INSTAGRAM AND ITS APPLICATION IN SMALL BUSINESSES

Key takeaways

  • Setting up business profiles can be tricky and understanding the basics of Instagram’s methods to optimize your consumer engagement is important before getting into the tips and tricks.
  •  Small businesses should leverage Instagram and the tools it offers through optimization of information and quality they provide to maximize profits
  •  Various digital marketing strategies can help small businesses grow on Instagram through data sorting, cleaning, and analysis.

Introduction

Instagram is a free, online photo-sharing application and social network platform that was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Instagram allows users to edit and upload photos and short videos through a mobile app and various digital marketing strategies, this can help Instagram and small businesses work for hand in glove to grow through a combination of methods to optimize information and quality they provide while setting up their business account. To know more on this, click here

Over time Instagram has developed from just a social networking platform to a commercialized business model to cater to small businesses. To make the work of the businesses easier they have also introduced Instagram business accounts that analyse you. This can be used to gain leverage in the market by capitalizing on trends, therefore identifying more business opportunities. Trends are now functions offered that act as key points i.e., Trendy music and jingles can be used for your posts that affect the viewer’s echoic memory thus increasing brand retention. The comments section is a great place to get informed about your brands’ perception in the market as we can get nonfiltered opinions of the masses and this can be helpful to project future consumer dispositions for a particular product or brand.

Instagram has over 100 billion users and 500 million users active every day. Imagine you start your very own small business and sell a product to even 0.005% of the whole population for Rs1 you can make over a million in a day. How exciting does that sound? The real challenge is to even acquire 0.005% of your targeted audience. This article will be helping small-time e-commerce business owners understand tips, tricks, and techniques to reach and appeal to the masses through these marketing strategies.

The main areas of focus we will be looking at –

  1. Setting up your business profile
  2. Instagram Marketing strategies
  3. Other ways

1) Setting up your business profile.

Instagram has made it easier for businesses to operate after their launch of Instagram business accounts in 2018. The team saw a gradual growth in its users which boomed especially after it was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

Once your product and business idea are in play the first thing you want to do is set up your professional account. How do you do that? In the following simple steps:

STEP 1: Once you open your Instagram app you want to click on the top right corner of where the 3 bars are and go to setting.
STEP 2: Then select accounts. A series of options appear, and you are to select Set up a professional account.
STEP 3: The new Instagram features allows you to choose between 2 options
Creator – If you are Youtuber, a social influencer, model, standup comedian, actor, or anyone displaying creative skills through visual content, the Creator profile best suits your endeavors.
Business – From selling your very own cakes, soap bars, e prints, paintings to selling cars and automobile parts, a business profile will have you covered.
We will be focusing on
Business profiles. It gives add on features like:
1)Create Promotions
2)Add on buttons – Email, Phone Number, Facebook Page link

STEP 4: Choose your business category. Mostly when you type, similar recommendations should pop up
STEP 5: Once you are done with the steps above your profile should be created, however, it’s not over yet. You will notice only your email is set up. What to do after this?
Simply click on Edit profile.
STEP 6: Once you click on edit profile populate the information page as much as possible because this is the key point of contact or sales for your business. This is where everyone comes to finding you.

How does this help in the long run? Instagram is a form of digital marketing strategic tool that you will be using to market your products. Once it catches the viewers’ attention the links you provide help guide everyone onto your website where there are purchase and payment options available. Under contact information, you can enter your phone number and email that can be mainly for tech reviews or product reviews, find out about your business and consumer preferences, etc.

Additionally, the “Add an action” button can be used in case your business is related to booking seats, reservations, or tickets, etc.
With this, you are done setting up your profile. Now starts the grind to convert your viewers into Dollars.
With more than 500 million active users, Instagram is the most popular visual marketing platform in today’s social media landscape. 

To promote your brand on Instagram effectively, you should pay attention to two aspects:

  1. Growing your followers
  2. Getting engagement from followers

If people are not aware of your brand on Instagram, you can’t get sales with even a high follower number. One way to grow your account is by having more subscribers. It’s not necessary to have a huge number of followers, however, you should at least create a small group of followers who will further promote your brand.

2) Instagram Marketing Strategies

Optimizing Your Bio – Optimize your bio by describing accurately, concisely, and clearly what you do and who you do it for. Once we get the viewers’ attention, we want to make an effective call to action. This is to grow your connectivity to the consumer in some other way. Using your link in the bio will help offer the consumers a freebie, guide, or lead magnet. This will be your point of sales. Make sure your network link is mobile optimized as most of the traffic on Instagram is through a cellular device.

Brand Plan – This plan must follow the golden C’s:

  • Consistency – Make sure you post regularly on your feed, keep your consumers involved, reply to comments and DMs, and manage a consistent schedule.
  • Clarity – Confusing someone is very easy. That is something any business should avoid doing as a complex structure doesn’t lead the consumers to buy your products as they find it difficult to navigate through your page or decide. One should provide clarity on what your page is all about, what do you do and who do you do it for, and why you are worth following.
  • Congruence – What you do, who you do it for, what’s your page and products about all must align around the same theme and idea.

Feed & Stories – Curate and create the absolute best content in the context of the trending music and themes on the internet by giving it your touch. It is important to post quality content in real-time with the help of stories to portray live action as they happen, to build the best brand image possible.

Hashtags – It acts as a link, a form of SEO, that relates your content and other millions online. This is how people who are looking for a specific product, post, theme, etc. can easily find you.

  • Do your hashtag research – Learn from other influencers and top brands in your space. What are the keyword and hashtags that are being used to generate an audience? Most importantly is to identify what are the hashtags used by your target market.
  • Offer Variety – Once with proper research you identify the keyword and phrases you must provide new variety to them. For example, using hashtags describing your pizza. #Cheesyvaalapyaar. If you use the same hashtags you will show up Infront of the same people again and again and your account will stagnate.
  • Use Keyword Shortcut – Use the keyword shortcut feature available on your phone so that they suggest the hashtags and it’s easy to just add them with one click instead of having to type all their time and again.

Micro-Influencer marketing strategy – Influencer marketing refers to accounts that have a large following and are paid to promote products. However, a sub-segment of micro-influencers has the right amount of audience specific to your business which will help your business grow and turn views into dollars. These micro-influencers are prominent figures, followed and reputed for their works, reviews, suggestions. They have a stronger hold over organic followers and consumers thus as a business you will have high conversion rates. For example – Hiring a make-up artist with even 1k to 10k followers to promote your new cosmetic products.

User-Generated Content – One way you can make your viewers feel inclusive and a part of your brand. Simply use a submissions page on your website, ask your consumers to send in their content regarding your brand and products (it can be videos, jingles, or even feedback) and you post the best content after reviewing and give them a shout out (tag their name on your post) and even vouchers. This keeps them engaged.

Timing –

  • No of posts: 1-2 daily, 3 at most.
  • Best timings to post: 8-9 am, 5 pm, 2 am (EST). Videos at 9 pm after business hours posts.
  • Best Day: Monday and Thursday

Demographic Details

  • 61% of users under the age of 35
  • 7% more females than men
  • Younger and Older age group demographics growing rapidly.

There is a need to understand what your ideal target market is, their pains, frustrations, what they need, and where you can create a demand for the same. This can help align your message behind your products to attract more traffic.

Paid Promotions – Instagram ads owned by Facebook ads make it one of the most powerful advertising tools that will help pinpoint your ideal target market based on complex advertising algorithms. Helps generate leads, sales, and revenue.

3) Some ways that will help one increase the volume of users and engagement are:

  • Even if you don’t like the idea of posting paid content, you should try gaining Instagram followers likes from a company that guarantees the quality of its services.
  • When you post photos or videos, try to comment on other people’s posts. This will help you sharpen up your brand image and get more attention from followers.
  • As a business, using software like google analytics and social crawly tics that analyze content on your page can be useful. This software analyses click-through rates, no of views, positive and negative comments that can help make important managerial decisions regarding segmentation of the market, product line extensions, quality control, branding, packaging, etc. Since Instagram mines tons of data daily it becomes easier for the owners to learn more about their own business. For smaller businesses, it can be a low-cost market research platform to gain insights on how to generate business.
  • Stick with your niche. It means when you’re putting out content on Instagram, you’ve got to stay in your niche. For instance, you can’t post funny cat memes on a charity or healthcare Instagram account. The worst part about posting random stuff on your Instagram account is that it decreases your engagement, and thus, you start to lose the organic reach.
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4) Top Instagram marketing tools

  • Content Studio – Content Studio is a state-of-the-art social media management tool that assists in publishing and scheduling content on all major social media platforms simultaneously. It has Direct API integration.  Key features range from workflow management tools, content categories, analytics, to even social inboxes for seamless engagement with your audience.
  • Repost – Repost is a popular Instagram posting app that is used to recycle Instagram posts with credit to the original uploader.
  • Meta Hashtags – Helps generate the best industry-related hashtags.
  • Influenza – The influencer marketing platform offers a robust influencer analysis system and lucrative opportunities for both influencers and brands.
  • Word Swag – Graphic design tool that helps add aesthetic appeal to your posts.
  • Instasize
  • Instagram Font generator – Helps generate stylish text fonts for your Instagram bio or posts. This can help add a certain theme to your business.

Conclusion

Instagram is here to stay for many more years and can be used by small as well as big businesses. If used correctly can generate monetary business and can also encompass Marketing and PR functions together. It is a great opportunity that business owners should not lose. To understand more on how you can lean on Instagram to better your small business [Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_q02EtWsUc]

Austin Julius

Content writer

Yesha Karia

Graphic designer

Akshit Mittal

 Editor 

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