Over a billion people use Instagram every month — that’s a whopping 1 in 8 eight people on the planet (!) What started as a simple photo-posting app over 10 years ago has grown into a great source of income for creators and an ideal sales channel and marketing tool for businesses.
So, considering its colossal popularity, is it actually possible to cut through the noise and find success when launching a new brand on the platform? The answer is yes, but it requires time, work, and dedication.
Here are our top tips to make it work:
1. Define your objectives
First and foremost. This must be the core of your project: what you’re after, your distinct purpose, and your reason to be. Once your objectives are defined, you can then build your entire strategy based on supporting them.
Tip: Create an excel spreadsheet in which you write down your short-term, mid-term and long-term targets.
2. Know your audience
“If you’re talking to all customers, you’re talking to no customers.”
You need to study demographic, behavioural, and psychographic information to know exactly who your audience is. You can obtain that information by going to your Instagram Insights — Your Audience — See All. You can select a 7-day or a 30-day time period. It’s also worth creating friendly surveys in your stories using the tag “Ask Questions” to obtain extra information. Having that extra knowledge will enable you to build content that will resonate with them and repel those who aren’t a fit for your brand.
3. Build a strategy and tell your story
Having defined objectives isn’t enough. You need to determine what your brand stands for — think core values, tone of voice, etc. A good way to go about it is to think of your brand as a person with a distinct personality. Establish what sets you apart, how you can solve your customer’s problem, why what you’re offering is better, and then make sure you communicate consistently throughout every single bit of content you share. A well-rooted strategy will enable you to clearly articulate your brand, and as a result, carve out a distinguishable place in the market.
4. Know your competitors
Know what you’re up against. Look up like-minded brands on Instagram, check out their content strategy, their keywords, hashtags, their visual identity, what works for them, and what doesn’t. Use what you learn as an inspiration to build your own thing, but never, ever, imitate what they do. Your aim here is to define how you’ll differentiate yourself and create added value for your market.
5. Create a powerful profile
Instagram is one of the most aesthetically pleasing platforms on the web, so creating a highly optimised profile is crucial. A brand whose visuals are thoughtfully put together, consistent, and pleasing is off to a very good start.
Make sure you only post high-resolution pictures, that not only show off the products but also tell a story. Ensure you pick a coherent colour palette and stick to it; if you have Lightroom, and master photo editing, then you can create your own presets. If not, there are many sites you can buy already made presets. That’s an easy way to ensure consistency and a harmonious, visually satisfying feed.
Think of using the carousel format to share more photos without disrupting your carefully curated feed. This will enable potential customers to browse through as if it was a catalogue. You can share close-ups, before & afters, testimonials, demonstrations, videos, etc. allowing you to showcase your product in its full glory. Doing this also keeps users engaged longer.
Don’t skip any details when building up your profile — profile picture, description, keywords, hashtags, links — everything is important. To create an extra level of engagement and community, you can ask your followers to tag #yourbrandname when posting shots of your products.
Research your hashtags: try and use long-tail hashtags to promote your brand. The narrower and more targeted they are, the higher are your chances to end up on the first page of search, therefore, leading to more sales.
6. Take advantage of the power of influencers
A wonderful strategy — by far the fastest way to up your ranking — is to collaborate with (the right) influencers. They have an incredibly strong bond with their loyal and dedicated followers, who highly regard their opinions and recommendations. Collaborating with the right influencers can give your page instant credibility, strengthen your brand’s reputation, help generate more leads, and consequently increase conversions.
7. Do giveaway contests
Giveaways generate a big increase in visibility and a high return on investment. For just the cost of one of your products, a gift card, or a coupon, you can get a lot of exposure. Make it fun, and orientate the contest depending on what you’re after. For example, you’re a clothing brand and you’re after more content? Ask your followers to post a photo of them wearing one of your products and the best one wins a coupon to buy more clothing on your website. Make sure they follow you, share the post with friends, and/or put it up in their story to qualify for the contest.
8. Be ready before you even start
It’s important to have a ready-to-execute IG marketing strategy before you even start. You need to plan out your posts, decide on the frequency, the layout, the variety of content. It’s important to have enough content to last a few weeks before starting off to keep regular postings and ensure a better engagement with your customers. Once your page is live, you have to look after it like a puppy — feeding it daily, taking care of it, and giving it all your love and attention.
I always use the Preview app. It’s free and easy to use: you just drag and drop your photos until your feed looks great and can write up your captions in advance!
9. Consider seeking external help
Yes, it’s your baby, and you want to be in charge, that’s fair. Maybe you think you can handle it alone, or maybe you hadn’t allocated a budget for social media management. However, your business will grow to a point where you no longer have the time to manage your social media platforms. We highly recommend you collaborating with social media experts to help develop your strategy, execute and monitor it. By letting experts work on this platform, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy to focus on other parts of your business.
Implementing these important steps should help ensure success on the social network, but it doesn’t end here. As soon as you get your first results and feedback, you’ll need to dedicate time and resources to manage and optimise your strategy.