Think about where you are in your e-marketing adventure. Are you doing everything right? Is your patronage at the maximum? Are some similar stores doing better than you?
Or maybe you're not engaging your customers well enough. Do you think there are areas you can improve on? Can you implement other e-marketing campaigns to bring in more devoted customers?
If you're one of Instagram’s 1 billion active users, you’ll need no convincing on how much of a powerful marketing tool the social network has become. But if you’re new to it, well, here’s your cue;
Each user browses for an average of 53 minutes daily
Over 90% of Instagram users follow at least 1 business page
There are over 25 million business profiles on Instagram
So, why should you be left out? Instagram is the perfect place to market your products, engage existing customers and reach out to new potential ones.
The problem is, most people are also aware of this. So how can your business stand out amid the plethora of ads and businesses that are almost inundating users daily?
Today, we’ll be answering that question and more—showing you exactly how to implement certain e-marketing tips, thereby turning a number of strangers into a rabid fan-base eating out of palms. Fasten your belts and let’s get into it.
1. Create an effective profile
Opening an Instagram account is quite easy. Creating a compelling profile, however, requires some effort. One that creates a vivid perception of what you do, at first glance.
To do this, get familiar with the Instagram app environment, the algorithm, and built-in tools that can help you achieve proper visibility.
How to create a profile that attracts customers and clients
To make your Instagram profile attractive, there are a number of things that you have to edit.
Manage your Account Settings > Switch to Business/Professional Account
This allows you to identify your account as a business account. Instagram has several add-ons that make it easy for users to contact you, provide periodic insights, and allow you to promote your content.
Furthermore, if you have a Facebook page, you can link both accounts and manage them seamlessly.
Settings > Add Account
In addition, it also enables you to add additional accounts and manage them all simultaneously without the hassle of having to log in and out or use multiple devices. This can be especially useful if your business runs multiple branches or you run many brands.
Photo, Name, Username, Bio, and URL
All of these should be optimized to contain your business materials, logo, brand name, website, etc.
Your profile is the mini-landing page that all Instagrammers see before they explore your content, which is why they must be color coordinated and provide crucial information about what you offer your customers/clients.
Another key tip is to use URL shortening services such as bit.ly to avoid making your bio look too cluttered with excessive information. You can use services like Linktree, as well. They put all your links in one place.
And if you have an ongoing promotion or new product launch, your bio is a good point to broadcast it.
When you switch to a professional account, your profile is automatically set to Public. It is recommended that you leave it this way.
You want all users from around the world to access your content and be able to leave comments. These discussions will help expand your reach to their own network as well as serve as a good feedback loop for you.
2. Set up a marketing calendar
In war, sophisticated weapons don’t guarantee victory; the better-prepared adversary almost always wins. A well-curated calendar can give you that much-needed edge over your competitors.
It gives organization and context to your marketing strategy, helping you organize your feed in an orderly, well-targeted manner.
How to schedule your posts on Instagram
Identify peak periods: The Instagram API organizes users’ timelines in chronological order. To get maximum engagement on your posts, you should target periods when most of your users are online. For example, fewer people are online during weekdays, especially work hours—i.e., posts from 5 pm to 12 am may record higher engagement rates.
Curate messages that are appropriate to the time: If you own a breakfast/coffee shop, sending out content to help your users make purchases may be most effective in the morning. Similarly, if you run a sneakers store, you may discover that more people purchase your products toward month-end, possibly after their paycheck. Try to target your aggressive marketing toward this period to capture a bigger portion of the pie.
Instagram scheduling strategies will vary a lot depending on your location and industry/niche.
You can get data specific to your business account in the insights section of your Instagram profile. Ensure that you use this intelligence diligently.
Instagram scheduling tools, such as Hootsuite and Coschedule, are available to push this to the max.
3. Contextual content
Most users consider it a turn-off if all of your posts are commercial. It becomes boring and monotonous—a classic case of over-selling. (You don’t want that, do you?)
If you don’t, let’s come up with creative ways to curate a variety of content that are guaranteed to interest your followers.
User-Generated Content: This involves integrating organic posts created by your customers. By sharing photos and videos of your beloved customers as they use your product/service, you not only make them feel appreciated, it also signals to potential customers that your products are proven and loved.
Ensure you credit the original owner of the content when you put it in your feed. You can achieve these with repost apps, or the good old’ screenshot & crop.
A tool like Hubspot can be especially useful for this. It allows you to organize and keep track of your customers' information, which you can then deploy to tailor your interactions with them.
Social Listening: Here, you conduct a mini-research about what users are saying about your brand.
Look out for posts where your handle is tagged. You can also go as far as typing your brand's hashtag or handle into the search box.
The results that pop out will give you an overview of what users are saying about your offering. You can then integrate this into your marketing by curating content that subtly addresses them.
News-jacking: You're keeping ears out for popular events, trending topics, rumors, or general discussions that currently dominate the internet at a particular time.
These topics must have something to do with your industry. You can proceed to curate content around them.
This is a great way to engage your audience in a refreshing, humorous, or interesting way that relates to light-hearted trending events.
While doing this, the goal is to subtly market your brand to users so refrain from ever going overboard.
Also, avoid topics that could lead to heated arguments. Stay away from polarizing views that may discriminate against a group of users—take issues related to politics, face, or religion as an example.
Brands shouldn't cross certain lines. The last thing you want is for your brand to be engrossed in a scandal or worse, get banned.
4. Explore collaborations and partnerships
Business is a collaborative process. Though the competition is tough, e-marketing still provides ample opportunity for strategic partnerships that can be mutually beneficial to all parties.
In SMM, there are broadly two ways to explore partnerships: cross-marketing and affiliate marketing.
Cross Marketing: This one has to do with two or more non-competing brands collaborating to promote each other's products/services to their respective users.
Let's say you run a restaurant, you may approach a wine selling business for a cross-marketing partnership. You offer their drinks to your walk-in customers while they also encourage their customers to visit your restaurant.
Similarly, on Instagram, you can work out a well-publicized promotion for full effect. Both brands get to benefit from the approach.
Affiliate or Influencer Marketing: Here, you're partnering with contract creators, industry leaders, or prominent influencers to direct attention to your brand, site, page, post, or product/service.
It's a surefire way to surge visibility and further prove your credibility to potential users. We've seen local hotels run affiliate marketing campaigns, collaborating with prominent travel bloggers and vloggers to actively promote the hotels to their teeming followers.
When you're selecting influencers, though, you need to pick someone credible. A capable marketer who has an organic and engaged following.
5. Optimize your content
Quality content may still end up yielding very little engagement if you don't optimize them properly for the Instagram app interface and relevant algorithms.
Every social platform has specific algorithms and dimensions embedded for uniformity and optimum user experience. To derive the highest returns, you should identify these specifications and tailor your content accordingly.
Instagram Photo Dimensions
Square/Portrait Images: 1080 x 1080 px
Landscape Images: 1080 x 556 px
Profile Pictures: 1350 x 1080 px
These dimensions have been automatically embedded into the application interface. Adhering to them means perfectly rendered content that appeals to your viewers.
Instagram is very heavy on visuals, sigh emphasis on high-resolution images and videos for repeat consumers.
Optimize for Location
You've curated your content and edited your pictures appropriately. Now, the last step is to certify that the right audience can easily find your page and react to your content in real-time.
If you own a brick-and-mortar store, you can reap significant rewards if you focus on local branding and marketing.
Instagram has geolocation features that help you customize your marketing strategy towards attracting customers who live near your store.
When it comes to marketing your products with Insta videos, the cardinal rule isn't to depend a lot on audio.
The application interface is designed in a way that audio is muted for the first few seconds until users click the unmute button. A lot of your audio may have been effectively skipped.
So, the key is to make sure visuals as catchy and on-point as possible, especially within the first 5-7 secs. That's the average time users spend before scrolling to the next content in their feed.
6. Brand promotion
You can promote your brand in user-friendly and authentic ways without overwhelming your followers;
Instagram Live: This feature lets you render information about your brand to viewers in real-time. It gives your followers a more personal feel, leading to a closer look into your business. It can be useful for product launches or special brand announcements.
Reward Strategy: You should endeavor to create a strategy to reward your loyal customers or entice new followers and potential customers. You can achieve this by—among others—organizing contests, giveaways, discounts, exclusive shout-outs.
You get to convince your most loyal customers to spend a little extra money in your store, and they receive a reward for doing so. A win-win.
Paid Ads: Another critical feature for e-marketing on Instagram. Paid adverts are quite affordable (though a bit higher than Facebook's) and easy to organize on Instagram. You get to broadcast your message to a larger audience. Be sure to explore this feature periodically for maximum effect.
Despite the technicalities involved in implementing an e-marketing strategy, what makes it undoubtedly worthwhile is the consistent patronage and brand authority that you stand to earn. It might seem daunting at first, but you just have to push through.
The business world can quickly transform into a battleground. If you’re not getting prepared, you can be sure that your competitors are.
But if you're ready to fight back, follow those few tactics and you too can begin to dominate your industry or a good section of it.