Instagram marketing for your business

With more than 1.9 million users in Singapore, largely female and under 45, it’s no wonder that Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for small businesses.

That said, not every business is well-represented on Instagram. And while some products and services stand to gain more from marketing on Instagram, others must work a little harder to make this platform work for them.

Generally, if your business has visually appealing products or images to share that will work effectively on the platform. The type of customer you're targeting will also make a difference. The majority of Instagram users are aged between 18 and 29 so if that's your target market you need to have a strategy.

In our previous post, Instagram 101, we went through the basics of Instagram. In this post, we look at how to make Instagram marketing work for your business.

It’s visual-first

Instagram marketing is most effective for products and services that are best demonstrated visually, such as fashion, beauty, food, and electronics. YouTube star Michelle Phan relaunched her new line of cosmetics entirely online, and largely on Instagram, with great success.

One can see why: the brand constantly posts beautiful pictures of women wearing its products. Without a physical store to test the products, consumers rely on these posts and word of mouth, usually from the comments section, to determine their decision to purchase.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/emcosmetics/

Source: https://www.instagram.com/emcosmetics/

To succeed on Instagram, you need to focus almost entirely on creating beautiful images that capture your customer’s attention from the get-go. Attention spans are short, and you likely have less than three seconds to make an impression. With that in mind, brands like Phan’s Em Cosmetics invest in high-quality photoshoots with influencers and talent to produce the images you see online.

It’s mobile first

Yet what most small businesses love about Instagram is the fact that it does not require huge budgets to produce high-quality posts that convert. While traditional print and TV advertising require images to be of super high resolution, digital posts don't need anything quite as expensive. The images are viewed mainly on mobile screens, minute details aren’t as obvious.

Since Instagram is largely viewed on mobile, successful brands focus on optimising these posts for mobile. This means

  • cropping images to fit a square frame, or
  • shooting videos and stories in portrait mode instead of landscape.
  • If there are any texts within the image or video, make sure it's visible on smaller screens.

While these defy traditional creative methods, it’s what works best for Instagram.

When planning your Instagram posts, ensure they are optimised for mobile rather than desktop. Use online tools like Unum or VSCO to check how your posts will appear on different screen sizes, ensure that your captions include a reminder to check the link in bio (Instagram posts do not have the option to link directly from the posts), and use stories to send your visitors directly to your website (the “swipe up” feature redirects your visitor from Instagram to your website).

It’s a community

It’s one thing to drool over tantalising pictures of lemon tarts on Instagram, stare enviously at the latest beauty products, or watch product demos of the iPhone X. These are great examples of how Instagram can work for B2C companies, but how about B2B?

There is one characteristic that B2B businesses can leverage – Instagram is first and foremost a community. The platform can be used for engagement but it's more effective when it comes to creating awareness. B2B companies need to take this into account when planning any Instagram strategy.


What does this mean for your business?

Let your fans tell your story. In a community, fans share reviews and tips with others online. Businesses can ask fans to share their experiences and reviews, which are more likely to convert visitors into leads than a post from the brand itself.

Be personable. Use your imagination to capture interest in your business. Software company HubSpot (@hubspot) consistently produces funny memes, runs small contests, and posts interviews with guests and customers. The memes reflect HubSpot’s brand personality, and customer testimonials lend credibility to their business. Local TV station ChannelNewsAsia (@channelnewsasia) has also started a series of Instagram takeovers run by employees, which give viewers a sneak peek into life at ChannelNewsAsia. A recruitment exercise perhaps?

Hubspot and Channelnewsasia

Sources: https://www.instagram.com/hubspot/ and  https://www.instagram.com/channelnewsasia/

Leverage influencers.

Instagram is a great platform to engage influencers. What better way to showcase your product or service than getting an influencer with a huge following to talk about it? You can even share content from your users (user-generated content), as a testimonial of your product or service. Remember to ask for permission though.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ-RzgSjC6h/?taken-by=dreachong with Singaporean influencer Andrea Chong.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ-RzgSjC6h/?taken-by=dreachong with Singaporean influencer Andrea Chong.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ7D4jvF7zG/?taken-by=fentybeauty sharing user-generated content.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ7D4jvF7zG/?taken-by=fentybeauty sharing user-generated content.

Summary

  • Instagram is a visual-first marketing tool so you need images that grab attention
  • The social platform is mainly used on mobile so you need to optimise for that medium
  • Instagram is a community platform where others can help tell your business story