With over 8 million Instagram business profiles in existence, the world’s most popular photo sharing app is a hub of activity for brands, big and small, each vying for a large share of eyeballs and market share. With so many brands competing for attention, it is but natural that there is a lot of clutter and noise and cutting through it is only possible by putting together a killer Instagram marketing strategy. Some essential guidelines for devising a profitable Instagram marketing strategy:
Determine your target audience
Before everything else, it is important to get a fix on who you are trying to reach out to on Instagram. Since, as of June 2018, the number of Instagram users have crossed the one billion mark, it is quite likely that the target audience population will be present; however, you need to ascertain the demographics and behavioral patterns before you can even devise the content that they will find engaging. Define the target audience by additional parameters like the brands they are interested in, the hashtags they use, and the locations they frequent. The more time you spend in defining your audience, the better your chance of engaging them.
Determine the goals
It is extremely important to determine your business objectives at the very start as otherwise; you will end up wasting precious resources and time as well as missed opportunities. It is not necessary for all objectives to be dollar-denominated. Instagram marketing activities could be geared to acquiring more followers for Instagram, raising brand awareness, building an engaged community of users or even driving conversions along the sales funnel. Depending on your industry and the objectives that you define, not only will you have different content to be devised but also different KPIs and measurement metrics. The earlier you get around to defining them, the less the wasted effort and better the ability of your team to stay focused on curating content that will deliver results.
Evaluate competitor content
No business operates in a vacuum so it is important to know what sort of content strategy has been adopted by your main competitors, especially if they are doing very well with the same target audience you have determined. Examine in detail both the content type and the strategy so that you can devise something that works better. It is important to get a fix on their engagement rates, whether the businesses respond to queries and comments, the sort of questions being asked, the hashtags being used, and the significant calls to action. With a content audit of competitors, you can learn more easily what works best and the profile and behavior of the audience.
Develop a Content Strategy
Your Instagram marketing strategy depends on the content that you post to a large degree. Businesses have the choice of photographs, videos, user-generated content, and Instagram Stories at their disposal to engage their followers. The sort of content that you use should be dictated by what your target audience finds interesting and relevant. Instagram lends itself naturally to products that are more photogenic but is possible to engage customers creatively with behind-the-scenes photos and videos even if the products are not so attractive looking. It is important to use tools that can measure the levels of engagement so that you can focus on those that users engage with more.
Create an editorial calendar
Along with a well-defined content strategy, it is also vital to create an editorial calendar. The calendar development will permit you to create content well in advance so that you can avoid the last-minute rush and the typical drop in quality associated with last-minute activities. By creating the calendar, you can plan ahead to better address seasonal requirements, demands of upcoming events, and even company announcements and launches.
The ideal frequency of posting content is best decided by iterative experimentation because it varies according to the industry, time zones, and even competitor activity. While analytics will tell you the best frequency of posting content, it is even more important to be consistent in content publishing as that is an indicator of how stable and reliable the brand is. You can take the help of content schedulers that can automate the task of content posting as per a predetermined calendar.
Strategize your captions
An extremely important aspect of your Instagram marketing strategy that is often neglected is that of captions. It is the photo caption that lets you add a narrative about your business or brand and adds tremendous value to the photo content. When you go to such lengths to curate the photos, you should not leave the captions to be structured on the spur of the moment. Instead, take enough time to craft the narrations adopting a tone that is standardized for your brand. Your captioning strategy will also need to incorporate the hashtags, which you would have planned while defining your target audience and their demographics and interests. Using an analytics tool, you can find out which are the trending hashtags in your industry sector. Along with the photos, you can also schedule your captions using one of the many readily available tools.
Devise brand guidelines
Since it is very important for the brand to be adopting a consistent stance so that users are not confused as to what it stands for, it is vital for the brand guidelines to be also put in place, especially when there is a large team administering the Instagram account. The brand guidelines will detail everything that is required for the brand presence on Instagram, right from the color scheme of the photos, the tone of the captions, the hashtags to be used, the frequency of posting, use of emoji, words, subjects, hashtags that are never to be used, etc.
A good marketing strategy is never cast in stone. You need to be always attentive to user feedback and the demands of the changing environment. Be prepared to keep on learning, testing the content, and optimizing it for better user engagement. Be sure to invest adequate time and resources to track the progress of the brand metrics so that you are constantly on the ball.