How to Start Using Instagram for Your Business: A Checklist

Instagram is still growing at a rapid pace, becoming one of the most impactful social media platform alongside its parent network Facebook. In September 2017, Instagram announced that it now has 800 million users engaging with the service on at least a monthly basis and 500 million users using the service on a daily basis. Instagram also revealed that it now has 2 million advertisers on the platform up from 1 million in March. With such impressive numbers, you should be hopping on the bandwagon for your business as well.

Instagram has successfully developed a clean, streamlined and well-designed application that is user-friendly. The simple platform with beautiful interface has allowed the platform to quickly establish a large base of highly active users.

One of Instagram’s most attractive features to marketers is its highly-engaged community, and it is critical to understand how to market to them. And if you are still wondering whether Instagram is a suitable marketing channel for your business, then the answer is YES! Simple because every brand has a story to tell and what better ways to represent it visually like Instagram allows you to? Tp get started, below is a list of steps to guide you along your New Instagram journey!

1. Define Your Goal

You have decided to start using Instagram for your business, so first, you have to create an Instagram Business account. Do you have clearly defined goals for this marketing strategy? What are you hoping to get out of the Instagram account? Is it to increase overall brand awareness or drive traffic to your website? Is it to have a platform to interact and engage with your customers? Is it to drive more leads and hence conversion into sales online?

Whatever it is, your messages on the images or videos you post on Instagram should have a clear Call-To-Action (CTA) to navigate your followers to your intended goal, and guide them to take your desired action. Well-defined objectives can help you to optimise the messaging and content you disseminate to your audience to help achieve the specific goals.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is paramount in any marketing strategy. Having a good understanding of your target audience can influence the way you communicate with them.

If you understand your target demographics and habits, it will make it more efficient to identify a market strategy. To connect with your audience, you need to understand what their values and habits are. What are their interests? What do they like to do? What do they care about? It is important to know your customer so you can correctly keep them interested and engaged. The more you know about your audience, the better you can provide them with the most relevant message. As a result, you are able to offer more value to them.

Let your audience take a look into your products and humanise your brand to establish an emotional connection with them. One important guideline in your selling speech is that 70% should be focused on something your audience finds valuable and the remaining 30% should be on selling you and your products.

3. Develop Your Style Guide

You now have clearly-defined objectives and a concrete understanding of your audience. Now we have to refine on how to effectively broadcast your message to your audience. You have to create a style guide that is important to build brand awareness and establish integrity among your audience. Decide on what kind of tone and voice can best speak for your brand and appeal to the audience. Choose a colour palette and visual style that can help to evoke emotions from your audience. What kind of emotions are you expecting from your audience?

Cultivating a consistent image in your marketing campaign can help to enhance brand recognition. The ultimate goal is for your audience to see your content and identify immediately that it belongs to your brand.

4. Create a Content Calendar

It is recommended for you to do an editorial calendar plan for your posts before you even start publishing your first Instagram post. Always be prepared and plan ahead so you will not be at a loss for content when you are building up a new audience base.

Make a list of the kind of posts you want to share on your account. Besides product-related content, other things that you can share include pop culture references, a look behind-the-scenes and also sharing customer testimonials.

Your posts should be interesting and entice users to follow you or encourage them to share with their social network. For example, you can show them ways to use your products. That is a technique that has been adopted by many skincare and makeup companies.

Always remember that social media is real-time and creating a content calendar can help to keep you on track. Be prepared to manage any crisis that may impact your content. As you proceed with content development, constantly make reference to your initial list to make sure you are on track towards your goals and strategy.

5. Commit Yourself

Growing your brand on Instagram takes patience and dedication. You have to commit a lot of time and effort to be successful on Instagram. It requires impeccable ongoing efforts to post and create content regularly. Delegate someone with a deep understanding of the brand to manage the account and to build and maintain the community. Once you have successfully established a following, fans will expect you to be consistent and share things that are of value to them. A dedication to your Instagram posts will organically draw attention to your brand and help you increase customer connections.

Instagram Effectiveness

Instagram is an extremely effective platform that gives brands the opportunity to engage with a massive audience on a personal level. It allows brands to sneak into a part of the users’ everyday life and allow brands to constantly humanise their brand, showing how they operate and how to use their products or services. These efforts helps to achieve stronger brand loyalty and even create brand advocates. For example, Apple fans sharing about new Apple product launches and Samsung fans sharing about new Samsung product launches.

With the right amount of commitment, Instagram is an incredible platform that every business can benefit from. A picture is worth a thousand words and what better way to promote your business to visual creatures like you and I?

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