How to make the most of Instagram social media marketing

Digital360 on 25 May 2017

In Australia alone, Instagram’s stats boast 5 million active users per month. It goes without saying that the platform is up there with the big gun: Facebook. But how does Instagram for business work?

Social media marketing is all about being engaging. Without a doubt, visual content gets an instant big tick. Instagram might be the first place potential customers go to check out what your business and brand represent. So, is Instagram right for your business?

Whether you decide to go it solo, or with a team of social media marketing specialists, there are three ways your company could make the most of Instagram marketing.

1. Posting via Instagram Stories and Instagram Live

Instagram users are incredibly engaged, often checking and scrolling through their feeds multiple times per day. Remember: building presence is key. And that means posting often.

On top of posting frequently, take advantage of new features, like Instagram Stories and Instagram Live. Followers love to see behind-the-scenes content of their favourite businesses and brands on Instagram, and Stories and Live are ideal for this. Because Stories expire within 24 hours, and Live content can’t be re-watched, there’s extra air of exclusivity and scarcity that is great for generating hype.

If you host competitions or giveaways, Stories can step in here too. The last thing you want is to spam your followers’ feeds with reminders – and your page itself, for that matter. While Stories are a great way of lifting the 'velvet rope', you can also use them to promote competitions, sales, and new product releases.

2. Setting up an Instagram ad campaign

Connecting to your audience on Instagram is easy – but how do you take it to the next level? How do your followers become customers? That's where Instagram Ads are a perfect fit.

Instagram’s new advertising feature is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. Social media marketing can cost a bomb, but Instagram advertising is relatively budget-friendly. And because Instagram is part of the Facebook Ad platform, you can manage your Instagram Ads alongside your Facebook ads.

On top of photo posts, businesses can make video ads that run for as long as 30 seconds. All of these advert posts include a call-to-action button, which will take users directly to your site. This is a first for Instagram – the otherwise doesn't allow for clickable links on individual posts.

The secret to Instagram for business is great targeting. Your images will appear as sponsored posts in users’ feeds, so the key is to appeal to those not yet following your brand. It’s also a good idea to create custom images for your ads. Keep in mind that the highest engagement comes from the most visually striking posts.

3. Using Influencer marketing

If your business is just starting out on Instagram for business, influencer marketing is well worth looking into. It allows you to engage with a large, already-receptive audience of potential customers. An influencer marketing campaign will leverage the influence of a high-profile individual to boost the growth of your own audience.

So, what will your influencer look like? They’ll be someone in your target market with a large social media following – in other words, ‘Instagram celebrity’ status. This means someone with thousands – even tens of thousands – of followers. By nature, many of your influencer’s followers will fit your target audience.

Linking up with an influencer will give your brand instant credibility – but beware that the bigger their reach (i.e. the more followers they have), the more you’ll have to pay. However, some influencers are happy to receive products as payment instead. This depends on their reach, and how much work your influencer will do.

To get started, here are some of the top influencer marketing tactics for businesses on Instagram:

  • Raising brand awareness with a dedicated Instagram post. For instance, your chosen influencer could share a video reviewing your product, inviting a product Q&A with their followers in the comments.
  • Offering a discount code to followers. Create a code under your influencer’s Instagram handle, offering anywhere between 10 and 30% off. Your influencer can then make a post on their page and Story, promoting that you've offered an exclusive discount to their followers.
  • Create an account takeover by sending your influencer to an industry event. Your influencer will let their followers know they’ll be covering the event on your brand’s Instagram. This will encourage their followers to become your followers, and generate brand hype at the same time.

Another option is ‘natural endorsement’ – one of the more coveted marketing tactics. Hashtag campaigns are great for this. Not only do they generate hype, they're also a kind of testimonial.

Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins campaign is an example of this marketing tactic at work. Tens of thousands of users posted pictures wearing the brand, tagging #MyCalvins in the caption. That means this marketing campaign was essentially fuelled by the customers themselves.

Final thoughts

The key to Instagram for business is to always be engaged – post often, interact with followers, and stay up to date with cultural trends. Creativity and visual content skills go a long way in all forms of social media marketing, but it’s absolutely essential for Instagram.

However, Instagram social media marketing requires an investment of your time and energy – luxuries if you’re managing a small business. This is where an agency can step in with their social media marketing expertise. They can manage your campaigns from start to finish, allowing you to focus on running your business.

We’re a Melbourne digital agency driven by delivering outcomes. Chat with one of our specialists today about setting up Instagram for business.