The day after Apple announced the iPhone X, the company placed a prominent ad on Instagram. In years past, Apple might have launched their ad campaign for a new iPhone on a series of billboards or on television. But Instagram has become such a prominent medium that Apple had no choice but to develop a compelling Instagram ad campaign.
Roughly 800 million people use Instagram every month (and 500 million of those use the platform each day), a number that continues to grow year in and year out. Instagram is quickly becoming the go-to platform for marketers interested in generating new customers or engaging with existing ones.
This article will review 11 of the most important steps marketers should take when working on an Instagram campaign. Follow the tips below to ensure that your next Instagram marketing initiative is a true success.
1. Start with a measurable goal in mind.
Instagram is a great tool for marketers because each aspect of an Instagram marketing campaign can be measured, from content engagement to follower growth to new customers generated via a tracking link in your Instagram bio.
Marketers should start with a measurable goal when developing an Instagram campaign. Starting with a constraint will also make it easier to think of specific ideas for the campaign.
For example, Apple’s ad campaign (above) might have been created with a goal of generating awareness. Therefore, the team at Apple might have been trying to drive the metric of post engagement or post impressions. However, the strategy would have changed considerably if the brand was trying to grow followers or drive immediate purchases.
2. Develop a cohesive brand narrative.
Instagram campaigns should have a cohesive brand narrative that is told through a variety of Instagram content.
If you take a look at the most successful brands on Instagram, you’ll quickly realize that elite social media marketers create campaigns with a narrative arc. Each post tells a different part of the brand story. This keeps content unique and engaging, while advancing the intended narrative.
KitchenAid (above) is an example of a brand that has developed a cohesive narrative through an Instagram marketing campaign. Each of the posts above features a different KitchenAid appliance and uses the story of an everyday cook or famous chef to explain how the product can be used to create delicious meals.
3. Make use of Instagram Stories.
More people use Instagram Stories than use Snapchat. Stories is the fastest growing component of Instagram. Given its popularity, it makes sense for social media marketers to use Stories as part of broader campaigns.
Stories feature unique content formats like live video, stickers and filters that can help brands present a campaign in new and compelling ways.
4. Amplify your message with Instagram ads.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, offers marketers a selection of highly advanced digital advertising options. Via Facebook Ads Manager, social media marketers have the power to amplify the reach of a campaign with little effort.
By using targeting options like lookalike audiences, retargeting or geo-targeting, it has never been easier to develop an Instagram ad campaign that delivers meaningful results.
5. Nurture Instagram leads with email marketing workflows to increase ROI.
Picture a traditional marketing funnel. At the top of the funnel are leads. These leads are probably still not familiar with your product or service, and may not even be aware that they have a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Instagram is often a good channel for generating top-of-the-funnel leads. But in order to maximize the performance of your marketing funnel, these leads may need to be nurtured via other channels.
Using Instagram ads to generate leads, and email marketing workflows to nurture these new leads, can be an effective way to improve the return on investment from an Instagram marketing campaign.
6. Partner with an influencer to increase the reach of the campaign.
Approximately 95% of B2B marketers who use some sort of influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective. Social media users have become increasingly jaded to traditional advertising. Influencer marketing represents an effective alternative when targeting audiences that have formed a strong bond with an industry influencer.
For example, Mercedes (which competes with Porsche) has recently employed an Instagram influencer marketing strategy by working with Magnus Walker. Walker, a famous Porsche enthusiast, created content that features the new Mercedes GTR sports car (see above).
7. Incorporate user-generated content.
User-generated content is another effective way of building an Instagram marketing campaign that fosters brand sentiment. Social media marketers from all types of industries have used user-generated content to great effect.
Take Netflix as an example (see above). The brand recently re-shared a funny image referencing the show Stranger Things. Netflix was already running a Stranger Things Instagram campaign, so re-sharing the user-generated content fit well within an existing campaign. As you can see, the post received great engagement from followers.
8. Employ a memorable hashtag.
While it might sound simple, using a memorable hashtag is a great way to amplify an Instagram marketing campaign. It can encourage followers to share user-generated content, and can make it easier for social media marketers to measure the reach or influence of a campaign by tracking hashtag mentions.
9. Measure performance to make optimizations along the way.
Using an Instagram analytics tool like Owlmetrics is a great way to compare performance to goals, and to determine what optimizations should be made in order to improve performance. Things like changing the time of day of scheduled posts, using a different image or video filter and altering content mediums are all optimizations that can improve overall performance.
10. Mix content formats to create novelty.
A recent study reported in the New York Times found that the average person’s attention span is 8 seconds long. It is likely even less than that on a platform like Instagram. To capture your audience’s attention, it is usually best to vary content formats to create novelty.
11. Conduct a campaign debrief to learn best practices.
When your Instagram campaign has concluded, your work isn’t done. Instead, it is time to learn from the campaign and to collect these learnings in a debrief document. The next time you create a campaign, you’ll be thankful to have compiled a list of new tips and tricks.
Instagram can be an incredibly effective marketing channel. Thanks to a large user base, novel content-creation options and advanced targeting features, marketers can quickly engage the target audience through innovative Instagram campaigns.
Companies as diverse as Netflix, Mercedes, KitchenAid and Apple have found the platform useful when communicating with the target audience. Armed with the 11 strategies outlined in this article, you should be ready to go forth and create the next great campaign.