Instagram marketing can be a great way to grow your online business, land new clients and build great connections. However, just like any other form of marketing, growing a presence is easier said than done.
If you are new to Instagram marketing but convinced that it’s what your business needs, then this guide is for you.
Instagram Marketing Tips for Beginners
Follow these Instagram marketing tips for beginners to get you started on the right foot.
1. Start by Switching to a Business Account
If you are still using a personal Instagram account, you want to switch to either a Creator’s or Business account to enjoy some of the features that are lacking in the default personal account.
To use a business account, you can create a new account or convert your public personal profile to a business one. To do that, navigate to your profile, tap on the gearshift wheel icon and visit your settings. From there, tap on the “Switch to Business profile’ button. You’ll be required to review or change any contact info. Once everything looks good, tap on ‘Done.’ And that’s it. You’re all set.
2. Define Your Instagram Marketing Goals
Setting your goals will keep you in check and also inform the course that the content creation on the platform should take. Some of the reasons why you may want to leverage Instagram marketing include:
- To generate quality leads for your business
- To increase the awareness of your brand
- To build an online presence for your products
- To create a community around a topic
- To start a social movement
- To sell products directly from the app
- To position your brand as the industry leader
- Managing brand reputation
- Gain customer insights etc.
You don’t have to stick with one goal. Sometimes you may have to combine two or three goals, but always pick the ones that will help you achieve your business objective.
To understand what the main goal of your Instagram marketing should be, you may have to do a bit of digging. Start with a social media audit to determine where your IG Marketing stands at the moment. Analyze current performance- do you have a large following with low engagement or high engagement but low following. Next, determine what’s important. You need to steer away from vanity metrics such as the number of likes.
Now follow a proven framework to set up your goals. For instance, the S.M.A.R.T goal framework is most popular and effective for most industries. Instead of settling at the goals above, break them down even further so as to have specific milestones to hit.
To do that, you have to ensure that your goal is:
Specific: Ensure that the goals you set are not general. While increasing engagement may sound like a good goal, it doesn’t really define what needs to be accomplished for this goal to be hit.
Apart from being specific, these goals also have to be measurable. In other words, it has to be tied to certain metrics that can be tracked and measured. For instance, the number of clicks, page views etc.
Attainable: don’t set audacious goals that need a huge team and a crazy advertising budget to accomplish. Instead, focus on how you can do with the resources that you have without compromising other aspects of your business.
Relevancy: goals are supposed to help you achieve your larger business goals, bit by bit. Thus, it’s paramount that you set goals that add up to your main objective, whether that’s creating social impact or running a successful for-profit venture
Timely: Unless it got a deadline, it’s not a goal, really. Timelines help keep everyone accountable.
Some of the examples of Instagram marketing goals that follow the S.M.A.R.T framework include:
- Increase engagement-50 comments and replies per post
- Increasing social following: 1000 followers in 6 months
- Making sales: get 50 sales every month from Instagram.
- Boost brand awareness- reach 100K people every month
- Increase website visits- get 300 visits from Instagram every month
3. Leverage Instagram Insights to Tailor Your Content Strategy
With a Business account, you can access features such as:
Instagram Audience Insights: Get to know more about how your posts are performing in terms of views and video plays. Instagram insights also show you detailed analytics about your audience demographics and actions. This way, you get enough data to craft your marketing strategy. You can access insights for your account, your timeline posts and your stories.
There are a lot of things you can do with Instagram insights, for instance:
- Tracking profile visits and follower growth
- Evaluating the number of clicks from your profile
- Tracking content engagement. Content interactions show you the number of likes, comments and saves on your posts over the past week
- View specific actions on individual posts. Tap on the individual post that you want insights on, and then click on the ‘View Insights’ below the post.
- View Story insights to explore the reach that your stories are having
By evaluating your Instagram analytics, you get informed about who your audience is and what type of content they’re inclining towards. You can also tell at what pace your account is growing. Armed with this info, you can rethink your content strategy so that you produce content that’s more relevant and useful. This way, you get to boost engagement and hence the growth.
4: Understand Your Audience
To be an effective Instagram marketer, you need to know your audience like the back of your hands. This way, you’ll know whom to connect with and why. Bring in your ideal customer profile if you have one. Your avatar profiling should define your audience in terms of demographics, psychographics, hobbies and interests. Ask yourself the following question:
- Who is she, and what is she up to?
- What Instagram influencers is she following?
- What books and magazines does she read?
- Which blogs does she frequent?
- What are her hobbies and interests?
- What hashtags do they follow?
- What topics are they searching on IG?
- What are her pain points?
- What are her dreams and aspirations?
Some of the questions above will help you understand which people you should be connecting with on Instagram and what content you should be creating to attract them.
5: Create Exceptional Content That Spark Conversations
One mistake that many beginners make on the platform is to think that posting frequently will get them noticed. This isn’t necessarily true. You need great content every time. This can be quite a challenge if you plan on posting several times a day.
Instead, set a flexible posting schedule and maintain consistency. You can decide to be posting every day or three times a week. Since you only have a few minutes to post each week, you will be compelled to put more thoughts into your creation process, resulting in quality posts that spark engagement.
When it comes to IG, creating content that people in your industry will relate to is the key. Speak to their hearts whenever you can. Some of the things that do well include:
- Photos and videos that highlight some unknown industry facts
- Bitter truths around your industry
- Behind the scenes of your business
- Light moments at your company
- Carousel highlight how to accomplish a certain task etc.
Your posts should be a mix of educational, inspirational, entertaining and promotional content. And one more thing, don’t forget your branding. Throw in your branding assets in a thought-out manner every time you post
6. Optimize Your Instagram Profile
When it comes to your Instagram profile, you just have so much to make a great impression. With just under 150 characters, your Instagram bio got to tell a holistic story about your brand and what it stands for. Thus, say what needs to be said and leave the rest to be handled by the other sections of your profile.
These areas are:
- Your name with 30 characters
- Your username or handle also up to 30 characters
- Your clickable website URL
- Business category
- Contact info where you can include a way through which people can reach out to you
- CTA buttons
Thus, use these areas for their specific uses and leave your bio section to tell your story and let your personality shine. Sample a few Instagram bios of some of the influencers you admire in order to have a glimpse of what you should include. You can include one or two hashtags on your profile for people to discover you.
7. Leverage the Power of Hashtags
Hashtags are still a big deal on Instagram as they increase the discoverability of your content on the platform.
Instagram allows up to 30 Instagram hashtags per post, but that doesn’t mean you have to stuff all of them in the caption. If you are using them in the caption, then think under 10. For the comments section, you can use anywhere between 15-25.
Using hashtags aimlessly will not only be ineffective but may also damage your reputation. I recommend sticking to hashtags that are super relevant to your post and not just your profile. For instance, you may be a web design agency, so you have hashtags around web design. However, you may be posting on something a little bit different, e.g., search engine optimization. Instead of posting your web design hashtags here, find hashtags around SEO and use them instead.
Also, there are some hashtags that you want to avoid, as they bring in non-targeted followers who are just there for the likes. These include #likeforlik, #follow4followe and #followme hashtags. Always remember the goal. Sticking with the bigger picture of why you are doing Instagram marketing in the first place will help you stay the course.
8. Stories are Powerful, Use Them
Stories are a great way to let your personality shine and keep your following updated and engaged. Remember that followers expect your stories to feature the real side of your business, so don’t be afraid to serve them the raw you.
IG Stories are great for telling short, compelling stories, celebrating wins, showing behind the scenes, announcing giveaways and staying relevant.
Stories also come with great editing tools that you can use to enhance your messaging and conveying your message visually. There are also other features such as Swipe up and stickers. To increase the visibility of your Stories, consider including hashtags or locations.
Since stories disappear after 24 hours, you can leverage Instagram highlights to save Stories so that they can be accessible even after 24 hours have elapsed. Besides, Highlights, when properly branded and organized, make your profile look great.
Should you buy Instagram Followers?
If you have been researching about growing your Instagram following, chances are you’ve come across websites that encourage you to buy Instagram followers.
While there are some providers like Adflee that are genuine and provide great service, the industry is filled with many sellers who only supply inactive accounts. This makes it really hard to tell them apart.
While it's enticing to get a thousand followers for a few bucks, most often than not you only end up with nothing but robots or accounts that are inactive. At the end of the day, you will have a number of following, but no following at all.
You better spend your time and money fostering real connections and sparking conversations. It’s going to take time, but momentum will eventually pick up.
Growing your Instagram following and using it to market your business strategically can be a great way to boost your online business. I believe these Instagram marketing strategies for beginners can help you lay a solid foundation from the word go.