Instagram is sure to get more surge as one of its biggest rivals TikTok is losing market share due to growing security concerns. All the predictions about Instagram losing it to TikTok and other apps have been turned. Instagram today is practically a TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter, and is already a product of Facebook.
However, succeeding on Instagram remains as elusive as succeeding on YouTube, thanks to its ever-changing metrics. A popular Instagram feature is Reels – a 15-second video feature. Businesses have much to gain from Instagram and bring engagement to their own products through it.
Let us examine some facts about Instagram.
People say they discover new products on Instagram
|200 million +
Instagrammers say they visit a new business profile daily
In time spent watching video on Instagram
Of the most viewed stories are from businesses.
In this blog, we will discuss how you can use Instagram best to further your own business. We will detail –
- Engagement techniques
- Customer acquisition
- Ad campaign tactics
- Organic campaign tactics
- Measurement and Analytics
Before you start posting business content on your own Instagram business account, take a moment to study others. Engage with business accounts in your own niche. Are they using videos? What are they posting? This will give you a good heads up to learn and get the drift. However, be original. You need to stand out, so you need to post what is truly your business’ personality. Here are a few tried and tested engagement techniques on Instagram –
1] Engage with others’ content just before and immediately after you post
Most accounts reciprocate on Instagram. It’s a good idea to give them a boost just before you post your own content. Then do the same after you post it.
2] Use long-tail and relevant hashtags
Long-tail and relevant hashtags make your business discoverable to relevant audiences.
3] More people, fewer objects
No matter if you are selling clothes, accessories, food or services – make sure your account looks real with photos of real people.
See how Vera Bradley does it here –
4] Reply to comments quickly
The sooner you reply to a comment, the faster engaged your post will look.
5] Analyse your best time to post
This analysis will always fetch good insights about posting in future.
6] Shout out in your stories
Always put your posts in your stories. People in general engage with stories more than posts.
The goal of your Instagram account should not be to get any followers but to get the most relevant followers. There’s a tonne of accounts that have millions of followers but their engagement proportion is low. That’s because they didn’t pay attention to relevance. Here’s how to get relevant customers –
1] Always add a call to action
Your ultimate goal is to create lasting customers who would ultimately buy the product. Always plant a small call to action in your captions – visit link in bio, buy before month-end, check out our products/service etc.
2] Add a location tag
Geotags or location tags broaden your reach.
See how Carrots N Cake does it –
3] Post authentic content
Try to avoid stock photos/videos as much as you can unless you are giving your own brand spin to an existing meme.
4] Stick to casual advertising
Your Instagram post must look natural. It should not come as advertising but feel like relatable content. Gatorade nails this strategy here –
5] Be quick to respond
Be it a comment or a message, try to respond on the same day. If possible, respond within a few hours.
Ad campaign tactics
Before you launch an ad campaign on Instagram, remember that you are dealing with a younger audience. So here are some tactics –
1] Use Facebook ad manager
Instagram doesn’t have a specific ad manager, but Facebook’s ad manager can be easily used and connected with your Instagram account. This is the link.
2] Set your ad objective
There’s a drop-down menu that lets you choose your ad objective/goal. You get to choose from options like brand awareness, reach, conversions, traffic, and installs etc.
3] Set your target audience and placements
This is the best part. You can choose age groups, areas, clusters, genders, demographics etc depending on who you want to sell. Same is with placements.
4] Schedule your ad, set your budget
The ad manager then gives you an option to schedule your ad in terms of date, time etc apart from setting your budget.
5] Create your Instagram ad
There are two options that you get – Create a new ad and Use an existing post. Like this –
What are the various formats of Instagram ads?
There are options such as image feeds, image story ads, video feed ads, video story ads, canvas story ads etc. You may choose to opt from an array of call to action buttons such as Buy Now, Apply Now, Download App, Contact Us, Book Now etc depending on the type of format you choose.
Organic campaign tactics
Instagram offers a variety of ways to make it big organically. It’s hashtag feature alone helps brands reach larger and relevant audiences.
1] Be consistent in every way
Always aim at creating a distinct brand personality on Instagram. Your organic posts must not be random, they should be part of a big story. Use consistent brand colors, a specific format or filter. Post consistently, have a schedule – weekly or monthly.
2] Run promotions and contests
When you engage the audience in doing something with your post, you increase your organic reach. Run promotions and contests, give-aways, tagging sprees, featuring your customers or other people. For example, Pottery Barn runs a campaign called #mypotterbarn and encourages users to send pictures of them using the products.
3] Work with nano and micro-influencers
Just as you are looking to save money from influencer marketing, there are users looking to become influencers. Identify nano and micro-influencers. Send them your free samples and ask them to give you a shout-out.
4] Actively engage on Instagram
If you have a dedicated account manager, he/she could spend a few hours every day actively engaging with relevant followers. This includes searching for more similar accounts, finding people with relevant hashtags and sending them follow requests, liking and commenting on their posts and so on.
Measurement and Analytics
One thing you should totally know and understand is this – Instagram analytics and API keep changing. So, you need a strategy that can easily evolve with time. At the same time, there are four solid metrics that would truly help you take your analytics to a whole new level.
4 metrics to measure growth
Metric # 1 Calculate conversions
What does this mean? People who visit your website, download app or take an action from your Instagram account are called ‘warm leads’. Your post was successful in bringing them where you wanted them to be. Those who buy or take further purchase actions will be called ‘hot leads’. If 5 of your Instagram posts created 2-3 final purchases, and if this number remained consistent, you know how many posts you need in a month.
Metric # 2 Benchmark growth goals
Create a spreadsheet using Google Sheets. Add columns such as total followers, new added, growth rate of followers, etc. This will help you analyse what’s working in your favor in terms of getting new followers. Analyse which factors are slowing growth, how much this growth is contributing to sales, and so on.
Metric # 3 Monitor comments to understand user sentiment
This is a simple yet great way to gauge what your users find engaging in your posts. For instance, if you posted content related to the latest movement of #BlackLivesMatter, and you received a tremendous response, your users are driven by trends and sentiments related to the oppressed. You can now curate your future social media video content related to such sentiments.
Metric # 4 Track click-through-rate on Instagram Insights
Use Instagram Insights – a feature you get with your business account. This makes it very clear which of your posts led to the number of clicks to your website/app etc. For more details, you can add Google UTM parameters to the links you share.
To access the same stats in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns.
Here you can get UTM codes which will help you calculate your click-through-rate for each link that you share.
Common tools for Instagram Measurement and Analytics
Instagram is where most of your audiences are because that’s where most Gen-Z and Millennials spend their time. Always try to be as original and authentic on Instagram because that’s the only way to stand out. Use video as much as you can. With the new features of IGTV and Reels, there’s so much you can do to increase engagement on your account.