How to Think About Marketing Through Instagram

Instagram has become one of the most influential avenues for businesses to spread awareness and increase engagement. Seemingly every business out there is trying to tap into their brand power. At Digital Brand we’re frequently asked all sorts of questions about the social media site from readers. Whether the inquiries focus on views, likes, comments, or post saves, we decided it was time to show how we think about Instagram and building a powerful account.

Before we begin, we want to peel back the curtain and introduce how we think about Instagram. We break everything we do on the social media site into three categories: macro theory, direct impact, and call to actions. Through understanding and utilizing these paradigms, we believe that you will be more productive in building your following and increasing revenue.

  • Macro Theory: These are the large Instagram concepts/ questions that pertain to your brand’s overall strategy (I.e. gaining more followers, improving engagement, etc…)
  • Direct Impact: These are strategies that circulate around targeting specific Instagram users (I.e. targeted ad campaigns, direct messaging with users, building hashtags, etc…)
  • Call to Actions: This category is a catch all for general business focused questions or ideas (I.e. how to incorporate Instagram into your sales funnel, how likes turn into sales, etc…)

For each category we will address a reader generated question utilizing the concept/ paradigm.

Macro Theory:

How do I build up my follower count?

This is by far and away the question that we get asked the most frequently. It’s pretty rare to wake up in the morning and not see this question in the Digital Brand inbox. Here’s what you need to know, there isn’t an exact number your audience needs to get to before it is an influencer or impactful on Instagram. However, there are two key ways to measure your success. Number one, make sure that you aren’t just growing your followers with random people. You need to target your desired customers directly. If this article were for influencers who are trying to get big, we would be more concerned about total follower stats, but you’re a business and we need to think in terms of revenue. So, it’s more important to have good followers than a lot of followers. The best way to determine if you have good followers is to monitor your engagement.

Engagement is the percentage of comments and likes you get divided by the number of followers you have and then multiplied by one hundred. If you make a post that gets ten likes and you have one hundred followers. Then your engagement percentage would be ten percent. The average Instagram account has an engagement percentage of three percent. That seems pretty dang small right? We want your business to have an engagement rate between seven to ten percent. If you can keep your engagement around that range you are golden. If it starts to slip below that number, it’s time to take a good long look at what’s going on with your posts that isn’t connecting with your audience. Check out our article on nine digital marketing trends to get inspired about what is driving online conversations and interest.

Direct Impact:

Why are my targeted ads not working?

It is very disheartening to put an advertisement out into the world and have it not work. We get it, especially for small businesses that need that boost in revenue to feel safe and financially secure. What we tell clients all the time is that marketing is a long-term investment that you may never see the return on. That doesn’t mean that the ROI isn’t there, but it means that it’s very hard to see what impact digital marketing is having on sales. For example, you may put a post-up on Instagram that shares information about your company and the amazing benefits of your product. The person who watches that ad may not go and buy your product immediately. They may have no need for it at the time. Six years later though, they may suddenly need your product and because of that ad that was catchy and got stuck in their head they go ahead and make the purchase. That revenue was literal years in the making. If you hadn’t read this article, you might have seen that purchase come in, and wrongly assumed that it was the current ad you’re running rather than the ad six years ago.

The takeaway from this example is that you need to ask the right questions when determining the success / repercussions of your ads. Here’s the question I want you to ask yourself, is this ad providing value? If your ad provides your audience value, they’re learning, they are engaging with your brand, and they are going to remember you for the long term. Which will turn into sales down the line.

Call To Actions:

How do I turn likes into sales?

This is a really interesting question that I don’t often see satisfying answers to. If you’re business is well built, one of the fundamentals that you’ll be utilizing is a proper sales funnel. How you teach a customer that you exist and get them to buy through a repeatable process. Social media is an exceptionally strong tool that should be implemented directly into your sales funnel. People will often say that likes aren’t worth as much as they used to be. This is because there are more people on Instagram, their focus is diverted to a lot of different accounts, and the market is a bit flooded. However, I would argue that someone trying to see how likes turn directly into sales is missing the point.

On social media, you’re often not trying to get a customer to buy immediately. Instead, you’re trying to be their friend and to build up loyalty. Social media is personal, far more personal than you’re able to get through your website. So, focus on being genuine, providing valuable content, and you will start to build up brand loyalty. That is far more valuable than a single like.

When you’re building your brand on Instagram it’s important to look at social media in the right light. Through framing your brand’s structure using the three paradigms discussed above you’ll be able to find strong solutions and powerful opportunities. You’ll increase brand loyalty, create strong targeted ads, and find your perfect audience. Keep making amazing content and building good conversations with your customers.