Twenty percent of internet users are on Instagram. Twenty percent. That’s a huge number of people who are staring at their phone, ready to feast their eyes on some clever advertising from your business.
The beauty of Instagram not only lies in the huge number of users but the fact that those users are engaged. They’re ready to share, like, comment, re-gram, and spread your word for you. As far as low-effort, high reward advertising methods go, it’s hard to beat the humble photo-sharing app.
The best thing is that it’s free. Sure, Instagram has advertising packages available, but purely by creating an Instagram account for your business and some savvy use of the app, you can engage with existing customers, promote your products, and generate a wider audience for your brand.
‘Gram It Right
Advertising a product on Instagram can be as simple as posting a picture of a new product, slapping some applicable hashtags on it, and throwing it out to the universe. Putting a bit of thought into what you post, how you post it, and when you post it, can help you to reap far greater rewards.
Firstly, not every image and video you post should be of your product or services. Try mixing it up with amusing, inspiring, or interesting pictures relating to your brand identity. Many brands find that their cute image of a puppy gets far more likes than their post about a new product or promotion.
Instagram diagnostic apps such as Iconosquare can be invaluable for determining what your followers best respond to. Their analytics will tell you which time of day it is best to post your content for the greatest engagement, and what filters and types of images you’re getting the best reaction from. With excellent insight like this, you can optimize the way you use Instagram for your business.
Engage, engage, engage
While in essence, Instagram is a place where people display photos, it is so, so much more than that. It’s about commenting, generating a following, and being relevant. And while you don’t need to be liking every photo that comes up or throwing up a comment, being passive and not engaging your audience is to your detriment. Interacting with existing customers and finding new ones has never been easier.
Hashtags are the key to leading people to your account. Use hashtags that describe your business or product and make sure that they’re commonly searched tags. Your Instagram analytics app (like Iconosquare) will show you the most popular apps for your relevant keywords. Pop those on the end of your post and watch the likes and new followers stream in.
Following accounts and brands related and relevant to yours is an important way to demonstrate your brand identity. Find the accounts of your competitors and see who’s following them. Engage with these users, whether with a “hey @sportsdrinklover, check out our page!”, liking some of their posts, or simply following them, you’re actively finding your target market and leading them to your page.
Engaging with other users directly links back more traffic to your page and more people seeing your product and your advertisements.
Converting virtual-world engagement into real-world sales
So, you’ve got your entertaining, engaging Instagram account with its thousands of followers? How do you convert all of that online attention into actual sales? There are some simple yet effective methods.
We’re in the 21st century now. We don’t need an A-list celebrity to endorse a product before we buy it – we’re now turning to tastemakers on Instagram for their recommendations. Whether it’s a popular fashion blogger in a particular bikini, or a “health and wellness guru” sipping on a particular brand of juice, the power that this stamp of approval has is remarkable.
These “social media influencers“, as they’ve come to be known, can be the key to boosting your sales. If you can send some free samples to a relevant influencer in your field and have them pop up a picture of them with your product, you’ll see your sales go through the roof.
Encourage your existing customers to take pictures with your products or use a specific hashtag. This creates “social proof” – the credibility and trust given to a product that has been reviewed and approved by one’s peers.
Advertising one-day sales or limited offers on Instagram is a proven way to drive people to your site to make a purchase. The idea that something may sell out or cease to be on offer is a powerful motivator to get people opening their wallets.
Instagram is an app that takes little time to master. It’s one of the best ways to create brand identity, engage with your customer base, and keep a finger on the pulse of what is trending in your industry. Advertising on Instagram is one of the simplest ways to increase sales. Whether it’s a direct post advertising a new product, or being profiled by an influential poster, increasing your brand profile and sales has never been quicker, easier, or more effective.