Up until recently Instagram was a relatively self contained social platform and whilst it has seen a nice little re-design, a new algorithm and the introduction of ads, it still stays somewhat separate from social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter.
This separation has caused some hesitation from marketers and businesses for using the platform to market their products or services, with many underestimating how powerful Instagram can be when it comes to generating leads and driving sales.
It’s understandable than many people believe Instagram is used solely for posting pictures, with no direct link to buy items or to your website, other than links in your bio section. Despite this, Instagram and social media in general, can be an essential part of any marketing strategy.
Create a narrative with your images
Instagram isn’t about constantly posting photos of your products, it’s about visual storytelling. If you’re looking to engage customers and grab their attention, then do so by telling the story of your brand. Show them what you can offer, what kind of lifestyle they can have with your brand, what you’re working on, new products etc the list is endless.
Aim to paint some kind of picture of your company on your Instagram, allow customers to know what you do and what your goals are without directly telling them. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words.
Don’t forget your caption
You can add more to your images with the inclusion of your caption and should never upload a photo without one. You can use your caption in a number of ways, for a product description, for quotes, for describing what’s happening in the photo and even for telling people about a new offer or promotion.
Whichever way you use your captions you should always aim to use your caption to create engagement, asking your customer questions or asking them to leave comments can be a great way of creating customer engagement, gathering feedback and humanising your brand.
Add relevant hashtags
Hashtags help your images get found, so it’s always a good idea to use popular and relevant hashtags on your photos in order for more people to find them. Don’t go too crazy though, you don’t want to overload your images with too many hashtags, not only does it look messy and complicate captions but it was also make your brand look desperate.
Think of your hashtags as keywords and have a variety of them available to add to each post, this keeps your brand consistent and means that if you keep appearing under that hashtag people monitoring them regularly will keep finding you and possibly head to your account.
Partner with social influencers
Instagram has created an all new type of “celebrity” social media influencers and with brands like Fit Tea, Birchbox and The Body Shop working with social influencers, it’s a sure sign that social influencer marketing is here to stay.
Influencers have huge built in distributor lists so can show off your product to huge amounts of people all at once, by working with influencers you can harness there popularity to expand your own follower count as well as boost sales directly.
As Instagram shifts from a photo sharing website to a visual marketplace, it’s important you can strategically use it to create engagement and drive sales. Having a solid plan and knowing just how and when to post and knowing exactly what content works for you are simple, yet effective ways to drive those sales and boost your business.