We are in the era of Instagram domination whether we like it or not. Instagram has gone on to become one of the most popular social media platforms that are in use today. According to Traffic Analytics from Semrush, Instagram is the 6th most popular social media app, rivaled only by Facebook, Youtube, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat. In 2020 alone, Instagram made $20 Billion from ad revenue alone amounting to a quarter of Facebook’s entire revenue for that year.
In the same year, Instagram had a user base of 1.16 billion active users every day. India is one of the most prominent global audiences for Instagram accounting for 140 Million active Instagram users as of January 2021. Instagram estimates that even a small business account with around 10,000 followers can earn up to $88 per post, making Instagram a perfect place to start earning right from the get-go of the establishment of your business.
The baseline to catching your targeted audience’s attention is using high-quality, aesthetic photos to stand out from the billions of pictures that are shared on the platform every day. The ‘Print+Pixels’ study commissioned by Facebook and conducted by Kantar Brown reports that people are 1.41x times more likely to choose Instagram to research and know about a brand that they are interested in. Harnessing the power and influence of the world’s most popular social media application to create and market your unique ideas will help you propel your creativity to new heights, pursue your passion and make your business a blockbuster success and we are here to show you how! Here are a few tips on how to utilize Instagram and propel your small business to success galore.
First things first – let us have a look at Instagram jargon to get warmed up. Though jarring at first look, businesses and users can work around the terminology they should know to get the most out of the site.
The Instagram Biography for your profile is the first thing your audience will read when they click on your profile. Businesses that include a catchy and crisp call to action on their bio will create a good first impression.
Commonly referred to as DMs, this option makes it easy for your customers to contact you if they have a query or a complaint. This is easier than using a second messaging application to get to your customer care.
One of the most popular features of the app, stories are disappearing posts (pictures and videos) that you can use to advertise, market, and promote brand awareness creatively. It reaches more people than posts. According to Instagram Business’ internal data of January 2017, of the 500 million accounts that use stories, ⅓ of the views come from business accounts, and one in every five stories gets a direct message from its viewers.
Instagram has published a step-by-step guide on how to utilize stories to advertise your brand to success.
Hashtags make it easy to find your posts and reach an audience that may be interested in your product. Instagram’s ‘Follow Hashtag’ feature especially makes it easy for relevant products to reach the audience by showing them in the ‘Discover’ page.
The name or handle of your business is your username which people type in to search for you. An easy and readable username is always key, as it is much easier to search for something such as ‘SoulSkinCare’ compared to ‘SoulSC054321’.
Moving on to the actual marketing aspect of increasing brand awareness – It is necessary to take a holistic approach towards marketing services as various factors help your business stand out from the rest. Generic ones will not cut as users do not linger around and waste time on things they are not interested in or captivated by. The following are a few key aspects to focus on to differentiate yourself from the endless ocean of accounts, users, and posts.
- A Cohesive Photo-Grid
Primarily, Instagram is a photograph-sharing service at its core. Videos, stories, reels, IGTV were features that were all added later on and photos are the first things that users check out when visiting a profile. It is important to take time to create a cohesive photo grid to make your site look professional and prove to your customers that you are sincere. Following a theme, color palette scheme, organized posts that correlate to each other are all vital to making your customer want to scroll down further to know your brand and to engage them. Here are a few examples of creative Instagram layouts to inspire one for yourself!
You can create an attractive feed for yourself using photo editing apps like these.
2. Stay True To Your Brand
Businesses should make it a point to stay true to their brand and post things that are relevant to their brand. Humour, interacting with users through asking questions/polls/giveaways are effective tools for customer engagement. Everything that is posted should reflect the vision and mission of the business.
3. Consistency Trumps Algorithm
If you wish to get around Instagram’s confusing algorithm, it is important to know what is vital. Posting less consistently will not help your post gain traction, as you are less likely to show up in the ‘discover pages’ as the algorithm ranks less consistent posts and accounts in the bottom. Successful businesses show up every day and at least once a day to create engagement in some form. A content calendar with a consistent posting schedule may help you keep and stay on track of your posting spree!
4. Hashtags Are Your Best Friend
An integral part of using Instagram Business to increase the reach of your posts, thoughtful to a large audience by making content discoverable. Relevant hashtags help users find you as Instagram uses a targeted approach to get to its audience. Leverage hashtags by using easily searchable and simple words that are relevant to your brand to appear prominently on timelines. Sites like Display Purpose will help you find relevant hashtags for your posts and accounts.
5. Instagram Advertisements
Photo advertisements, video advertisements, and carousel advertisements are the three formats for official advertising available from Instagram. You can pay Instagram a nominal fee, and in turn, your posts will appear on your targeted audience’s newsfeed in the form of stories or timeline posts. Getting the customer to notice the brand and click on your profile is what every brand should strive for ultimately. Identify your target customer, from gender to age group to occupation, race, nationality, personal tastes and ask yourself the question, “how can I engage and connect with them? How can I encourage them to check my brand out? ” When your posts satisfy these questions, engagement will follow. A Nielsen Digital Brand Study found that sponsored Instagram advertisements had a high recall rate which was 2.8x higher than traditional online advertising.
6. Build Community Engagement
With the cut-throat competition and limited time for everyone, interested clients expect brands to get a response quicker than light. Brands have to be in check with their direct messages, comment queries, and such to stay in touch with your customers and engage your brand positively. Instagram has numerous resources such as reactions, comments, shares, replies, stories, polls, Ask A Question, reels to boost the engagement and reach of your business.
One might say that Instagram is in the realm of total world domination when it comes to revolutionizing online shopping, branding, marketing, and advertising. Don’t work hard, work smart and utilize the powerful tool of social media marketing and create success for your business that lasts!