Do you use Instagram to market your small business? Looking for ideas to boost your Instagram marketing?
Instagram’s popularity has been on the up for the past 2 years, with more and more users flocking to the platform. The latest data from the Pew Research Internet Project released at the start of 2015, showed Instagram was the fastest growing social media network amongst US adults, up 9% compared to Pinterest at 7%, Twitter at 5% and Facebook, well they didn’t increase at all. What this means is that brands are now jumping on board the Insta-train at a rate of knots, in fact, according to Simply Measured’s Quarterly Instagram Network Study conducted at the end of 2014, 86% of the top 100 brands (as ranked by Interbrand) have an Instagram account, that’s some serious brands using Instagram to drive brand engagement.
I have used Instagram for personal social media activity for a while now, and I love it, but it has only been recent that I have started using Instagram to promote my blog content. And, to be honest, when it comes to using Instagram to market my small business, I find it equal parts fabulous and frustrating.
It’s fabulous for being image led, simple to consume and sometimes, just downright fun – and it also drives greater in-platform engagement with my content than Facebook does. It’s frustrating however for its complete lack of inbuilt analytics, the fact it doesn’t show up in Google Analytics (you need to do some digging around to work it out), the inability to insert clickable links into your post and the juggling act that comes with managing more than one account (I know there are apps out there to help with this, but I haven’t found one that is clean and easy to use, any suggestions please put it in the comments section). Frustrations aside though, there are some seriously great ways Instagram can work for your business
Frustrations aside though, there are some seriously great ways Instagram can work for your business, expanding your reach, opening you up to new markets and getting you known amongst your industry peers and competitors.
6 quick Instagram marketing tips for small business
1. Develop a clear strategy
You need a social media marketing strategy that encompasses all the platforms you use for your business then, once you have this, separate out your platforms and develop a strategy for each one, including Instagram. This will give your Instagram feed a clear purpose and more importantly, a point. For example, if you want to drive sales online or launch new products in a store, then you will need to integrate links and tagging into your posts to drive conversion back to your website. If it’s to generate brand awareness amongst a different audience segment, knowing the correct hashtags, imagery, tone and personality to appeal to this audience is a must. Understanding the ‘why’ will help you identify ‘what’ you do.
2. Hashtag it like there’s no tomorrow
Hashtags are the backbone of Instagram and if you don’t believe me check out this research from Quicksprout laid out in a lovely infographic. The data shows that hashtags drive engagement on Instagram, and the more the merrier, with 11+ hashtags per post driving the most engagement (80%) than 4 hashtags (31%). The trick is to know which hashtags are relevant to your business and audience and use them with abandon.
3. Tag, Tag, Tag
Tagging another user or brand in your posts and images is a great way to make content more interactive and to expand its reach. The business or person you have tagged will know you have done this and the goal is to expand the reach of your post by having them comment, like or regram it. There are three ways you can do this on Instagram – directly onto the image, within the comments or within the post itself. This tactic works fantastic for retailers who stock multiple brand products, brands that work in partnership with other brands, and restaurants who use local produce suppliers for example.
4. Include links
The only place you can include a clickable link on Instagram is in your profile, but don’t let that stop you from including URL’s in your content to drive conversion onto your website.
There’s are two simple ways you can do this effectively:
- Update your profile link every time you post with a link you want people to click. However, if you choose to do this, don’t forget to tell people in the post where they should navigate to and why.
- Shorten your URL and include it in the body of your post, and place it before the hashtags. Whilst this isn’t clickable, it makes it easy for those who want to follow the link to copy and paste it into a browser (see, frustrating).
5. Spell it out in your posts
Make sure you tell people what you want them to do after reading your post. Do you want them to click the link in your profile, double tap your image, comment or regram? Maybe you want them to tag your business? Whatever it is, include this call to action in your post content.
6. Get clever
In 2014, Ikea raised the Instagram bar when they built an Instagram website to support the launch of a new collection. By creating an image catalogue that was linked together through tagging the user could tap an image and be taken through to a dedicated product Instagram page complete with a unique clickable link for the product designer in its profile page. Genius. Whilst the resources for this type of campaign is beyond most small businesses, it could be done on a much smaller scale to support a bigger marketing campaign or revenue driving initiative. Read all about Ikea’s campaign here.
Once you get the hang of links, hashtags and tagging it will become second nature for you to include all three in your posts and really boost the reach and performance of your Instagram activity.
Do you have any other quick Instagram marketing tips you would like to share with us? Put them in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.