Often overshadowed by its big brother Facebook, Instagram may not be an obvious choice for small businesses who are looking to expand their digital presence.
Yet with over 200 million users visiting at least one business profile daily, and 60% of users discovering new products through the site, Instagram provides a great opportunity for businesses - eCommerce, in particular - to increase brand awareness and generate revenue.
Using these six steps, you can optimise your Instagram business profile and incorporate it into your social media marketing strategy. Leverage the best of this platform to reach your target market, increase your traffic, and grow your business.
If you don’t have an Instagram account yet, you’ll need to start by creating one. Choose a username that’s the same as - or similar to - your business name or other social media handles, so it’s easy for potential customers to find you.
Upload a clean, clear image of your logo as your profile photo - something eye-catching and without too much detail is ideal, so customers can tell at a glance who you are.
When it comes to writing your bio, think of your Instagram profile like you would an ad for your business: it should be concise, compelling, and include a call to action.
You have 150 characters to capture your reader’s attention, tell them what you do and how you can help them, and encourage them to engage. It could take you a few drafts to nail this part - start by writing out what you want to say, then see how many words you can cut or exchange for shorter words without losing the meaning. Keep trimming until you’re left with a tight little action-driven bio, and don’t be afraid to use emojis as shortcuts, if appropriate!
To make it easier for new customers to find your products or services via the Instagram search function, don’t forget to include 1-2 keywords in your bio.
Finally, your profile needs a call to action and a clickable URL that links to a landing page (this URL can be changed as needed for promotions) to create a seamless customer experience through to your site.
One vital part of social media networks is that they’re social - you have to engage with your audience if you want them to engage with you.
As it’s become more commonplace for businesses to engage with their audience on social media, a few customer expectations have been set:
There are multiple benefits that businesses can reap from this kind of engagement - the number one being that in many cases, it’s free marketing for their products. User-generated content shares your product with a wider audience and is seen as more authentic, and therefore more trustworthy, to their followers.
Engagement with your audience also helps Instagram’s algorithm to see that your brand is well-liked, which can improve your search rankings and recommendations.
Finally, you can also think of this engagement with your audience as free market research - how are people interacting with your product? What do they like and not like about it? What other companies do they follow, and what needs could you fulfil?
Competitor research is an important part of any digital marketing strategy, and Instagram is no different.
By keeping track of your competition, you can see what’s working for them and where there are gaps in their strategy that you could fill. How are they talking about their products or services, and how could you differentiate yourself from their offering?
Remember that it’s not all about the followers either - although your competitor may have a higher follower count, that doesn’t necessarily mean their social media marketing is more successful. Engagement is the metric that counts the most.
Instagram Stories provide an opportunity for businesses to break out of the static newsfeed and connect with their followers in a different way.
Stories disappear after 24 hours, but can be saved permanently as highlights on your profile. 50% of people surveyed by Instagram said they have bought a product or service because they saw it in Stories.
Because of their more casual, temporary nature, Stories are best utilised for showing day-to-day updates and videos that reveal the more human side of your business.
You could share a behind the scenes video, sneak peek of new products, run a countdown to sales, share user-generated content, demonstrate how your products are used, and get to know the members of your team.
There are several options for stickers and question buttons to encourage audience engagement - get them to vote on which colour your new tote bags should be, make guesses on a big announcement, or let you know how much they love your designs.
Instagram Shopping lets your users see more about your products from a simple tap on your image, streamlining the buyer’s journey and removing some of the obstacles to purchase.
With Instagram Shopping set up, you can simply tag your products to link to more information including price, product photos and description, and send customers directly to your website to purchase.
This makes it easier for customers to find the information they need about your products without redirecting to another site, potentially losing them in the process.
Through the integrated Facebook Business Manager platform, Instagram provides several different advertising formats to reach your audience - stories, photo, video, carousel and collection.
Like Facebook, Instagram also offers the option to boost existing posts that have performed well organically, although this does come with some limitations that regular ads don’t have.
To run an effective ad campaign through Instagram, you’ll need to figure out your campaign goals, target audience, format, and creative as part of your strategy.
Different styles and format combinations can help you to reach a wider audience or appeal to different stages of the buyer’s journey, and an understanding of who exactly you’re targeting can help you to niche down even further to increase efficiency in your campaign.
With a digital marketing agency like Sprocket Digital by your side, you can make the most out of Instagram for your business and use the social media platform to grow your audience and revenue.
Our cross-channel experience means we can create integrated omnichannel marketing strategies to find the most efficient, effective way to grow your business online.
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