By Andrew Poulsen, Content Engineer, Sonnhalter
Last summer, we published a blog that outlined some of the best practices for running an Instagram account for your company. Since then, Instagram has grown to be arguably the most useful social media tool for the trades. If you’re still new to Instagram, we encourage you to go back and read the blog and some of the basics for getting your account started. Say you’ve set everything up, posted some cool product shots, gained a respectable number of followers and have a pretty good understanding for how the app functions. The next step is to take advantage of some of Instagram’s more advanced features and strategies that can improve your ROI, grow your number of followers and increase your brand’s visibility. Here are a few things to consider incorporating into your Instagram strategy moving forward.
One of the fastest-growing marketing strategies on social media, particularly Instagram, is what’s known as “influencer marketing.” Influencer marketing is when brands collaborate with opinion leaders in an online community, known as “influencers,” to create content that endorses a product. This collaboration is typically done for a monetary fee, free products or a combination of both. What that content looks like varies between influencers and is usually negotiable. Content can range from a static shot of the product with a written review, to photos or videos of the product being used in the field or for building something in a workshop.
Finding the right influencers in your target audience can build credibility by using a trusted source in the community and, thus, increase sales. Like the online forums of the past, professional tradesmen use Instagram to be a part of a bigger community within their trade, and these influencers are often considered leaders within these communities whose word matters. Ingratiating yourselves with these influencers can go a long way in terms of improving brand recognition within these targeted groups.
For companies that maybe don’t have a budget to hire a professional crew to take high-quality application shots of a product, working with influencers is a great way to collect professional-grade photos and videos to re-share on your page. Re-sharing this content also helps boost the following of the influencer, which helps make the relationship even more mutually beneficial.
By now, you likely have a grasp on how to post photos and videos to Instagram’s “gallery,” or the scrollable feed you see when you open the app. But one of the app’s most popular features is its “story” functions which allow you to post photos or short, 15-second video clips that appear at the top of the app and are only visible for 24 hours. Instagram stories are great for capturing key moments that are maybe not the most evergreen, such as trade show events, product promotions or fan photos. If you want to record for longer than 15 seconds, hold down the record button for as long as you’d like, and the app will break up the video into 15-second increments.
In addition to giving a slice of life element to your Instagram presence, Instagram stories come with their own set of features that can make your content more engaging. For example, Instagram stories have a “poll” function that allows you to ask your audience for input on everything from tool preferences, workshop tips and more. These polls are quick and fun ways to gather input from your fans that could be useful down the line. Instagram stories also have a “countdown” feature that can help build excitement for product launches, company events and other big announcements. Another interactive feature within Instagram’s story function is the “question” feature, which allows you to either ask questions of your followers, or allow them to ask you questions, sort of like the popular “ask me anything” format. This function allows you to connect with your followers in a way that feels more personal and can also give you an easy way to produce content and stay relevant in people’s Instagram feeds.
Promoted Instagram Campaigns
One of the most common and easiest tools for driving awareness and increasing visibility is through paid promotional campaigns on Instagram. Instagram advertising is a way of paying to post sponsored content on the app to reach a larger, targeted audience. These campaigns are great for earning more website traffic, lead generation and, hopefully, sales. One thing to know is that Instagram uses Facebook’s advertising platform. Therefore, all of the ad setup, budgeting, scheduling and creation is done through Facebook. When starting a campaign, you will have a number of objectives and goals to consider for your campaign, such as brand awareness, reach, traffic and engagement. From there, you can target your audience based on location, demographics, interests, behavior and more. The narrower you are with your targeting, the better chance you have of achieving your goals. These ads can be created from scratch, or they can simply be promoted versions of existing photos and videos from your feed. These types of existing photo ads are the easiest to setup and tend to perform very well. To learn more about the specifics of Instagram advertising in terms of cost, check out this page from their website.
Are there any other Instagram features you have questions about or want to know more about anything discussed above? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.