appealing photos
Grainy pics lose you professional points, and a boring picture is just too easy to scroll on by. Try to use a good camera, clean backdrop and good lighting for your photos. Don't have a fancy-schmancy studio? For just a $12 set-upyou can take product photos like the pros – even with your phone!
o Keep it Transparent – Practice honest advertising
The creative side of Instagram posts is the most fun, but as a business you've always got to make sure you're not misleading your potential customers. That Nashville filter might look pretty fly, but did it make the white of the design come off as yellow? Does the unique angle make that clutch look like a handbag?
It's like dating – just be yourself! Show them the honest value of your kick-butt products, and customers will continue following and liking you. Try using objects in the shot for reference, or even models, to keep things to scale. Plus, lifestyle shots really help online shoppers envision that product in their lives (which means they'll buy it!).
o Pack in the Action – Include links, and hashtags
Always include details in your caption, but this isn't the time or place to share your brand's life story. Keep descriptions neat and direct.
Always include a link! Let followers click to your relevant page without having to search for it. Pair that with a call-to-actionto give followers an invitation to engage (something like – "Find your favorite color at myshop.com" or "Tell us which flavor is your favorite!".
Don't forget your #hashtags, but don't overdo it! A little hashtag research can help you know whether a tag like #vintagefashion or #vintagestyle will bring up the most searches. Create a list of go-to hashtags that relate to your brand and products.
#2 Curate Relevant Content to Assert Your Industry Leadership
o Find Your Smart Friends – Get a list of popular figures in your industry
Curating content(as in, not always posting 100% content created by yourself) is a great way to add contrast to your feed plus become seen as a thought leaderin your field. And as a bonus, curating saves you time when you just don't have the time to plan out a photo shoot!
Remember that list of relevant hashtags you made earlier? Well, search those hashtags again and take a look at who is using them. This is a great way to round up some people in your community who post stuff you might want to share.
Plus, browse your favorite blogs or even do a good ol' fashioned Google search to find quotes or images that you think would complement your Instagram story.
o Don't Be Two-Faced – Share content that complements your style
Contrast is good, but make sure your curated content is not all over the place. Always think about the mood, style and message of your brand. Before sharing any content think, "Does this post fit with the rest of my content?" "Will my followers be interested in this?" Keep it relevant, and your curated goodies will blend seamlessly into your content.
o Remember Your Etiquette – Always give credit to establish relationships
Give a shout out to the @instagram_name who you got the content from, or use a handy re-gramming app. When those users get notified that you shared and credited their post, they may just return the favor and help you spread your reach to some of their followers.
#3 Engage With Your Instagram Followers
o Keep The Conversation Going – Respond to your notifications
Engagement is a crucial step to converting your followers into loyal customers. Whenever someone comments on your post, give 'em a shout back to show you're a real, breathing human behind that brand.
o Reward Your Followers – Set up Instagram contests
Instagram contestsare super easy to run, and they help you round up more followers. Decide what you want to give away (maybe a a bundled goodie bag of your products, or a gift card). Take a great photo of the prize, and describe the contest details in the caption. Usually something like "like this photo and tag a friend to enter" works wonders.
#4 Pay Attention To Your Successes With Analytics
You've put a lot of creative and professional Insta posts out into the social media world, now it's time to see if it's actually working. Your essential tool for analyzing your Instagram: Iconosquare.
When we started using Iconosquare, our followers skyrocketed by 3622.22%!Why? Because Iconosquare shows you the most important metrics that help you really optimize your Instagram strategy. Learn what time of day your followers are most responsive, which posts are the most popular and which followers are hitting you up the most.
Now keep doing what you're doing! Use your findings to continue posting the best of the best.
Follow these five steps to boost your online community and convert more direct sales to your store. Enjoy the benefits of your Instagram stardom!