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Social Media Marketing Primer: Instagram

Note: This is the second in our monthly series of social media marketing primers. Read part one on Facebook here.

After covering the big kid on the block (Facebook) last month, we now turn our attention to Facebook’s little cousin – Instagram. And while Facebook still dominates the social media landscape, there are changes on the horizon especially among the younger generation (younger Millennials and Generation Z).

While Facebook boasts over 2 billion active users, Instagram isn’t far behind with an impressive 700 million active users. In the US, 28% of adults are active Instagram users – and many of those users are checking their account multiple times per day.

Ignoring Instagram marketing in today’s environment is like ignoring Facebook five years ago – it might seem like a time saver now but it will hurt your business in the long run. If you’re not already, seriously consider getting on Instagram before you miss out on reaching an entire generation.

Your Instagram Profile

So, you’ve decided your business needs an Instagram account. Awesome, but now what? Setting up a business profile on Instagram isn’t rocket science – so we can run through it in a few quick steps. The first thing to note is that Instagram is a phone-based service and almost everything needs to be done from your phone. This makes the first step easy: download the Instagram app.

I won’t hold your hand through every step of the way because I trust that you’re capable of handling a sign-up process. There are a few things I will mention that you need to consider before you started: you’ll need a profile picture, an engaging bio, and a link to your website.

  • Profile Picture: Just like any social media channel, your Instagram account needs a good profile picture. This should be easily identifiable and most likely your logo – but not all logos work as profile pictures so use your best judgment.
  • Engaging Bio: You can build followers on Instagram without a great bio, but if you want to convert those followers, you’ll need an engaging bio. You’ve only got 150 characters, so boil down your pitch, inject some personality, and write a good bio.
  • Link: Instagram doesn’t allow links in captions, so your profile link is the only chance you get to drive web traffic. The vast majority of the time, that means linking to your home page – but there are times when you’ll want to change that link to something else – like a YouTube video, a contest link, or a special landing page offer.

With a profile picture, bio, and link you are pretty much ready to go. But we recommend you get 10-15 posts shared before you start promoting your account. It makes your business look more established you’re more likely to get followers.

What to Post

Finding success on Instagram relies on understanding that it is totally different than Facebook (even if they are owned by the same people). If all you do is cross-post between the two, you’re sure to be disappointed in the results. So, what should go on your Instagram account? First and foremost, remember that Instagram is a visual platform – your content should be visually striking.

But that doesn’t help all that much. So, what should you look to post to your Instagram account?

  • Products – If you’re in a retail market, Instagram is the perfect place to show off striking pictures of your products.
  • Behind the Scenes – Give people a taste of your personality by showing off what happens behind the scenes. This will help people feel connected to your brand.
  • Re-posts – This could be either influencers or users. But either way, by sharing other people’s content you will build community and increase engagement. Just remember that influencers will expect you to pay for the privilege.
  • Holidays – Don’t go overboard with the cheesy social media holidays (I’m talking about you, National Street Light Appreciation Day), but you can capitalize on bigger or industry-specific holidays to fill out your content calendar.
  • Motivational Content – If you’re already using Instagram (or really any social media), you’ve probably seen some motivational quotes making the rounds. As with holidays, don’t go overboard but it can be a tool when you don’t have high-quality original content to share.
  • Videos – Video is the future of all social media. Including Instagram, which offers the ability to post videos of up to sixty seconds. Social media video is worth a blog post all its own so I won’t go into great depth here, but your Instagram options include Boomerang, stand-alone videos, and live videos.
  • Educational Content – Instagram isn’t LinkedIn, so don’t keep it brief but if your business is an expert consider offering snackable educational content on your page to keep people interested and engaged.
  • Stories – Finally, you can post to the Stories feature (think Snapchat, if you’re familiar with that channel). Stories are a great place for raw, unedited looks into the life of your business. And because it doesn’t appear in the regular feed, you don’t have to worry about clogging up your follower’s app with too many pictures.

That’s what to post, but that leaves the question of how often you should post on Instagram. This channel allows for a more frequent posting schedule than Facebook – the most common suggestion is once or twice a day. That’s a lot of content, but Instagram is a fast-moving platform. At a minimum, we would recommend five per week.

Instagram Marketing

Instagram is a visual medium but there are other factors to consider when it comes to Instagram marketing. There are considerations of copy-writing (captions), advertising, and brand identity.

Don’t spend hours of time writing captions, but don’t totally ignore them either. Your captions should draw attention to the value of your product or service, while also using hashtags and geotags to increase your reach and engagement. Every post should be geotagged and include hashtags – preferably 10+

Instagram also allows for boosted posts, much like Facebook. In fact, Instagram advertising is all conducted through the Facebook Business Manager. It allows for much of the same demographic and geographic targeting – but the goals are often different. Boosting Instagram posts is primarily a way to get your brand in front of new leads.

Social Media Marketing Services

Instagram is a powerful tool for reaching and engaging with your customer base – especially in the 35 and under demographic. It allows you to craft a clear brand identity and share a bit of your personality with potential customers and leads.

While Facebook can feel impersonal and overly promotional, Instagram is fresh and authentic (when used correctly). The limited focus on copy and linking means that you need to be interesting without the option of crass promotionalism.

If you want to learn more about how you can use this powerful social media channel to grow your business, we would love to sit down and chat with you about it! Contact us today to see how our social media marketing plans can help you see success in your business.

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