Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Shareholders are their own.
Considering that 72% of Instagram users have made fashion, beauty or style related purchases after viewing something on Instagram, there is no better time to showcase your brand and products to the world.
With a base of 1.07 billion active users, it’s no surprise that more than 200 million businesses have a presence on Instagram.
For most businesses, the question is not “if” they should use Instagram, but “when” or “how?” Inside the ‘when’ business is testing the ‘how’ steps companies can consider taking if they want to leverage Instagram in the most effective way for their brand.
1. Define your goals and define your target audience
Before your company begins publishing, your reason for being there should be understood and detailed. why are you there? Is it building brand awareness, to sell products or something else?
Today’s companies need to know how to make data-driven decisions. I urge companies to clearly define their social media KPIs, closely track the performance of each post they publish, and do their best to attribute posts to sales. This will help you decide which content formats work best in terms of engagement and sales so you can produce more of them and spend less time working on the ones that don’t.
2. Do a competitive analysis
What types of content are your competitors posting? what do you want? What do you not like What do you think mutants? Use this information to create your first (among many) drafts of your social media strategy.
Who are you there? What defines your audience, both in terms of demographics and in terms of the things they care about. If you have customers who buy from you frequently or subscribe to your brand, ask them what they think of your social media content. Conversely, what other brands – not necessarily related to your business – should you test and learn about? These honest, open feedback can take your social media (and sales) strategy to the next level.
3. Make sure your Instagram presence matches the look and feel of your company’s aesthetics
Is your company cheerful, lively, generous, formal, calm and thoughtful, or wild and irreverent?
Your company’s characteristics are likely already filtered into how your product or service is packaged, your logo or in the words you use to describe yourselves. Consider Instagram an extension of all of this, so it needs to be a place that looks and feels like your brand – in every word used, in every post.
4. Snackable video content is taking over social media
This concept applies not only to Instagram (Reels and IGTV) but also to TikTok, Snapchat (Snaps), and YouTube (Shorts). While longer videos will always have a home on platforms like YouTube, consumers don’t enjoy long attention spans. They want their content to be short and interesting.
If you can find creative ways to check all of these boxes, as well as create a compelling display that motivates the viewer to take action, you stand a good chance of making a sale. Make sure “Link in bio” is where you want people to go – to a landing page, your website, or a product page.
Related: 4 Reasons Why You Need to Make Instagram Reels in 2021
5. Don’t be shy about educating potential and existing clients.
Compile a list of questions or concerns that your current and potential customers have and how your product solves this problem. Educational content helps brands build trust and authority – which should ultimately translate into followers and sales.
For example, if you’re a vitamin and supplement brand, create constant, multiple posts, eye-catching videos and graphics explaining how the ingredients in your product work. If you are an insurance broker, create content that talks about the differences between whole life and long term insurance and why both have advantages.
6. Be authentic
Consumers today want to know more about the company they are donating their money to. Don’t be shy about unveiling your business – show what life is like in your office, highlight your employees, and even encourage them to make acquisitions.
Also ask yourself what your brand stands for, and what motivates you to support your values and spread them on social media. Consumers today want to do business with companies that align with their core values.
I would now advise brands to avoid stock photography where possible. Instead, take the time to create realistic and momentary content that is visually appealing. Remember, at its core, Instagram is still a visually driven social media platform.
Related: 3 Simple Things Businesses Need to Grow Instagram
7. Make sure you’re offering a first-class shopping experience – both on and off Instagram
If your followers choose to shop for your products on Instagram, ask yourself what kind of experience you give them. Are your product images high quality? Do you include lifestyle images as part of your product rotating library?
Alternatively, if people prefer to move away from Instagram to your website to purchase your product, what kind of experience do you provide on the site? Do your website and product pages appear correctly across all devices and operating systems? Does any unnecessary change occur? Is the page loading slowly?
These questions may seem basic, but a slow loading page or broken buttons could be the difference between your next customer and your next sale. I also encourage business owners to implement strategies, such as display remarketing, that bring shoppers back to complete their purchases.
8. Collaborate with influencers
Examples of common collaborations I’ve seen that work well include sponsored posts, giveaways, and brand ambassador programs. Doing so will expose you to shoppers who may not have heard of you before. However, I advise companies to choose influencers wisely.
Don’t spend the bulk of your annual marketing budget on a one-time collaboration with a huge influencer who has millions of followers. Instead, choose nano (under 10,000 followers) or micro influencers (under 50,000 followers) who closely align with your brand values and are passionate about your products.
This also goes back to the concept of originality. Consumers today are smart and can tell when a brand ambassador is not passionate about the products they are promoting. Be sure to select these people, closely measure their results and continue to work with those that resonate with your audience.
Related: 7 Ways to Boost Your Instagram Account