As more and more companies depend on social media to boost their reach and grow their audience, having a strategy in place is what matters most. You cannot simply hop on when you feel like it and post what you want. You need to understand who your audience is and how to sell to them in the right way.
Here are a fews reasons why social media can benefit your business:
- It is a great way to build brand recognition.
- You can connect with your audience and start conversations with them online.
- Social media can help you learn more about your ideal customer through online engagement.
- It is a cost-effective way to grow your brand reach.
- You can also subtly market your product.
Once you realize the importance of social media, you can begin to explore various strategies that will make optimal use of your time and help your company make more money in the long run.
Be subtle with your marketing
According to Statista, the 18-24-year-old age group is the largest demographic in reference to the user base on Instagram.
Gen Z is going to be your target audience with Instagram and it is imperative that you realize that the age-old marketing techniques aren’t going to work with them. 69% of Gen Z said they find online ads disruptive so your aim should be to focus on non-invasive marketing techniques.
A good example is Apple’s ‘Shot on an iPhone’ campaign on Instagram where they post pictures that have been shot using an iPhone:
This simple strategy allows Apple to form relationships with their audience by using their pictures taken on their iPhone and is also a much less invasive marketing technique than others.
Invest in micro-influencer marketing
Do not be afraid to invest in micro-influencer marketing. This is an affordable and non-invasive way to grow your brand on Instagram.
A great example of a company that does this is GymShark.
Gymshark was founded by Ben Francis when he was only 19 years old and has grown to be a popular eCommerce fitness brand. The success of the brand is largely thanks to the emphasis it puts on micro-influencer marketing.
Essentially what Gymshark does is reach out to fitness influencers on Instagram with large followings asking if they would be interested in partnering with the brand. These influencers will then create sponsored posts for Gymshark that will help them reach a whole new audience- the influencer’s audience to be specific.
In some cases, influencers will even add a link to Gymshark’s online store within their bio.
This marketing strategy works so well is because it is reaching your ideal audience without a heavy lift on your end.
For a Facebook ad, you have to trust that an algorithm will put your ad in front of the right people. However, influencer marketing makes sure you are reaching the right people. In the case of Gymshark, that means people who are interested in fitness.
Another great part about this strategy is that it is not as annoying to the viewer. You are not pushing an ad in front of their face that they will probably scroll by. Instead, it is much more subtle. The influencer’s followers who want to know what they are doing and wearing anyway will see your product authentically showcased within their posts.
Use Instagram tools
A good way to grow your Instagram platform is to use tools that can give you a more ‘behind the scenes’ look at what is going on.
Tools can help you focus on your analytics and past posts. This way you will be able to figure out what is working for your brand and what posts do well for you. You can also use tools for scheduling, following the right people, creating a strategy, editing images, etc.
A few tools that you should consider:
- Grum: Having a schedule for posting is important if you want to appear professional to your audience. You cannot simply post at random with no strategy in mind. Grum helps you schedule out posts in advance so that you can get all of your social media work done in one day.
- Owlmetrics: Looking at the data is always a good way to understand what is working for you and what you could be doing better. Owlmetrics shows you real-time analytics such as follower gender, like history, follower geo-distribution, and more.
- Brand Mentions: BrandMentions is a social media tracker that allows you to monitor your brand and your competitors on multiple social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Zyro: This free logo maker from Zyro is a great way to create an awesome logo for your brand that you can use below every image you post on Instagram and maybe even for your profile picture if you like. Zyro is 100% free, has tons of templates, and is extremely customizable.
- Ampfluence: Ampfluence is the best Instagram marketing agency to use if you want to see solid growth for your account. They do this by creating a customized strategy that will help you reach your target audience and grow your followers.
Let Instagram amplify your content
The end goal of your Instagram strategy should be to focus on an omnichannel approach.
For example, if you have already created written content for your blog or recorded an episode for your podcast, you can use that to create micro pieces which you can then use on other channels (posts, IG slides, IGTV videos, etc.) to get more out of your already existing content. Use IG as an amplifier.
This can even be done with the courses that you create for your audience. You can give your audience a sneak peek of a premium course by creating well thought out Instagram posts or even IGTV videos.
I always say: You have two companies – a media company and your ‘real business’ (in that exact order). The sooner you understand and accept that the sooner you will succeed with your Instagram marketing and business.
IGTV is a relatively new feature on Instagram that lets you post longer videos with no ads (as of now at least). Also, since it is a new feature Instagram is pushing IGTV content in the feed.
Creating an IGTV channel on your Instagram is like having a mini YouTube account connected to your Instagram. You can use it to showcase DIY videos, tutorials, create a series, etc.
IGTV lets you create more episodic content that can be centered around one theme in particular. This can be really engaging for your viewers and they will come back for more.
The Budget Mom (personal finance) is a good example of a brand that takes advantage of IGTV:
Promote engagement by hosting giveaways and contests
A great way to get your audience to engage with your brand is to host giveaways and contests. It is one of the more affordable Instagram marketing strategies and is pretty easy to implement.
You can do this by following a few steps:
- Figure out your end goal: What do you want out of this? More brand awareness, more followers, or more likes?
- Decide on a giveaway prize
- Create an awesome post description and hashtag to go along with your giveaway announcement (You can even use chat acronyms for this)
- Decide on eligibility criteria for participants
- Read Instagram’s rules regarding giveaways
- Figure out how you are going to promote your giveaway: This could be by paying for ads, investing in influencer marketing, or relying on your own audience to spread the word.
- Decide on the length of your giveaway: You need to set a time limit. Do you want your giveaway to last for a few days or a few months? When will you announce the winners? Ideally the bigger the prize, the longer you can convince people to wait.
- Launch and promote your giveaway
A giveaway can be a great way to not only grow your brand but also learn more about your audience. New brands, in particular, see great success with this strategy.
Share user-generated content
A lot of brands make the mistake of only focusing on creating their own content instead of trying to get users to participate in the creation process. The focus should be on getting users to love your brand as much as you do.
Aerie, an activewear brand, does an awesome job of this. They constantly post user-generated content of women who wear their apparel.
This works wonders for a couple of reasons:
- It helps your audience relate to your brand more because they are seeing people just like them using your brand and loving it.
- If you share a picture that was posted by someone who loves your brand, it is likely that they will become even more passionate about your products and there is nothing better than referral traffic.
- People who would love to be featured on your page are even more likely to post images wearing your clothes/ using your product/etc.
Creating a social media strategy for your small business is one of the core components of your digital marketing efforts. It is important to keep in mind that your strategy should align with your goals and should be tailored to your business.
It will take time to figure out exactly who your audience is and the best way to reach them but hopefully, these 7 ideas gave you a place to start.
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