Creating Your Instagram Marketing Strategy
By Dani Kahn
I’m sure you’ve thought about different ways to let people know about your business on social media. What about IG, though? Do you have an Instagram marketing strategy?
In our experience, common conversations about Instagram may go like this:
- “It’s just for kids anyway, right?”
- “I don’t want to have to deal with another social media thing.”
- “It’s just a trend.”
- “It’s only for foodies ... clothes ... kale eating people.”
- “There’s no way to make money from it.”
Since Instagram’s Facebook buyout in 2012 (For 1 billion1, by the way), it has been evolving into a visual, powerful, money-making machine. Instagram has over 700 million active monthly users2 with the number increasing each day.
If you’re a business or brand looking to connect with consumers, B2C marketers are significantly more likely (6%) to increase Instagram activities than B2B marketers (48%)3. This makes it the ideal platform to connect to those who matter: your customers. It’s just anonymous enough for people to feel comfortable to comment (unlike Facebook: “I have to use my last name, ahhh?!”) and professional enough to direct sell products and services.
There are a variety of tools on Instagram to hone in on your audience and the results are in: people are taking it to the bank3.
But how do you even get an audience? How do you even start creating an Instagram marketing strategy? You’re ashamed by your lonely IG profile with 23 followers (and you really don’t know or care for user likeforfollows49984x0x0.
DISCLAIMER REAL TALK: This is for Holistic Growth/Optimization of your Instagram – not paying for ads, sponsors, or spammy tactics. Real growth in IG counts on you being as consistent, authentic, and engaged as possible. They’ve adjusted their algorithm several times to make sure you’re legitimately present (e.g.: You can’t ‘schedule’ Instagram posts (yet5); you have to post in real-time from a real cell phone.).
Let’s get started, my brave small business owner.
For starters: Choose what you want to focus your Instagram marketing strategy on:
- Your delicious products?
- You as a unique brand?
- Your beautiful music?
- Your handsome looks?
- Your amazing designs?
Instagram is extremely visual, so pick a good looking niche and go for it. Show the world what you have to offer; give them a reason to look at your profile.
Leveraging Your IG Account
To grow your following on Instagram, you must be as consistent and engaged as much as possible while setting realistic goals. People will not follow you if you don’t interact with them. You don’t want to “flood” other people’s feeds, but you do need to post frequently enough that they don’t forget about you. Plan for 1 to 3 posts spread throughout the day for best results.
I put this to the test with my own Instagram. I scheduled 30 minutes on Instagram per day for 4 months. One quality picture/video post a day. I’ve (@danidrawn) attracted between 100 and 150 authentic followers. I also make it my goal to follow others who, I feel, practice the same genuine approach.
Make sure your profile picture is recognizable when it’s small. Logos are sometimes not
Recommended, depending on the clientele you would like to attract. Your profile picture should be selected strategically based on your goals for Instagram.
Find a hashtag (tags) that relates to what you're presenting. You can find popular hashtags by starting to type one (e. g., #….) and there will be a suggestion box above your text. Hint: Pick the one with the most posts associated with it. Double hint: Don’t make up your own. Here’s a site to play with and find relevant hashtags (link to: http://hashtagify.me/).
Now use that tag in every single post. Follow people who are authentic and genuinely invested in the tag. Comment on their posts with honest to goodness questions and well thought out responses. Stay away from the “single-emoji-flame-thumbsup-smiley, followmeplz”; they’re annoying, fake, and absolute trash.
Post a two to three sentence description with your picture/video and then post a comment below with fewer than 30 hashtags (don't get IG shadowbanned!6).
Leverage your following by adding a link(s) to your profile. Use your website or something that you’d like to feature. For example, your Instagram post could say, “See the link in my description to find out more!”
Dos and Don’ts
Keep your content clean and well thought out. Don’t post blurry photos or videos. Videos are great, silent Boomerangs (What the heck is a Boomerang7?) are better. The images that do best have a single focus and a bare background. However, have fun with it, and go with what is natural for you and your company.
I Know You Love Homework:
Okay, you’re reading all these Instagram marketing strategy ideas and feeling overwhelmed. These are best practices that you may or may not feel like applying to your own company Instagram. Well, I have a challenge for you, should you choose to accept it. Practice the 30-10-10-10 Challenge.
For 30 days, I want to challenge you to engage with 10 people a day who are not current followers. Think of who your ideal customer is, the person who is most likely to use your product or service, and search for hashtags relevant to this customer. Focus on your ideal customer only, not your competition. Once you have found a hashtag, or multiple relevant hashtags, you should like 10 of those posts per day. On 10 more non-follower accounts, comment with a question, not just a saying (single-emoji-flame-thumbsup-smiley, followmeplz), that relates to each post daily.8
You’ve Created an Instagram Marketing Strategy!
Go and have fun, engage with your fellow Instagrammers! Do you notice your engagement increasing? What hashtags are you searching? What responses are you receiving? Let me know your progress! Let me know how it goes!
Don’t rush it and go with the flow (no matter how fast or slow), because there are #beautifuldaysahead.
- SHADOWBANNED? https://petapixel.com/2017/04/19/shadowbanned-instagram-website-can-tell/ PODCAST: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/artistshelpingartists/2017/05/11/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-instagram
- This beginners challenge taken from the more advanced challenge, which you are welcome to try, from the 30-30-30 Challenge, which I found incredibly time consuming! (https://krosemarketing.com/insta-challenge/)
About the Author
Who is Dani Kahn? I grew up in Singapore where my father was a computer engineer, and have been website coding since I was 12—it’s in the genes!
I started web development and design work as a hobby since before I can remember, but started offering it as a service in 2011. My favorite part of what I do is taking a client’s concept and developing that into a tangible product. Watching their face light up when their vision comes to life—whether it’s a logo design or a website layout—is a wonderful feeling.
I love learning, with business, fine art, biology, and philosophy being some of my favorite courses. I’m a proud nerd who’s obsessed with comics, Dungeons & Dragons, video games, and visual arts. I’m also a huge Star Trek fan and really hoping for a Replicator one day. I can’t wait to work with you!
Connect with me on Instagram: @danidrawn