Instagram Marketing: A Guide to Brand Promotion in 2021

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  • Instagram Marketing: A Guide to Brand Promotion in 2021

Instagram is one of the top social media sites, and for a business, it’s important to think about using Instagram marketing to promote your brand.

If you’re not familiar with Instagram marketing, this guide was designed to provide you with basic knowledge of the ins and outs of this platform. Regardless of the size of your business, it’s probably time for you to consider adding Instagram to your promotional arsenal.

Instagram can definitely help you create a larger impact and attract more followers, just like you would build brand recognition in old-school ways with TV, newspapers, magazines, and billboards. It’s an easy way to generate valuable content that your audience will enjoy.

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So let’s dive in and learn everything essential about promoting a business on Instagram.

Importance of Instagram for Business

Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular ways for businesses to connect with customers, drive traffic, and promote products. Back in 2018, Instagram hit 1 billion users worldwide, and in 2021 this number only continues to grow.

The reason behind such tremendous growth is simple. Instagram is no longer a digital photo album; it’s a blogging platform, a vlogging tool, and an effective channel for self-promotion. As a result, both businesses and individuals interested in increasing their online presence have Instagram accounts.

Learning how to market a brand on Instagram can be one of the most valuable things for small businesses. There is so much potential in this social media platform that it is not surprising that big companies are investing in this technique, too. According to studies, 71% of businesses in the US are on Instagram.

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The key to a thriving Instagram brand is a well-defined social media strategy that focuses on creating high-quality content and engagement. Content must be carefully targeted to draw users with a message of importance to them. Think about it as an extension of your company – what you post online represents your brand as a player on the market and adds up to your brand identity.

What Is Brand Identity?

Brand identity is the visual aspects of a particular brand, with an emphasis on design, color, and the trademark of the brand. It is how a company, business, or firm portrays itself to the public and separates the company from the competition. Simply put: brand identity is what potential customers and the company itself can see.

If you’re involved in branding for your company, there’s no denying that understanding the importance of brand awareness in modern society is critical. But how does one go about developing a solid and lasting brand identity?

When developing a strong brand identity, you must understand who your target audience is and how they perceive various aspects of your online presence. It is also essential that you make sure that the visuals that you select convey the right message to your audience.

For example, you may want to use an image that conveys humor, such as a cartoon character or a smiley face, to communicate a fun and lighthearted approach to your brand identity design. Likewise, you may want to use a logo that stands out from the rest, such as a lion or a bird, to set your brand apart from competitors. Again, your goal should be to create a visual experience that speaks to your customers. Understanding these concepts will help you come up with an identity that makes a great impression on your customers.

Once you have designed and developed your brand strategy, it is crucial to engage your audience. To do this, you need to dive into social media marketing and integrate it into your overall business strategy. Social media allows you to engage your audience, get closer to your consumers, provide updates on newsworthy events, provide solutions to your consumers’ problems, and even broadcast your brand image.

Brand Promotion on Instagram

Before you start your digital campaign, you need to consider several factors. If you have an Instagram strategy that is largely focused on pushing images and videos containing branded content, it can sometimes do more harm than good. Here are some of the best practices you can rely on when starting the Instagram promotion.

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Define Your Goals

First off, decide what you want to get as a result of your campaign: more customers, more sales, more traffic, or something else? Set measurable goals and choose metrics that will define whether you’re heading towards success or not.

The most common approach to setting goals is SMART. This is an acronym that helps you remember that your goal should be:

  • specific
  • measurable
  • achievable
  • realistic
  • timely

By following this scheme, you can understand what matters the most in your campaign and where your focus should be. It also enables you to specify approximate due dates and ways of achieving your goal.

Set Up a Business Account

Promoting your brand on Instagram is one of the most successful strategies for gaining exposure. And the Instagram for business program gives you access to more profound statistics, enables you to sell directly from the profile, and helps you build relationships with other brands.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Create a regular Instagram account.
  2. Go to ‘Settings’ – ‘Account’ and tap ‘Switch to professional account.’
  3. Choose ‘Business’ and then pick the category that best describes your brand.
  4. Specify contact information: phone number, address, and email.
  5. Tap ‘Done’ – now you have a business account.

Optionally, you can connect your Instagram account to your business page on Facebook to get the most of these two tools.

Make a Killer Bio

Your profile picture and a short bio make the first impression. The profile picture thing is simple – it should be your brand’s logo. Making up a cool bio takes a bit more effort.

Your bio should describe your brand to the uninformed public – what you do, where you are, and how they can contact you. Don’t neglect an opportunity to insert a link to your website to boost the traffic.

Don’t, however, overload the bio with links and emojis. It should be short, memorable, and informative, just like this one by ZGLA, a phone-case company:

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Your bio caption is also where you need to insert relevant keywords so that it is easier to find your account among thousands of others.

Research Your Niche

One of the most effective ways to use Instagram as a part of your brand strategy is to get involved with other businesses within your niche. By mutual following, you can gain access to their fan base. This allows you to promote your own products or services as well as gain insight into the lives of your target audience. For businesses, this can be an easy way to grow a fan base and gain exposure to the right set of people that matter most to the company.

There’s another side to it. During your research, you will get the idea of how other businesses promote their products – what content they post and how often, how they interact with customers, and what makes them unique. The results should make you think about your own promotional strategy.

Target your Audience

Make sure you keep your audience in mind while creating your profile, and you’ll be able to build a large, loyal fan base. Consider their likes and dislikes, their age and interests, gender, and geographical location. You should also take into account cultural differences when making holiday-themed posts – images and videos that attempt to lure your audience will likely backfire if they’re not appropriate.

Additionally, if you want to target younger consumers, consider removing product images or videos that have questionable depictions of your brand. Many younger consumers are turned off by obvious attempts at marketing.

Create Valuable Content

With so many sources of information, internet users often feel overwhelmed. And you shouldn’t add to the chaos. Make sure your content is not an infinite flow of self-promotion but rather a supply of helpful knowledge. You should earn followers’ trust through informative tips in your industry and relatable user cases. When you run out of post ideas, it’s OK to look around at your competition and influencers to get some inspiration.

Occasional sponsored posts are not bad if they are done tastefully. Advertising on Instagram is a valid way to get more exposure. Just make sure you don’t go overboard with it in your profile. Focus on real-time marketing instead – react to current events, share your opinions as a brand, and stand by the values you’ve chosen.

Be Consistent With Design

A strong branding effort begins with a strong profile and color palette. Because Instagram is a visual platform, it is best to match the hue of your profile and the colors of your posts. This will ensure that your content is not only visually striking but also sets the tone for the type of vibe you wish to share.

Recess, sparkling water company went for the pastel peachy colors that remind you of hot summer and sticks to the palette in all of their posts:

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Another step you can take is to think outside the box when uploading pictures or promoting your product. For example, one way to promote a brand on Instagram is to make sure that all images are appropriately named and are keyword-rich.

If you have the opportunity to invest in a graphic design firm, it can be worth it to hire one to create custom graphics that can be added to your account. Alternatively, you can choose tools like Picmaker for editing your images and adding captivating captions – it can also help your quest to attract followers.

Learn How to Use Hashtags Effectively

It’s essential that you learn how to use hashtags on your Instagram account. Thanks to tags, people can find your posts among other users’ content. These tags are basically keywords that are relevant to your business. For instance, if you sell footwear, use the #shoes tag in all your posts, photos, and videos. It’s important, however, to use brand-specific and geo tags too so that your posts are more visible.

Take Advantage of Instagram Formats

Instagram has grown a lot since it was launched as a simple app to share photos. It now offers users multiple options when it comes to content formats:

  • Photos (square, landscape, portrait)
  • Videos (square, landscape, portrait)
  • Stories (including IG Live)
  • Reels
  • IGTV

Plus, you can organize pictures and videos in carousels, compile highlights of the best stories, and make shoppable posts.

This variety opens a range of business opportunities. A video is a good way to show users more of your story and brand message, as is a written article or blog post. You can upload product videos and instructions, post short funny clips, and create longer content for Instagram TV.

The variety of tools you can use to make content also astounds – and you don’t even need professional software. Online tools like Fastreel Video Editor will do just fine.

In addition, these types of content give you a chance to engage and connect with users in a visual form that is far different from your regular text-based messages.

Make Your Posts Effective

One of the most powerful ways of marketing a brand on Instagram is keeping the content fresh and up to date. Each time you create a new post, make sure that the description includes a call to action. Include a reason why your followers should visit your site and what they can expect to find once there. If you constantly include links to your brand’s website in your posts, you will be able to tap into a highly targeted group of customers to drive more sales to your business.

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Be sure to shorten the links you add. The posts with short links look clear and cause more trust, while links with multiple characters may seem suspicious.

Another thing you should keep in mind is following a content plan. You need to know when and what exactly you’re going to post. Tools like Bulkly help you create a well-balanced content calendar, schedule posts, and automate the whole process of posting online.

Communicate with Followers

Instagram prides itself on its community-centric focus. One of the reasons people use social media sites in the first place is so they can connect with others who share their interests. If you are trying to sell your products or services on the platform, make sure everything is clear and easy to understand. Provide clear and helpful content so that followers feel comfortable following your account.

By providing content that encourages engagement – polls and questions – you can start potentially viral discussions. Plus, it’s a great way to learn about customer pain points, get inspiration, and show your brand as a company that cares for its clients.

Share User-Generated Content

To get the most out of Instagram for business, it’s critical to engage user-generated content. Use hashtags to give a voice to your content and brand identity. Encourage your customers to find you on Instagram and tag your brand. Then you can repost their stories to make them feel valued and important.

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You can repost fan art, user cases, feedback, or competition entries. When you interact with user-generated content, you build trust between your brand and your audience, which works great for your reputation.

Humanize Your Brand

Experts say that users prefer to know people in charge of social media accounts and like when a CEO or other employees are active on a company’s profile. You can let the audience in on the making of your product by shooting behind-the-scenes content. Another way to connect with your followers is by letting one of the employees take over a QA session on IG Live or be in charge of the Stories section for a day. Anima Iris goes even further and has its CEO usually appear on stories with recent updates.

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Keep Your Profile Up to Date

The most important thing you need to do is to keep your profile up to date. You should always have some information related to your product or service available. The more visible you make your account, the more likely potential customers will find you.

Remove the links to contests that are no longer available, upload new posts, and don’t let the users think you went off the radar. This is also where a content calendar comes in handy.

Analyze Posts Performance

One of the best ways to measure posts performance is to study customer behavior in your account. You can easily do this by using the number of comments, likes, views, and tagged publications.

However, this data isn’t sufficient to understand the full picture of your online success (or failure). Native Instagram analytics may not give you enough information about user activity. Specialized tools, however, can do so much more:

  • Monitor keywords and hashtags
  • Measure user engagement
  • Deliver reports
  • Show opportunities to grow

Final Thoughts on Instagram Marketing

If you want to promote a brand on Instagram, it pays to be creative. Add captivating captions and photos to your account so that users can see what your business has to offer. Offer information that is timely and useful. If you continuously update your page with great photos and informative posts, you will soon find that you have plenty of fans.

If you have a well-designed profile, it will be easy for people to see your products. The best thing to do when trying to attract followers is to post quality content on a regular basis. Remember that your audience is not a group of your friends but people who like what you have to say and who will be interested in hearing from you.

A coherent strategy connects your business with the community, proving your social ties and engagement to your audience. If you have a clear vision for what you want to accomplish with the Instagram brand, you can build a bridge between your followers and your top customers.

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