On average, an Instagram user spends 35 minutes on the app every day. In other words, if you use Instagram correctly, it’s one of the most powerful tools at your disposal to grow your customer base by increasing brand awareness and driving traffic to your online store or brick-and-mortar location. While Instagram has changed its algorithm over the years and added new features that affect how users see content in their feed, there are still seven simple steps you can take to grow your customer base through Instagram without breaking a sweat or spending too much money.
If you don’t have a social media marketing strategy, it’s time to build one. Your company will be offering a product or service for people to enjoy—it only makes sense that your customer experience extends into digital marketing channels. You need a solid digital marketing agency that understands how businesses are built and can grow your customer base through these channels: engage with them and they’ll help you find an effective social media marketing strategy that puts your customer first. And once your plan is set, it’s important to define what social media means; where are you going, who is on those platforms, why would they care about you?
By tagging your image with a relevant hashtag, you expand your audience and get more people (potential customers) looking at your picture. For example, if you’re a coffee shop, you can use #coffee or #coffeetime as hashtags. Each tag should be unique and directly related to your business or industry. It’s also worth noting that using too many hashtags could actually end up making it less likely for people to click on your content.
The captions on your photos are an essential part of your marketing strategy. They’re searchable and they help build a story around your brand or product. When you use hashtags, they will appear alongside your caption, which is really helpful if you have a long caption that doesn’t easily fit into one line. Don’t forget to add a call-to-action! It’s good practice for other types of digital marketing too: If you want people to take action (sign up for your newsletter, download an app, share with their friends), then let them know how. Now is not too early!
Tag any brands that can help you reach your intended audience, including digital marketing agencies and social media marketing firms. Brands often like to showcase customer use cases on their profile—so tagging them gives them an opportunity to share a new side of their brand with their followers. The key is not just tagging companies but following up after with a DM.
Add value. In general, it’s good practice to make sure your comments are highly focused on adding value: answering questions, correcting misconceptions, providing useful links and resources. Be especially careful of telling people what they want or need — for example: I think you’d benefit from reading xyz paper if you want to learn more about xyz. You may be right (probably are!), but that style of comment can often come across as aggressive and self-serving. If someone truly needs information, they’ll ask for it. It’s much better to frame your comments as open-ended questions, like what do you think about xyz paper? or what else would you like me to know? And even then: tread lightly when telling people things!
If you’re trying to grow your customer base using social media, chances are you’ve already heard of Stories. The feature made its way onto Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest long ago but it has only been available on Instagram since last August. If you’re a company that can genuinely benefit from more stories from your customers, Stories are an amazing way to get them. Just like with any marketing channel, you should take time to think about how content will align with your existing brand identity and ask yourself if people will actually want to share these stories online with their friends and family. What do I mean by genuine benefits?
Content isn’t just something you create and upload onto your website. When used correctly, it can actually help forge a more personal connection with your target market. It doesn’t matter if it’s live streaming video on Facebook, live Q&A via Periscope or Snapchat stories—content that is social is where customers are spending their time, so it makes sense for your digital marketing strategy to follow them there. Utilize social media marketing strategies like these to create more personal customer experiences that you can grow your base with.
Hopefully, after reading this guide, you’ll be ready to embark on your own Instagram marketing campaign. You can’t master social media overnight, but with a little patience and discipline, you can create an effective Instagram strategy that brings you new customers and keeps the ones that you already have close at hand.