If you want to be able to take your content marketing efforts to the next level, there’s a lot to be said for following the lead of the most successful users. These are the people that have demonstrated again and again that they know how to connect with their audience, so why not take a few minutes to see how they did it?
To ensure you don’t get left behind, we’ve put together the key strategies you need to know about. Perfect for putting your brand in the spotlight like never before
Get a dedicated business account
First things first, you need to get yourself started with a business account. It’s a really important distinction from a standard account because it will allow you to link to your homepage (more on that later). It’ll show your followers that you’re a serious standalone brand in your own right, and not just a fledgling business still months away from launch day. Get your account set up as soon as you finish reading this article, and you’ll be off to a fast start.
Know your target audience
Next up, you need to know who you’re trying to connect with. Your target audience is made up of the people who will buy your products, use your services, and enjoy your content. If you don’t know who they are then it looks like you’re approaching the problem from the wrong angle.
Whilst it’s tempting to create something and then get people to try and like it, you want to start by finding out what people want. It’s true of every area of business, and social media is no exception. If you tailor your posts to your audience from day one you’ll save a lot of time, money, and effort trying to attract the right people to the wrong type of content.
Research the content your audience likes
The easiest way to find out what your dream followers like is to build a customer profile of them, and then analyze the types of profiles they’re following. The idea is not to imitate or copy what you see. It’s to get a feel for what works, and why. Once you know that, you’ll be all set to start finding the perfect way to take your brand to a potentially global audience.
Find the perfect times to post to catch the eye
There’s no exact science to this part of your strategy, but you can use science to home in on the right times to post. Use your analytics and engagement metrics to gauge whether one time is better suited than another. You’ll probably find several sweet spots throughout the day that will be specific to your brand, and make sure you check whether they change on the weekends. There’s going to be a degree of experimentation, to begin with, but it’ll be more than worth it when you find a way to double your engagement just by posting at the right time of day.
Embed Instagram Feed On Website
Another great content marketing strategy is to create and embed Instagram feed on your website. Using a social media aggregator, you can aggregate content all the engaging user-generated content from Instagram relevant to your purpose into a single feed.
You can embed that feed onto your website to enhance the website vibrancy, increase user engagement, drive conversations, build social proof with UGC, increase average dwell time, and even unlock possibilities to drive conversions.
Besides, Social media aggregators can help in content management, analytics, and marketing with features for customizations, content moderation, real-time updates, easy & simple embedding, and much more. One such social media aggregator example is Taggbox.
Tell stories with your content
Take a look at some of these great Instagram campaigns for the spark of inspiration you need, and ask yourself what they all have in common.
They all tell a story with their content and give you a window into the people and ethos behind the brand. These aren’t just accounts that tell you to buy something or show you a celebrity holding one of their products. They’re all about painting a much larger picture that gives you unique access to something of value. This storytelling approach is tailor-made for social media, and Instagram in particular. It’s a subtle way of promoting your business in a way that makes people want to engage and socialize with you, and it works. Take some time to sit and reflect on the story behind your brand and you’ll soon find you’re coming up with all manner of creative avenues you can go down.
Humanize your brand with lifestyle pieces
Every brand needs a human element on social media because it’s what makes people want to reach out and talk to you. If you’re just spamming people with paid ads and discount codes then it just won’t happen, and your following will stagnate.
Lifestyle pieces are a great way to show the world the people that make your brand possible and to put faces to your name. Behind the scenes, live streams, and Instagram stories are all great options to consider. No matter what you do, make sure it’s natural and authentic. If it comes across as scripted and rehearsed people aren’t going to have any interest in it.
Add value, don’t just try and make a sale
Making a sale is great, but Instagram isn’t the place for the hard sell. It’s a place to add value, to catch the eye, and to pique people’s interest in what you’re doing. If you want to add value, then the best way to do it is with a simple how-to video. Perhaps you sell hair extensions, couldn’t you do a tutorial on creating a stunning look in less than 5 minutes? Maybe you sell automotive parts, couldn’t you do a quick guide on how to check your car is ready for winter weather? Think of what people will value, and then put some time into giving it to them for free. It’ll help build brand loyalty faster than you might expect.
Find a cause that matters and promotes it
Whether it’s Pride, FairTrade, or anything else that’s close to your heart, weave it into your content marketing campaign. It’ll show that you’re more than just a business — you’re big on social responsibility and making the world a better place too. It’s really important that you do something that’s current, but that’s also a genuine passion of yours. There’s a no bigger turnoff for your audience than a cynical pull at the heartstrings, so make sure you’re in it for the right reasons. It’s a great way to further the reach of your brand and associate it with something positive and life-affirming when you do it the right way.
Share social proof with the world
Social proof is so much more powerful than paid ads and influencers because it’s genuine. It’s not that the other stuff isn’t, it’s that everyone knows there’s money changing hands to make those posts appear before their eyes. A review or a glowing comment from one of your customers is different, and it’s marketing gold. Turn it into an image quote and repost it as soon as you can. You’ll probably find it pulls in other delighted customers who’ll want to leave some kind words for you in the comments section. Before you know it you have your very own fan thread!
Tutorials and how-to videos work wonders
We touched on how-to videos briefly above, and they’re so important we’re going to give them our full attention here. If you have a tutorial people will find useful and informative you need to give it a really catchy headline. Think of something irresistible so you have your very own piece of high-quality clickbait, and your profile will explode. It’s all about assessing the mood of the moment and finding a headline that instantly catches the eye. If you test different styles of headlines, you’ll be able to home in on a great recipe for thousands and thousands of views.
Create a theme that matches your brand’s ethos
An Instagram account wouldn’t be anything without a theme, and it’s not something you can afford to ignore. You don’t want people to come to your profile only to find a mishmash of content they don’t know what to make of, do you? You want them to instantly get a sense of who you are and what you’re all about.
Your logo, your choice of border, and your use of those all-important filters all come into play here folks. It’s a chance to create a theme that resonates with the core values of your brand, and it’s an opportunity to make the perfect first impression. Study the competition, improve on what you don’t like, and take inspiration from what you do. It’s a recipe for success you’ll find works over and over again.
Research the latest hashtags
If you don’t learn from the common mistakes you see all over Instagram you’re not going to be able to grow your following. One of the most common is to never refresh your hashtag research. Hashtags fade in and out of popularity just like any other trend, so what worked last month may be extinct right now. If you haven’t checked, how are you ever going to know?
Conduct periodic reviews, even when things are going well
This point follows on nicely from those wise words about hashtags, and it’s going to be really crucial to the success of your content marketing efforts. If you don’t move with the times and continue to evolve, you’re just going to go backward whilst your competition cruise off over the horizon. It’s all about realizing trends and styles go in and out of fashion, and that this applies to Instagram as much as it does to anywhere else.
The secret is to review your strategy on a periodic basis, rather than waiting for a downturn in your fortunes. If you check your strategy even when things are going well, you’ll be able to make the smart choices that ensure you never lose momentum.
Use emojis in your captions to maximize engagement
Nothing humanizes a big block of text like a couple of emojis. They add color and personality, and they’ve never been more at home than on Instagram. It’s acceptable to post long captions with your images, but make sure the emojis and hashtags help break things up. It’ll turn a boring looking page into something that looks fun and engaging, and instantly holds the attention of the reader.
Respond to comments like a human being
If you want to undo all of the hard work of your content strategy, then reply to your comments like a chatbot. If on the other hand, you want to promote your brand, let commenters see your human side. Your business is nothing more than a collection of people who have come together to do something great, so let that positive spirit shine through in every reply. It’s the easiest way to foster a sense of identity whilst building brand loyalty you’ll ever come across.
Discount codes are a great way to incentivize your followers
Adding value isn’t just about giving away great content for nothing, sometimes you have to go a little bit further. 10% discount codes for people who share your posts are a great way to organically improve the reach of your account. Choose a discount that won’t do much to your margins, and yet still sounds impressive, and you’ll be able to turn your followers into your very own marketing team. And because you only pay them with discounts, you still get to move some inventory.
Competitions with fixed cutoffs create urgency
Everyone likes to think they have a shot at winning something, but most people never bother to get round to it. The way you do it is to promote the cutoff date down to the minute. It’ll create a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out, and that’ll be enough to triple the number of entries you get. If you make the prize something desirable, then that won’t hurt either! An iPad or an Amazon voucher is a couple of the most popular choices you’ll see mentioned all over Instagram.
Ask your followers to tag you in their content
Users generate so much content that it seems like a waste if you’re never going to get in on the act with them. Get them to tag you in their images, show off one of your products in an unusual location, or get them to try and copy one of your images. It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as it’s engaging, and you can somehow tie it to your brand. Avoid anything overly corporate because that just won’t work. It has to be something people are going to have fun doing for a couple of minutes, and they’re prepared to spend some of their spare time doing.
Link to your homepage in your bio
Linking to your homepage is the name of the game here, and it’s why you invested in a business account. It’ll help you increase the traffic to your brand’s standalone site, and it’ll give you a chance to move from lifestyle pieces and brand building to a more direct form of sales and promotion.
With Instagram, the key is to keep it casual. People who connect with your brand will spend a fair amount of time going back through your old posts and reading your profile, so there’s really no need to direct people to your bio at the end of every post caption. All this will do is make your posts seem insincere and too fixated on sales.
Keep your logo at the forefront
Your logo is the embodiment of your brand, which is why it makes a lot of sense to use it as your profile picture. It’s what you expect from the likes of Nike and Adidas, so why don’t you follow suit? The whole point of your logo is to be able to instantly connect people with your brand, so it needs to be directly in front of them the entire time they’re on your profile. You could also add it in the corner of a few of your image quotes if you want to project your brand that little bit further. Just make sure it doesn’t dominate the images otherwise they’ll come across as too promotional.
Paid ads with CTAs bring everything together
Paid ads will allow you to expand the reach of your profile for a small fee. There’s really no upper limit to how much you can spend, which is why it’s best to start off small and learn the basics. You want an engaging caption, an eye-catching photo, and a call to action that’s not over the top. Use your analytics to iteratively get the balance right and you’ll have the format for some powerful paid ads before you know it.
Now that you’ve heard all about how to take your content marketing efforts to the next level, all you need to do is get busy on Instagram and put everything into action. Be creative, original, and unique. These are the 3 things that will allow you to stand out from the crowd and leave the competition in the shade. Take the time to get it right, and then review what you’re doing periodically. You’ll be moving your brand in an exciting new direction in no time at all.
About the author: Daniela McVicker is a blogger and a freelance writer who works closely with B2B and B2C businesses providing blog writing, copywriting and ghostwriting services. Currently, she blogs for Top Writers Review. When Daniela isn’t writing, she loves to travel, read romance and science fiction, and try new wines.