The Definitive Guide to Marketing on Instagram


Do you know that active Instagram accounts range from 1,000+ to 100,000+ followers?

 

What to expect from this article

I will talk in this post about growing a business account, keeping the fans engaged, adding location stories, using hashtags, and tracking everything with metrics.

 

Contents

  1. How Instagram can help your Business
  2. Tracking the ROI of Instagram
  3. Why do you need to follow the ROI of your posts/stories?
  4. How much Follower Engagement can you expect from Instagram?
  5. Visual Content is critical for high ROI
  6. What happens with the Conversions on Instagram
  7. What are the Most Common Actions on Instagram?
  8. How can Location Stickers help a local business?
  9. How to Add a Location Sticker to an Instagram Story
  10. How Hashtags Increase Visibility
  11. You can now add clickable hashtags to your Instagram Stories
  12. How to add a hashtag to your Instagram Story?
  13. How Clickable Hashtags work?
  14. Personas Create Engagement

Let’s start by giving some stats about Instagram and what makes this social network so great.

 

What are the benefits of having an Instagram Businesses Account

Instagram is a social network and a popular one. Instagram has more than 700 million users, surpassing other major networks like Twitter. The last 100 million people joined a lot faster due to the popularity of the platform and its new features like stories, live video and Direct messages that disappear 24 hours after they are viewed up to two times, similar to Snapchat.

Instagram is hugely popular (53%) among 18 to 29-year-olds. 75% of its user base exists outside of the U.S, with half of the last 100 million users coming from Europe and Asia.

When the Millennial segment (18-34 age group) is concerned, the business that targets them needs to understand and speak their language. Millennials have a lot of experience in the digital space. They see the social networks as a medium to share and create experiences within their community. They are ready to praise a business if they see it is environmentally or socially responsible. When a company shows its competitive edge, it will speak to the mind of a Millennial as it is price- and innovation-oriented.

Millennials do not see themselves as a group with the same identity or personality. There are different sub-groups within the Millennial segment each one expecting a customized marketing approach. Sub-group values, needs, lifestyle are all important when targeting the Millenials.

The major networks have introduced some features catering the needs of these segments. I will present them below.

monthly active nstagram users

Business Instagram accounts will want to grow their following because numbers do matter and increase brand awareness.

Building a large following is not enough, businesses will want to attract their target customers and keep them engaged. And of course put the conversions right in the first touch.

That said, a company account needs to act socially too. Liking other people’s pictures, following their updates, and genuinely commenting to their uploads are things that make a difference.

It’s a way to show that the brand cares about the interests, life, and well-being of the community.

Setting reasonable business goals and having a detailed action plan or publishing schedule is important.

Consistency matters, regular uploads, fresh and relevant content.

 

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Tracking the Performance of Instagram

The business needs to have an efficient tracking system in place so each day they know the exact value of Instagram to business to justify the budget spent.

Without proper tracking, it looks unprofessional and will probably cease in a while because the management will not understand what the ROI from Instagram is.

 

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Why do you need to track the ROI of your posts/stories?

When it comes to tracking, they will want to make sure they follow the growth and get reports with all the campaign KPIs.

For example, some valuable KPIs are the growth of followers, total engagement from likes and comments, after each post.

They will want to know the posting frequency that delivers the most, the best time to post, how users react to types of content and business messages, how much incoming traffic they get from Instagram and what are its conversion rates, and of course the spending.

Depending on the posting frequency they track those metrics Week over Week or even on a daily basis.

The growth in incoming traffic and other metrics can be tracked Month over Month.

This way they will know what works and what doesn’t, how much they are spending and how effective their campaigns are against various audiences.

 

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How much Follower Engagement can you expect from Instagram?

Instagram offers 20 times more engagement than LinkedIn, but research shows that Instagram engagement trends downward.

Ways to avoid the negative engagement is to interact with the followers, i.e., to like a person’s pictures and videos to attract his/her attention. Create content that will position the brand as a niche influencer.

Be open and direct with the followers. If the brand wants something from the followers why not ask for it?

Nobody likes getting bombarded with advertisements, so I recommend to plan the content carefully.

Below I give more tips on creating engagement.

 

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Visual Content is critical for high ROI

Good photos matter. Research shows that visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. That means that photos can be one tool to keep the followers engaged.

Good looking or impressive photos will be the best marketing tool in hand, and good photos don’t have to be in numbers. One good picture is enough to get likes and comments.

Now, photos, videos and any form of content must be consistent with the brand messaging. The target audience will appreciate the fresh content; that stays consistent with the niche.

Publishing inappropriate content without any strategy will only alienate the followers.

The message or its intent shown in the uploads must be clear, align with the business scope and increase engagement.

Irrelevant photos work the other way, and not everything is suited for Instagram.

brands on instagram

 

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What happens with the Conversions on Instagram

Conversions are the prize, the reason behind spending all those resources.

So everything posted should be optimized for conversions right away in the Instagram environment not waiting for them to convert on the website.

Again, if the message is clear, we need to have the conversion ready on the spot.

 

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What are the Most Common Actions on Instagram?

Conversion does not necessarily transform into a sale. Ultimately we may want them on our landing page, but other KPIs are important too.

Everything that makes sense to the business and can represent growth can be a KPI (Key Performance Indicator). The company may need to increase brand awareness than getting a follower or get a Like; all the above can be conversion KPIs too.

Have the conversion element ready in the content visual, in the message caption or the comments. Can be a phone number, a contact email, or a link to an offer. Conversions are important.

 

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How can Location Stickers help a local business?

Instagram users may use the network to search for local businesses especially when they are close to the area. Instagram works as a business listing, much like a local directory, so it is useful for contacting purposes with the firm.

Local businesses can be restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, venues, etc. Now, Instagram would love to populate content that matches a location-based business with its address set up through Facebook or Instagram.

So, by entering your location in an Instagram Story, this story might get populated to the local users. Stories get the Instagram-colored ring, and they aggregate together into topics, location stickers, and hashtags (see related section below).

A business without a physical location can also exploit the geolocation feature, simply by entering the place to a story that relates to this area. It can be a particular point of interest or a public landmark to attract more local people to their story.

So the location is important (I will describe how to insert a location sticker beneath) because the content is arranged by location and can be clicked to get to the business page. Besides that, when users open the Instagram’s Explore page they will get the content based on the topic relevancy (user interests and history if kept). Also, recent stories shared are posted on the top of the screen to attract more people.

 

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How to Add a Location Sticker to an Instagram Story

You may add the location label when you create the story. Creating a new post via the Instagram Stories app, be it a photo or a video, you can then click on the Sticker icon at the top of the Story screen.

When you type in the location, Instagram will offer you the most popular matching results to choose. The location sticker can be rotated, resized or moved around the screen of the story.

So, by tapping on the location sticker, viewers can find more Instagram results for that area. This way, your story can be found even if users are watching another user’s story.

Location stickers overall promote local businesses or populate the content tagged with a location even if the business has no physical address.

I think I have shown enough the importance of place attached to an Instagram story, so let’s pass on to the Hashtags feature, and how these can help businesses overall outside the location radius (reaching a national/global audience).

 

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How Hashtags Increase Visibility

Hashtags will help if relevant to the business message and the topic of the photo/video. Instagram Hashtags can improve your account and lead generation performance.

Read more on how to add hashtags below.

That said the hashtags should not overload the feed or make it look spammy, so using a handful relevant hashtag is the right way to do it.

Tagging people is also a good way to raise interest in their brand and attract followers.

Reposting photos because of tagging helps increase the following.

Adding a location (geotagging) is also helpful. Events around an area tend to gain from the position awareness.

Read more about adding a location story below.

Promoting the Instagram account with other means, i.e., print media, website properties, email marketing, radio or TV, etc. will help too.

 

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How to add clickable hashtags to your Instagram Stories

Hashtags serve to be found on Instagram considering location-based, service-based, or any online business overall. To re-iterate, hashtags to be helpful and thus, converting, they need to relate to your business industry.

You may place the Hashtags into the post captions or comments.

Remember that the use of hashtags is to build lists of favorite search results. When Instagram users click on such a list, results under the same topic come up, and that serves for clicks, conversions, etc.

I should stress here that hashtags need to be relevant to the post/story. If they are not, then it looks spam, it’s not useful for the readers, and in fact, when the search algorithm matures, the lack of relevancy with the topic will make the post look spammy and might flag it. So, always put only the hashtags that make sense for your particular post/story.

Don’t add more than one or two hashtags to your stories/posts.

 

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How to add a hashtag to your Instagram Story?

It is recommended to add hashtags to your Instagram stories, as they will show up in the hashtag search results.

A hashtag public story will get the typical colored ring at the top, so users can check the story and the story gets more exposure if the hashtag is popular. That is the commonality between the hashtag and location-based stories.

Popular hashtags can drive more Instagram followers who are the first step for lead generation.

 

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There are two ways to add hashtags to Instagram stories:

A. Hashtag as a Sticker

To add a hashtag as a sticker, you can tap the sticker icon at the top when starting a story and choose #hashtag from the label list. Instagram will recommend some favorite or frequently used hashtags that you can choose.

Then, you can edit the colored hashtag by moving, rotating or resizing it on your story.

 

B. Hashtag as Text

When writing your text and ready to insert a hashtag, you can click on the icon (Aa) and add your hashtag starting with the #. Instagram will recommend the most popular hashtags.

Again, you will have the option to move, rotate, or resize your hashtag within the story.

 

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How Clickable Hashtags work?

Now that we have gone through the ways to add hashtags to your stories and the reasoning behind it let’s go briefly through the clickable hashtags.

Once you are ready with your story and its hashtags, users that see in their feed your post can tap on the hashtag in the story. Then the See Hashtag option comes up that will take them to the search results page.

As we said, hashtags help by aggregating similar content, on the topic/industry, so using a few of them and only related to your story, or branded, will help you get more popularity/traffic and increase your brand visibility.

 

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Personas Create Engagement

I should mention here that people are social beings, so they tend to follow other people and will not be attracted so much to a business account without a face behind it.

That’s why I suggest building personas that best match and can target an audience segment and through this person(a) promote the business message.

The persona topic is a big one and exceeds the scope of this article on Instagram.

Do you have a business account on Snapchat and need some tips on how to approach this new network? Check my article on Snapchat.

 

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About Ted Politidis

★ Search Marketer w/ a Masters Degree & 10 yrs in Digital Marketing ★ Have managed 6-digit Marketing Budgets ★ Google Certified Partner in: Mobile Sites; AdWords; Analytics; Mobile Ads; Video Ads; Display Ads; Shopping Ads; Digital Sales ★ Certified SEO by the University of California, Davis ★ Startup Mentor.

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