There are over 9 million active Australian users on Instagram today. Studies also show that Instagram users demonstrate high levels of engagement even when interacting with business content. This provides marketers with a fantastic platform to reach their target audiences.
1. Is Instagram a good fit for your small business?
While the popularity of Instagram among Australians is evident, is it a good fit for your small business? Here are a few pointers.
Instagram is a visual social network where user engagement is high on high-quality photos and images. If you run a business selling fashion apparels, travel gear or one of the many industries with visually appealing marketing material, then Instagram is perfect for you.
A dentist, on the other hand, may have a tough time creating an Instagram-strategy for their plaque-cleaning service.
The average Instagram user is young and female. In fact, nearly two-thirds of Australian Instagrammers are under the age of 35. A business catering to millennials may have a great time finding customers on this platform. This may not be the case for businesses targeting senior Australians.
2. Are you targeting the right crowd?
Success with Instagram marketing comes from targeting the right audience. Instagram is a melting pot of different users with their unique tastes and interests. Unless you narrow down to target a niche, your posts will get drowned in the vastness of the Instagram feed.
For example, if you are a local business that wants to target clients in a very specific town or suburb, you must make sure that your content appeals to an audience in this suburb.
There are many ways to do this. A local business in Wollongong could use the #wollongong hashtag to make sure that they are able to reach users who follow this hashtag on their timeline.
You may also use multiple hashtags to narrow your targeting down further. For example, hashtags like #singlemums, #nannies and #sydney can all be used together to narrow down your niche-defined search.
3. Are you engaging with niche influencers?
Influencers are essentially Instagram users who are trusted among their followers and can thus sway their opinion. Influencer outreach includes making contact with the likes of celebrities as well as users who are well known and trusted in their close network.
The most effective influencers are those who operate within a specific niche like fitness or food. Working with an influencer to spread the word about your business can be quite effective in brand building as well as conversion.
So how do you go about finding an influencer that works for your industry? The Instagram search box is a good start.
Discover users and hashtags that relate to your industry and geography, and once you have identified an influencer, you may reach out to them via the Instagram DM for a partnership. Use an Instagram search tutorial to guide you on the use of hashtags and influencers in your niche.
4. Are you creating engaging content?
Simply talking about your industry may not be enough. Many local businesses like hairstyling, carpet cleaning and car washing do not have visually interesting content that an audience will like to engage with.
In order to create engaging content, you need to be engaging with your target market or audience. Talk to your customers to understand what interests them and build a content strategy for your Instagram marketing.
For instance, a car washing company could share popular visuals from focus groups or subreddits to reach customers. An attorney may share GIFs of public brawls or road rage – such content is viral and may help with spreading the word about your business.
You may also go through other successful small businesses in your niche (competitor research) to see what works for your audience.
In addition to this, you may also want to learn how to edit the pictures you’ve taken – adding some filters, headings, emojis, etc. can do wonders for your brand’s engagement.
There are a number of free and paid image editing tools online. Play around with them to see what works for you.
Also, don’t forget to research a lightweight video creating/editing tool. Instagram gets very good engagement for videos of short duration.
Don’t be intimidated by video editing. As with image editing tools, there are a number of free and paid video editing tools online.
Once you’ve gotten your feet wet in this area, you can also consider hiring a freelancer to edit and polish your pictures and videos. If visual content creation is not part of your main skill set, it may make sense to outsource this task.
5. Are you taking advantage of cross-promotion?
If your brand’s account is doing well on Facebook or Twitter, do not forget to cross-promote your channels. It is also a good way to hedge your bet against any future drop in a channel’s popularity.
Some points to note here. The objective of cross-promotion is to not reach your audience on multiple channels with the same content. There is likely to be a significant overlap across multiple channels and so blasting the same content everywhere could come across as spammy.
For best results, share exclusive offers on one channel with followers on other channels in order to bring these audiences on Facebook and Snapchat to your Instagram channel (and vice versa).
6. Do you reward your Instagram followers?
As a small business owner, I’m sure using promotions strategically is nothing new to you. But have you considered exclusive promotions only for your Instagram followers?
You can occasionally post coupons and rewards that are only for your Instagram followers. Rewarding your followers is a good way to keep them engaged. This is also a good way to bait users who were on the fence about following you to become your customers.
Instagram can be a very rewarding channel. It is rapidly replacing Snapchat as the preferred platform for young people. Instagram also gives you very interesting ways to publish content: You can use Instagram Stories (they come with expiration dates!) for promos with limited time offers.
The newly introduced audio DMs can perhaps be an excellent way to gather testimonials! Visual content definitely trumps plain copy. And Instagram can be the perfect channel to win with visual content.
Experiment with these various content formats to find what works for your audience.
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