Introduction to Instagram Marketing
Instagram is often viewed as a complimentary social media channel where you need to take your hands on, only after mastering Facebook. While this is, somewhat, true; it is also the reason why most small businesses just skip this channel entirely; labelling this as not important. Also measuring Instagram is harder as it needs tailored tools and attention from your analytics team. These misconceptions couldn’t be further from the truth. Instagram is a fantastic tool for everyone as it can drive sales and generate leads and measuring success on this channel is straight-forward and easy.
Why You Need Instagram Marketing
It’s not just for those who sell visually attractive products.
The common misconception about Instagram marketing is that it is for those who have visually attractive products. Instagram is beneficial for those who sell products that can be attractive on a photo on Instagram as their Instagram channel can serve as a product catalogue or lookbook. But it’s certainly not just for them.
Instagram can showcase your company’s culture. A good photo of a unique desk of your employees, an office picture, pictures about corporate retreats and after-work hours can be engaging, and it can humanise your company. It can attract job prospects as the visual images make your organisation more human, more intimate and more attractive. Instagram can also showcase your company’s good will, charity events, fundraising or just a regular Christmas party. It can show your merchandise, or it can reflect the exact location where your office is based. Any personal touches on Instagram can help your company to distinct itself from other ‘faceless’ and ‘pictureless’ companies.
Instagram is still quiet and engaging
Remember when everyone opened up a Facebook business page and within months, Facebook got flooded with branded content? Well, it is certainly not true for Instagram – at least, not yet. According to Selfstartr, only 36% of marketers use Instagram for campaigns, compared to the 93% of marketers who use Facebook. Instagram is also more engaging than Facebook. Instagram accounts enjoy at least 4% engagement from their total followers according to Forrester. On Facebook, this engagement is less than 0.1%.
Instagram is still a less busy platform compared to other channels so it is easier to get the word out. Your account can grow organically when you are using the right hashtags. If you want to throw in some paid boost, Instagram is fully synched up with Facebook adverts. It costs less to maintain an excellent paid advertising campaign as it has less competition.
How to Create a Content Strategy for Instagram
Create your goals and talking points
Once you have decided on Instagram marketing, you need to set your goals. You can have multiple ones as well but make sure that your Instagram marketing goals are in-line with your business goals. It can be anything from showcasing your products, your company culture, to creating a community around stories, branded infomercial and entertaining content or just pure sales supporting contest-focused channel. Once you have your goal, set your talking points. These points will be your topics that you will stick to and share. It can be anything from product demos, customer stories, meet our team, funny stuff in the office or anything connected to an actual campaign.
Create your Instagram playbook
Once you have everything set, create a playbook for further use to help the content production team to produce awesome content. The playbook will detail the frequency of posting, the content calendar and as Instagram is a visual channel, you also need a style guide that describes the fonts, colour palette, filters and captions you constantly use to make your channel consistent.
Hashtags are one of the primary drives for finding content on Instagram, so you also need to setup your hashtags that you will use on your photos. Make sure you will stick to popular hashtags and a branded hashtag that will reflect your campaign or your brand. TrackMaven research shows that posts with more than 11 hashtags tend to get more engagements. But beware of flooding your posts with hashtags, choose the best ones and most relevant to your content.
How to Measure Success on Instagram
Set the right tools for tracking
Measuring success on Instagram is straight-forward and easy. However, as Instagram activity is not integrated with any well-known tools like Google Analytics, you need to look for tailored tools for Instagram or social media measurement. You can stick to manual tracking or default Instagram metrics provided by Instagram itself, or you can go with tools that help you post and track your Instagram account’s activity. Tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout, HubSpot can offer you not just great content production and scheduling tools but also a reliable tracking option. For smaller accounts, you can also stick to desktop-based solutions like Webstagram or IconoSquare.
Know what to measure
Instagram is an easy-to-understand tool where you have only a handful of metrics that you need to measure. But it is important to understand the meaning of each metrics.
Number of comments received
Instagram users can comment on posts. The number of posts you receive on your content shows how engaging your content is. Obviously getting likes for your comment is vital, it makes your content stand out and noticed, but real active engagement only happens when a user comments on your post. TrackMaven’s report shows that brands have only around 19 likes per content per 1000 followers but just only 0.5 comments. Commenting, therefore, is the best indicator to decide whether your content is engaging or not.
Using hashtags is the main way to categorise, therefore find new content on Instagram. Check for the most popular and most engaging hashtags that receive high engagement on average and don’t afraid to use them if they are relevant to your content. Popular hashtags can also show you what to post.
If you are a coffee shop and are posting only photos of table napkins, you might want to check that #cafe #coffee #espresso hashtags are more popular, and you can’t go wrong with it.
Number of followers
This works as the most important metric that defines your reach. The higher number of followers you have, the bigger your audience is, and the wider your content reach is. Ideally, the follower numbers are growing day-to-day organically if you use the right techniques. This is a retrospective metric so make sure you look at it by over time; there is no point tracking and reporting it day-by-day. Focus on monthly gains or even wider timeframes to see the growing trend.
Referring traffic from Instagram
On your Instagram profile, you can set URL-s up. Integrate Instagram UTM parameters to your Google Analytics or any other website traffic measurement tool you use to track the referring traffic from Instagram you receive. It is highly recommended to set up this tracking if you are doing a one-off campaign, for example, a promotion or contest through Instagram.
On reporting, we would advise reporting the Instagram performance monthly to see the trends in your activities.