In my experience, the clients I work with have wanted a presence on Instagram but weren’t always sure how to use it to drive awareness, engagement, leads, and sales.
With 200M users visiting a business profile at least once per day, surely the opportunities for utilizing this as a revenue generating channel shouldn’t be ignored. IMHO, no matter the size of your business and vertical, there’s a place for you to leverage Instagram to achieve business results.
In this blog post, I’ll walk through specific Instagram marketing hacks that I’ve implemented to help drive a positive ROI for clients I’ve worked with and for growing my business.
Develop a Solid Strategy
Like anything else, it’s important that you establish a clear strategy for being on Instagram and how you plan to use it to connect with your audience as well as align your efforts there with business objectives.
Other items to include in your strategy are:
- Identifying your target audience
- Decide on the type of content you will post
- Research the types of content your target audience engages with and why
- Choose the times/days you’ll be posting content.
- Analyze what competitors are doing
- Analyze the profiles that you aspire to be like and understand what they’re doing that works well
- Identify the top metrics you will track to help with understanding performance or lack thereof
Set Clear Goals
Just as you would do with driving revenue, your Instagram efforts should include clear goals and milestones you want to reach. For starters, it may look something like this:
- Grow Instagram followers to 1,000 by end of Q1
- Push for an engagement rate that is higher than 50% by end of Q1
- Generate 100 net new leads monthly
- Drive web traffic up by 100% with Instagram being a top referral source
Point here is that you don’t want to go in blindly. By writing down your goals, you have a better chance of actually developing an execution plan that will help you reach your goals. Keep in mind that though vanity metrics such as followers and likes can be validating, you also want to dive in deeper and ensure that you’re looking at how your Instagram efforts yield business results.
Consistency is Everything
Once you’ve decided on the times/days you will be posting as well as the type of content, it’s also then important that you follow an editorial calendar that will hold you accountable.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Adhere to the look and feel of your brand making it easy for fans to recognize you
- Create a simple theme to follow. Every day of the week you can be a part of the conversations that are happening around popular hashtags such as #MondayMotivation, #TuesdayTips, #WednesdayWisdom, etc. or you can develop your own like the example below:
- Keep testing your content. Doing so will help you better understand what works well with your audience and what doesn’t.
Be Informative and Inspiring
Instagram is a visual platform so you have to find a way to deliver content that’s teaches your audience something they’re interested in and inspires them. If your audience is able to see themselves as part of your brand, the likelihood of getting them to follow you, visit your website, and ultimately, buying from you is much higher.
Here are some Instagram business profiles I follow and love:
HubSpot does a great job posting engaging Instagram Stories (e.g. quizzes, polls, etc.) and then they follow that with presenting stats that speak to the B2B space.
H&M Home does an amazing job of placing their products with home inspiration photography. Not only can their target audience envision themselves in the space, but they can then purchase specific products that are placed in each image.
GaryVee isn’t for everyone but for those who do consume his content gain a different perspective on what it means to be an entrepreneur, and it’s all very raw.
Use Hashtags Strategically
The days of inundating your updates with 30 hashtags for engagement (i.e. likes and comments). With Instagram’s updates to their algorithm, it is clear that authenticity is important as well as ensuring people are seeing the content they actually want to.
Further, know that the point of leveraging hashtags is so your content is findable, and amplify your potential reach.
That said, here are some things to consider:
- Don’t use the same hashtags with every post.
- Test each post by using 15 hashtags for one, then tail it down to using 7 hashtags. See which one fares the best results for you.
- Research relevant hashtags and intermix them with broader yet popular hashtags too.
- Create a hashtag that’s unique and specific to your business.
Tools to check out to help you find popular hashtags are:
Repurpose Your Blog Content
Captions shouldn’t just be for hashtags. Look at how you can repurpose your blog content over to your Instagram captions. To be more specific, the average length for captions have doubled since 2016.
The recommended length is 405 characters, so don’t shy away from increasing the potential of your Instagram engagement by writing longer captions. Additionally, the strategy here is that the more engagement you can earn from have a great feed accompanied by thoughtfully written captions, the higher of an opportunity you’ll have to grow revenue.
The determining factor of your Instagram success comes down to having a good strategy in place that is followed by a heavy amount of effort to understanding what type of content drives the best engagement, site traffic, leads, and sales.
Take advantage of looking at the data to help further tell your story so you can not only deliver content that performs well with your audience but for your business too.
Keep in mind that you need to steer away from making a hard sale, but rather focus on building an authentic presence that will attract the customers you want buying from you.