If you want to reach more potential customers and grow your business, you need to focus on Instagram marketing. Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks, and it’s used by about 2 million Ghanaians every month. If you want to increase your brand awareness and grow your business, you need to know the best practices for Instagram marketing.
What is Instagram Marketing?
Instagram marketing is the process of using Instagram to promote a business, product, brand, or service.
Just like any other social media marketing activity, it involves creating content, using ads, and leveraging influencers to reach a target audience.
It can help your business reach new customers, engage with existing customers, and build brand loyalty. If you are thinking of how to go about your social media strategy for 2023, start with Instagram. Not Facebook or TikTok, but Instagram.
Step 1: Define your target audience and goals.
Before you start creating content for your Instagram account, it’s important to define your target audience and goals. Who are you trying to reach with your content? What do you want them to do after seeing your posts?
Are you trying to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or promote a specific product or service? Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience and goals, you can tailor your content and strategy to effectively reach and engage with them.
Let’s say you are a home tutor. Who is your target audience? The parents or the students? If your posts are going to target students, then they will be different from when they are targeting parents.
But then, it would be better to target the parents because they are the ones who make decisions for the children and will be paying for the tuition.
Hence, getting your target audience wrong from the start can affect your Instagram marketing efforts negatively.
Step 2: Get Instagram Right
I keep saying that Instagram marketing = Instagram + marketing/sales. When you master one without the other, your efforts will not yield the results you are expecting. You need to master the two (i.e., Instagram and marketing/sales).
So, get Instagram right and get your marketing/sales right.
Optimize your Instagram profile for maximum impact
Each social media platform has its own unique features. Your Instagram profile is the first impression potential followers will have of your brand, so it’s important to make it count.
Start by choosing a profile picture that is easily recognizable and represents your brand. Your bio should be concise and informative, highlighting what your brand does and what sets it apart.
Use relevant keywords to make it easier for users to find your profile. Finally, include a call-to-action in your bio, such as “Shop now” or “Visit our website,” to encourage users to take action.
Moreover, you need to convert your account to a business account. Then you choose the right Instagram business category. Your highlights should at least have the following: About Us, Services/Products, Customer Reviews, and FAQs.
More importantly, understanding the Instagram algorithm is key to your success on the platform. The Instagram algorithm is built around 3 Rs: Recency, Relevance, and Relationship.
Recency has got to do with whether your post is old or new. Instagram prefers new ones to old posts. It doesn’t behave like YouTube which can show you 2 years ago posts. Relevance is about your posts being related to topics your audience is interested in. Relationship is about the accounts you like, comment on, share, and DM on. The more you interact with an account, the more the app will show you their posts.
Create and curate visually appealing content
Instagram is a visual platform, so it’s important to create and curate visually appealing content that will catch the eye of your followers. This includes high-quality photos and videos that are well-lit, well-composed, and on-brand.
The types of posts on Instagram are Reels, Carousels, Single Image posts, Guides, Stories, and Live videos. Reels are like TikTok videos. Carousels are a selection of up to 10 photos and/or videos in a single post on your Instagram feed. Guides allow you to recommend places, products, and posts in your Instagram profile. Stories allow you to share posts you do not want to keep on your profile. Highlights are a collection of your Stories that will appear on your profile.
There is a strong debate about whether to prioritize Reels over Carousels. But do not pay attention to such things. Post both Reels and carousels, then the one which performs better, according to your Instagram Insights is what I will recommend you focus more on.
There are accounts that have grown with Reels, ones that have grown with Carousels only, and others (e.g., @ghyellowpages) that are growing with both Reels and Carousels. In all, pay attention to your Insights.
Furthermore, what you should be doing consistently on Instagram is creating valuable content. Valuable content is that which gives your audience valuable information, makes them feel better, or helps them to do something important to them better.
Since the aesthetics of your Instagram profile are important, you should do well to have a grid layout and stick to it. An Instagram Grid Layout helps your business or brand to stand out and makes sit easy for your audience to engage with your account.
Engage with your Instagram audience and build relationships
If Content is king, then Engagement is queen. This means that creating content and engaging with other accounts go hand in hand. Instagram is a social platform, so it’s important to engage with your audience and build relationships.
Respond to comments and direct messages, ask for feedback, and show appreciation for your followers. This not only helps to build a loyal following, but it also humanizes your brand and makes it more relatable.
Additionally, consider collaborating with other businesses or influencers in your industry to reach new audiences and build mutually beneficial relationships.
You should much time on Instagram engaging with other accounts, specifically your target audience. You have to intentionally use the hashtags, audio, location tag, etc your target audience uses to locate them.
And when you do, then you go on a liking spree. However, there are limits to the engagement activities you can do in a day on Instagram. So take note.
Utilizing Instagram Ads
The mistake most people do is that the moment they land on Instagram, then they start running ads. If you do that, you will waste money.
I have seen accounts whose last posts were 49 weeks ago (almost a year ago), yet running ads. They are simply wasting money. Don’t run ads on an inactive or poorly optimized account. Do your homework before you run ads.
When it comes to ads, first create about 12 posts that showcase your business or brand. Then focus on running ads for posts that directly sell your products only.
On Instagram, you create posts to bring in new followers, nurture existing ones, and convert your audience into customers. It is the third type of post that you should be running ads with.
When it comes to Instagram ads, the key is in your target audience. The right target audience means you are likely to have a good ROI on your ads. You can use this guide to study how to run Facebook and Instagram to target rich people.
Also, have the habit of testing different ad formats to determine which ones are most effective. I prefer Carousel ads over Reels. Because the viewer can scroll through the Carousel post in their own time.
Lastly, monitor the performance of your ads and adjust accordingly. When running ads, pay attention to the one which is giving you a higher number of profile visits.
If your posts are engaging, you will likely grow your account the more your ads give you a high number of profile visits.
Step 3: Get Sales/Marketing Right
To repeat myself, Instagram marketing is not only about knowing how to use the app. It also entails how to convert your audience into customers.
Marketing is to make people have a desire for your product. Sales is the fulfillment of that desire.
If you are just posting pictures of your products on Instagram, ask yourself, “How does this make my audience have a desire for my products or services?”
Sales begin with lead generation. Leads are people who are interested in your business but are not ready to buy. So what you do is to attract them to your business in a way that helps you get their contact details.
We use them to make prospective customers have a feel of our expertise. This then makes it easy to convert them to customers. This is because when they sign up for any of our services, they are doing so as an informed decision.
Examples of things you can use as lead magnets are Free E-book or Guide, Exclusive Discounts or Coupons, Webinars or Workshops, Contest or Giveaways, Email Newsletter Subscription, Free Consultation or Discovery Calls, and so on.
Remember, when using lead generation or lead magnets on Instagram, it’s important to have a clear call-to-action (CTA) and a dedicated landing page or opt-in form where users can submit their information. This allows you to capture leads effectively and start nurturing relationships with potential customers.
Every customer (including you and me) goes through a series of stages before buying a product or service. These stages are known as the sales/marketing funnel or buyer’s journey. They are Awareness, Consideration, Decision, and Advocacy.
The aim is to move every customer from Awareness to the Advocacy stage.
Awareness is when they are aware of their problem. For example, they need new shoes or bags, etc. You create content that speaks about their pain points. For example, why it is important to have shoes and even new ones.
Consideration is when they are comparing you with your competitors. You create content that shows your expertise in your niche so that they will prefer you over your competitors. Moreover, your posts should highlight the benefits of your products or services. Customer reviews will also be helpful here. Also, incorporate calls-to-action in your content to drive conversions.
The decision stage is when they have decided to buy from you. Make it easy for them to buy from you. Here your posts talk about your payment and delivery system, price, discounts, and so on. But most importantly, you do well to use your posts to address any fears or concerns they may have about buying from you.
The advocacy stage is where they come back to buy from you and also encourage others to buy from you. When they buy from you, it is not the end. Do not take your customers for granted. Offer loyalty rewards or referral programs to encourage repeat purchases and customer advocacy. Monitor and respond to customer feedback, inquiries, and comments promptly to foster strong customer relationships.
Instagram marketing is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes. Using this guide can help your business reach its goals. Developing an effective Instagram marketing strategy requires planning, research, and dedication. Be sure to do that!