25 million businesses choose Instagram for marketing. And this is not just a trendy thing to do. Instagram is one of the most versatile social media platforms for marketing.
According to the statistics by Hootsuite:
- Gender distribution on Instagram is almost equal – 52% of female users and 48% of male users
- 63% of Instagram users login to check their feed at least once a day and spend on average 28 minutes per day on the platform
- One business profile is visited by nearly 200 million Instagram users a day
- A business has the potential of reaching nearly 900 million users with Instagram ads
- As a result, according to Hootsuite, 75.3% of U.S. businesses will have an active Instagram marketing strategy in 2020.
Who would want to miss such a great marketing opportunity?
Among many social media platforms available for businesses today, Instagram offers the biggest variety of opportunities for visual marketing to show your business’s personality. As with all other social media platforms, you will go nowhere if you don’t have an Instagram marketing strategy. At the end of the day, you need a step-by-step guide to follow in order to increase your outreach and get noticed among 25 million other businesses on Instagram.
What differentiates a good Instagram marketing strategy from a winning one?
Take a look!
1. A Clear Goal
Your Instagram marketing strategy won’t go anywhere unless you have a clear answer to the question of what your main goal is. So, how do you set a clear goal for your winning Instagram marketing strategy? One of the most effective methods to define your marketing goals is SMART goal-setting strategy. This strategy is your guide for setting marketing objectives, providing: a sense of direction, motivation, focus, and an understanding of the importance of your objectives.
SMART is an acronym, which stands for:
Specific. You should make your goals as clear and unambiguous as possible by answering the following questions:
- Who’s behind fulfilling a particular goal?
- What are the tools to achieve this goal?
- Why do you want to achieve this goal?
Measurable. A clear goal should have criteria, according to which you will be measuring its performance. The answers to the following questions will help you define these criteria:
- What will indicate my progress in achieving this goal?
- What will show that the goal is reached?
Achievable. You should have a clear understanding that you have everything you need to achieve these goals. Answering the following questions will help you:
- What resources do I need to achieve this goal?
- What resources do I have available now?
- What resources did others need to reach a similar goal?
Realistic. This criterion requires you to answer the question, whether you’re ready to commit to achieving this goal. This is more about your readiness to achieve this goal rather than the availability of resources and time.
Timely. The last criterion defines the timeframe, according to which you will develop your Instagram marketing strategy to achieve your goal. Set a clear timeframe by answering the following questions:
- What is the feasible deadline for my goal?
- What are the circumstances, which could force me to extend the deadline?
SMART goal-setting model is a technical tool that can help you define your goals by describing them extensively. But there is still one question to answer.
When defining your goals, should you gravitate towards following the current trends or should you stay true to your brand’s identity?
The answer to this question will differentiate a good Instagram marketing strategy from a winning one.
To help you answer this question, Gary Lipovetsky, a media entrepreneur and husband to Valeria Lipovetsky, a well-known Instagram and YouTube influencer, shares his opinion in a short interview on Instagram:
Video credit: Instagram
To a question, whether a brand should follow the trends when developing an Instagram marketing strategy, he says that the best is always to stay true to the brand’s identity.
Trends come and go after all. However, according to Gary Lipovetsky, if you stay true to your brand’s identity and values, you will always find people who will be inspired by you and will follow you.
2. Social Data Analytics
Any goal cannot be brought to life if you don’t keep up with social data analytics. What is social data? This is information that your followers share on social media. This information may include details on: demographics, biographical data, location and language, shared links, feedback – on Instagram in the form of likes, comments, and saved posts.
Instagram has a built-in analytics tool that collects social data in real-time mode. Thus, you can get updated information about the activity of your followers at any time of the day:
Image credit: Later
Instagram Analytics is also the main tool for the businesses to study social data obtained from Instagram and to track the performance of their Instagram marketing strategy.
What are the other benefits of social data?Well, you get deeper insights on how your audience is behaving and reacting to your marketing strategy and social data provides you with in-depth guidelines to follow if you want your content to stand out and be more engaging.
PLUS you get more details about what content is trending on Instagram and how your competitors’ marketing strategies are performing, giving you more insight on creating your own winning Instagram marketing strategy.
Although it seems that with social data analytics you get the answers to all your questions, you should understand that conducting a social media audit on Instagram using social data also has its limitations.
Not all Instagram users share the same amount of information. They may leave their feedback, but not share their biographical or demographical data. These are so-called social data limitations, which means that, no matter how precise your Instagram audit is, it won’t show the exact numbers.
Nevertheless, you can still benefit a lot from social data to create a winning Instagram marketing strategy, as it is one of the best tools for tracking the performance of your strategy.
3. Content Frame
A winning Instagram marketing strategy rests not only on clear goals and social data analytics. The success of your Instagram marketing strategy is also defined by how your content is framed. So, what frames your content on Instagram?
Captions – A large part of your Instagram marketing strategy
You may be wondering, who would be reading the text if Instagram is mainly for sharing visuals?
Fair question. However, how can a visual tell your audience everything about your product? Visuals and captions go hand-in-hand to deliver the experience that your audience is looking for. So, the claim, that visuals are more important than captions of vice versa is, out of question. Instagram users confirm our statement. In the survey by Preview App, around 50 surveyed Instagram users said that they read captions because it helps them create a deeper connection with a brand. They say that they would only read the caption if they like the visual. So, what is the science behind an Instagram caption that wins the attention of your audience? According to a study by Quintly, which explored over 8 million Instagram posts, a good Instagram caption: has an optimal length between 50-200 characters, has less than 50 characters if a brand has over 1 million followers
and includes not more than 5-7 emojis.
To write a good Instagram caption, you need to pay attention to:
The first sentence of your caption. Make it catchy and straightforward. However, avoid using clickbait – your caption should not deviate from the main theme of your visual.
The length of your sentences. Don’t make them too wordy, as complex syntax distorts the perception.
Include CTAs. Your caption should lead your followers to perform a certain action – like the post, leave a comment, or follow the link to purchase your product.
At the end of the day, a winning Instagram caption should complete your photo by following the same theme, idea, and atmosphere.
UNICEF is a good example of amazing Instagram captions.
Image credit: Unicef
In this example, they start the caption with a straightforward description of what’s on the photo, then proceeding to what’s the message behind this photo.
What’s also great in this caption? It tells a story. Storytelling is one of the most common approaches to writing Instagram captions, and one of the most effective. Storytelling makes your brand 22 times more memorable, and storytelling captions bear a more value than just including a hashtag or a tag.
What kinds of stories can you share?
Besides telling your brand’s story, you can also invite your followers to create content centered on your brand. User-generated content brings a lot of surprising benefits, namely:
building awareness, establishing authority, boosting outreach, taking advantage of audience insights, and boosting SEO.
Apple is one of the brands with a winning Instagram marketing strategy that includes user-generated content:
Image credit: Apple
Apple reposts content contributed by its audience with short straightforward captions that channel the intent behind this content – how Apple’s products help their customers create their experiences.
In your captions, you can also unravel some behind-the-scenes facts about your business. By doing so, you invite your audience to become an inalienable part of building your brand’s story. When writing storytelling captions, don’t be afraid to make it raw and unpolished. If you hired one of the best writing companies to create your captions for you, make sure that they use your brand’s values as the guidelines to write the captions that will create the atmosphere you’re looking for.
Hashtags for your winning Instagram marketing strategy
A winning Instagram marketing strategy does not exist without a winning hashtag strategy. Otherwise, how will the Instagram audience find your amazing content?
A hashtag is the fastest route between an Instagram user and your content. However, you cannot use hashtags randomly, as they also should carry some kind of value, in that they should be in line with the theme of your visuals and your captions. The performance of hashtags also matters a lot. Hashtags also carry social data that indicates how actively the Instagram audience uses them. For instance, #startup and #bootstrap mean the same thing, but the performance of each of these hashtags is very different.
Image credit: Hashtagify
The idea behind using a hashtag with better performance is that you want it to maximize the exposure of your content. That’s why you might be drawn to including tons of hashtags in your captions, which is not a very good idea.
According to Hootsuite, the optimal number of hashtags to include in your captions is 30. All of them should be relevant to your visual content and your captions, and should not misguide Instagram users, who are looking for specific content under these hashtags.
One more point in favour of adding best-performing and relevant hashtags to your content is that people can now follow hashtags on Instagram:
At the end of the day, your goal should be creating a hashtag strategy that exposes your Instagram content as much as possible and attracts the audience that your content is created for, adding to your winning Instagram marketing strategy
Using tags for your Instagram marketing strategy
The last aspect that frames your content and greatly contributes to making your Instagram marketing strategy successful is a tag.
Tags refer to the profile links of other brands, influencers, or individual accounts that you add either to your captions or to your visuals.
Although it may seem that tagging as many accounts as possible will draw more attention to your profile either from other brands or influencers, these tags will drown your content if they are not relevant.
There are also a few other rules on what not to do when it comes to adding tags on Instagram; Tags should not block your content. They should not distort the perception of your visuals and overshadow what your visuals are intended to show. They should be easily clicked on. It is a mistake to locate the tags around the edges of your visuals, as it makes it hard to click on them. Make sure that your followers can easily click on the tags on your visuals. If there are too many, you can include them in the captions.
Here’s a good example of optimal use of tags both on the visuals and in captions:
Image credit: Instagram
The influencer tagged the brand that sponsored them on the photo, adding the same tag in the caption and including another tag of a shop, where their followers can buy the same product. There is absolutely no need in including tons of tags just to increase exposure. For a winning Instagram marketing strategy, it is essential to keep them as relevant as possible. At the end of the day, your primary goal should be to deliver value that will ultimately bring the exposure you’re looking for.
Don’t Forget About Tracking Your Progress
In this article, we tried to provide you with as many insights on the essentials of a winning Instagram marketing strategy as possible. As long as you clearly understand your goals, track your social data, and know, how to frame your content, you will be able to create a successful marketing strategy that draws the attention of the massive Instagram audience.
If you’re looking for assistance with creating a winning Instagram strategy, our team at Carmella Consulting is always ready to help!
Daniela McVicker is a passionate digital marketer. Daniela is interested in everything related to SEO and blogging. She contributes to RatedbyStudents and other websites where she shares her experience and helps marketers make their name in the online world.