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Develop a winning Instagram strategy

Over the past decade, social media has grown into one of the most effective marketing channels available to small businesses. Facebook started the trend, but Instagram’s surging popularity shouldn’t be ignored: in 2018, some 9 million Australians were checking in with their feeds about 37.7 times per week, and around 95 million photos are shared on Instagram each day (worldwide).

While many businesses have found marketing success Instagram, don’t expect to get results by haphazardly posting a few happy snaps every now and then. In order to make Instagram work, your posts have to cut through the noise and get noticed by your target market. And that takes planning.

Before you start your Instagram campaign, decide who you wish to target, and set yourself some clear goals. Instagram can drive a number of functions, e.g. build brand awareness; connect with your local community; drive traffic to your website; build sales leads. Think about what you want to achieve, and set a measurable target.

When using Instagram for marketing purposes, it’s best to set your account up as a business profile. This delivers a much broader range of functions, including the ability to monitor engagement levels as your campaign progresses. Next, create a content strategy. ‘Content’ refers to what you’re posting: images, short videos, and Stories (which are a combination of imagery/video and text). Good forward planning will ensure that the content you post aligns with your business objectives – e.g. beautifully styled project photos; quirky images; or fun behind-the-scenes Stories.

Captions give your images context, and form part of your overall content. A great caption can entice people to stop scrolling and stick around for a closer look at your post, your profile, and (hopefully) a click-through to your website. Remember that only the first five or so words of a caption are visible in an Instagram feed, so make them count! Including a question or a call to action can also help to increase engagement levels.

Creating a schedule of when to upload posts will ensure you maintain the momentum required to build great results. The Instagram algorithm favours consistent posting, i.e. one or two posts daily rather than three or four once a week. Scheduling also allows you to leverage marketing opportunities around calendar events, industry events, and seasonal trends.

When it comes to social media, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Build visibility by engaging with your target audience: follow relevant profiles, like their posts, add comments, and interact with your followers.

As your Instagram campaign progresses, you can monitor its performance with Instagram Insights. This tool gives a detailed analysis of who’s looking at your posts and when, and which posts generate the best reach/engagement. You can see where things are going well, and where you might need to make some changes.

Interested in putting Instagram’s marketing powers to the test? Check out HIA’s webinar, Instagram 101, for a more detailed explanation of the above concepts, and a comprehensive overview of how to get the best out of your Instagram profile.