A significant number of businesses around the world have turned to Instagram marketing with the aim of increasing conversion. This is because while Instagram gives you the means to promote your business, it also gives you the ability to connect with your target audience in an impactful way. Businesses that have used this platform with success are ones that connect with their users on an emotional level. They engage with their followers while encouraging and empowering them.
If you wish to use Instagram for marketing, you need to know how the platform works and how to effectively use the various tools this platform has to offer.
Table Of Contents
Development and Deployment
Instagram’s first prototype came in the form of a mobile check-in app called Burbn, and the platform has come a long way since. Seeing the similarity to Foursquare, its creators shifted their focus to photo-sharing, which was already a popular feature among its users. After months of experimentation and prototyping, the first version of Instagram saw the light of day in October 2010.
Now, Instagram deploys its back-end code 30 to 50 times each day, usually without any human involvement. According to the company, this provides many benefits, including:
- Providing engineers the ability to work and respond very quickly
- Simplifying the process of identifying bad commits
- Attending to other unrelated changes with minimal delays because there is no un-deployable mess
Features and Tools – UX and UI
Instagram rates highly when it comes to delivering a great user experience (UX), primarily because of its ever-evolving user interface (UI). Beyond uploading and sharing photos and videos, users can follow other users, geotag images, connect to other social networking sites to upload content to their Instagram accounts, and even set their accounts as private.
Some of Instagram’s more popular features include:
- Instagram Direct
- Instagram Stories
The Impact of Instagram
Instagram has moved far beyond being just a photo-sharing platform used by individuals. It also serves as a great digital marketing platform for businesses, enabling them to showcase their products, offer humanized content, inspire their followers, and even recruit new talent. Instagram, after all, gives brands a powerful way to engage with their audience.
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What helps is that around half of all Instagram users check it every day, and as many as 35% of users check it more than once each day. Data also suggests that around 70% of its users have used it to look for specific brands. With Instagram marketing, there is no need for a hard sell. All you need is a friendly and authentic approach.
Creating and Managing Business Accounts
The first thing you will need is an Instagram business account. If you have an existing Facebook Business account, you may use the same to log in and create a new Instagram account. If you do not, you need to start by signing up for a personal Instagram account.
Converting a personal Instagram account to a business account is fairly simple – all you need to do is access the settings and make the required change. At this stage, you get to choose a specific business category and add your business’ contact information. Adding a link to your profile’s bio is crucial because this helps promote your website. You may choose to promote specific offerings and update the link periodically. It’s also important to get all the elements of your branding right, as they need to remain consistent across all online and offline marketing efforts.
Setting up a business account comes with multiple benefits. These include:
- Access to insights. Business account owners get to access Instagram Insights for free. This gives you the ability to see how well your content is doing when it comes to discovery, accounts reached, accounts engaged, impressions, number of plays, and more.
- Product stickers. Businesses that share stories and/or reels on Instagram may add product stickers to their videos. These stickers help you share links, mentions, polls, captions, gifs, and more.
- Tagging products. Businesses that are part of Instagram Shopping may tag the products that feature in their content, as this gives consumers the ability to shop during the discovery phase.
- Using Instagram Shopping. Instagram Shopping gives you easy means to highlight your products in a seamless manner so consumers may make purchases even as they discover what you have to offer. You may use pre-made or real-time content to deliver interactive shopping experiences, the typical effect of which is better Instagram conversion rates.
Instagram for Marketing
With over two billion monthly active users, as reported by Statista, Instagram has evolved into a thriving marketplace where brands can connect with their target audiences. If you would like to attract potential customers and increase conversion through Instagram marketing, consider using these tools.
Businesses may use specific and relevant hashtags to attract Instagram users. Hashtags are like digital signposts that categorize and organize content on Instagram. Identify popular and trending hashtags in your industry to ensure your content reaches the right audience.
Use the platform’s search feature to explore related hashtags, analyze the engagement levels of posts, and determine the relevance of each hashtag to your brand. Strike a balance between popular and niche hashtags to maximize your reach while targeting a specific audience.
With more than three-quarters of all businesses planning to use videos for online marketing, using Instagram reels is a no-brainer. Reels work well in engaging audiences because they give brands the ability to share stories that you cannot convey through a single image. You may create Instagram Reels that are up to 90 seconds in length.
You may use Reels to promote your products and build trust. Besides, Reels offer an interactive platform for engaging with your audience, which gets to like, comment, and share the content it finds interesting. Respond promptly to comments, answer questions, and actively engage in conversations. This fosters a sense of community and loyalty among your audience while boosting your brand’s visibility and credibility.
Instagram’s in-feed videos may vary in length from 3 seconds to 60 minutes. These videos might work well if you wish to share educational and/or insightful content that your audience might find beneficial. You may turn to in-feed videos for demonstrating the features, benefits, and functionality of your products or services. Whether it’s a tutorial, a product demonstration, or a behind-the-scenes glimpse, an in-feed video holds the potential to effectively convey the value proposition of your brand.
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Recording and sharing videos using Instagram Stories is typically simpler than using the platform’s regular video posts. When done right, stories work well in creating brand awareness, increasing engagement levels, driving traffic to websites, and generating sales. Instagram stories can be 15 seconds long and they expire in 24 hours.
The live video feature gives users the ability to broadcast in real-time, and the videos may extend up to four hours. Consequently, they may work well if you wish to hold workshops, publicize product launches, conduct Q&A sessions, or offer behind-the-scenes glimpses. Upon starting a live video, followers of the Instagram account in question receive notifications. This brings with it an increased possibility of attracting viewers and building high engagement levels. Besides, the interactive nature of live videos fosters a stronger connection between your brand and your audience, thereby driving engagement and building loyalty.
Instagram Direct, a direct messaging tool, has a significant potential to add value to a business by allowing you to engage with customers, reinforce brand values, and network with influencers. While it serves as a direct and effective line of communication, it makes way to provide personalized customer support as well. You may also use Instagram Direct to send exclusive offers to your loyal followers, collaborate with influencers, conduct market research, carry out surveys, nurture leads, and drive sales.
Businesses may use Instagram ads to good effect once they understand the process. This is because the best way to run Instagram ads varies based on your specific requirements. For instance, there are several types of ads from which to choose, including photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, collections ads, explore ads, stories ads, and shopping ads.
Instagram ads can work well in driving awareness by sharing your stories with a highly engaged audience, thereby increasing conversion rates. You get to target audiences based on factors such as location, interests, demographics, and behavior. It is also possible to automate the targeting process, customize your audience, and find look-alike audiences.
Other Instagram Marketing Tips
Instagram has evolved into a powerhouse platform for businesses to connect with their target audience, build brand awareness, and drive meaningful results. To leverage its full potential, it’s essential to pay attention to these aspects as well.
Partner with Influencers
Many businesses find that partnering with influencers can be a very successful Instagram marketing strategy. Influencers build trust and credibility with their audience through authentic content and relatable storytelling.
When influencers promote your brand, their audience perceives it as a genuine recommendation rather than a traditional advertisement. This authenticity fosters trust, making their audience more likely to consider and act upon their recommendations. In addition, positive reviews from trusted influencers may sway purchasing decisions and generate buzz around your brand.
This kind of partnering gives brands the ability to connect with their audience organically and indirectly, which often leads to increased brand awareness and engagement, followed by considerable social media growth.
Retarget Ad Campaigns
Retargeting allows you to re-engage with users who have previously shown interest in your brand or products. Since they are already familiar with your brand, they are more likely to convert when exposed to relevant retargeted ads. Using compelling visuals, persuasive copy, and enticing offers to create a sense of urgency encourages users to take desired actions.
Turn to User-Generated Content
In today’s social media-driven world, user-generated content (UGC) has emerged as a valuable asset for marketers. Instagram, with its visual nature and engaged community, provides the perfect platform for leveraging UGC to enhance brand awareness, build trust, and drive engagement.
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User-generated content carries inherent authenticity and acts as social proof for your brand. When your audience sees real people using and endorsing your products or services, it builds trust and credibility. UGC provides an opportunity to showcase the genuine experiences of your satisfied customers, demonstrating that your brand delivers on its promises.
By encouraging users to tag your brand or use branded hashtags, you may curate a collection of UGC that showcases your brand’s reach and generates buzz, thereby increasing brand awareness and expanding your online presence.
Use High-Quality Images
Even though Instagram has emerged as a leading video-sharing platform, the use of images still remains fairly common. High-quality images not only enhance the aesthetics of your feed but also play a crucial role in attracting, engaging, and converting your target audience. This is because clear, crisp, and visually appealing images are more likely to catch the eye of users as they scroll through their feeds. By capturing attention, you increase the chances of viewers engaging with your post, which bodes well for click-through and conversion rates alike.
Instagram Tools That No Longer Exist
While Instagram has given businesses access to various tools they may use to promote their brands, not all its tools have stood the test of time.
- IGTV: Instagram TV (IGTV) was a standalone app that let businesses create long-form videos of up to 60 minutes. After creating an IGTV Channel, users could create tutorials, hold Q&A sessions, offer behind-the-scenes footage, stream events, and conduct talk shows. Launched in June 2018, it shut down in March 2022, after the company shifted its focus to Instagram Reels.
- Instagram Legacy API. In June 2020, Instagram shut down its Legacy API platform, which allowed third-party apps to access certain Instagram data and features. The move aimed to improve data security and prevent misuse of user information.
Instagram marketing can be very effective if you know how to make the most of its many tools and features. If you do not have the required expertise, it might be in your best interest to turn to an advertising agency that specializes in this realm. Then, you may look forward to reaching out to a large target audience, engaging with your existing customers, increasing conversion rates, and boosting sales.