The Complete Instagram Marketing Guide for 2020

man's hand holding a phone

This well renowned app was launched in 2010, and has gradually made its way to the top of hierarchy of social media platforms; coming in third behind Facebook and Youtube.

With over 1 Billion active users a month in 2018, and 500 Million a day, Instagram provides businesses with the perfect opportunity for Social Media Marketing (SMM); allowing brands to market their products in an organized and attractive manner.

graph portraying the growth of instagram users

Given below are the ways in which you can take your brand’s presence on social media to the next level, and make it memorable. 

Creating your Content

1. Be authentic

Instagram’s main source of content is through images and videos; which are the posts through which you will have to build a personality for your brand. The most important component of this construction is maintaining authenticity. Customers should be able to visit your page and understand what your brand is about- give them a reason to be loyal to you.

2. Stay Relevant

graph portraying the content people dislike the most.

Make sure that your content is also relevant to your product. While it’s fine to post special images and videos from time to time, viewers should be able to immediately identify your product upon visiting your page, and should not have to search for it.

Given above is a graph from SproutSocial; proving that consumers prefer seeing brands post content regarding their products over irrelevant posts. Instagram’s new algorithm no longer places posts in chronological order, but now categorizes them according to their relevance to individual users. Thus it’s important to make sure that your posts cater to your target audience. 

an example for the way hashtags categorize posts on Instagram

Use Instagram’s hashtag feature; posts that use hashtags are more likely to be found than those without any. Come up with a catchy slogan that customers can remember, and look for your page with. While up to 30 hashtags can be used per post, it is recommended that you use less than 5 so your posts aren’t crowded.

3. Stay Active

The new algorithm also requires maintaining a certain level of activity on the platform in order for your posts to still make it on to users’ feeds; the more active you are, the more likes you get. 

On average, business accounts on Instagram tend to post once a day. However, posting excessively is unideal, and may lead to people unfollowing your account due to spam and annoyance.

Studies show that the best time to post on Instagram for businesses would be at 3pm on Wednesdays; as this time is bound to have more community engagement- resulting in more likes and comments.

table showing which days and times have the highest engagement on Instagram for businesses

There is also evidence that 60% of people need to see a product  2-4 times before purchasing it, so reposting images of some products will encourage more viewers to make a purchase.

4. Look good

KKW Beauty instagram

Besides that, making your page aesthetically pleasing is also more likely to increase the amount of time that visitors spend scrolling through it. Instagram’s grid allows users to see 3 posts in a row upon clicking on an account.

Thus, maintaining some consistency in the filters, colour schemes and content will prove to be pleasing to the eye. Given above is an example from the KKW Beauty Instagram page; which consistently uses neutral colours and attractive photography.

5. Be Compelling

Creativity with your posts is important; give visitors reasons to buy from your business. Keep your posts interesting, informative, and clear.

Kindling an emotional response from your consumers is also a good way to maintain their attention. Show them what you have to offer, and then add that there’s a “limited stock available”; eliciting the fear of missing out in them- creating a sense of urgency that leads to them making the purchase now in case they can’t do it later.

Have giveaways to increase consumer engagement; encouraging people to follow your business account and interact with your page by offering them something in return. 

#MysteryOreo challenge

Starting challenges is another great way to get customers involved and interested in your product. For example, the company Oreo recently released an undisclosed flavour, and started #MysteryOreo, where they challenged their customers to film themselves tasting the product, and guess what the flavour was to stand a chance to win $50,000.

The challenge strategically convinces consumers to purchase a packet of Mystery Oreos themselves, and increases sales before all the information about the product is even released.

Convincing your consumers that they can trust you is also vital; this can be done by getting consent to repost real-life customer reviews. Research shows that 70% of consumers consult social media before making a purchase; ensuring that your product remains true in quality and standard. So putting the reviews on your own page will increase a customer’s confidence in your product.

Spark inspiration in your visitors; post about how your product would make the ideal gift on different holidays- perhaps Christmas or Mother’s Day, time periods when many users are frantically searching for the right gift- be a quick solution. Make sure consumers see that they have no reason not to make a purchase.

IGTV and Stories

Nike's IGTV

IGTV allows accounts to post videos that can be up to an hour long; beating the maximum of 60 seconds that they’d get in a regular post. This provides businesses with the perfect area to post promotional videos and other content that may exceed the usual time limits on a platform besides Youtube. This makes it easier for both producers and consumers, as it ensures a variety of content in one place.

As for stories, they will remain visible for 24 hours, unless you choose to add them to your highlights. This is a great way for brands to post content that only needs to be up for a short amount of time; such as polls, Q&As and countdowns, and to even open up chat rooms and provide opportunities for visitors to make suggestions.

Instagram also provides businesses with the opportunity to link websites in their stories, which open when users swipe up; easily leading them to their site. This is ideal for businesses to give visitors easy access to promotional codes- where they can just swipe up and shop immediately without having to enter the code in. With such a high level of efficiency and little to no hassle, consumers are encouraged to purchase products.

Other Tools

Instagram Shopping

Adidas Instagram

Depending on your website alone will soon prove to be inefficient in light of the benefits of using this new feature. It makes online shopping much easier for both consumers and producers. While navigating through shopping websites is not part of the daily routine of an average person, scrolling through social media is. 

Adidas Instagram shopping

What this feature does is put your product right where it needs to be, at the fingertips of the consumers who’ll buy it. Instagram’s new algorithm ensures that the consumer viewing it will be interested in making a purchase, as it follows the same strategy as Facebook- using consumers’ web browser history in order to create target advertisements.

Instagram shopping allows you to tag your products in pictures, just as you would people, and all your consumer has to do is make a few clicks, and then they would’ve made their purchase. 

To use this feature, you must first be using an Instagram business account that is linked to its corresponding Facebook account; which should in turn have an updated catalog of your business’ products. However, Instagram Shopping is only available in the countries given below.

Countries where Instagram shopping is available

This feature provides the perfect market where direct interactions between consumers and producers are possible, and makes promoting online shopping easier than ever.

Instagram Promotions

Similar to facebook, Instagram promotions allow you to target an audience; specify age, location, gender and more.

The payment too is similar. Instagram requires entering a daily budget for spending on promotions over the selected amount of time through which it will run. It can be set manually, or the automatic bid can be used to prevent over or under bidding.

While Instagram will not go over the set budget, the recommended bid may vary from industry to industry depending on how competitive they are. For industries like apparel and food, bidding at a higher price will increase your chances of being seen.

Besides what Instagram directly provides, businesses can also obtain promotions by reaching out to influencers. These users tend to have between 50,000-100,000 followers, and make up 2.8% of all Instagram users.

However -as their title states, they are influential, and studies show that 82% of consumers are likely to follow recommendations made by them. However, more followers doesn’t always mean more customers, as research shows that many pages with over 100,000 followers have a mere 1% engagement on average. Thus, choosing the right influencer and their audience must be done carefully.

Overall, it provides cost effective marketing that’s perfect for today’s world where speed and efficiency are our main priority. Thus, when done right, marketing can be made just as easy as scrolling through Instagram.

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