Can’t buy me love: How to promote business on Instagram
With an estimated number of 1bln active users, 90% of which follow at least 1 business, it’s no wonder so many creators and brands rely on Instagram to find customers. Primarily focused on visuals, Instagram provides everything you need to showcase your product and build your brand awareness, showing the human side of your business along the way.
Still, many entrepreneurs miss out on this opportunity. Many don’t believe they have a chance to stand out. Others don’t take it seriously or don’t feel they have enough resources to make it work. The truth is you don’t have to be a marketing guru to build a successful Instagram strategy. All you need is to love your product and know your audience. And some inspiration.
In our research, we took a close look at Innocent, a health drink brand, and their Innocent Instagram (still guilty of stealing our hearts) to discover some of the best practices. We also drew up a list of tips on how you can achive similar success relying on what social media monitoring can do. No matter what you are selling or how much time you’ve spent on the market.
Learn from the great
Once you switch your Instagram account to business, there’s a temptation to throw some marketing money around. But before you rush to invest in Instagram ads and influencers, do make effort to score some organic engagement. It will pay off in the long run.
With a great business idea powered by a creative team all you need is a clear vision for many steps ahead. For Instagram to notice your meticulously crafted content, it must meet strict requirements. Take a look at Innocent Drinks’ Instagram. They truly excel at promoting their products on the platform, owing this success to their almost by-the-book strategy. It focuses on three main components: content, engagement, and conversion.
Innocent leverages the colorful look of their smoothies to catch your eye. And they go far beyond that with recipes, motivation messages, guides, jokes… the list is endless. United by its unique aesthetic and a well-thought color scheme the motley crew of themes doesn’t look at all random. By contrast, it shows the human side of the brand and connects with followers at multiple levels.
Innocent is fully on top of Instagram stories and IGTV. They create games and contests, share extremely followable guides, and offer adorable stickers. Even if you’re not ready to run to the nearest shop to get your bottle with the Innocent logo on it, you’re bound to keep on scrolling eager to discover even more amazing things.
- Visual appeal is important, but even more significant is being relevant and authentic. Find what makes you special and lead with it.
- Align your content with your brand image. It doesn’t have to be the pictures of your product only. Provided it is on brand, highly sharable memes or season’s greetings work incredibly well for your popularity.
- Don’t stay away from videos. Even short ones get more traction and higher click-through rates. Feed videos or IGTVs are great to share guides or behind-the-scenes snippets, while Stories work best to announce new products, contests, or sales.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but a good caption is worth a thousand likes, comments, and shares. While an image of juice bottles might make one’s mouth water, a good caption makes one start a conversation, thus building a relationship. And Innocent does take captions seriously. Their peculiar tone feels like a good mixture of business talk and friendly banter. Spiced up with a fine sense of humor and wordplay it leaves you with nothing else but a genuinely positive feeling about the company. And that applies to any kind of interaction from accepting praise to making sure their new smoothie is purple. And once you respond to a question or share your feelings towards the content Innocent marketers do reply. Like in the examples below, reading these short interactions is often no less amusing.
A similar sense of humor is not the only key to followers’ hearts. Sharing a genuine concern for important social issues works the same well when it comes to your brand personality. Innocent supports multiple high-profile campaigns (e.g. #BlackLivesMatter, #StopHateForProfit, and #BigClimateFightback) which resonate with millions of people. And followers are aware of that with timely announcements and appropriate hashtags.
- Show your followers you hear them: you really should respond to comments. Once it’s not a one-way conversation you’re in to build a strong rapport.
- Use hashtags thoughtfully: whether you have a branded hashtag or endorse a social initiative, get people to know about it and spread the word.
Surely all this effort is not for pure entertainment. As the account bio says Innocent is a business and is here to make money. Ultimately every post is aimed at that seamless transition from a dedicated follower to a regular customer. And Innocent nudges you gently right and left to buy their smoothies without being too much in-your-face about it. Like in the example below, where Innocent is encouraging you to try their new breakfast range.
There’s also a whole array of amusing videos, stories and IGTVs just in case someone’s still unsure what to do with that smoothie or what it looks like exactly. The key objective here is to charge you not only with some positive vibes but also with the urge to put your hands on that bottle.
- Do remind people to take action. You can do it the Innocent style and include subtle hints in captions. Also, you can encourage your followers to follow a link in bio to visit your website and sign up for your course or start a free trial of your app.
- Use videos and IGTVs to advertise new features or provide educational content to raise awareness and illustrate the value. For instance, you can announce new features, limited offers or share some insightful how-to’s.
And do your homework
By now you might have already got that picture in your mind of how to apply those tips to your strategy. However, no strategy is sound without solid research behind it. For your content to strike a chord with your audience you must learn your niche before you post that first image on your profile. Otherwise, it will be more like a shot in the dark.
But worry not. Set brand monitoring software to track all mentions of keywords related to your business not necessarily restricting yourself to Instagram. Let it do the math and translate those numbers into action. Here are some pointers at what to look at.
Mentions. See what people talk about when they talk about your product. The number of mentions will prompt the overall popularity, while the sentiment graph will help tap into people’s emotions. For example, you can see a demand for dairy-free recipes or somebody renting about a lack of diversity. Craft your content accordingly and give people what they are likely to appreciate (unless it’s ketchup smoothies).
Mentions graph. Screenshot from Awario
Sentiment Graph. Screenshot from Awario
Feed screenshot from Awario
Topic cloud. Explore the words and expressions most associated with your field. You may apply those when creating captions or adding hashtags to make your posts searchable.
Topic Cloud for Innocent. Screenshot from Awario
Feed. Monitor news related to your field or overhear people who mention your product without tagging your account. See people talking about your latest campaign, showing off their shopping game, or even praising your efforts in front of some copycats. Not only does it provide you with timely feedback but also lets you engage proactively with an otherwise undetected audience.
Feed screenshots from Awario.
You may as well discover some user-generated content for your Instagram. See who is showing your product some praise and quote their testimonials in your account. Not only will you convince more people to trust your brand, but also encourage more positive feedback from those happy to be associated with you.
Camphill Village Trust on Twitter
Influencers. Filter your feed by reach to see the most influential contributors out there. Influencer marketing is booming on Instagram and partnering strategically with those who already love your product saves you time and effort on pitching your ideas. What is more, it gives you a chance to reach out to niche influencers. Don’t hesitate to send direct messages or to encourage them to tag you: it will return with mutual benefit.
Influencers for Innocent. Screenshot from Awario.
Comparison Alerts. Social media monitoring can help you spy on your competitors’ success by setting up a separate alert for their brand. While you can only get direct stats on your Instagram activities, keeping an eye on your rivals’ efforts is never superfluous: from taking notes on their best practice to spotting a gap in the market. In our case, we looked at Naked Juice, Innocent’s competitor.
Topic Cloud and Mentions of Naked Juice. Screenshot from Awario.
Yes, Instagram marketing is all about the looks, but only on the face of it. With a good strategy in place and a finger on the pulse of current trends, you are safe to claim your fair share of Instagram users’ attention and money.
Author: Kate Khalimanovich, copywriter at Awario.
Bio I’m a copywriter with a background in linguistics and a huge interest in communication, psychology, and design. I research best practices in social media management and digital marketing and write a blog about current trends.