Second in a series
In our first article, we explained the many benefits and importance of using Instagram in your eCommerce business. Ready to move forward? Now it’s time to develop your Instagram strategy.
Your objectives will vary, based on your industry, target market, branding and other marketing efforts. Here are some typical objectives:
- Increase brand awareness.
- Get new prospects or customers.
- Increase customer engagement and loyalty.
- Showcase products and services.
- Connect with influencers.
Once you’ve determined your objectives, you’ll want to figure out your content strategy.
The focus on visual sharing through the mobile app is unique to Instagram. It offers you the ability to share information in a more casual way than with other social media. Providing content in this way can be a little tricky. One way to become familiar with how to do this is to spend some time looking around at accounts by people who run stores like yours. Get an idea of what is working for them, and what type of look and feel will best represent your brand on Instagram.
Sharing photos of new products is a popular strategy. This helps your followers be “in the know” and offers you the chance to get them excited enough to want to buy.
In the Instagram post below, ShipStation customer Genius Pack shared this photo of a new product on Instagram. Note how it looks cool and seems to have been taken in an airport setting. The goal (we think) is for you to say to yourself: “I can see myself traveling with this.”
There are many other types of images you can feature. The key is to create compelling content others will want to share, including short videos if you have the resources. “Compelling” means you can’t simply post photos of your products and services. Choose images that tell a story or elicit an emotion. Dogs and babies are generally a good choice. Check out what ShipStation customer SpurCycle shared via Instagram:
Need more ideas? How about showing followers some behind-the-scenes shots to help them know and love your business. You can tie your posts to major holidays and events. You can even get personal and show off your after-hours activities, especially if they’re in keeping with your products and services. Beverly, of Beverly Swimwear, photographs herself on various outdoor expeditions, wearing her own fashions. SpurCycle’s Nick and Clint, who design bicycle products, like to post scenes of their rides around San Francisco.
You can have great content and ideas, but posting them systematically could make the difference between success and failure. First, determine how often you’re going to post. Then create a content calendar to help you remember what and when to post on Instagram – and don’t forget to track your results. Tracking will help you determine what kind of content sparks the most engagement and what keywords are most successful. If your followers lean toward certain images, for example, you can always adjust your plans to fit. You can determine the best time to publish. You’ll also be able to identify influencers who like and comment on your posts.
Whether you are the only one posting to Instagram, or you have a team of people, consistency is key. Here are some typical decisions you’ll want to consider:
- What filter or filters (if any) will you use?
- Which hashtags will you use?
- What is the maximum number of hashtags to include per post (Instagram allows up to 30, but we’ve all been turned off by Instagram posts that seem to be all hashtag and no content, right?)
- Will you use captions?
- Will you use tags?
- What color palette will you use?
- What branding items, such as logos, will you use?
Instagram posts may be spur of the moment thoughts for some, but for businesses, planning and consistency are important ways to make sure that the time and money you spend posting on Instagram lead to the fulfillment of your objectives. Keep these tips in mind as you put together your Instagram strategy and look for information on posting and more advanced Instagram tips in upcoming features.