Instagram marketing is a pretty hot topic at the moment, and we’ve been keeping you updated on its progress for some time now. What we’ve never explained to you though, is how to truly harness the platform. So we decided it would be a great idea to give you one, complete guide to marketing with Instagram. Enjoy!
Setting Yourself Up
So what’s the first step to mastering Instagram marketing? Creating your account! And, as with all things nowadays, this begins with hashtags. Your Instagram tag should be something simple, like the full name of your company. Try to make it as unique as possible and try not to use underscores to differentiate yourself. For example generic names like “femalefashion” aren’t made any more distinguishable by making them “_femalefashion” just to secure a username. No one wants to sift through 50 other accounts with pretty much the same name.
Of course, add a profile picture. We’d make this your brand logo that’s on your website and other channels, just for consistency. Write a short description on your profile. We recommend slipping in some relevant keywords in there, and definitely add a link to your company website. To make your profile more visible, use hashtags in your description. For example if you were a shoe brand in the UK you could write “#london based #footwear for men” as your description. Every little helps when it comes to Instagram marketing.
What & Why?
Probably the most important question of all to ask yourself when it comes to having an Instagram marketing account for your brand: “Why have we got Instagram?” What are you going to post, and how is it going to benefit your online marketing? Of course you can simplify this by establishing a few key points:
– Photo or video? Or both?
– What’s the goal? (Video views, likes, comments, enquiries?)
– If the post is simply to build your brand image or following, then post what shows/attracts that most.
Tailor the content in relation to the goal. For example, if a product was performing particularly well, you might want to boost that by posting an image of the product on your Instagram to encourage further sales. Or, on the other hand, post photos of less popular items in the hopes of increasing sales. Every post must have a purpose.
When it comes to your Instagram, great quality content is what’s fundamental to your success. Sure, marketing activities can get you there eventually but much like your business as a whole, it’s a great product or service at the heart of all your activities, and your Instagram should be no different. Really take the time figuring out what’s best, what works and above all what’s engaging and worth the time of the people viewing it. We can’t stress that enough.
User Generated Content
The content that you have on your Instagram doesn’t just need to be made from scratch by yourself. This is where User Generated Content comes in. If you’re a salon, a fashion brand, or any sort of business where people will want to show off merchandise (or food, always food) then create your own hashtag for customers to use when they post about you.
If you looked up #starbucks then you’d see a million customers all in one place. Hashtags have the same potential for your business. Not only will people be able to see a whole bunch of your happy customers in one place, it means you’ll have a whole list of content to ‘regram’. User generated content has many advantages. Not only is it effortless content for your page, but it acts as a way to show legitimacy and demand.
WishPond uses the account @bluemint as an example. What do you subconsciously see when you look at their profile? That’s right, it’s all blue. Most of their pictures contain the colour blue and their brand name and media all revolve around the colour. This not only gives off a great first impression and clear branding, but subconsciously if users like the colour blue they’ll probably follow: even if it’s just for the vibe you give off.
This is where we make the point that you should have a long think about the aesthetic of your Instagram. Here’s some food for thought, from us personally:
- – What are you exactly? What does your brand centre around? Rule out irrelevant imagery and keep it out from the get go.
- – What’s your core “mood”? Instagram is highly visual as you’ll have realised, so what overall mood do you want to portray? If you’re an outdoors company of any sort, you’ll want to share lots of fresh, nature oriented imagery. If you’re a tech company, pale blue or silver may be your colour ‘feel’. You can even go as far as colour psychology to portray the mood you want.
- There’s a complete array of filters on Instagram these days. If you’re the type of brand that doesn’t necessarily have a product to display, but you’re more of a service or something else, then why not consider the same filter for every image you put up? It creates your own sort of branding, and it’s easy to maintain. Then when people see the filter elsewhere they’ll be reminded of you.
One of our personal favourites is @londonfoodboy, whose pictures of food porn are certain to have you ditching that diet.
Instagram Marketing Strategy
Audience & Engagement
Now that you’ve setup your account, you know what, why and how you’re posting your content, now you just need people to see it and interact with it. So let’s get you that audience, shall we?
Hashtags are pretty straight forward. Put most simply they’re just labels for your content and people use them as search terms. It’s the main way your audience will be looking for you (or your competitors). Find out the popular hashtags for your industry. For example if you’re in the business of photography, hashtags such as #photooftheday or #instaphotographer will expose you to interested users, or people who are simply fans of photography. Research the relevant ones, and if it’s not in the image or a part of your brand – don’t use it. Hashtags are just for finding posts. One tip we will give you when it comes to hashtags is to post your list of hashtags in the comments, instead of the description so as not to clutter it. You’re only allowed 30 hashtags per post, so use them wisely.
Connect with Communities
It is very important that you become connected to the right communities and have the right followers. When working to improve and build your brand’s reputation, these connections matter. They say it helps to connect with people in your industry so that you can stalk their pages to see who they’re following and what they’re posting. What their followers are reacting positively to will give you the inspiration you need to become competitive.
Let’s say for example you’re an interior design firm, follow profiles on Instagram that are always posting interior design inspiration images and interact with them a lot. Follow the users that are most active on their profile, or follow their followers generally. This will build your own relevant audience, but also hopefully that Instagram account will post some of your content to its own page and expose you to their (perhaps larger) audience. Which brings us onto our next section.
Sure, you’re able to do your engagement manually, but when you’re just starting out and you’re trying to build your audience and make a lot of ground work in very little time, sometimes you need a hand. Which is why we’re going to introduce you to Instagress. Now be warned, this program isn’t the answer to all your engagement woes, and you really do need to pay attention to what you’re doing.
It automates activity for you essentially. You set hashtags, locations, or users that you want to track and you automate likes, follows, unfollows and comments. You are able to set up comments that are posted on photos or videos with the relevant hashtags or locations you requested. But remember the dangers of that. This is done without you being present and if you comment something entirely irrelevant on someone’s profile, it’s just insulting. Keep them vague, but complimentary or set up comments that start conversations.
With this program you’re able to monitor your progress in a few ways but it doesn’t yet provide us with all the sorts of statistics that we’d want. Set your activity rate to ‘slow’ or ‘normal’ but never fast. Avoid using both Instagress and manual engagement together as this can get your account blocked. There will be other similar programs to this, but it’s the best quality. You get 3 days for free and then you can purchase time at a reasonable rate. You’re also even able to set the hours that it does the activity (so you could set it to complete tasks out ofwork hours to make your engagement with others round the clock). You’re welcome.
A common practice in Instagram marketing is to identify and engage with key influencers in your market. In your posts it’s a good idea to mention entities or people that heavily influence your brand. The key to getting this right is to do it in the correct context. There should be an appropriate reason and appropriate time. Whatever you do don’t do what brands on Twitter sometimes do and bandwagon a hashtag. Don’t even risk it.
Putting this concept into practice, let’s say an influential fashionista comes to your market stall in Camden. You could ask them if you can take a snap of them or a photo with them, and you can post on your Instagram with the caption “Was so excited to have @fashionista at the stall today!” There’s an immediate brand association made there, and not only does making this sort of effort show the influencer that you value their time and potential partnership but it also gets your followers excited at the idea of developments. And to keep it frank, it makes you look good. Don’t just go tagging random people though because they have a lot of followers. Keep it genuine and keep it classy.
There’s word on the street that Instamole is the best program you can use to find an influencer or brand ambassador for Instagram marketing. The service allows you to export a report of the top influencers in your field so you can reach out and strike a deal with one. Takes out a lot of leg work, to be fair. To get ahead with this, you’ll need to think about your product and the type of person who would buy it. Try narrow that down a bit more. The narrower you go the better the results will be. Once you’ve got the report, look carefully through the accounts and select the best or most compatible with your business.
Once you’ve chosen one, have a brainstorm about how you can have them promote your product without jeopardising the integrity of their account. Most ambassadors will have an email attached to their account, so contact them through that and for the love of god don’t just comment on their stuff and expect them to strike up a partnership with you.
Instagram Marketing: Paid Reach
So you’ll have heard in one of our recent weekly roundups that Instagram now has paid advertising. To save you a whole bunch of link clicking on the Facebook business page (it’s never-ending, honestly.) here’s what you need to know:
- – You create Instagram ads using the same tools you use to create Facebook ads and these come in 3 forms: ad creation, Power Editor or the Facebook Ads API.
- – Anyone can create them but to run ads on Instagram you’ll need a Facebook Page.
- – You don’t actually even need an Instagram account to run ads on the platform but it’s of course recommended. If you still choose not to have an Instagram account your Facebook’s page and name will be used instead. You won’t be able to respond to comments on your ad. Your Instagram handle will be your Facebook Page’s name, and it’ll be greyed out and you won’t be able to click on it. If your name exceeds the character limit it’ll be truncated with “…”. Basically, don’t even bother not making an Instagram account because the ads sound naff without it.
- – The advertising and quality guidelines are the same on Instagram as Facebook. Facebook will review your ads before publishing.
Assuming you followed our advice and made an Instagram account and connected it to a Business Manager or through your Page’s settings, to get started: >Click the 4 boxes on the left side of the page >Create Ad Set >Use existing campaign or create a new one >The campaign must use an ad objective that supports Instagram ads. These would include:
- – Page Post Engagement
- – Clicks to Website
- – Website Conversions
- – Mobile App Installs
- – Mobile App Engagement
- – Video Views
Then >Enter a name for the ad set >Click Create >Select the new ad set on the right hand side of the page >Click Edit to set details such as audience, schedule, budget, pricing and placement (where the ad will run and in this case, Instagram) >Click Review Changes.
Ad Set Placement and Ad Creative
The Instagram ad placement allows you to create ads that appear on Instagram. Placement is as we mentioned above, and is shown below.
Your design requirements are as follows:
– Image – Recommended image size for an Instagram ad in the square or landscape format is 1080×1080 pixels. When creating the ad in Power Editor or Ad Creation you can use ‘Crop Image’ to make it look how you want.
– Video – This can be up to 2.3GB maximum.
– Caption – This may include up to 300 characters.
– Aspect Ratio – The aspect ratio in the square format is 1:1. Landscape should have an aspect ratio of 1.9:1.
– Web URLs – Facebook recommends you don’t put URL’s in the Instagram ad’s text, since they won’t be clickable anyway.
When it comes to Instagram marketing you can use custom creative with your ads, and creating a single ad campaign for both your Facebook and Insta ads is recommended. To choose custom creative for your ad you can do so in Power Editor. To add custom creative to your Instagram ad >Create Ad >Ad with an image or video >Add images and select Crop Image >Click image labelled Instagram >Use custom image for Instagram placement >Select Image >Confirm >Done
To monitor the results of your Instagram ad campaign, you use pretty much the same tools as you do on Facebook. We’ll let you figure that out on your own and instead move onto 3rd party monitoring tools you can use for your general Instagram account.
Instagram Marketing Tools
Now that you’re all set up, you need to monitor your progress so you can tweak your campaigns and content accordingly. We’ve compiled a list of the best free and premium Instagram monitoring tools you can use.
Formerly known as Statigram, we’re mentioning this one first because it’s our favourite (free for a week) and pay to play Instagram monitoring tool. No other service seems to have quite this level of analysis and we can’t get enough. The desktop app provides in-depth and high-level stats and analytics, a history of your most liked photos throughout the duration of your account, the average comments per photo, the average likes…you can even upgrade to premium and track your 5 closest competitor’s progress. Now that’s awesome.
This is a great free option for when you want to present a great summary of your brand’s Instagram to your team, clients or management. The web based report can be generated for accounts that have up to 25,000 followers and you can expect to receive a surprisingly comprehensive report packed full of analytical data. You can get info on average engagement per photo, most active followers, keyword analysis for comments and more. For free, it’s arguably the best you can get.
This is quite fun because it’s a mobile based app available to Android and iOS users. It’s simple, but it provides insight with special attention to your follower base. Once you’ve downloaded the app and synced it with your account you’ll be able to track users who you follow that don’t follow back, track followers who you don’t follow back, track new follows and unfollows and more. With the data right at your fingertips you can respond to followers immediately and keep great track, especially if your account is moving fast.
This is quite similar to Simply Measured but according to the company you can receive stats and data about your Instagram account “in just two minutes”. Why not? They say that they’ve incorporated some of the algorithm for their paid tool into the free report and they’ll tell you what hashtags receive the most engagement, who your top followers are, what type of content you should produce more of, and more. It’s not as insightful as the others but it has some good data in it for reflection.
This used to be known as JustUnfollow. It’s essentially an iOS, Android and desktop analytics tool that you can also use for Twitter. It’s a relationship management tool that helps the user find who their inactive followers are, but it also helps you find new followers by locating relevant users to follow based on your current hashtags and following habits. So if you’re struggling to figure out how to grow your feed, this is the tool for you.