It’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to growing your Instagram account and business online. Especially, if you’ve overlooked the Instagram strategy basics.
Whether your goal for 2019 is to gain more followers, boost business sales, or to build a beautiful aesthetic, now is the time to set down a strong foundation for your strategy so you can grow your account, gain a loyal following, and build your business online.
In the following blog post, we’re going back to basics with the ABCs of Instagram Marketing — Audience, Branding, and Content!
BONUS: We also created a podcast mini-series to help you get started with the basics of building an Instagram strategy with hints, tips, and guides from the Later team!
The ABCs of Instagram Marketing: Your Instagram Strategy Basics
Having a strong and strategic foundation for your Instagram marketing plan is essential if you want to be successful. Not only will it help you build clearer goals for your account, but it can also help you make better strategic decisions in the future once you’re up and running!
That’s why it’s so important to invest in your foundation!
And there is so much to share when it comes to covering the Instagram strategy basics — too much to share in just one blog post! That’s why we created TTYL, Later’s first Instagram marketing podcast!
The ABCs of Instagram Marketing will talk you through three core areas of your Instagram strategy: Audience, Branding, and Content.
In this 3-part mini-series, Nikki Canning and Rachel McDermott from Later’s marketing and customer happiness team will chat through everything you need to know to start building a stronger Instagram marketing strategy and grow your account and business online!
We’re also available on iTunes and Stitcher if you want to listen, and subscribe to TTYL there!
Tune in to TTYL now to learn how you can hone in on your target audience, build beautiful branding for your business and create content that converts into followers!
A is for Audience: Find Your Target Audience and Build a Brand Persona
If you don’t know who you want to reach on Instagram, you won’t know what to post, when to post, or how to post it.
Having a clear idea of your dream follower, or your “marketing persona,” is the first step you can take to strategize for the future.
And once you have your target audience nailed down, it will be much easier to develop your branding, and your Instagram content will start to take shape and naturally grow across all aspects of your strategy!
How to Find Your Target Audience and Build a Marketing Persona
It may sound like marketing jargon, but building out a persona for your target audience is all about having a clear picture of who you’re going to be targeting.
You’ll want to know their age, their line of work, where they’re based, their interests, hobbies, family life, disposable income, and why they would be interested in your brand. The more detailed you can be about this person, or group of people, the better.
Because different people react and respond to content in different ways, the more you know about your target audience, the more likely you’ll be able to predict what content will work for them, and in what format.
If you don’t know where to start when it comes to collecting this information, you should check out your Instagram Analytics with Later!
Instagram’s native analytics offers up tons of metrics on your followers, including their age groups, times online, and location. If you’re on a Later paid plan, you can check out your audience metrics from your dashboard too!
We even created a 65-page Instagram Analytics Strategy Guide to help you decipher the numbers and pull out the details that will help you build a killer target audience persona. The best part? It’s completely free!
Don’t forget that you can use your business’ competitor analysis and market research to learn more about your audience. Or if you’re using Google Analytics to track visitors to your website, this is also another great place to find out the likes and dislikes of your followers!
Tune in to episode 1 of TTLY, A for Audience, to learn about Nikki’s fool-proof framework for creating a marketing persona that will help you create better content for your audience.
B is for Branding: Create a Strong Aesthetic for Your Brand on Instagram
Putting time and consideration into your brand’s tone and personality on Instagram is one of the best first steps you can take for your marketing strategy — especially if you’re a new brand on the block.
You want to make sure you have a clear plan on how your brand engages with your audience and set down the foundations to how you’ll speak to your customers or followers with every post you publish.
If you’re looking to revamp your brand tone, style, and Instagram aesthetic, here are a few things you should consider:
Your overall tone: Depending on who you’re targeting on Instagram and what you’re promoting, you’ll need to determine whether your tone and personality is going to be upbeat, cheeky, and playful, or formal, direct, and professional. Or somewhere in between on the tone and style scale!
Your Instagram bio: You can immediately set the tone for your account and let your audience know what your brand and business is all about with your Instagram bio. Try to focus on your target customer and how your Instagram profile will help or inspire them with your bio content.
Your Instagram posts and videos: Make sure your images, Instagram Stories posts, and IGTV videos are a continuation of your tone and style from your business branding — it’s about building a consistent and cohesive look and feel across all of your Instagram posts with a strong Instagram aesthetic.
Not sure how to build an Instagram aesthetic for your feed? Listen to episode 2 of TTYL, B for Branding, where Nikki and Rachel chat about their favorite apps and programs for creating awesome Instagram images, stories and videos without any graphic design knowledge!
C is for Content: Create Instagram Content and Captions that Resonates with Your Audience
It’s easy to forget that your Instagram captions are just as important as the images or videos you post to your feed if you want to grow your account.
While your images should reflect your tone, style, and branding, your content really needs to resonate with your target audience if you want to build on your engagement levels.
The Instagram algorithm tends to favor posts that get a lot of engagement. When a post receives a ton of likes, comments, and shares, this signals to Instagram that it’s a high-quality piece of content that other users might want to see too.
The algorithm will aim to bump the post up on users’ feeds. And if it gets enough engagement, it might even end up on the Explore page!
Writing good Instagram captions with effective call-to-actions, and sharing content that really speaks to your target audience is one of the best ways to inspire your followers to comment on your posts. This, in turn, will help drive even more engagement on your account.
If you’re looking to improve your post captions, think about these three things before you write out your next post:
Include a strong call-to-action: A good call-to-action (CTA) is a great way to inspire your followers to engage with your business, both inside and outside of Instagram. For example, you could ask your followers to take action by clicking the link your bio, signing up to a newsletter, answering a question, tagging a friend, using your branded hashtag, or anything else that encourages a follower or reader to take action from your Instagram feed.
Add hashtags to your caption: A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag! So, you’ll want to make sure that you’re including at least one in your caption copy! Check out our free Instagram Hashtag Strategy Guide to help you create a hashtag strategy for your business that really gets your posts in front of the right audiences.
Schedule your content in advance: Try to plan and schedule your Instagram content in advance, especially for your caption content. Writing your captions on a whim opens up more chances of a typo slipping through the net, or missing the opportunity to promote your brand and business with a CTA. The more forethought you can put into your content and captions, the better for your brand!
If you want to learn more about creating content for Instagram Stories, IGTV and spontaneous content that resonates with your audience, check out episode 3 of TTYL, C for Content. Nikki and Rachel share more tips to creating great content for your Instagram account that converts into more likes, comments, and followers!
Putting some time and effort into reinforcing your Instagram strategy foundations is a great way to strengthen your account’s potential for the future.
By knowing more about your target audience, having a strong Instagram brand, and nailing your content strategy, you’ll be well on your way to growing your account and business in the future.
Don’t forget to tune into TTYL! We’ve shared tons of useful tips, tricks, and Instagram hacks to building your Instagram strategy foundations in our ABCs of Instagram Marketing mini-series!