It’s not groundbreaking news that almost everyone is on Instagram these days: both people and brands love it, and the constant growth of users proves that. Furthermore, implementing Instagram into digital marketing strategy became as crucial for some brands as for Facebook. However, here’s the thing: you don’t HAVE to be on Instagram just because everyone is. A few weeks back, we had a potential client ask us about ideas for digital marketing strategy. Till that point, they didn’t have a website (I know, I was shocked as well), Facebook page or any other social network, yet they asked us to give them tips and guidance for opening Instagram profile for their business. Just Instagram profile and nothing else. They are an IT company which offers software services. Considering that, we suggested them to open a website and Facebook page instead, but they didn’t want that. They said they want just Instagram because they use just Instagram and think Facebook is boring, so it made sense to them to use only Instagram for their marketing strategy.
To be completely honest, I wouldn’t suggest anyone focus just on Instagram with their marketing strategy, regardless of their business objective. However, especially in this case, where we’re talking about the B2B type of IT business – Instagram is not enough and will not be sufficient. Focusing on just one social network might have been useful back in 2009, but today – you need to go further. You need to push boundaries. With that in mind, here are my three reasons why you don’t NEED to be on Instagram just because everyone else is or just because you prefer using it.
Carefully choose your social media
Let’s start with this. You need to carefully select your social media channels and see what would work best for you because, obviously, not everything will. For example, not every successful brand is on Twitter. Instead, they focus on Facebook and Instagram marketing strategy. Also, not every company has Instagram, but they have both Facebook and Twitter and are killing it over there. Sure, some have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, blog, YouTube channel and a Google+ page, but that doesn’t mean this marketing model will work for everyone. Some things are better for promotion on Facebook; some for Instagram. Some don’t work at all on Instagram, so don’t force it. Instead, why don’t you focus on your Facebook page, but use Instagram for ads? Because that’s available, you know? You can actually advertise your business on Instagram without actually having an Instagram account. Don’t base your opinion of what’s best for your business on your personal experience: explore, investigate, dig deeper. Look for other similar companies and see what they are doing. Don’t copy them, but learn from them.
Many marketers make this common mistake of using Instagram to improve their sells. That’s not how it works. Using Instagram for business is about building a brand, creating conversation, reaching out towards your customers, engaging with them and inspiring them with your products and services. Don’t create an Instagram page if your intentions aren’t listed here. If your plan is to build your brand’s Instagram to push products to people, you are going to fail. That is not a good marketing strategy, and you’re not going to get much use from time invested in posting content like that. If you want to see the results, then you need to use Instagram as a tool for creating brand awareness through quality and relatable content that your target audience will love.
Change doesn’t come overnight. I’ve already talked about this before, but just because someone follows you on Instagram, that doesn’t mean he or she’ll buy your products and/or want your services. I follow a bunch of brands on Instagram and will probably never buy anything from them because I can’t really afford luxury goods. For example, many people follow Mercedes on Instagram, but will they ever buy one for themselves? Probably not. Still, they love seeing this kind of content because it inspires them, lets them daydream about their cars and creates a bond with the brand. If one day something happens and you’ll have a crisis marketing situation, brand loyalty you’ve built through your social media channels will mean a lot.
So if you expect your numbers will go up in a month, two or even a year, just because you’ve started your brand’s Instagram account, I must disappoint you – that’s not going to happen. Take your time. Post quality photos. Focus on engagement, not on the total number of followers. You want people who love talking to you and your company, not just on the highest number. Work on improving a number of likes on your photos, comments below content you post, not of reaching a certain amount of followers. Note that it’s hard to keep your engagement level the same over an extended period and it’s perfectly normal for numbers to drop from time to time.
Also, don’t be spammy. No need to post ten pictures a day. Instead, one or two outstanding ones might have more influence than these ten. Quality over quantity – always. Be genuine and authentic, but also, be consistent. Don’t go too long between posting two photos. A few days is okay – a few weeks is not.
Basically, Instagram isn’t simple as it might seem. Just because you prefer to use it for personal needs (liking lunch photos your friends posted, cat pictures and vacation updates from your ex), that doesn’t mean it’s the same to use Instagram for business. If you’re not going to use it properly, don’t even bother creating an account.