What is a marketing strategy?
Although it may sound technical, a marketing strategy is no more than a long-term, focused plan to sell your products or services to new and existing customers.
This won’t come as a surprise, if you’re not new to marketing your brand, that having several of these on various platforms is absolutely essential in growing your business.
But why Instagram?
Well, with the latest changes to the algorithm, engagement is key. And Instagram is a very engageable platform – it’s not hard to orchestrate the changes you want to see once you know how. With 25 million businesses already doing it, and 80% of over 800 million users following at least one business (source), you’d have to be crazy not to jump on that bandwagon.
In this post we’ll tell you what you need to concentrate on when planning your own Instagram marketing strategy to expand your reach and increase your engagement.
Goal: Create a wealth of loyal and valuable followers
Strategy: Connect on a personal level with your target audience through effective and targeted communication.
You should have some knowledge of who your audience are and what they want to see. If you don’t, you can research it. Amongst other ways, the easiest way to do this is via Instagram Insights that you get for free with a business account. It shows you all sorts of things like the age, gender, location and previous engagement of your followers. There are also companies out there (like Growth Factor) who can provide you with an even more thorough portfolio of your target audience, so you can tailor your marketing even more effectively.
Once you know exactly who they are and what they want, there are a number of ways you can connect with your audience. Because it really is all about building a relationship built on entertainment, enjoyment and trust. Court your potential customers.
If you need some more information on researching your audience, we put together a post that explains just how to do it.
Actions you can take:
- Calls to action – Call on your followers to “like”, comment or share your content. But remember to provide them with valuable content, entertainment or a prize incentive.
- User Generated Content (UGC) – This is a great way to get your audience involved personally with your brand. Asking users to share their personal experiences (e.g. their dog/cat/most recent trip abroad) with a linking hashtag, not only gets you noticed, but also makes them feel heard and valued.
It also provides authenticity in a world where advertising twists truths on a daily basis. People are more inclined to trust UGC and thus engage more readily with your brand. In fact 60% of us would allow our family and friends’ content to make an impact on their purchasing decisions, over a brand.
- Be friendly. Be social – After all, it’s social media, right? So be social and connect with people. This is the most essential basis for any Instagram marketing strategy, to humanise your brand.
Beware of the language you use in communicating with your potential followers.
People don’t want to hear marketing jargon and over-exaggerated claims of greatness. Chat to your followers and engage them as you would a friend. It will show them you value them in more ways than just a pound sign.
Goal: Getting your brand seen
Strategy: Find a great influencer
An influencer is someone with a valuable following who will share your content with their already-established audience to generate a further reach and more engagement for your brand.
Actions to take:
- Find the right one – Choose someone in your niche and someone who you can build a good long-term relationship with. To get repeating results from an influencer, it shouldn’t be a one-off thing. Link with that person as an ambassador for your brand, especially in the beginning as you are building your own following.
- Check their credentials – Who follows them and does their following match your target audience? What’s their previous engagement like? Do their credentials match their cost?
- Choose what you’d like them to do – A product review, sponsored post or brand mention can boost your engagement exponentially. Remember they already have a loyal following who are more inclined to trust their recommendations.
- Don’t over-look micro-influencers – You might be tempted to blow your marketing budget on a huge, one off promotion with one of the big influencers like a celebrity. But since the better strategy is to have consistent, valuable engagement to grow your following organically, you’d be wise to partner with a smaller influencer. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, their following, though smaller, will likely be more valuable, upping engagement levels.
Some of the larger influencers may have an obscene amount of followers, but it isn’t likely that every single one of those followers will be active. And the ones who are may not even see your post, since the 2018 algorithm has re-introduced some semblance of chronology. A post from a smaller influencer won’t get lost in the maelstrom as easily.
Goal: Directing followers to content
Strategy: Utilise Instagram Stories
Although it may seem that content that disappears after 24 hours isn’t worth a lot of your time, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
The clue is in the name, but Instagram Stories is the perfect place to, well, tell your story!
Some more good news? The Story Highlights feature now allows your amazing content to be around for longer, meaning more time for your followers to engage.
Actions to take:
From behind-the-scenes access to your product, process or team, to events and promotions, there’s always a story to tell; so tell yours. The 24-hour disappearing act may seem a bit useless, but actually it compels you to keep your content up to date.
The trick is to string together the right images, GIF’s or videos in order to tell your story in a compelling way.
It’s also pretty easy to direct your followers to your story by posting a dangling carrot (metaphorically – unless your gig is selling root veg) and letting them know there’s something worth their while going on in your Story!
Goal: Selling your products directly through Instagram
Strategy: Employ Instagram’s latest shopping updates
Designed to make online shopping from Instagram a more direct process, Instagram can now provide a tiny shopping bag icon that links customers directly to a product catalogue.
Actions to take:
- Link it up! – All you need to do is link up your catalogue and you can post single images of your products and, essentially, tag them. Users can click to go directly to the purchase page.
- ‘Swipe-up’ on Stories – Additionally, Instagram has a ‘swipe up’ feature whereby the user can swipe up on your Stories to access more detailed content or a purchase page. Slot this naturally into your Stories post and it will be a seamless process for your followers to purchase your products.
- 24-hour promotions – Make use of the urgency provided by the disappearing content. Give users 24 hours to enter your competition and provide them with the links mentioned above to make it super-easy. You can also use this to provide limited-time offers like discounts or freebies.
This list isn’t exhaustive. There are many more ways you can achieve your Instagram marketing goals through the right strategy. Some of the others include: Direct Messaging, paid ads and reaching the Explore page. Click the links to learn more about these other Instagram marketing strategies.
Identify your Instagram marketing goals
You need to identify what you want your Instagram account to achieve before you choose your strategy and piece all the components together. If you’re still not sure, the dedicated team at Growth Factor can look at your brand, your products, your current followers and engagement and provide you with a tailor-made Instagram marketing strategy to help you achieve your brand’s goals. With our amazing Consultancy Service, we can devise and implement it all for you too! If you want to ask any questions at all, please get in touch!