As of this writing, Instagram has 600 million monthly active users — 60% of which are under the age of 29. When Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion after 18 months of its launch, some said @zuck was nuts to invest such an amount just before they went public. Though Facebook hasn’t officially disclosed it, in 2016 there are reports which indicate revenues in the order of $500 million.
32% of Facebook users engage, whereas Instagram is sitting on 68% brand engagement. We’re just a few months away from where we’ll likely see over 1 billion active users on Instagram.
It’s the month of love, and Instagram is never short of love (or filters). Images and videos share a lot of stories, better than words sometimes. While typing this sentence, #Valentines2017 had 38,452 posts already shared publicly on Instagram. Took me 35 minutes to come back and finish this paragraph; I got carried away with a few cute pictures. A stat from selfstartr.com says that only 36% of marketers use Instagram — clearly, it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon.
Here’s how you can take advantage of Instagram for this Valentine’s Day to boost sales.
- Where is the love?
It’s the season of love and it is important that your pictures, videos and content show it. Create a theme and ensure that all the content (images, videos and descriptions) you’re pushing follows a theme with #valentines2017 and other hashtags relevant to your target audience. With this theme, ensure you’re letting the world know what you’re trying to sell and what special offer is in store.
Also, be creative and don’t immediately share those offers. Show teasers and posters to spark curiosity instead. Announce when you will reveal the big offers and to ensure that you’re letting your followers know what to expect.
- Establish brand guidelines
You have to create a set of guidelines which you’ll then follow like a ritual. It will have color palettes, themes, logos of the brand/product, time of publishing posts, and the content which has to be aligned to the campaign you’re running. Follow these guidelines strictly to ensure that the brand profile looks neat and clean. A well-organized profile creates a better brand impact than a cluttered one. Placement of logo, size of logo, the number of posts per day all fall under this umbrella.
- Show off your products!
When someone looks at your profile, they should immediately see your exclusive products. Post good pictures, using filters and editing tools to make those pictures look better. Encourage your customers to upload pictures with your product to get a re-post on the brand page. This will encourage a lot of users and buyers to share pictures of the product they bought from you. Your customer’s followers will see it and they are also getting an upper hand because you are sharing the pictures on your profile which will make them feel special (it’ll probably get them more followers and it is also like a brand acknowledging their effort). Bottom line is, your brand profile should have enough pictures of your products.
- Incorporate videos, stories, messages and live videos
Since the length of videos has been extended to 60s from 15s since they first launched it, use this opportunity! Boomerang is also another cool way to sell a story. If you are not aware of any of this, stop reading this blog and sign up for Instagram right now. Stories are like a limited display of videos/pictures and are only available for 24 hours from the upload time. Just like Snapchat’s stories. Encourage customers to share feedback and any story through messages. If you’ve set up the account as a business account, you can create a button with a call-to-action in the profile.
There are 2 ways to run live videos. Either surprise them and make them interact with your team or show the factory/office or anything that a customer would like to see. Anything behind the scenes will get their attention. If not a surprise, plan a live session. Let them know in advance. You can also take questions prior to it. Let them talk to a brand ambassador of the brand. If there are competitions, a live video interaction with winners can also be made in a fun way.
- Run competitive campaigns
This is the fun part. This is where you get to be in the driver’s seat (if you are not the one who has been driving so far, that is). Run competitions for rewards of your product.
Here are a few campaign ideas:
- Best couple picture with any product of your brand
- Best valentine tagline for their pictures where they tag your brand page
- Best picture of their valentine
- Run quizzes
- #Don’tForget #Hashtags
Hashtags are critical for organic discovery of your brand profile. For every image or video uploaded, it is essential that you use appropriate hashtags for your target audience. For #love there are over 1 billion posts; it’s not practical to scan through all those images (unless you have quite a lot of time on your hands). Invest time to understand the number of times a hashtag is used. Watch your target audience and use hashtags that will get their attention. When using similar hashtags, it can even pop up in the explore section of the app. So when users like to explore other images and content, you are creating a chance for organic discovery.
- Engage and convert
Invest time to engage with each customer if they make an effort to get in touch with you for any reason. If they are engaging with your profile, be nice to them and acknowledge their effort. This will be reciprocal to your conversion rate. If users feel that a brand account is more approachable, it’ll boost confidence and brand trustworthiness.
- Use ads (promote link to website, images, videos, app download)
Through ads, you can run campaigns to promote videos, images, and carousels. You can provide a call-to-action to download an app, learn more (which can redirect to a website), or continue shopping (which will lead to a product collection on the brand’s website). Instagram ads are accessible through Facebook’s ad manager tool. Instagram for Business has more details on how to run these campaigns.
It’s very easy to run campaigns and set up ads for Instagram. Especially for e-commerce brands, it’s a quick tool to run great campaigns and increase engagement and website visits. Be it Valentine’s Day or any holiday, Instagram is a fun platform to interact with brands and customers. Create a plan and go for it. Enjoy the sales that follow!
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