Small businesses often find themselves at a disadvantage in terms of marketing due to budget constraints and an economy that often favors large corporations. Add in the fact that they have fewer people to help them promote from within, and it becomes even more difficult to win the marketing battle as a small company. Fortunately, the times are changing, and technology can do a lot to help these small businesses create a bigger name for themselves.
Social media has become a major tool for small businesses, and Instagram is among one of the most powerful tools that any organization can use to market their strengths and capabilities. Yes, there are other social media platforms that can be used for promotions, but it seems that Instagram has taken the reins as the leader of the group as far as digital marketing is concerned.
Although it’s pretty easy to download and use Instagram, there is still some skill in mastering it. A company can’t simply post unplanned pictures at random times of day and expect to see immediate results affecting their bottom line. Instead, they must take a measured approach and learn to use the platform in the right way in order to drive revenue and increase profits. Following these steps can help get them on the right track to a successful digital marketing strategy.
Create an Instagram Business account
It isn’t enough to simply have a personal account and post business updates through it. Switching to an Instagram Business account is free and provides a company with more options than a single-user account. Some of the benefits of a business account include access to analytics, targeted advertisements, and the addition of a contact button. All of these things are worthwhile tools for any savvy company that wants to improve its standing among competitors.
Take Advantage of Analytics
As we mentioned, an Instagram Business account allows companies to access analytics regarding their profile. This will let them see a lot of valuable information, such as how many views they are getting, what time of day they are getting them, and where they are coming from. By paying attention to these sorts of numbers, companies can make it a point to schedule their posts for times of highest engagement, further increasing their exposure and helping to gain more Instagram followers.
On top of simply increasing their own follower count, businesses can use analytics to see how they stand in relation to other companies in their industry. It is important to keep a pulse on how the market is acting and reacting, and analytics can provide a certain amount of insight into that.
Engage with Followers
Instagram marketing isn’t just about creating an image – it’s about maintaining that image and letting customers know that you are committed to your goals. By staying active and engaged on Instagram, companies can speak directly with their customers and offer discounts and special deals for followers. This will help to create a higher level of loyalty among brand enthusiasts and may even encourage them to buy products from a company that they weren’t previously aware of.
Use Instagram Stories
Instagram took Snapchat’s idea and somehow made it more popular with Instagram Stories. While these are popular among individual users, they have plenty of uses in the digital marketing realm as well. These short video clips only show up on a feed for 24 hours, and they can’t be saved. Brands are realizing that these quick, subversive advertisements have become an effective and entertaining way to engage with fans while maintaining a down-to-earth and easy-going image. They also help get word out about new products and services. Paid stories are a great way to reach an audience that may not be aware of a certain brand in the first place.
Monitor and Interact with Comments
Comment sections of videos and photos aren’t always a beacon of sophistication, but they can provide valuable insight into the opinions and feelings of your customers. Social Media specialists should always be paying attention to the most popular posts and sorting through the most liked comments on them. If someone has a valid criticism that is liked by thousands of people and receives hundreds of replies, it is probably work looking into. In an age where we have access to information with a simple swipe motion, it’s important to know what your customers are thinking and to come up with ideas on how to fix any problems that may be apparent.
Brands can also respond to inquiries through Instagram, and it is sometimes beneficial to do so publicly. An account with many followers might have a question that you can answer, satisfying not only the individual’s needs but also providing information for all of their followers who may be paying attention. This is basically free advertising for the brand.
Connect with Influencers
Whether you love them or can’t stand them, Instagram influencers are here to stay. Influencers get paid to promote a brand on social media in a variety of ways. They usually aren’t employees, but rather people with a large following that are willing to insert a brand into their photos, videos, and stories in exchange for payment, whether in the form of money, free product, or reciprocal exposure.
Savvy brands should use Instagram to connect with influencers who provide a match for their target market. This is especially true for startups and young companies who are trying to get their names out there. They can pay a small amount of money to have their name plastered all over the feeds of thousands or millions of followers if they play their cards right when working influencers. In this day and age, it’s all about exposure, and even minor influencers can help bring your brand into the spotlight.
Keep up with the Trends
The internet is an ever-changing landscape, with trends seemingly coming and going on a daily basis. Companies should employ social media experts who have a strong ability to keep up with internet culture and who can stay ahead of the curve when it comes to posting memes, viral videos, and new items. This includes the use of hashtags and doing research to see what the hot topics are can go a long way in keeping a brand name at the forefront of social media.
If a company is one of the first, for example, to start posting a new meme, they will receive far more views than if they waited several weeks to hop on the bandwagon. When it comes to the internet, the trendsetters are far ahead of everyone else, and it is important for brands to recognize opportunities to be virtual pioneers.
Use Instagram Ads
Nobody wants to pay for promotions, but Instagram is one of the cheaper ways to take advantage of advertising opportunities. They charge far less than many other big-name social media companies and are even cheaper than traditional advertising avenues such as billboard, paper mailing, or television ads.
On top of offering extremely affordable pricing, Instagram ads are highly effective and wide-reaching. It’s just part of the current state of the marketing world, and Instagram has taken full advantage of the landscape, becoming the premier platform through which to make your brand name known.
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Keep Tabs on the Competition
In addition to using analytics, companies should follow the accounts of their competition to see what they are selling and promoting and who they are engaging with. There’s nothing wrong with taking tips from your competitors, especially if they don’t even know that you are doing so. Any smart company will be keeping a watchful on their competition’s social media accounts, and Instagram is likely to be the one with which they are gaining the most traction.
Everyone loves a crossover, so you would be wise to partner with some of your vendors, customers, and yes, even competitors for a collaborative marketing effort. By working with other influential players in the social media environment, you are setting yourself up to gain more followers and engage new potential customers. Whether you are working on a single product with the developers of another company or you have a creative way to market two separate products from different manufacturers, you are likely to see an increase in engagements if you work with other companies in your industry.
Consistency is key when it comes to Instagram marketing, as people on the internet have short memories and even shorter attention spans. You don’t want to inundate people with excessive, obnoxious ads, but you also don’t want to remain dormant enough for them to forget about you. You should create a sound strategy around when you are going to publish posts, and which markets you want to reach out to at particular times. People should expect to see content from your company, but they should be happy when it comes through rather than annoyed at yet another promotion.