You may have noticed that Instagram recently updated its logo. It got a bit of criticism from some corners, but there’s method behind the madness.
It’s not just an updated design, but one to reflect the overall community and put the logo in-line with other apps in the Instagram stable such as Boomerang and Hyperlapse.
While the logo may be dividing opinion, there’s little doubt that for small businesses and SMEs, Instagram is a highly effective tool for B2B and B2C growth.
Instagram isn’t just a tool for taking pictures and sharing them with friends. It’s an effective visual social network that allows you to build targeted followers easily and reach out to new people through a combination of photos, videos and hashtags.
On the face of it, it can sound tricky. After all, most people aren’t natural photographers, are they? Being creative is a subjective thing; how could you possibly make it work for you?
Picture the scene
There’s a simple, single reason why anybody can take charge of Instagram and help it work for them, and that reason is Facebook.
A while back, Facebook bought the photo-sharing network, and has paired a lot of its advertising options with the platform.
We recently wrote about how small businesses can harness the incredible advertising and targeting potential of Facebook, and how you can build a highly custom, local audience through it.
Thanks to the networks’ relationship with each other, you can use those same targeted audiences you’ve already created on Facebook and use them again on Instagram.
You can also use Facebooks paid social options to encourage specific actions such as increase site visits, follower numbers, gather data and much more besides.
Social media marketing is a lot more powerful than some give it credit for, and numerous small businesses are using it right now to get ahead of the competition in their industry. As a growth tool, putting a budget aside for social media is hugely effective.
How does it work?
We actually have two recent examples above which we’ve screenshotted from our personal Instagram account; sponsored posts from Panasonic’s business arm and Betfair.
We had a look for a telly the other day in an online sale, and like the odd flutter now and then, so it stands to reason that these types of promoted pictures will show up in our feed.
We’re being targeted because of a number of factors, and we’re more likely to follow up on those ads because of our digital footprint. The two above companies deserve praise for getting it so right, and for:
1: Targeting the right people
The companies have targeted us based on our persona, and used data such as our age, gender, location, interests and other easily-collectible information to place a relevant ad into our Instagram feed designed to encourage us to click.
2: Using images and descriptions in the right way
Take a look at the images. They aren’t going to be winning the Turner Prize any time soon, but they don’t need to. The pictures excel in conveying the incentive; a money-back bet and business assistance, with more info in short descriptions underneath.
3: Great calls to action and landing pages
Traffic is useless unless it’s directed somewhere. The two examples above lead to specific websites or ‘landing pages’; Panasonic’s to its business info and what it can provide enterprises, and Betfair’s to a sign-up form to capture data and get more customers.
These are two case studies we found within a couple of minutes. So many companies are harnessing the power of Instagram marketing, but the wider picture needs to be considered, including who you’re targeting, the message of the content, and how easy your site is to use.
Get instant results from your budget
Like other forms of social media marketing, you can put as much or as little budget as you want toward a campaign to target the results you feel are most necessary to grow your business.
However, as with paid search (PPC), social marketing can be an effective bridge for a long-term inbound marketing campaign and can attract almost-instant results.
It can make more sense partnering with an inbound marketing agency, though, as the above takes an awful lot of trial and error to get right, especially for small businesses and SMEs. Partnering with an agency affords you time, experience, expertise and a cost-effective social marketing service.
The investment is worth it and allows you to concentrate on growing other areas of your business. Do you really have time to learn about the complexities of Instagram’s algorithm, its relationship with Facebook, and compiling customer personas?
Creative calls to action
Another thing to add is that while the two case studies we’ve provided here are good, they’re not perfect. Creativity is a subjective thing, but we feel the more original and personable the campaign, the better.
Remember a year or so ago when Apple released a Christmas ad for its iPhone? It’s a message the company continues to use; everyone and anyone can be a photographer or filmmaker thanks to current mobile technology.
At its core that’s what Instagram is about, and the best campaigns tap into that personal nature. Instead of Photoshop, visual campaigns can be built on free platforms like Canva, which are very helpful.
Instagram has also recently evolved its carousel for ads and is pushing video ads, too, so creative boundaries and business growth opportunities can be broken with a single press of the ‘Capture’ button on your mobile phone.
The balance between the creative visual and your business growth strategy is key to Instagram success. One can’t succeed without the other, but once you find that balance then the options to grow your business are enormous, from increasing footfall to your shop to getting new customers to sign up for offers and more.
Instagram is a creative inbound marketing platform whose visuals can attract an entirely new audience to your company through your existing Facebook targeting campaigns. To find out more about how it can help you grow your business, contact the Webpresence team today.