You know your brand needs to be active on Instagram.
The trick is knowing how to use Instagram for marketing. For that, you’ll need a rock-solid Instagram marketing strategy. Here’s how to build one and a few tricks to incorporate into your marketing calendar.
How to Build Your Instagram Marketing Strategy
Marketing your brand on Instagram starts with a plan.
After all, the best Instagram accounts work like magazine spreads–the layout of the feed is cohesive, coherent, and visually attractive. So, like a magazine spread, you have to be deliberate in how you set out your Instagram feed.
Know Your Objectives
First, you need to know your objectives.
Before you post a single photo, ask yourself what purpose Instagram serves for your brand.
What does the platform provide that others don’t? Who are you trying to attract? Who is your target audience, and what members of that target audience are active on Instagram? How will your strategy tie into your social strategy elsewhere?
Remember, Instagram is a visual platform. Images are what make (or break) your brand. That can be great for your brand if you know how to showcase yourself visually.
It helps to ask what you’re trying to showcase on Instagram. Or, rather, what you can showcase on Instagram that looks better there than anywhere else.
Maybe you want to showcase company culture to make your brand more relatable. Maybe you want to incentivize customer engagement by showcasing products.
Whatever you’re after, be crystal clear about your goals. Write them in red marker and put them on the wall where your whole team can see them.
Build Content Themes
Once you have your goals in mind, it’s easier to build content themes.
First, you should know your subject matter. Is it your team? Your products? Your events? The key is knowing what you’re going to feature so that you know what kind of story you’re going to tell.
The content should align with your brand voice visually and thematically. Your brand’s preexisting color scheme on your site and marketing materials is a good place to start.
If you need to, revisit your brand’s other marketing efforts and what’s worked for your SEO. That lends itself to working with your SEO later, and it’s easy to do if you already monitor SEO.
Maybe it’s bright portraits of your team. Maybe it’s sleek, monochrome beauty shots of your products. Maybe it’s videos of your products in action.
It helps to know what already works for your brand. An Instagram analytics tool can help with that.
Set Your Content Calendar
From there, you’re ready to map out your content calendar.
This calendar doesn’t need to be set in stone. Quite the opposite–a flexible calendar can help you adapt on the fly.
But you do need some sort of guideline to measure your success. A calendar will also help ensure that you cycle through your themes and tie in your posts with campaigns and key dates.
It also makes it easier to chart when posts occur. To figure this out, take a look at your target demographic and do some research on the best times to post on Instagram.
A Few Marketing Tips to Try
Once the bones of your strategy are in place, you’re ready to build outwards.
It’s not enough to just post periodically. You want to build your following and turn your followers into paying customers.
It’s totally doable. You just have to be smart about it.
Abranded contest is one of the best ways to mobilize your following.
It drives user engagement, it gets your followers excited about a product, and it drums up interest.
Your contest must include rules, terms, and eligibility requirements, and you must make it clear that the contest is not sponsored by or affiliated with Instagram.
From there, go to town on your branding.
A branded hashtag is a must, as are killer graphics, photos, or videos, and a prize that’s relevant and worth the trouble of entering the contest. The contest should be easy to enter, short enough that customers don’t forget what’s going on, and fun to take part in.
Don’t relegate your hashtags to your contests! The truth is, actionable hashtags can serve you well across your whole Instagram strategy.
It also works well on other social networks like Twitter or Pinterest, but it’s especially successful on Instagram.
Start by getting creative. Most successful hashtags have the following in common:
- They’re short
- They’re memorable
- They’re exclusive to your brand
- They’re on-message for your brand voice
- They’re unique
Most marketing teams overthink hashtags way too much. Be simple and direct with your message. Get creative enough that your hashtag is memorable, but not so creative that your customers lose the point.
Finally, make some strategic partnerships–and make sure to cross-promote with your partners.
Go back to your target audience. What are they interested in? What moves them? What do they want when they go online?
Then, make a list of popular Instagram accounts that reach your target audience. When you’ve found them, you can reach out to them to partner up for unpaid or paid shout-outs.
When you do a shout-out, you agree to share each other’s content and encourage your followers to visit the other account. That way, you get access to each other’s audience.
If you’ve done your homework and found the right accounts, this is a great way to access a relevant audience.
Making the Most of Your Social Media Following
Your marketing team is full of great ideas. Instagram is a great way to bring those ideas to life–and convert customers in the process.
And with the right Instagram marketing strategy, you can do it.
Like any other marketing strategy, the key to success is to be consistent. Map out your strategy, set your metrics for success, and stick with it for at least a month. Reassess often, but give it time to see how this is working. If it’s working for you, great! If not, you can readjust and try something new.Author: Benjamin Shepardson is the founder of NoStop Content, a Key West-based content agency specializing in delivering personalized experiences. With a remote staff of eight, Ben is well-versed in the complexities of managing a diverse team. With an extensive digital career dating back to before social media and WordPress, Ben personally works with clients to craft a content strategy that will scale and grow their business.