As consumers are spending more money online than ever before, Jonathan Birch, Creative Director at digital marketing agency Glass Digital, shares his tips for using Instagram to drive more traffic to your site.
As COVID-19 forced brick and mortar stores to close, people across the UK (and the world) turned to online shopping to fulfil their needs. In fact, online shopping was more popular than ever, reaching its peak in January this year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. While this is great news for online retailers, the pandemic has made the ecommerce landscape much more saturated, meaning it can feel a little more difficult to stand out from your competitors.
Having a well-optimised and user-friendly website is vital for driving online sales, but you should be taking advantage of every tool you can to guide traffic to your site. Posting on social media is a great way to show off your products or services, especially as more people are now turning to these platforms to keep up to date with the latest news and trends. And, as Instagram currently has over one billion active users worldwide, the photo sharing site is the perfect place to advertise your brand (Statista).
Social media marketing is a relatively cost-effective form of advertising. Posting content is completely free, and you’ll only need to pay for any extras such as ads and influencer campaigns. If you use all of the tools available to you, including shopping feeds, advertisements, and affiliates programmes, Instagram can provide a good return on investment (ROI).
Here, I’ll be sharing how you can take advantage of Instagram marketing to promote your business.
Set attainable goals
Before getting started, you’ll need to work out exactly what you want to achieve from the platform. Do you want to increase awareness about your brand in a particular demographic? Do you want to drive more people to your website? Deciding what your specific goals are can help you figure out exactly what to do to reach them. You’ll know what to focus on when looking at your Instagram metrics and follower demographic, and you’ll see a great ROI when you manage to achieve your goals.
Create an Instagram business account
Once you have a clear vision in mind, the first thing you’ll want to do is set up a business profile. This will allow you to add contact information and get analytics about your follower demographics and the types of posts and ads they interact with the most. A business account also means you can use Instagram Shopping, a feature that lets you add product tags to your images to link customers directly to the items they’re interested in most. This leads to quicker checkout times and higher customer satisfaction.
Don’t forget to update your Instagram bio with all the essential details of your business. If someone stumbles across your page, this is the first place they’ll look for information on where to buy your products, so make sure you add your USPs, address (if you have one), and a link to your website to encourage click-through.
Consistency across platforms is key, so now is a good time to review your website. Using Instagram is a modern marketing method, which means your website should be up to date, too. Make sure it’s user friendly and loads quickly, and that the content matches up with the content on your social media. The majority of Instagram users will be using the platform on a mobile device, so it’s vital that your website is also mobile friendly.
Knowing what to fix and how to fix it can be difficult, especially if you’re not familiar with web design. In this case, it’s a good idea to hire a specialist company that can fix any potential problems for you, as well as optimise your site to target top ranking keywords and make it the best it can possibly be.
Crate an engaging storefront
Instagram relies heavily on visuals, so making a great first impression is important. Your business page will act as your storefront, so you want to make sure it reflects your brand as best as it can. If you’re a retailer or hospitality business, you’ll need to showcase your products and food to encourage customers to shop with you. The most attractive pages usually have a predetermined colour palette, so think about what kinds of posts would appeal most to your audience. For example, will you opt for natural hues, muted pastels, or something bright and bold?
If you offer a service that would be difficult to showcase visually, it’s a good idea to post images that align with your company values. For example, if you’re a brand that prides itself on its great customer reviews, create some graphics to show them off. If your business likes to be open and honest with its clients, behind the scenes photos of your office or manufacturing process will show everyone the passion and work that goes into your brand.
Instructional content also makes for engaging social media posts. These can be anything from reels and IGTVs showcasing how to use your products, to doing a Q&A on Instagram stories. This type of content is great for engaging directly with your followers and can help boost your credibility as an expert.
Make use of hashtags (but don’t overdo it)
Once you’ve created your post, you’ll want to use hashtags to make sure your content gets seen. It’s important to use hashtags that are relevant to your brand so you’re reaching the right people, but it can be difficult to know which ones are right for you. If you’re not sure which hashtags to use, you can run the risk of using too many, which can sometimes make your posts look a little spammy. Plus, if you only choose the most popular hashtags for your industry, you could end up being drowned out by big brands that are using the same ones.
As a general rule of thumb, stick to around three to five relevant hashtags, and include a mixture of popular and moderately popular ones. As you type your topic into your Instagram post, you’ll be able to see which hashtags are popular and how many posts there are for that hashtag, which will help you figure out which are the best to choose.
Don’t forget to create your own hashtag using your brand name. This way, you can see people who are engaging with your content, and those who have bought your products as a result of Instagram marketing.
Add to Instagram stories
There are two ways to post on Instagram, through your usual feed and through Instagram stories, and you should be making use of both of them to maximise your ROI. While your profile is a great way to advertise your products and services, stories are perfect for displaying time sensitive content like offers and polls.
One great way that businesses have started using Instagram stories is by sharing user-generated content with the rest of their followers. Using images created by your customers is not only a cost-effective way to generate regular content, but it can also help promote brand trust and loyalty.
Create Instagram ads
With Instagram, you can turn any of your posts into an advertisement for your brand. While this does cost money, you will have the option to choose your ad spend, as well as the ability to customise who your advertisement will reach. Plus, if you choose a post that has already done well on your feed, then chances are it’s going to make a good advertisement, too.
Marketing is a continuous process and it’s unlikely that you’ll get everything completely perfect the first time. So, make sure you check your performance metrics to see if there’s anything you can improve for your next ad. For example, if your click-through rate is low, you could consider adding a more engaging caption that encourages users to interact with your page. Telling the story of your brand or sharing time-sensitive offers is a great way to do this.
Remarketing (or retargeting) is a form of advertising that targets users who have interacted with your brand before. These people may have clicked on a previous post, interacted with your website, or completed a sale. By retargeting your ads to these people, you can continue to remind them about your brand, and they’ll be more likely to visit your site again.
To retarget your Instagram ads, you’ll need to install Facebook Pixel, which will let you manage your ad campaigns in more detail. Then, you can create your ad and choose who you’ll send it out to. For example, you can choose customers who have visited your site in the last month. Or you could filter by users who have visited a specific page and target them with similar products. Again, remember to check your metrics and tweak your advertisements as needed.
Try Instagram affiliate marketing
While creating your own business profile can help spread the word about your products or services, don’t forget the power of influencers. There’s nothing better than word-of-mouth reviews, and these people can act as brand ambassadors to promote your products, spread awareness, and build trust. And, as influencers have huge follower counts, partnering with them ensures you’re getting your brand seen by a wide audience.
To increase your ROI, it’s a good idea to use affiliate marketing rather than traditional influencer marketing. With influencer marketing, you’ll usually pay for each post that mentions your brand, but there’s no real way to know if the post has driven people to your site. On the other hand, affiliate marketing is performance-based, and the influencer will only be paid once a sale has been made.
To track your sales, the affiliate will be given a unique URL that directs to your site, which will tell you which sale was made as a result of an affiliate referral. This means you can pay the influencer the agreed commission rate only once the partnership has had the desired effect.
When it comes to marketing, it pays to make use of popular platforms. By following these tips, you can promote your business across Instagram and get more clicks and sales on your website.