Grow your brand with a killer Instagram strategy
Grow your brand with a killer Instagram strategy
After Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram back in 2012, there was little doubt among social media marketers that the platform would become an essential part of our digital strategies. This guide has been created to help you get to grips with the recipe for an unstoppable Instagram strategy.
- Raise brand awareness
- Announce new products and announce back in stock
- Offer incentives for customers to interact with your brand
- Run competitions to engage and expand your audience
- Tell the backstory of your products
- Showcase your company culture and attract new staff
- Curate inspiring content to demonstrate thought leadership
- Collaborate with social influencers
- Make company news announcements
- Documents experiences at events
Announcing new products
If you regularly get new products, or wish to notify customers of stock then simple product announcement posts on Instagram should be a part of your strategy. Phonica Records in London does this effectively. Their Instagram feed is a constant update of new vinyl releases, and they’ve gone for a simple but engaging video post format showcasing the record artwork and short clip of the track. Users can use their Instagram feed to get notified immediately of new products and copy a tracking URL to the online store to purchase. It’s a simple formula, but it offers genuine utility to the customers, and the templated styling of the shots make it easily replicable with photoshop.
Product Stories / Behind the Scenes
Build a more personal connection with your customers by sharing behind the scenes images and videos. By sharing the creative process, manufacturing methods, and philosophy behind your products, you make your products more meaningful. Californian streetwear brand Benny Gold have amassed more than 70,000 followers through their consistent and targeted approach to product photography and storytelling. They regularly share behind the scenes images of product design, photoshoots and manufacture. In reality they are doing what every clothing company must do to produce a product, but their methods of documenting the process on Instagram gives their brand more power.
Recruit New Staff on Instagram
Trying to hire some top talent? Instagram is a great way to show how awesome your company culture is. You don’t have to buzz around the office on roller skates, or offer beanbag filled ideas rooms to find good people, but showing off a nice working environment with a happy and welcoming staff will help to attract the right people. You can also make use of the popular #jobs related hashtags to appear in search for those savvy enough to be looking. Or simply reach out to your followers to recruit from people that already are engaged with your brand. The example is a nice ad from MotivationTatoos who are looking to hire someone, and show off their non-discriminatory attitude towards mental health issues. Good recruitment and PR move.
Inspiring Content to Show Thought Leadership
Instagram particularly for B2B products and services, is often less about direct selling, and more of a brand building channel. Therefore rather than selling the merits of the product, some companies focus upon building the back story around their brand to show how cutting edge their technology is, how hot their production skills are, or even to give a human touch to their corporate identity. Inspirational posts are an effective way to leverage content created by others to shape your own identity. While content creation should also be a part of your strategy, there is more than one way to skin a cat, and plenty of savvy brands can turn careful curation into a powerful mechanism for growth and sales.
Document Experiences at Your Events
Let your followers relive your experiential marketing events online. For companies in innovative markets, particularly technology, consumer conferences can be big business. Attendees are already impassioned enough to travel across their home country, sometimes across the world, to interact with the brands that they love. To best leverage their passion, an Instagram strategy for events can be a great way to sustain some of the generated buzz, and turn the punters into a part of your community. Plus seeing how great your product is in action will inspire others to seek out that experience for themselves.
Resources for Content Creation
Choosing an entry method
A successful competition needs rules, so you should decide on how to allow your audience to submit their entry. At this point refer back to your campaign goals and think about how best to communicate your message. Usually brands run competitions with these entry methods…
- Include a hashtag and theme in your post to enter. Users simply tag their post with the competition hashtag, and related relevant theme for extra exposure, and publish. This makes it easy to review all of the competition entries and choose a winner. You can use a tool like Iconosquare to research the top trending hashtags in your niche when picking your theme. Then be sure to choose something memorable and representative of your brand or prize as your competition tag.
- Tag your brand in entrants’ posts to enter. Users are required to tag your brand’s Instagram page in their post in order to enter. In this case you ensure that all competition submissions can send traffic to your account, leading to better exposure.
- Most contests on Instagram now require a combination of user generated content and engagement action (such as like, follow, tag or share). However be careful about making your entrants jump through too many hoops, as it can scare participants away.
- Using third party applications open up the possibility for more complex competition entries including allowing entrance with an email address. When prizes are of high value, or confidential contact with the winner is required after the competition is over it can be important to have contact details. This is also a strategy used by many brands to generate mailing list subscribers.
The marketing toolkit developed by Wishpond includes apps that make running instagram contests a breeze. Plus they have an excellent landing page building tool and importantly a built in social media analytics system for tracking the success of your competition.
Picking the winner
Once your competition has run it’s course, and you have shared the best (or worst) of the entries, you have to decide on a winner. We don’t ever suggest that you pick someone based on reach as this is unfair and untransparent. However there are two methods that you can use to help you to pick a winner fairly and increase your reach while doing it. By having followers vote on the entrants to decide the winner you can get fans engaging with one another on your terms. This is a great way to create a sense of community around your brand. Votes can be swayed by users with larger audiences, but the key is here to keep the focus on the submissions, promoting your favourite picks to other users, but ultimately letting them decide. For an even fairer way to choose your winner, you could assemble a panel of judges to decide on the winning content. A predefined set of criteria can be shared with fans, and judges can explain their decisions, which in itself can help to deepen the conversation for better or for worse!
Types of Instagram Adverts
Creating adverts on Instagram is easy. All you need is an active Facebook Ad Manager account, with your billing details attached. You can simply boost your existing posts, much as you would on Facebook, or create content especially for the paid ads. This is an effective way to expand the reach of your existing content, get people looking at your feed and find new followers. “Dark posts” are not visible on your normal Instagram feed, yet created solely in ad manager. For those with a sizeable budget, this is a fantastic way to test content before pushing posts live. You can run a selection of creatives quietly to different audience segments and test the responses. Once you have analysed your results, simply role out the top performing post to your public page, and promote from there, providing you with greater assurance of good results. This method can also be a fantastic way to connect with localised communities. Allowing you to customise content for specific audiences in particular regions, or even for certain interest demographics. Bespoke content, created for niche audiences is a real trend for social media in general, and even if you think of your product as being mass market, you would be surprised how effectively a localised, or niche strategy, can expand your reach and deepen your connections with existing users. With the same targeting options as on the Facebook ad platform, retargeting is also an option. Using your standard Facebook tracking pixel, you can tag visitors to your website with a cookie (maximum lifespan is 90 days), and serve ads to them on Instagram. Many advertisers opt for simple generic retargeting ads, or content marketing, but it is possible to get granular in your tracking, tagging users depending on which individual products, pages or categories they have visited. This form of “dynamic retargeting” takes a little more experience to set up, but if approached with a well thought out strategy, it’s possible to get fantastic results. This is pretty commonly used by major clothing retailers (such as Asos) that have a huge range of products, and very advanced product recommendation engines.
Measurements for Success
Like any form of paid advertising, it’s important to track certain key performance indicators (KPIs). This could be anything from clicks, to post engagements, sales or sign ups. The point is that you should refer back to your campaign goals, and then prioritise them in order of importance. If your goal is to generate revenue, then it is crucial to calculate return on investment (ROI). Effectively tracking your ROI allows you to gauge the profitability of your campaign, perhaps the most crucial metric for any business. Unfortunately, the ad platform doesn’t generally want you to be watching your return on investment so carefully, as a higher ad spend is money in their pocket. For this reason, we like to pull the data out of Facebook’s Ad Manager and into a spreadsheet to make this calculation. You can also connect this ad platform data with other analytics channels, such as Google’s Universal Analytics. As Facebook and Google are increasingly treading on each others toes, their platform integrations are frustratingly inadequate. Facebook are keen to keep you on their ad platform, so the only way to connect your ads data to your analytics account effectively is through the use of UTM tracking parameters. This is essentially just adding a category, action and source tag to the end of your URL, which allows you to identify individual ad creatives later in Universal Analytics. Yes, tagging every ad individually is a little bit arduous, but the power of this data is huge. Information from your website analytics platform will give you feedback on how your traffic from Instagram advertising behaves on your site. This means tracking bounce rates, event paths, conversion funnels is all possible and tagging individual campaigns and ads allows you to see how different audience demographics, or ad creatives perform further along the user journey. In fact, UTM tracking can be used for your regular Instagram campaigns also, if you wish to include tracking parameters in your bio links, and post descriptions. Which some of these are not clickable, and the URL might be a little ugly, you can simply hide them behind a shortened link using a tool such as bit.ly or Google’s URL shortener.