With over 800 million active users worldwide and a universal language (images), Instagram is the platform that can launch your brand at an international level.
So, stop ignoring it and have a look at how to use it for your eCommerce brand!
1. Select the profile type that defines your business
Instagram offers three different profile types:
The Business Profile
This is clearly the account of a business who is promoting a brand. This type of profile comes with several important perks such as access to Instagram’s Insight platform, the ability to add a Contact button, and more. As an example, have a look at AirBnB’s profile – it’s a great source of inspiration!
The Personal Brand Account
Here is the profile that promotes a person and their business. Still, the accent is set on the person, who is represented as a business owner, so the profile works for bloggers, leaders, and more. A good example is Lilly Singh’s profile - @iisuperwomanii.
The Fan Page
This is a profile that doesn’t focus on a business or a person – it focuses on growing a community. They don’t sell a brand but offer useful information on a certain topic (@thinkgrowprosper is a great example).
As you can see, Instagram is a great way to improve your business but you need to know which profile would serve you best. So, analyze each profile type and make a decision based on how each one fits your needs.
2. Create relatable content
Many marketers dismiss Instagram because of how the content is created. Since you’re only speaking through images and short videos, it can be difficult to understand how to create the type of content that’s relatable and engages the audience.
First, it’s important to get to know your Instagram followers and understand what motivates them to engage with your content. Since it can be difficult to start from scratch, we recommend checking out the competition. They promote similar products/services so it’s easy to understand what works for the type of audience you want to attract.
3. Find your uniqueness
Once you understand how your competition’s content strategy works, it’s time to find one that works for you. And you should start with a theme.
The only way to stand out from the crowd on such a crowded platform is by creating a unique theme that is constant throughout your profile. This will make your account instantly recognizable, so people stop scrolling when they see your post.
For this, you first need to find the voice of your brand and then translate it into images. Take a look at the visuals you already have and find the common visual denominators. Find the color that best symbolizes the brand’s personality, the type of image and the structure that fits you best. (Joy Mangano’s Instagram feed demonstrates this beautifully.)
4. Create value
This rule is valid regardless of the channel used; as long as your content creates value, your audience will follow.
Instagram is a fantastic platform because you can express a lot of things using images. As such, let’s go through the most popular types of posts brands use:
- Inspirational quotes – There is something about quotes that motivates us, but more important, it creates a connection with the brand when you don’t have that many visuals to share. The secret is to use this type of post from time to time; otherwise, your audience may get fed up and leave.
- Images with people – These show a brand’s human side and give the company personality. Take an example from the big brands selling food, beverages, or even cosmetics – their Instagram feeds are usually filled with faces, not their products.
- Images with Mother Nature – People love to admire beautiful landscapes, so give them what they want.
- Behind the scene images – Give your followers a glimpse into what happens behind the polished brand image – they will appreciate you more for it.
- Content generated by other users – Reposting images of users using your product is a wonderful way to get a testimonial and show you care about your customers.
The list can go on, but the idea behind each of these posts is that you have the wonderful opportunity of choosing and creating variety. People get bored easily (especially nowadays) so you need to think a few steps ahead. (Take a look at Letterfollk's feed for ideas.)
5. Get your content seen
Once you decide on the types of posts and have your Instagram content strategy in place, it’s time to understand how to create content that converts. After all, a huge following won’t do you any good if you don’t use it to boost sales or bring more people to your site.
On Instagram, the only section that allows you to place a pitch is the caption. In the new format, followers only see the first two rows of a caption, so the real estate is quite small. To catch people’s attention, be brief, bold, and original.
Finally, make sure to use enough hashtags; they play a very important role in your captions.
6. Work with influencers
Another way to increase brand awareness and attract more high-quality leads is through influencers. You can use this tactic as an addition to your basic Instagram strategy or you can ditch the account altogether and just use influencers.
However, it’s important to know that, while you may have the luck to find people who want to promote your products for free, most will ask for a fee or other deals in exchange. So, before you approach anyone, learn about how to collaborate with influencers, so you’ll be well-prepared.