This is a guest article by Libby Bearman, the CRO Manager at Browser Media.
So you’ve decided to reach out to a new demographic on Instagram. Great! Why wouldn’t you? With 700m monthly active users uploading around 95m photos per day, there’s a huge audience out there just waiting to hear what you’ve got to say… isn’t there?
Planning a campaign on Instagram
Before you begin to plan your Insta campaign, you need to make sure it’s where your target audience is hanging out. Sure, there are millions of users, but are they your users? You need not only to stand out amongst the competition, but also resonate with your audience with a relevant, valuable offering. What’s your angle and how will you identify and attract your target demographic? Be inspired by what’s already out there.
If you don’t have an account yet, you can choose between either a personal or a corporate one – there’s a lot of literature on the merits of both, but it will depend on your business which will work best. You need a short, memorable username, an eye-catching profile picture, a punchy description of you/your brand, and links to your other marketing channels like your website or other social media accounts.
Consider what it is you want to get out of Instagram, and what you’ll be asking of your audience. Maybe you’re running a messaging campaign to offer your solution to your audience’s problem(s), or a challenge campaign to help them overcome some sort of struggle you’re aware they may be having. Be clear, and be obvious to encourage people to jump on in.
As Instagram hinges on images – and the better yours are, the more likely people are to engage – you’ll need to get your visuals in order. No need to be taking a professional photography course (unless you want to!), but understanding things like framing, the rule of thirds, and use of colour will certainly help. And make sure your gorgeous, share-worthy snaps are well-branded, and that this is carried through your whole campaign, across all relevant platforms.
Reaching new Instagram followers
The first rule is consistency. If you’re new to Instagram, you need to build a following from scratch, and the best way to do this is with new photos daily. Why would people even follow you otherwise? Having said that, avoid going OTT on the updates. Like Twitter, Instagram users are in and out all the time, which can make it difficult to understand what time of day to push your messages so they aren’t missed… a bit of trial and error is in order here! Once you’ve established your audience’s usage patterns, you’ll need to plan your updates around them.
Depending on the type of account you’ve gone for, you could hit up your Facebook friends by following them – many will follow back. This “follow back” premise works well if you start following other users in your industry. On top of expanding your audience, it also allows you to see what other users get up to, learning from their efforts. You can also add your profile to your website, your email footer, business cards and push your user name out on your other social media channels.
Instagram users count on hashtags to find new content and new people to follow, so incorporating relevant ones in your images will help your reach. Describe your picture, reference specific trends, and name-drop anyone relevant (usually the bigger their Instagram following the better).
Insta campaigns are a two-way street
Talk to your audience, not at them. Remember what lies at the heart of social media – communication – and take the time to engage with your audience. Like and comment on images that crop up in your own feed, and make sure you write back to those who reach out to you. Forming relationships like this works to amplify your voice and working with an influencer affords you an even greater audience, and the opportunity to collaborate in the future. Be friendly and be grateful.