Irrespective of what you sell, nowadays, social media has become one of the major driving forces to grow your brand and keep the bottom line of your business intact.
Social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., carry immense potential and are quite dynamic marketing platforms as new trends and features keep coming every day to accelerate your promotion tactics.
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
Talking about dynamism, how can we forget the visuals-driven platform Instagram which is the second-highest social channel among marketers in terms of ROI.
But considering the pandemic going around everywhere, is it possible to boost your brand engagement on Instagram while staying at home?
Let’s explore the possible ways of leveraging Instagram during crises for keeping the marketing efforts intact, but before that, let’s understand some basics:
What Makes Instagram A Unique Platform For Marketing?
You might ask that Instagram is another social media channel, so what’s so unique or different about it? That’s a great question because without understanding the real potential or uniqueness of anything, there’s no chance that you can leverage it to the fullest!
The ultimate motive of any business is to streamline its sales funnel for maximizing conversions and the bottom line and what could be a better alternative than Instagram for finding the leads as:
Source: Sprout Social
It’s clear that many of your potential leads are already looking for your products or services on Instagram, but how to reach out to the right people at the right time is a daunting task. To crack the Insta marketing code, let’s first get an idea of the perfect strategy to hit the platform.
How Would You Explain An Ideal Instagram Marketing Strategy?
Instagram marketing is a holistic approach that a brand takes for promoting its products and services on the platform, which includes a clearly defined set of goals, actions, and processes to fulfill specific business objectives. Being a platform which is solely dependent on sharing visuals and videos, Instagram helps entrepreneurs in:
- Exhibiting their work culture in the form of exciting stories.
- Engaging with new prospects and building a rapport with the existing ones by sharing visually appealing images and videos of their offerings with crisp storylines.
- Building a community to spread awareness for their brand.
- For sharing the company’s news, updates, and industry trends.
- To boost brand loyalty.
Instagram marketing is much beyond task-based activities such as sharing visuals or videos because the platform has evolved from a simple image-posting app to a commanding lead magnet for businesses in quite a short time.
Let’s understand how to leverage this platform during these unprecedented times and turn the bane into a boon for engaging as many leads as possible:
1. Never Ever Leave Your Instagram Bio Incomplete
If you only don’t describe your business in the best manner, you can’t expect others to resonate with your brand, which is the case with your Instagram business profile and the first step to grab the targets’ attention.
If you want to encourage your prospects to click on that blue button, then your Instagram bio must be focused towards:
- Sharing your vision
- Telling your story
- Building your brand
So, what could be a great Instagram bio?
A good Instagram bio should answer the following key questions:
- What is your core business?
- What is your unique selling proposition (USP)? Or, what makes you stand out from others?
- Why should your prospects trust your brand?
What Are The Key Components Of An Instagram Bio?
Every Instagram bio must have the following three components:
a) A visually engaging profile picture should always be relevant to your business. These include your company’s logo, your product’s images or logomark (which means your logo without any words), or mascot.
Whichever you choose, make sure that it’s capable of urging more visitors to explore your profile. For example, one of the unique media giants, Darling Media, has used its logo in its Instagram profile.
b) Second comes the username, which appears at the top of your Instagram profile page. It has to be cherry-picked cautiously because other people on Instagram can tag it. And it’s searchable.
While picking a username for your Instagram profile, keep the following things in mind:
- Your target audience and their preferences.
- Make sure your username can’t get misread.
- The username must have a long lifespan and shouldn’t outgrow with time.
For instance, Izzy Wheels is a company that sells designer wheelchairs, and they’ve kept their username quite plain and straightforward as its the name of their company only:
Source: Riotly Social Media
c) Last, but not least, it’s your killer Instagram bio, which is the flagbearer of your profile. Everyone on the platform forms an opinion about your business after reading your bio!
It takes less than two-tenths of a second for people to form an opinion about your brand based on your social media profile. You are provided with only 150 characters to craft your bio for grabbing the eyeballs within this short time. It sounds complicated, right? But, there are some hacks to follow for making your Instagram bio crisp and engaging:
a) Brief about your business and what you do, for example:
The above Instagram bio is of Letterfolk, a small home-decor brand, and they’ve briefed precisely about what they do and who they are with the help of a one-liner: ‘Meaningful products inspired by simpler times.’ Their bio expresses a homely feeling of comfort and coziness that’s relevant to their product line.
b) Be clear with your specific goal of being on Instagram like the Canadian Blood Services did with their bio by making it clear that they want more appointments from people:
c) Don’t make it all about yourself and keep your target audience in mind, for instance; the lifestyle brand Apartment Therapy urged the audience to share their home photos in their bio for making it more personal:
d) Leverage your brand’s tone to connect with quality leads by using words that resonate with your brand:
e) Always integrate a link to your home page or specific website pages in your Instagram bio as this is the only place where you can do that on this platform for…
I. Driving traffic to your homepage or campaign-specific landing pages and even some content pieces or about pages for letting your audience know who you are.
II. Updating the links in your bio helps in gaining more traffic to the newest linkable assets.
III. A link to one of your latest podcasts, videos, or blogs could be the best way to motivate your audience to connect with your brand.
f) Add linked hashtags to your Instagram bio to direct visitors to specific campaigns without even searching for them and help create a community of users with similar tastes.
Discovering the trending hashtags and using them in your Instagram bio enables you to connect with potential prospects and engage them in quality conversions.
This Instagram bio is of the Danish toy production giant Lego which needs no introduction at all. They have kept their tone quite playful and fun to resonate with their niche and integrated a brand hashtag that’s only #Lego and a link for boosting brand awareness.
g) Incorporating an emoji in your Instagram bio could be an excellent idea as it’s always better than just plain text and adds a personality to your brand. But placing emojis needs strategy, and you can’t apply it to every niche.
You must consider adding a relevant emoji and doing that only when you are sure that it will add value like the airline services Jetblue has done:
h) Without a precise Call-to-action button (CTA), your Instagram bio would be incomplete. Hence, placing a relevant CTA is extremely important if you want to compel your audience to drop an email to you or dial your number to know more about your offerings.
I. Another way of making your Instagram bio engaging could be adding the latest promotional offers or deals you have in your bucket. Also, you can add a link to one of your upcoming events or webinars for maximizing participation.
2. Be Cautious With Aesthetics Such As Your Color Palette & Fonts On Instagram Profile
Being on Instagram demands a lot in terms of understanding the aesthetics as the platform is primarily visuals-driven. Keeping that in mind leveraging a cohesive color palette and fonts becomes even crucial on Instagram as creating a signature aesthetic is one of the ways to grow your organic followers on Instagram.
Using visually pleasing colors and font styles help connect with your target prospects in a way that they start enjoying your tone, and even if an individual story or feed fails to impress them, they don’t care much! Let’s look at the color palette of the personalized gifts store Not on the High Street:
They’ve used very light and soft colors in their Instagram profile, which looks fantastic, and it would automatically appeal to anyone who will be looking to buy a gift for some near or dear one. The whole idea is to make your Instagram profile aligned with your brand’s theme.
To give you an idea, StuDocu uses brand colors, fonts, and textures on its Instagram feed. Different shades of blue are mentioned in photos with StuDocu colleagues even. For a while, the content was published in a checkerboard pattern but now feeds follow a different style.
Along with the color palette, it’s equally important to maintain consistency with your fonts because text overlays on text, and videos are essential because you use text to add subtitles to the content you share.
Instagram lets you customize your fonts to personalize your stories, but while doing that, you must keep the following pointers in mind:
a. Consistency is the key to building a recognizable profile for your target audience, and hence you must keep everything uniform.
b. Customizing fonts is an excellent thing for adding some fun and variety to your Instagram stories, but too many fonts is never a good idea as it can distract the audience. Also, if you can’t find appropriate fonts for your niche, it’s better to stick to the native ones than to leverage unrelated styles.
c. Make sure that your font is readable, especially for the more extended captions, because if the audience finds it hard to understand, they’ll stop investing more time into going through your posts.
For instance, look at the font and colors used in the following Instagram post where they’ve created a solid backdrop and kept the font aligned with their color theme:
Source: Content Marketing Institute
Besides, you can also use different shades of colors as Instagram offers 27-color palette and try varied fonts from the available ones:
The above tips are fundamental ones which you must keep in mind while uploading your Instagram stories, but if you want to go a step further and add more fun to your Instagram posts here are a couple of hecks:
a. Add a three-dimensional effect or a playful theme to your posts. The updated version of Instagram offers advanced Augmented Reality filters to let users design their visual effects.
Coca Cola has beautifully leveraged the AI filter to overlay the brand’s mascot polar bear on the top of the world.
Using these filters, you can boost your brand’s personality, especially if it’s playful and grab an edge over your competitors who are still posting the age-old mediocre stories. These filters also act as an added interactive element to connect with your target audience and build awareness for your brand.
b. Create an ombre or rainbow text effect for making your Instagram stories even visually appealing. To create such an impact, all you have to do is:
I. Write the text and select all.
II. Hold one thumb on the text cursor and other on the color in the palette.
III. Slide both of your fingers at the same time to the left, and the letters will start changing colors.
c. Use animated text for optimizing the aesthetics of your Instagram stories with the help of some intuitive apps such as PicsArt Animator, Adobe Spark Post, Hype Text, Text Animation DP GIF, etc.
Source: Guiding Tech
3. Don’t Forget To Nail Your Instagram Feed Captions
You might be thinking if Instagram is a visuals-driven platform, what’s the need to optimize the captions? Not necessarily every time your Instagram picture will entice your target audience and hence avoiding to post bad captions and finding good alternatives is equally important as they help in:
a. Providing context to your images.
b. Exhibit your brand’s personality by letting you speak directly to your prospects with personalized captions.
The platform has a word limit for captions, which is 2200, and beyond three lines of text, captions get shortened with an ellipsis. To craft the best caption within the limited word count, you must keep the following things in mind:
I. Prioritize the most critical information because Instagram is a mobile-optimized platform. Hence, only the first 125 characters of your caption get displayed in their feeds, and for exploring more, they would have to click more.
As the idea here is to grab the attention of the users before they scroll past and switch to other posts, Gap has prioritized what they want to show and made their caption crisp.
II. Try to narrate a story about your business as it helps in building authenticity for your brand and lets you connect with the audience even better. Airbnb did an excellent job by leveraging user-generated content and crafting a story for one of their Instagram posts and captioning it like a pro for evolving users’ interest!
III. Streamline the structure of your captions, and don’t be afraid to keep them longer sometimes, which might come as a shocker. Earlier, we were pondering over to keep the captions brief as mobile users can only see the first 125 characters, but this shouldn’t stop you from being experimental sometimes.
Let’s see an example of an Instagram story from Humans of New York as they’ve always been unique when it comes to their Insta captions as they leverage the space to narrate stories about the people featured for making it even more personal and fuzzy.
But, sometimes being minimalistic is the key to grab more eyeballs as Forever21 has done it with its three-words Instagram caption:
IV. Add emojis to keep it playful and add a personality to your Instagram captions as emojis convey sentiments that plain text can’t. Emojis are universal, and hence everyone understands their meaning even if they don’t have an idea of the language of your post. A couple of pointers to keep in mind when integrating emojis to your caption:
a. Always pick emojis that are relevant to your niche and add those emojis throughout your caption.
b. Refrain from overusing emojis as too many emojis would make your caption unreadable.
c. Add an emoji next to the specific word it is resonating. You can also use it at the beginning or end of your captions so that the emojis serve as punctuation and optimize the readability.
V. Always include relevant hashtags and a CTA in your captions like Lego did by using #RoyalWedding hashtag that helped them in grabbing more than 100,000 views and approximately 400 comments.
There’s a limit of 30 hashtags per Instagram post, and you can use them as per your captions’ specific requirements. Too many hashtags will make the caption look messy, but it’s useful to boost engagement.
Besides, you don’t need to use only the top trending hashtags and integrate those that are the most relevant to your content. Also, avoid adding hashtags in the middle of your captions and place them at the end by incorporating a line break between your hashtags and captions.
VI. Include questions in your captions to encourage the audience to engage with your posts rather than just skimming through them. You can ask a variety of questions such as:
a. Close-ended or binary questions as these require minimal effort from the users to respond, and every answer boosts your post’s engagement.
b. Getting to know more about your audience by sharing a personal story of your brand and asking users to share their similar experiences for giving a human touch to your content.
c. Merely asking for customers’ feedback to find out which of your products is their favorite and gather useful insights about your services, which will increase engagement and give you a chance to get an idea of what your customers think about your offerings.
For example, the beauty brand Glossier offered a pro tip from their checklist before opening the doors for the users to provide theirs. Also, they welcomed both serious as well as fun responses to elevate the playfulness and overall engagement.
V. Apart from your Instagram bios, a relevant CTA should be a part of your captions for encouraging visitors to take the desired action like it’s shown in the example below. Here, the women’s fashion brand Zaful is trying to create a sense of urgency by integrating a CTA as “Free Shipping Worldwide”:
VI. Social media has become the world for millions of influencers, and Instagram is the best platform to leverage these people who have a significant impact on the purchasing decisions of your audience. Using @mentions in your Instagram captions for tagging and connecting with relevant influencers in your niche has become very important.
Once you tag an influencer in your caption and they receive the notification and comment or like on your story, it will start appearing in the feed of thousands of their followers who you would have never reached otherwise.
For instance, the house plant provider The Sill has tagged the interior decorator and the rental space in one of their Instagram captions for boosting the reach of their post:
4. Never Mess With What To Post & When To Post
If you want to thrive on Instagram, then you must crack the code of being active for attracting, involving, and converting followers, and hence it’s mandatory to be consistent in terms of posting content.
But is it right to keep posting daily irrespective of any plan? No, because not every day is best to post on Instagram. For example, one research revealed that Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are the best for uploading content on your Instagram profile that too from 11 am to 1 pm and 7 pm and 9 pm.
According to David Campbell, Marketing Strategist at Right Inbox
“Be sure to know when to post and how many times to post a week. Over-posting and posting at the wrong time on Instagram is a surefire way to turn off your existing followers.”
In order to come up with a cohesive Instagram content schedule, you first need to identify your target audience and their preferences. Keep in mind that 30% of Instagram audiences are between 18 and 24 years of age and answer the following questions for discovering your Instagram audience persona:
a) Identify the audience segment that falls under your existing customer criteria.
b. Analyze the strategies your key competitors are following to grab the attention of quality prospects and figure out which type of audience they focus.
c. Dig out social media analytics of your profile on other social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and get an idea of who your followers are. Consider using a big data approach if insights are high in volume.
Source: Growth Marketing Pro
Along with identifying your audience profile, it’s equally important to determine which specific performance metrics to track for measuring the effectiveness of your Instagram content and organizing your posting schedule in a better manner:
a. Awareness comprises three key metrics that are follower growth rate, brand awareness, and post reach.
b. Engagement based on the views, likes, comments, saves, shares of your Instagram posts.
c. Conversions include the conversion rate plus bounce rate, and click-through rate and if you are leveraging paid Instagram marketing, then this metric will also take the cost per click, and CPM is cost-per-thousand-impressions into account.
d. Customer is all about the actions your buyers take, such as providing reviews or testimonials. Developing an understanding of this will also aid your customer service and representation over all.
Once you identify your Instagram audience profile and the right metrics, it’s time to crack the exact strategy you want to follow according to your specific business objectives:
a. An aggressive and rapid approach where your primary motive is to keep posting content on your Instagram page for keeping it fresh and relevant. For instance, the chic fashion online store for women Fashion Nova is quite carefree when it comes to their Instagram content posting spree!
They post images, stories, and videos every 30 minutes and are till now nailing it with this aggressive approach:
b. It is a smooth yet rapid strategy where you post content on your Instagram page every day but still maintains some gaps like National Geographic who do it 5 to 7 times a day. With that strategy, they became the first-ever brand to grab 100 million followers on this dynamic social platform:
Now, we have a clear idea of when and how many times we should post content on our Instagram profile, moving forward with what to post would be a great idea, right? So, let’s explore some hacks of what you should include in your Instagram stories and how to present them to make the content even engaging:
I. Never try to promote your offerings straight away in your Instagram stories, although it’s your ultimate goal. So, what is left to do then? Well, going for a subtle approach and instead of advertising your products or services trying to weave a story and grab the attention of your target audience should be your key objective.
Yes, a story works everywhere on Instagram, whether it’s your caption or post’s content. The channel is all about showcasing the lifestyle that revolves around your business and humanizing your brand.
Sharing behind the scenes pictures and videos of your business to connect with your target audience in the best possible manner could be the best trick to do storytelling on Instagram.
For example, to add some personality to your brand, you can share the visuals of cupcakes from your company’s dine outs. Or, you can showcase your employees doing some social work voluntarily.
PayPal is terrific when it comes to giving life to it’s Instagram posts as the brand mostly refrains from exhibiting the critical part of their business, which is money instead, they share the pictures of items that money can buy.
II. Getting creative and adding some fun to your Instagram posts can never go out of fashion even for the businesses functioning in mundane niches. You can be yourself and express your brand in the way you want to for being all cool and unique.
For example, the women’s clothing brand Madewell added fun to their Instagram profile by sharing a picture of one of a cute fuzzy pup:
III. Always use a relevant hashtag in your Instagram stories to reach out to a broader audience. Precise hashtags help in getting your account highlighted on the specific hashtag’s page.
Besides, if there are some prospects from your targeted audiences who don’t follow your brand, then can also see your story in their feeds if they follow the hashtag they have used in your post. Also, hashtags lets you build your own Instagram community, and more people feel encouraged to get involved with your brand.
Besides, you can also leverage branded ones as done by Red Bull in its #PutACanOnIt hashtag campaign. They’ve urged their Instagram followers to use the specific hashtag in their content and share unique pictures and got approximately 10000 amazing clicks submitted.
IV. If you reward anyone, they would automatically give you what you want, which is the case with Instagram as well. You can offer your audience with some contest or a free trial of your product!
Even adding a discount, early access to your sale or a glimpse of your upcoming product in your Instagram stories could be some other tricks to grab your prospects’ attention by making them feel special.
More people would be reacting to your posts when you offer these perks as they have a guarantee that they’ll get something in return. But before coming up with your contest idea, you need to be sure of a couple of things:
a. What would be the rules of your contest?
b. Who all are eligible to participate?
c. What’s the process of taking part in the contest?
d. What’s the deadline for the task that you are expecting your participants to do?
e. What’s the reward?
For example, let’s look at a contest Instagram post by the famous handmade travelers’ notebook provider Meraki Traveler. They’ve done a great job in describing their contest idea in a detailed manner and establishing a reason for the competition and what’s the reward.
Besides, in the second half, they’ve described the target audience what they need to do for becoming eligible to win the contest:
Similarly, offering discounts or giveaways is another effective strategy for creating engaging Instagram stories as these promotional techniques help brands in:
a. Generating leads and increasing conversions
b. Driving traffic to their website
c. Boosting the visibility of the brand
Mostly, businesses offer discounts in the form of coupons on their Instagram stories like the holistic medicine and therapy brand Love & Light Heal has done:
There are a couple of bonus pointers to be kept in mind when coming up with an exciting giveaway or discount deal:
a. Add your promotional code as GIFs or animated visuals rather than static images as such visuals would look more playful and engaging, as shown in the example below:
b. You can also make videos showcasing your discounts on your Instagram stories, which can be a little experimental. Not many people would prefer watching videos, but it’s worth trying as you can encourage the audience to visit the webpage where they can redeem the coupon.
Here’s a link to an Instagram story video template to get an idea of what an engaging discount Instagram story video should look like:
c. Product teasers or providing glimpses of your upcoming offerings could be a great idea to evoke audiences’ interest in exploring what you have. Just be aware that you shouldn’t annoy users by being too pushy and trying to be subtle with your approach.
For example, Vans and Nintendo collaborated for exhibiting a Vans sneakers’ selection showcasing Nintendo’s characters and teasing audience with its glimpse:
V. When you are posting Instagram stories collaborating with influencers is a must as it’s one of the most effective ways to engage with quality leads on the platform.
Source: Convince & Convert
Adding relevant influencers to your stories lets more people explore your offerings as people tend to get highly influenced by these influencers’ opinions. But before connecting with influencers, make sure that you have identified a few influencers that have a massive following of audience who could be interested in your products or services.
Besides, collaborating with mega influencers helps your brand to get the much-needed exposure and drive more conversions. Also, make sure to reshare the influencers stories showcasing your products in your Instagram feed and save the takeovers as highlights that would be added to your Instagram bio.
VI. Leveraging user-generated or shared content is a fantastic idea to grab more attention for your brand because such stories are quite intriguing and unique for the audience. Also, it helps you in building awareness and a rapport with your prospects:
VII. A little criss-cross between different social channels can be your key to save time and efforts of coming up with new content ideas every time. You might get scared that reusing content might bore the audience.
Still, it’s not mandatory that if you are posting a video from your YouTube channel to Instagram, everybody who follows on YouTube has watched your video.
Similarly, you can also post a teaser on Twitter or Instagram for promoting a video that audience can view on your YouTube channel which in turn will boost your followers on both the platforms like the music brand Artlist did:
5. Try Creating More “Savable” Content For Your Instagram Profile
Instagram has updated many aspects for making the platform even more seamless. So, it’s important for you to understand how Instagram algorithms work in 2020 for example, you might have noticed that nowadays, likes are invisible on your Instagram posts, and comments or saves have become more crucial than ever.
Keeping the new version of Instagram in mind, you must try to create stories that motivate your target audience to click on the “Save” button for boosting engagement rates.
For example, let’s take a look at this Instagram story by one of the most famous Instagram accounts, GirlBoss, shared on #LatinaEqualPayDay for motivating their followers to spread a word about a cause they’re supporting.
Such type of checklist content serves as a source for the audience to refer back whenever needed, and hence it’s a great example of a savable post:
6. Adding A Location To Your Instagram Stories Should Never Be Ignored
While sharing stories on Instagram, never forget to add the location to your posts, you can do this in the form of a location sticker like showed in the below example:
Adding location stickers in your Instagram stories will encourage more prospects to view your business on the search page and explore more about your offerings, which might turn them into leads and ultimately paying customers!
7. Leveraging Tools Can Act As Your Knight In Shining Armour While Doing Instagram Marketing
It’s a fact that Instagram marketing is a time-consuming job, and you can’t do everything manually. Keeping a couple of relevant social media tools in your Instagram marketing arsenal wouldn’t be a bad idea. Let’s look at some of these useful tools:
a. Later, it comes handy if you don’t have a dedicated team to monitor your Instagram content posting schedule as it lets you schedule your posts with a lot of flexibility.
This tool allows you to leverage the storyboard feature to plan your posts visually. You can also include links to your captions and scheduled stories as well as track key metrics such as clicks, engagement, impressions, etc.
b. Unfold, which is a platform comprising intuitive and creative templates for making your Instagram stories even more engaging. All the models are quite modern and theme-driven to suit a variety of businesses.
c. Linktree, which is a landing page builder and helps you in creating a fantastic landing page for your Instagram profile to grab more followers with the help of relevant CTAs and links.
d. Pixaloop is an animation tool that’s one of the best means to add animations and special effects to your Instagram stories and diversify your feed. Also, it’s the best feature that you can animate specific sections of your images.
e. Finteza is a web analytics platform primarily focused on analytics and conversion monitoring. The best feature of this tool is that it’s quite easy-to-use, and there’s no learning curve.
Wrap Up Time!
Considering how popular Instagram is, placing your brand in the right manner can land thousands of leads and hundreds of customers. You need to play smart and follow the above-listed seven practices to use the visual-focused platform to the fullest!