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[Free Guide]: Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy

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The reasons to promote your brand on Instagram are overwhelming. With over 500 million active users, this social network is perfect for building a loyal following, showcasing your products, and driving new visitors to your site. Your presence on Instagram provides an extra channel for customers to communicate and remain plugged in with your brand.

In this free comprehensive guide, you’ll discover how to create an Instagram marketing strategy that positions your business for growth. Get ready to attract new people, further engage your target audience, and expand your influence as you hone yet another social media marketing strategy to stay connected with today’s digital consumers.

How to Create an Effective Instagram Marketing Strategy

#1 Establish Your Goals

It’s important that you’re clear on exactly what you’ll be using Instagram for so that each post is intentional. You see, your Instagram strategy should align with your ultimate business goals. If you desire to generate more exposure to your brand in 2017, for example, then you want your Instagram marketing to reflect that and publish quality-rich content that educates and informs your followers.

Or perhaps you want to boost engagement and increase the number of likes, comments, and reposting of your content. Then it’s imperative that you leave a CTA within your message that prompts users to engage. Being clear on your goals ensures that you post with a purpose, moving you closer to achieving your overall business objectives.

#2 Decide Your Metrics

Once you’ve gained clarity of your goals, you’ll want to define your metrics so you know you’re on the right track or if you need to make proper adjustments in your strategy. These metrics can include new follower count, comments received, most engaged hashtags, and likes. The key is using the ones that fit your objectives so you can focus on growing that number.

There are several apps you can leverage to measure your results. Instagram Insights is the native analytic tool that gives details to help you gauge how people are viewing and interacting with your content. Also, third party tools like Iconosquare, Social Insight, and Crowdfire provides critical data so you can focus on the type of content that is generating results in your marketing.

Decide on your metrics then choose a tool that resonates best with your brand to measure results.

#3 Develop a Content Plan

The next step to an effective Instagram marketing strategy is developing a content plan. This entails your content topics or themes, the types of content you’ll share, and how often you’ll post.

Content Themes

Building content themes ensure that your posts remain congruent with your business objectives. If you’ve established that your goal is brand awareness, then your content will consist of posts that solve problems, educates your followers, and shows that you’re an expert in your niche.

Create a list of possible content themes based on your objectives, then decide on which subjects you’ll use that best resonates with your audience. Use an editorial calendar tool to help you map out, organize, and schedule this content.

Determine Types of Content

Instagram houses photos, social videos, Instagram Stories, and collages. When choosing your content topics, determine how you will convey your message on which content type. Decide to leverage different types of visuals to appeal to different audiences. Live-streaming videos generate massive engagement so capitalize with Stories and allow viewers to experience you in real-time.

User-generated content, or posts published by your fans that highlights their experience with your brand, is extremely effective in promoting your business. Find creative ways to include these testimonial-like posts in your content strategy to build trust with prospective customers.

How Often to Post

Building a loyal audience requires a regular publishing schedule where you’re constantly feeding your audience value-rich content to look forward to. Posting inconsistently can result in loss followers. Adopt a schedule that you will stick to for a steady presence on Instagram.

A good rule of thumb is to post on Instagram twice a day. The best times to post include 8am-9am, 5pm, and 2am. However, it’s best to use analytical tools that will let know when your unique audience is most engaged.

#4 Establish Clear Guidelines

When people see your content on Instagram, they should be able to recognize it’s from your brand…meaning that you have a unique style and look to your posts that exude the essence of your brand and separates you from the masses. This is how you keep your look consistent and market effectively on Instagram.

Therefore, create an Instagram-style guide that is clear to all team members involved in the content creation process. When choosing a filter for your images, decide between 1-2 that you will use for all your visuals and be sure it's listed in your guide. There are a plethora of filter apps available to bring individuality to your images.

Here are a few other pointers to consider for your guide:

  • The hashtags you will use for your various topics to increase visibility and engagement. This also includes how many hashtags will be mentioned per post
  • How you will involve influencers and followers in your content; the policy around mentioning others and reposting other’s content
  • Sources for your high-quality images; get creative by taking your own pictures and tying your visuals to your brand message
  • The actual message or caption itself; whether sentence fragments are acceptable, if emoji's are okay, and if so, how many
  • Using geo-tagging when appropriate; this is especially great for live offsite events

Finally, you’ll want to identify your team members and their roles in executing your Instagram strategy. You can designate a content creator, someone who overlooks the analytics, and a community manager, for example.

#5 Foster Engagement and Create Guidelines for Community Management

As on any social media network, the goal is to generate engagement from your intended audience so it leads to favorable outcomes like increased traffic to your site, more people talking about and referring your brand to people, and gaining a loyal audience.

On Instagram, this begins by optimizing your bio page that tells people about your business and includes a link that directs visitors to either a landing page or specific blog post. Refrain from just listing your website as this can result in loss opportunity for capturing fresh leads or educating your audience.

Fostering engagement also includes following other accounts related to your industry (whether influencers or enthusiasts), and responding back to comments, mentions, hashtags, and direct messages. Social media is about being social. The more involved you are in interacting with your followers, the more responsive they’ll be to your content.

Again, specifically assigning someone to manage these responses and your analytics ensures that your business remains “on top of” its audience. Personalization certainly gives you the competitive edge and keeps followers coming back to your page.

#6 Test, Analyze, and Optimize Results

The final component to your Instagram marketing strategy is knowing which content is producing the most engagement and discovering the ones that need to be modified or tweaked for improvement. Testing and analyzing your outcomes is a crucial piece because it positions you to optimize the tactics that are working. In time, you’ll get better and create greater results.

The same tools mentioned in Step #2 can be used to test and maximize your results. Also, here are a few questions you can ask to discover what content is most effective:

  • What hashtags are people using to locate my content?
  • Which content topics are read the most?
  • Which content generates the most comments?
  • How many new followers did I gain as a result from posting?
  • Which content type produced the most social engagement (combination of likes and reposts)?
  • How many clicks did my website link receive?

Conclusion

This clear-cut blueprint provides concrete details to crafting a strong Instagram strategy. Through implementation, you will methodically promote your business that bolsters brand awareness and yields incredible results from your efforts. Get started today…this active audience is waiting to indulge in your quality-rich content.

Much success!

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