Tuesday , 9 November 2021
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Instagram Marketing Strategies Guide 

Social networks with a one billion user audience have become a convenient platform for brand promotion and even direct sales, turning into an alternative to customary online stores. However, as with other tools, social media marketing is a consistent endeavour that requires planning.

It doesn’t matter if you are engaging in affiliate marketing or promoting your own business, you won’t be able to turn a profit by just writing posts. On social media, you compete with large companies and personal brands. What you’re looking for is a promotion strategy that takes into account the specifics of the company and engages the potential audience. How to design it? Is it possible to sideline already promoted accounts by enticing their subscribers?

My name is Mark Yanovskiy and today I will tell you how to create a successful Instagram promotion marketing strategy. Not only will we cover the basics, but you will also learn many useful tricks. Let’s get started…

Instagram is an effective platform for business promotion 
Instagram is an effective platform for business promotion

Why Instagram and why do you need a marketing strategy

I’ll start with answering the second half of the question: a marketing strategy is essentially a business plan. Not a single businessman starts a new business offline without doing marketing research, studying the target audience, its behavior and needs, and calculating profitability. The same goes for promoting a business on social media.

It is important to study your audience and calculate, whether there’s any point in investing time and money in advertising. Going forward, it should be said that in the case of Instagram, there are real prospects, you just need to use this tool correctly. Here are just a few numbers to keep in mind:

  • audience – more than 1 billion (according to Statista, it is about 1.3 – 1.4 billion) active users, second only to Facebook;
  • about 500 million users visit Instagram daily and view at least 1 Stories a day;
  • in developed countries, such as the USA, Great Britain, France, Australia, about half of the population is registered on this social network, and this is true for both large cities and rural areas;
  • about 90% of users are subscribed and actively follow at least one commercial account and about 130 million users interact with commercial content every month;
  • the most active segment is represented by users from 18 to 34 years old. About 65-70% of users fit the 18-45 age group that is the most active part among eCommerce customers.
Key Instagram  indicators
Key Instagram  indicators

You think these are all just numbers, what profit could be possibly made from teenagers who communicate with each other and look up indecent photos of celebrities and models? There are other statistics that prove the effectiveness of Instagram as a marketing tool. More than 25 million commercial accounts are registered on the network, this social network is used by more than 71% of companies in the United States, and this figure is constantly growing. Cherry on top: 70% of all hashtags are commercial. According to a study of the social network, about 60% of participants use the site as an alternative to online stores when searching for goods and services. Therefore, ignoring Instagram marketing is akin to suicide, even for affiliates who are used to the fast turnover of money through online advertising.

Main business indicators
Main business indicators

But why do people like Instagram? How did a small photo sharing app manage to become an effective marketing platform for promoting services and even online sales, acting as a global marketplace? It’s all the photos. People love beautiful pictures, they interact more willingly with colorful content than with black and white text. Unspoken competitions with friends over the number of likes only encourage more active use of the social network, making this process more exciting. That is why Twitter, one of the first social networks, in recent years has been standing still, and the younger service has quickly overtaken it in terms of the number of active accounts.

In recent years, social media based on visual content has been growing most actively: YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook
In recent years, social media based on visual content has been growing most actively: YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook

Marketing strategies for Instagram should be built on visually pleasing content. However, taking cool photos and putting filters on them to add drama or dynamics is not enough when it comes to promoting a personal brand or partner products. How to attract an audience? Planning will help here, or rather developing a full-fledged SMM strategy.

How to Develop a Successful Instagram Social Media Marketing Strategy

I offer a step-by-step plan with which you can develop strategies for your brands or partner products. There are just a few steps, having studied which you can significantly increase the effectiveness of your ad campaigns and save yourself a lot of time. So…

Define the goals

It sounds trivial, but there’s no way around it. Strategy is a plan of how to get from point A to point B. To design one properly, you need to understand what your endgame is. Otherwise, you might end up at the wrong place, having wasted time, effort and money.

Many marketers and affiliates who make a living on affiliate marketing do not set goals despite having extensive experience. They launch ad campaigns, run microblogs at random, hoping to get it all out through targeting settings and high-quality creatives. Basically, without a strategy, or even a short-term plan, it’s still possible to turn a profit. There are many members in the LeadBit affiliate network who share this point of view.

But think about it: instead of sitting at the monitor all day long, you can spend no more than an hour every day and increase your income if not exponentially, then double or triple it for sure. And it will save you the effort, since directing your potential in the right direction is much easier if you have specific tasks set in front of you.

Cheat Sheet: 17 Goals for Your Marketing Strategy
Cheat Sheet: 17 Goals for Your Marketing Strategy

Different purposes require different approaches, the content is not the same. There may be several tasks, but it is important to rank them in order to get a tangible effect.

When developing a strategy, you can set both short-term (tactical) and long-term (strategic) goals. The “Goal tree” helps to formulate the tasks correctly.

There are four levels in the “Tree”:

  1. Global or business objectives: market position, sales level, profit;
  2. Marketing: expanding the audience, attracting new customers, changing and shaping new consumption habits among the audience, increasing loyalty;
  3. Communication: creating the company’s image and shaping the right attitude to the product, brand awareness, stimulating demand for the product, increasing the percentage of return visits;
  4. Media: coverage indicators, achievement of various metrics (likes, reposts, comments), conversion rate, etc.
When developing a strategy, it is important to set goals, this can be done using the "Goal tree"
When developing a strategy, it is important to set goals, this can be done using the “Goal tree”

Business goals are global or strategic. Long-term objectives. Let’s be honest, we planning our marketing moves, we want: A – to increase profits, B – to gain a foothold in the market, C – to increase sales (increase the number of transactions). The point is always the same – to earn more. If we are engaged in charitable projects – to collect more donations, attract more volunteers.

Social media marketing objectives: reach new audiences, convert users to customers, retain existing customers
Social media marketing objectives: reach new audiences, convert users to customers, retain existing customers

Marketing tasks are more specific, through them we achieve global business goals. There are more specifics here: what the client should do, how to increase the coverage, how to attract new users.

Communication tasks are the tactical ones that need to be achieved in the short term. For example, one of Nike’s communication goals is to shape user perception of a brand that serves as a mentor or motivator to help them play sports. By achieving communication goals, we move closer to achieving the marketing ones.

Media are specific indicators (metrics). They can be measured, metrics can be controlled. Likes, click-through and conversion rates – by setting a specific level, we can move toward to it, adjusting our promotion tactics, working on creative ones. Their essence is to bring specificity into our actions, to understand how we will move toward our strategic objectives.

The promotion strategy depends on the goals set. If our goal is to make a brand recognizable, we use paid targeted advertising with an emphasis on maximum coverage. Additionally, you can issue a challenge and invite customers to post a photo with a branded product (works great for clothing brands). If you need to increase loyalty, you can launch contests.

If sales are the most important aspect, post life hacks, reviews, informative articles with an emphasis on the use of the promoted product, service. You can share success stories (storytelling), or place discount coupons, promotional codes, etc.

Examples of marketing objectives
Examples of marketing objectives

When setting objectives, it is important to specify them as much as possible. For example:

  • reach 90% coverage of the target audience in the city;
  • increase the number of subscribers by 10%;
  • increase the activity of the target audience (the number of likes, reposts) by 5%;
  • increase the number of brand references, etc.;
  • increase the conversion rate (the ratio of clicks to purchases) and double the number of sales of an affiliate product.
SMART Template for Setting Marketing Strategy Objectives 
SMART Template for Setting Marketing Strategy Objectives

The S.M.A.R.T. algorithm helps to formulate the objectives correctly. SMART stands for – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound. This is a simple template to check if the objective is implementable.

The difference between SMART goals and ordinary tasks 
The difference between SMART goals and ordinary tasks

The task must be specific. Not just “I want more subscribers”, but “I want to increase the audience by 5%” or “reach at least 30% of the 25-45 audience in the city”. Here you should answer a few simple questions: What result do I want to get? Why? Are there any additional conditions? Who is involved?

Measurable – everything is simple here, you need specific evaluation criteria, figures to measure the result. Attract 10 new customers, increase sales by 3%.

Achievable – goals need to be adequate, which can be actually achieved by adjusting the promotion strategy. You should look at things realistically. It’s better to take small steps and reconsider tasks once a week than to set a goal and never reach it.

The goal must be relevant (meaningful) or bring benefits. Not increasing the number of subscribers, but expanding the coverage – to attract users interested in the service.

The last point is time binding. We set the relevant time frame. So that you can further understand how effective the strategy is or why it isn’t. And to review the work with an understanding of what needs to be changed, improved.

Study your audience

Everything depends on the audience: marketing approaches, publication schedule, visual design of creatives, marketing links, CTA format (call to action). Without a specific target audience, it will be very difficult to turn subscribers and casual visitors into potential clients.

You must know everything about your target audience 
You must know everything about your target audience

First of all, you should pay attention to users who are already interested in the product. If you are promoting a dating site, collect an audience on thematic community pages dedicated to dating or chatting. If you are promoting a casino or a bookmaker’s office, visit websites dedicated to gambling topics.

You can do a lot of research, conduct surveys, look for potential users who may be interested in the product. On Instagram, your target audience, first of all, is made up of people who are already interested in the product. It is on them that we spend 80-90% of our efforts. Only when the audience with the shaped demand is properly caressed, can you look for users who, in theory, may also be interested in the product.

When potentially interested users are attracted, you can expand targeting settings and send ads, launch contests, challenges that would cover people who can potentially be interested in the service. If this is a bank card for gamers, after going through thematic communities, you can try “male” communities filled with guys aged 20-35.

One of three methods will help you to compose a portrait of your audience:

  • “empathy maps”;
  • “person”
  • The Sherrington method (5W).

The “Empathy Map” is a method where you put yourself in the shoes of a potential client and visualize their needs, features, perception of the world. Instead of a standard template (age, sex, income level, place of residence), the method suggests specifying the audience. You will have to make an effort: look for information on forums, thematic communities, study keywords. In the end, you can segment the target audience into several categories and better understand what each group needs, how best to interact with it.

The “Empathy” map - you need to understand what the potential client says, thinks, does, feels
The “Empathy” map – you need to understand what the potential client says, thinks, does, feels

For example, if you run an online gift store, then you will get several audiences:

  • employees, owners of agencies for organizing events;
  • people who are looking for an original gift for their spouse, sibling or parents;
  • people who want to make an inexpensive and non-generic gift to a colleague, boss.
  • These are different people using different keywords, they turn to different places when searching.

Empathy can be mapped by answering four questions:

  • What the potential client thinks, feels – how they think, what they want to get as a result;
  • What they hear – what other people in their social circle say, whom does the client trust;
  • What they see – the client’s views, expectations;
  • What they do – how the clients see themselves in the community, what their status is and how the product corresponds to their standard of living.
Expanded Empathy Map: Understanding Insecurities and Expectations
Expanded Empathy Map: Understanding Insecurities and Expectations

The “person” method, in contrast to the standard template, involves modelling potential customers. You do not generalize the target audience, but invent personalities, assess what a particular client needs.

For example, for gambling it can be the following persons:

  • a college student, 19-20 years old, has no permanent income, only money that they receive from their parents + a scholarship. Plays in an attempt to “beat” the roulette scheme or to quickly “make bank” at horse races, bets;
  • a person with average or below average income, 25-35 years old. Goes to casino sites to relax after work hoping to get lucky. Usually, they play with a bottle of beer in their hands while eating pizza;
  • a woman 35-45 years old with comfortable income. Wants to relieve stress, is looking for vivid emotions, winning is not so important. Perceives the casino as a form of entertainment that must be paid for, like a restaurant. But reputation is important, because bank card details must be entered when making a deposit.
Example of a modelled person
Example of a modelled person

The last one is the Sherrington method. It is sometimes referred to as the 5W formula. You can specify your target audience if you answer a few questions:

  • What – what do you offer;
  • Who – who is the potential client;
  • Why – why should  the user choose this particular product (the customer’s motivation);
  • When – when, under what circumstances a product or service is needed, you subdivide clients into several segments;
  • Where – where are the points of contact, when people will make a purchase, in what conditions will they use the service (will they buy it on Instagram or in a regular store).

Let’s analyze the method using an example. What we sell – marriage agency services. Who is our target – single people aged 30-35+. Why you – because the site has been working for a long time, it verifies all users that register. When – the service is needed all the time, but activity increases most of all during the summer and Christmas holidays, when people feel lonely. Where people are looking for the service – on social media, on various forums.

Sometimes the method is called 5W + 1H - the question How? is added - how to solve a client's problem
Sometimes the method is called 5W + 1H – the question How? is added – how to solve a client’s problem 

Knowing the audience and the objective, it is much easier to draft a publication plan, choose a content format, package your product (draw up instructions or a strategy). We won’t describe all the possible options, otherwise the article will turn into a whole book or at least a monograph. There are some examples below. For specific cases, you will have to put yourself in the client’s shoes, using the empathy map, the “person” method, searching on forums, and spying on other bloggers.

Analyzing competitors as a source of inspiration

Competitor research is an underestimated step that marketers often ignore. But doing an analysis of other Instagram bloggers working in your niche should be the first step when setting up a channel.

When analyzing your competitors, you should take into account: the target audience, industry, promotion strategy, objectives 
When analyzing your competitors, you should take into account: the target audience, industry, promotion strategy, objectives

Competitors can be:

  • direct – they promote exactly the same service or product as you;
  • indirect – in theory, you can promote your services to their clients.

When choosing your competitors, you need to be realistic. If you’re selling hand-made cosmetics, it’s pointless to compete with premium brands like L’Oreal or Lancôme.

On the other hand, if you are promoting an affiliate program of a large bank or bookmaker, you can spy on the approaches used by large companies. But here, too, everything is not so simple, you are unlikely to be able to compete with organizations that allocate millions for advertising purposes. Perhaps it is worth focusing on other affiliate marketers (I do not recommend using the program’s creatives for your Instagram campaign – other participants of the affiliate program are bound to do just that).

Attention! Large companies and well-known brands can be a source of inspiration for you. While it’s not always wise to compete with them directly, picking up cool ideas and incorporating them in your promotion strategy in a different manner is very helpful.
Universal template for competitor analysis 
Universal template for competitor analysis

The easiest and cheapest way to find competitors is through keyword searches. This can be the name of a service, product, or niche. You can also get results by searching through hashtags. But it is most effective to use 3rd party tools. It is convenient to analyze and search for competitors through special marketing tools for analyzing social media accounts or through SPY-tools:

  • publer.pro – a spy tool for analyzing posts and ads on social networks: Instagram, Facebook, Vkontakte, MyTarget;
  • Hootsuite, Social Pilot – marketing tools that allow you to manage your own account (deferred posting, scheduling, end-to-end analytics, tracking comments to posts), track relevant keywords, track competitors’ accounts in live mode;
  • popsters – a service for analyzing pages, posts of competitors on social media;
  • similarweb – a universal marketing tool that allows you to analyze the traffic of any website or page on social media;
  • Bigspy.com – a spy tool for finding ads and posts of competitors by keywords, hashtags or targeting settings;
  • PowerAdSpy – a service for monitoring ads on social networks;
  • Livedune – a tool for analyzing competitors’ accounts, allows you to see engagement, identify click fraud.
Not only do spy services allow you to find competitors' ad creatives, but it also helps in finding their posts 
Not only do spy services allow you to find competitors’ ad creatives, but it also helps in finding their posts

To develop an Instagram promotion strategy, it is important to carefully study your competitors. Both successful accounts with tens of thousands of followers and “dead” accounts can be useful – it is better to learn from other people’s mistakes (although I would not devote too much time to losers).

For analysis purposes, going through 10-15 accounts or community pages should be enough. You don’t need to waste any more time,  in time you will see that approaches and visualizations are repeated. After that, study them according to the following criteria:

  • page design;
  • content;
  • methods of interaction with the audience;
  • communication tone (official, vernacular, slang);
  • analysis of the audience interacting with the profile (followers, random commentators, etc.);
  • product comparison, brand analysis.

Competitor analysis gives you an understanding of how to launch ad campaigns, where to get traffic from, what to focus on in your posts, what the audience expects from you. However, if, after analyzing other people’s marketing campaigns, you see that this is not the case and the audience there does not match yours, don’t be afraid to switch to other accounts.

Attention! Competitor analysis is also an opportunity to find successful insta-bloggers who you can charge to do advertising for. For example, bloggers who are engaged in an active lifestyle can promote an action camera, sports nutrition or sportswear.

Account audit

Analyse your account carefully, sometimes the problems lie on the surface 
Analyse your account carefully, sometimes the problems lie on the surface

If you already have an account, analyze what you did right and what went wrong. Answer these questions honestly:

  • what works and what is completely useless;
  • how the audience interacts with the account, is there any activity at all;
  • do your followers represent your potential target audience;
  • how strong are your positions in comparison with your direct competitors.
Use the built-in and free Instagram Insights statistics tool to analyze your positions 
Use the built-in and free Instagram Insights statistics tool to analyze your positions

Another simple but effective auditor’s method is to ask subscribers which areas to improve. You will be surprised how many creative ideas users can suggest.

If you don’t have an account or it still exists just for appearances, some research will still need to be done. First, inspect the accounts of the impostors. It can be a discovery for you how many people who want to use the name of even a small local business, for example, a home confectionery or a workshop for making handmade souvenirs.

Fake accounts are damaging to your business. They don’t just intercept potential customers, taking away some of the profits. They can damage your reputation. You can get rid of such accounts just by reporting them to the support service and confirm your rights to the brand.

Use social listening. This method is suitable for everyone: small companies, large brands and partners who earn money by promoting affiliate programs.

Social listening is a search for all mentions of a brand on private and open public pages, comments under posts, on user pages. You can find them through hashtags, a search bar. Or through marketing tools like SocialPilot, hootsuite, Iconsquare, Hopper (usually the option is located in the “Conversations” section).

Third-party tools for Instagram will help you conduct an audit, for example, there is a ready-made template on the Iconosquare site 
Third-party tools for Instagram will help you conduct an audit, for example, there is a ready-made template on the Iconosquare site

With the help of social listening, you can find out what common users are saying about the brand on various public pages, in the comments under posts. If you are promoting an affiliate product, you can search for references directly to the promoted brand. You will discover the points of contact that you can include in your marketing strategy.

Simplified template for account auditing:

  • search for the brand name in the social network or a search engine like Google or Bing;
  • check if the personal profile is filled out correctly: whether all the gaps are filled in or not, all the info about the company, the design must be relevant (match the brand’s current style), whether the bio is filled with links to the website/partner landing page, check the pinned messages, evaluate how the profile looks on different devices (smartphones, PC browsers);
  • mark the 3-5 best posts that got the most engagement;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the channel, not of individual posts. As a result, it will be easier to understand how to get closer to your objectives. You can find the information through Instagram Insights or third-party Instagram marketing tools;
  • track the results, periodically considering how profitable the investment is. At this stage, you will be able to understand if there are prospects and whether it is worth using this channel at all.
Profile verification template 
Profile verification template

Here you can download a template for Instagram audit and strategy.

Product packaging – create a posting style guide

The backbone of an Instagram marketing strategy is publishing. It is important to understand what should be published and what the posts should look like. While variety is good, there should be a consistent design style permeating all your posts.

Content strategy is 90% of the effort and the foundation for engaging with your audience. Your Instagram content guide should include the following points:

  1. how you make content, what templates you use, description of the style, content format: lessons, instructions, announcements, memes. If you are going to involve third-party employees – the instruction will help you quickly explain your work methods to freshly-arrived team members;
  2. describe what content methods you are going to use: photos, advertising banners, videos, stories, user generated content, video tutorials;
  3. based on the analysis of competitors, the audience and niche, as well as the goals set, make a list of additional marketing tools: contests and sweepstakes, promotion with the help of opinion leaders (Influencer marketing), cooperation with other Instagram-bloggers.

At the same time, no one’s making you use ALL the marketing tools. It is much more important that the channel looks holistic, and the content format is suitable for the potential target audience. For example, if you’re promoting physical goods – the emphasis should be put on visual content: photographs of clothes (or better of a model in clothes), unboxing videos if you’re selling gadgets. Use banners with text to promote services, including online ones.

Example of how Gato promotes its desserts on Instagram
Example of how Gato promotes its desserts on Instagram

A simplified model for developing a content strategy:

  • define the style features of your business or partner brand;
  • determine the goals that the publication should achieve (how – see paragraph above);
  • find the voice of the brand, try to describe it in one word: informative, friendly, comical, brutal, inclusive, sarcastic;
  • target your audience. For families and school groups, cute animals and jokes about schoolchildren are suitable, for gamblers – a confident voice, sexual overtones can work here, or vice versa, an emphasis on feelings of pride and devotion to a club (for betters), for shoppers – tips and promotional codes;
  • write down how you intend to interact with the audience.
Use different visual styles, be aesthetic, employ different content formats 
Use different visual styles, be aesthetic, employ different content formats

Design a publication calendar

Yes, creating a beautiful post is good, but half the success depends on its relevance. One of the important criteria for success is interacting with content immediately after posting it. If you post a photo, but it won’t be viewed within five hours or maybe even a whole day, the publication will go far down in the feed (in fact, even an hour is a lot). For example, content for children published late in the evening or at night will be ignored. Or when you post a match-specific betting banner a few weeks or months in advance, it will simply be forgotten. A publication calendar will help you avoid such mishaps.

When developing a calendar, you should take into account:

  • when the audience most often looks through the feed. There are general studies. For instance, most users are on Instagram during the first half of the day. Office workers are usually there between 10:00 and 12:00. But for each target audience we choose the time separately;
  • take into account the binding to important dates, post thematic publications on the eve of important holidays or make promotions on the eve of sports matches or major tournaments;
  • take into account the time of the year – in summer, users often go on vacation, which means we shift the time of morning publications a couple of hours up.
Consistency is more important than frequency. It is better to publish one post every three days than to make a dozen posts every two to three weeks.

You will already receive information about the activity of the target audience at the audience-studying stage. You can find out when subscribers are active in different ways. Look at the profile statistics (information on existing followers). To find out more about potential subscribers:

  • search on forums;
  • use marketing research of other bloggers and analytical companies;
  • make a map of the target audience, logically assessing when users have time and access to a smartphone (during a break, after work, between lessons, on the way to work in the morning…).

You can use 3rd party services. For example, PromoRepublic will analyze your audience, draw up a publication schedule (the time when the target audience is most active). The service allows you to cover several time zones at once, a target audience however heterogenous. Services like Social Pilot, Buffer, hootsuite offer advanced analytical tools and show an activity chart.

The publication planner can automatically post according to the specified schedule without your participation
The publication planner can automatically post according to the specified schedule without your participation

If you know your target audience, but there is no opportunity to buy an expensive subscription, you can use a free deferred publication planner (for example, plannthat, Later). All you need to do is prepare the posts and drag them to the scale, the system will publish images exactly at the specified time according to a pre-developed schedule. Up to 30 posts per month are available for free or up to 10 deferred posts in the feed at the same time.

Instagram Promotion Tips

Here we have collected not all, but the most relevant tips that you should take into account when promoting anything on Instagram.

Switch to a business account

Switch to a business account in case you haven’t done it already. With this option, you can:

  • add clickable links to Bio;
  • view detailed statistics;
  • place ads (here it is better to register with Facebook Ads Manager);
  • turn your profile into an online store.

You can activate a business profile for free. This can be done in the “Settings” in the “Account” section. You just need to click the “Professional Account” button and fill out the form by following the hints. It will take no more than 3-5 minutes.

You can enable the Business profile in the settings 
You can enable the Business profile in the settings

Be involved

Cool posts are great. But if you want your audience to be active, you should be active yourself. If nothing else – reply to comments, express gratitude for the praise and compliments.

At most – leave comments and likes under the posts of your followers. Repost your favorite publications of your subscribers. Be alive, become a familiar face for your followers. They will give you the same feedback.

Don’t be too sealy

Statistics are an interesting thing. On one hand, 90% of all users follow at least one brand, and about 60% of Insta users actively interact with commercial content. On the other hand, if you spam them with ads, most followers will just unsubscribe.

If you want to retain their attention, mix some entertaining content between ads. Be funny, talk about yourself, tell a story, share an observation or expert opinion. The more diverse the posts, the more people will like you, and as a result, the higher  the conversion rate for ad creatives and paid ads will be.

According to Sprout Social, more than 57% of surveyed users will unsubscribe from a community or profile if there are too many ads
According to Sprout Social, more than 57% of surveyed users will unsubscribe from a community or profile if there are too many ads

Stay away from controversial topics while diversifying publications. Politics, religion, race – even if it seems to you that you are on the same page with the audience, a single post on a sensitive topic can turn everyone against you.

Use all the news event for publications

If you work with affiliate programs, you probably noticed that large companies launch special promotions for any news-worthy event, from the World Cup to Mother’s Day. You don’t necessarily need to stay in the confines of your niche. For example, major sporting events are not an occasion exclusively for bookmakers. Such events can be used to sell souvenirs, sports nutrition, shaving accessories, even cosmetics and kitchen utilities.

What can also become a news event for promoting a business is a competitor’s special offer. But just make sure to steer clear of black PR, as millennials and Generation Z do not tolerate it, this method might tarnish your reputation.

Burger King launched its own ad campaign, timed to someone else's news event (in this case, McDonald's promotion)
Burger King launched its own ad campaign, timed to someone else’s news event (in this case, McDonald’s promotion)

Encourage user-generated content

Organize challenges, giveaways, and contests to encourage users to generate content that promotes your brand. If it is sportswear or tourism accessories, hold a contest for the best photo that feature your product (with the winner receiving a prize). Repost photos of subscribers where they use brand items. Fame and recognition are much more important than prizes, they can spur sales and audience engagement.

The company posted a photo of a subscriber wearing the brand's clothes
The company posted a photo of a subscriber wearing the brand’s clothes

Use countdown buttons

Counters are a great opportunity to create buzz around a product or news event. This idea will suit local businesses (opening a store or adding a new dish to the menu), large brands, and affiliate marketers. Counters are effective and just cheap. And do not demand any research.

Use non-standard publishing ideas

Content is the main way to communicate with your audience. You don’t have to invest a lot of effort to create quality posts. Just use your head to add creativity and save your audience from boring and mundane posts. Here are some ideas:

  • behind-the-scenes – publish photos from your personal life or day-to-day activities of the company, for example, a photo depicting your production or a story about a brainstorming session for the next project;
  • instructions, life hacks and FAQ sections – after receiving exciting information, the user is more likely to turn into a lead without any additional efforts on your part;
  • relevant creatives – a countdown for New Year’s, forecasts for the coming year, gift ideas for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, life hacks for kids and parents right before the start of the school year, or just talk about family for Family Day or Thanksgiving;
  • prize draws, contests – even a small prize for reposting or inviting friends will result in an audience increase and follower engagement;
  • expert content or facts about the business, industry. You can publish statistics of teams’ or boxers’ before an upcoming fight, or share a few facts about your cafe.

Examples of Instagram marketing strategies

The marketing strategy depends on the goals. Here are some Instagram marketing strategies for the most common tasks.

Promoting an ad account

A popular goal is to build a user base that you can drive ads to in the future. Suitable for affiliate marketing, local business, online stores, big brands, bloggers.

A community page in the form of a city flea market 
A community page in the form of a city flea market

The positive side of the strategy is that it is easy to gather loyal users to whom you can send ads. Advantages:

  • low cost of attracting people – free publications can be used as advertisements;
  • high conversion rate – given proper promotion, the audience is a priori interested in your service.

When promoting for advertising, thematic communities are usually created (for fans of online games, gamblers, betters, a page dedicated to house plants – whatever), city publics or flea markets. When promoting an ad account, thematic communities are usually created (for fans of online games, gamblers, betters, a page dedicated to house plants – literally anything), city groups or flea markets.

Before launching, estimate the scope of your potential target audience. When promoting, use geotags, select relevant hashtags and keywords in the profile description and posts. Naturally, there should be a thought-through publication schedule. The last method is mass following or mass subscribing to other people’s accounts.

When you subscribe to someone else’s profile, it is highly likely that they will follow you back. However, don’t just go adding everyone you can find. Target only subscribers of bloggers or communities who are your direct or indirect competitors. Divide your audience into four segments by the number of subscriptions: up to 100 (Very Easy), up to 1,000 (Easy), up to 3,000 (Medium), and over 3,000 subscriptions (Hard). Mainly focus on the first two groups – they are highly likely to follow your profile. And only then move on to the more difficult ones. And don’t forget about commercial accounts – they are run by ordinary people who can become your customers or use an affiliate product. We will definitely publish a detailed article about mass following eventually.

Content strategy without unnecessary complications – you mix promoted photos with regular content. In the future, the page can be used to publish sponsored content or drive traffic to affiliate products.

Personal brand promotion

This strategy is suitable for consultants, coaches, freelancers, auditors, lawyers, photographers, as well as those who want to become opinion leaders. It allows you to raise the price of your services, tell potential customers about yourself, and make money on personal merchandise.

A copywriter’s profile 
A copywriter’s profile

To attract an audience, use standard methods: keyword, hashtag selection, mass following. If the budget can handle it – paid ads. Read about how much it costs to advertise on IG here. The content strategy is more complex here: expert publications (only original content), posts from someone’s personal life, cases, tips. You can also add screenshots of reviews, thanks from customers.

Blogging

Instagram can serve as a launching pad for a blog or an additional place to interact with the audience for bloggers from YouTube or LiveJournal. The promotion methods are the same as in previous strategies. Additionally, you can use ads on third-party services. And if this isn’t your first social media profile, you can invite subscribers from the other platforms.

A blogger's profile 
A blogger’s profile

The content depends on your area. Choose what you know best: recipes, cool landscape photos, gaming, whatever =) You monetize Instagram blog through sponsored content (i.e. – advertising). You can also drive traffic to your main blog.

Commercial accounts

Commercial profiles for brand promotion. Allows you to enhance user recognition for you company, increase audience loyalty.

CocaCola's commercial profile
CocaCola’s commercial profile

The main source of traffic are users who followed a social link from the main site. However, to expand the target audience, you can use hashtags, keywords, hold contests and product giveaways.

The content must be of high quality. It can be inspiring photos (like Nike’s), vivid photos of products or work being done, stories from the life of the company.

Increasing traffic to the site, affiliate marketing

A strategy for affiliates and bloggers looking to drive more traffic to their website. To do so, you can use mass approaches: mailing, mass following, liking other people’s posts, subscriptions. You can use ads if you can afford them.

You don’t have to invest a lot of effort and money into the content. Beautiful photos, memes, banners (if we’re talking about affiliate marketing), Insta-telling, and various tricks work great here.

Video about the best strategies for promoting Instagram

Let’s sum up…

Key points to consider when developing a marketing strategy 
Key points to consider when developing a marketing strategy

An Instagram marketing strategy is difficult thing to design, but well within the abilities of a novice marketer, affiliate or local company owner who wants to expand their circle of potential customers. Yes, you’ll have to to study a lot. Some things work here the same way they do on other sites, while others – completely differently. But you can get started in no more than an hour. First, you need to create an account and fill it out. You should leave posts according to a prepared plan, subscribe to other users and wait. Instagram is capable of providing invaluable experience and business opportunities. You just need to unleash that potential and set your goals correctly. To end things off, a small template to help you develop your marketing strategy – go through all the points, check, make edits and turn a profit.

Author: Mark Yanovskiy
Chief Commercial Officer @ Leadbit Group - Making people happy in the CPA world A driven and ambitious Team Leader with strong interpersonal and communication skills. A proven record of success in the affiliate market industry, sales, account management and revenue growth. Experienced in building up teams from scratch along with modifying existing ones. In-depth knowledgeable of creating digital marketing strategies for mid-market and enterprises. Result-oriented on unstable and highly competitive markets. Speaker on big events of the industry.

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