By Candace Huntly
Have you waded in the Instagram waters yet for your business? It doesn’t make sense for every business, but if your audience is on Instagram and you aren’t, then you should probably start putting together a strategy.
It might seem a little daunting. Where do you even start? Well, you can definitely get a good start by asking yourself these eight questions. Your answers will help you determine the kind of Instagram strategy you should build.
Question #1: How much time do I have to dedicate to Instagram?
While social media provides a platform mostly free of charge. You still need to invest time into successfully using it if you are planning on managing it on your own. Like your financial budget, time is not limitless as there are only a certain number of hours in the day. If you can set aside even 15 to 30 minutes every day for engagement and an hour minimum per week to create content, then you will be able to keep up your Instagram strategy.
If you aren’t able to dedicate time to your Instagram strategy, then it might be a better option to hire someone or outsource to a third party. There are many agencies (like SongBird) that even offer the option to do partial social media management to help you manage your financial budget better if that is a concern.
Question #2: What are my Instagram goals?
Your social media goals should support your overall business goals, but not everyone will want or need to achieve the same thing. When it comes to your Instagram strategy, the content you create and how you interact with your Instagram community will vary based on your goals. Here are a few different things you might want to achieve with your Instagram strategy:
- Build a community of loyal followers & customers
- Build a highly engaged social media community
- Increate brand awareness so people think of you first when it comes time to purchase
- Let people get to know your brand personality and the faces behind it
- Showcase the products and services you offer
- Connect with potential customers with advertising
Question #3: What are my competitors doing on Instagram?
Are you competitors even on Instagram? If they are, have a look at the type of content they share with their followers and the type of engagement they get on each post. You can learn a lot about what you should do and what you shouldn’t do by looking at what is working and what isn’t for your competitors. Have a look at the day of the week they are posting on, the time of day, the types of content (video vs image, quotes, tips, etc), and the conversations they are having with their followers.
If your competitors aren’t on Instagram, ask yourself why. Is it because it doesn’t make sense for the industry? If that is the case, there is no point in wasting resources that could be put into more effective marketing channels.
Question #4: What should I put in my bio?
You only have a limited space for your bio in your profile. You want to make sure that you use the space well by getting to the point. Make sure you tell people who you are, what you have to offer. You can also include you branded hashtag.
While not part of your bio, it’s important to fill out your Instagram profile properly so your customers know how to get a hold of you and can easily navigate to your website either with a direct, single link or a service like Linkin.bio or Linktree.
Question #5: How do I want my Instagram to look?
Your Instagram feed is how you will leave a first impression on anyone who finds you on Instagram. You need to decide how you want to come across. Do you want people to see your brand as warm and calming, quirky and colourful, extreme and loud, or even professional and reserved. Based on how you want to be perceived, you can choose your colours, layout, and overall visual feel to help that come across.
Question #6: Where will I get my visual content from?
For many marketers and small business owners, sourcing and/or creating visual content is generally the biggest barrier to having a successful Instagram strategy. One thing that I always suggest is batch creating content, which allows you to have a library of images and videos to choose from when it comes time to schedule your posts for the week or month. This either involves designing images based on brand templates, creating a string of videos that can be cut and edited to share over a longer period of time, or even booking a photoshoot monthly or quarterly so you can have owned images to use without having to use more generic stock photos.
If you are going to use stock photos, there are a number of royalty free resources to choose from like Pexels and Pixabay. Easy design tools like Canva also have royalty-free stock images built in to the platform.
Question #7: What hashtags should I use?
Hashtags are like keywords for social media. They allow people to find you if they are looking at similar content and they give you the opportunity to join in on conversations that are already happening. It means you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch with your visibility.
A great way to figure out what hashtags you should use is to have a look at the hashtags your target audience is using. You can also look at what your competitors are using and the keywords that you would use for your website content.
One way to tap into trending conversations is to look at what hashtags are trending at the moment. It might be a challenge (ie. #IceBucketChallenge) or a cause based on current events (ie. #MasksForAll). Remember to use these hashtags wisely so your content actually relates to the conversation.
Question #8: What metrics should I track?
You need to have a way to track your success. The metrics you choose should be based on your Instagram strategy goals. For example, if you are looking to create a community, you might look at stats like number of followers and, more importantly, engagement (likes, comments, shares, saves) on each post. If you are looking to drive traffic to your website to actively convert sales, you might look at website clicks or call to action button clicks. For brand awareness, reach and impressions are great to track.
Instagram has a lot of built in insights that you get access to once you hit 100 followers. If you use a paid version of software like Later or Hootsuite, you also get access to more robust ongoing insights.
If Instagram is still causing you to worry because you just don’t know how to get going, contact us for a free 20-minute consultation.