It’s not just traditional, old-school marketers and entrepreneurs who think Instagram is little more than a giant waste of time. Truth be told, many of the 500 million active monthly accounts on Instagram belong to businesses just like yours …
Unfortunately, though initially sold on Instagram, most of them are not having a positive experience with the innovative social outlet.
But how can this be?
It seems that with every person you speak or Internet article you read, somebody has found booming success using Instagram—are they just lucky?
Having worked in this for quite some time, take it from us—absolutely not. Yes, Instagram is great for businesses, but there’s a reason for it—seeing success is predictable; it’s formulaic.
Interested in the formula?
Instead of peeling back the curtain on our Instagram marketing secrets, we’re going to zero in on what keeps businesses from driving traffic and making sales on Instagram.
At its core, we’ll be telling you why most people’s Instagram marketing endeavors fall flat on their faces right from the get-go. Hopefully, you haven’t yet had any encounters with this stuff, but if you have, there’s no time like the present to make matters right.
Anyway, without further adieu, let’s get to it:
1) We’ve Beaten This to a Bloody Pulp—Quality Matters
Read our blog content, and you’ll notice a core theme running straight through the middle of everything we publish—quality counts. Yes, we might sound like a broken record of sorts, but that’s precisely how important quality posts are.
Think of the nature of Instagram for a second—users open Instagram, scroll through their feeds and stop only when they see something of interest. You have an Instagram account—you do the same thing, don’ you?
If you’re not publishing high-quality images and video clips, nobody will pause to see what your business is up to.
Adding to the whole “quality over quantity” argument, statistically speaking, Instagram’s posts have a much longer shelf life than content posted on other social networks.
Believe it or not, a recent study by Simply Measured found that posts from Instagram’s top brands take upwards of 19 hours to hit 50 percent of their total comments—impressive, to say the least.
No, your brand might not yet be a “household” name, but if your business builds a reputation as a creator of top-notch content, your posts will also hold their value for lengthy periods of time.
As a business owner, efficiency is important. On Instagram, however, that doesn’t mean posting as many posts as possible—quality matters.
2) Consistent Posting Is Key
Remember when business blogging first took off circa 2005? Regardless of industry or area of expertise, businesses everywhere started a blog—perhaps you did, too.
That said, when immediate sales weren’t made, the result was the same across the blogging board—posting frequencies began to dwindle, and blogs were left to collect digital dust in their own remote corners of the World Wide Web.
It’s a sad story, isn’t it?
Whatever you do, don’t let the same thing happen to your Instagram account.
We could dive deeply into the metrics, but the short of the matter is that brands should schedule an average of 1.5 posts per day.
The big kicker, here?
If you’re not consistent with this, user engagement will take a severe hit.
Quality can’t be compromised, but once you build out a posting schedule for Instagram, stick with it. Customers want reliability, and your Instagram account is the perfect way to show them what you’re capable of.
3) Hashtags Are an Absolute Necessity
Back in 2012, news broke of a woman who named her baby “Hashtag Jameson.”
Whether you loved the name or shook your head in utter disbelief, the name embodied the craze that had taken the world of social media by storm—the hashtag.
As of 2016, fewer parents might be naming their children “Hashtag,” but the importance of the digital marketing tool is as strong as it’s ever been—especially on Instagram.
When up-and-coming businesses take to Instagram for some marketing magic, yet misuse hashtags, they’re unlikely to see much success. The reasoning behind this is simple—hashtags are vital for smaller accounts looking to gain industry-, interest- or niche-specific exposure.
Even better, though one to two hashtags are the norm on Twitter, when publishing content on Instagram, 11 or more hashtags are considered your best bet. In fact, a QuickSprout infographic suggests that posts with this many hashtags produce an interaction rate of nearly 80 percent.
Also, when choosing your hashtags, piggyback the appeal of tried-and-true hashtags, but do consider creating your own branded hashtags, as well.
4) Nothing Black-Hat, Please …
Usually, the term “black-hat” is associated with the ever-changing field of search engine optimization (SEO).
Today, however, we’re borrowing the phrase, and using it to label what far too many brands think is a great way to quickly build their Instagram accounts—buying followers and “user” engagement.
Not only is buying “success” one of the quickest ways to destroy any rapport you’ve organically built with your Instagram audience, but Instagram is cracking down on fake accounts, as well.
Buy followers, likes or comments, and it won’t be long before Instagram finds out, and does away with what you thought your hard-earned money could buy.
The biggest downfall, though?
Instagram is all about engagement. When you feel the urge to buy Instagram activity, remember that you should be less concerned with the way your account appears, and more concerned with the sales it generates for your business.
This kind of money-making opportunity comes from organic growth, customer engagement and genuine value. Black-hat marketing methods on Instagram accomplish none of these.
5) Commit to Instagram
You know the routine—we always save the best for last.
Though a number of marketing mishaps derail Instagram for business campaigns right from the start, this is by far the biggest culprit. It’s an issue of commitment, really.
Getting excited about Instagram is easy—it’s social, sexy and others are seeing success.
Seriously, what’s not to love? However, when it’s time to get in the trenches or sales aren’t made as quickly as one would like, a number of questions begin to pop up …
- Do I even have time to manage another social network?
- Mine isn’t an attractive business—is there any point to all of this?
- I don’t know the first thing about taking great photos—can I make this happen?
- Social media is for younger people—will I really be able to keep up?
Do any of these sound familiar? No worries—we hear these all the time. If you’re wanting to take to Instagram to make immediate sales, you’re out of luck—for most, this isn’t a real possibility.
However, if you see the long-term potential and push your products and services accordingly, rest assured, you’ll see the results you so desperately crave—you have our word.
Where Do You Stand?
It’s a good question, isn’t it? But seriously, where are you at with Instagram?
Whether your Instagram marketing has failed in the past, or you’re just now getting started, each of the above should be kept in mind. Follow them, and you’ll start to see why there’s so much buzz surrounding Instagram marketing.
As always, hit us up if you have any questions—best of luck!