Last week was Tampa Bay Startup Week, an action-packed week that brings thousands of entrepreneurs, local leaders and friends together to grow our community’s unique entrepreneurial identity. On Friday we made our way to Armature Works to see what all the hype was about, and we were not disappointed! We attended talks focused on social media strategy, and we are here to share with you what we learned.
Do it for the Gram
Instagram, that is.
Our biggest takeaway is that it’s all about Instagram right now. Instagram has over 1 billion users worldwide, and as they continue rolling out more and more advertising and analytics features, it is becoming a great platform for businesses to utilize. Compared to Facebook and Twitter, which are primarily content driven, Instagram features very little content and focuses mainly on images. Because of this, businesses must embrace very different strategies than what they are used to with other social platforms. Here are the top 5 tips we learned about creating an effective marketing strategy on Instagram:
1. Tell your story
This first tip is pretty straightforward – tell your audience about YOU. Due to its heavy reliance on photos, Instagram is a very personal platform. Take advantage of this! Use it as a way to educate your audience about you and your brand and give them a reason to connect on a personal level.
Most people think that they need to be 100% original 100% of the time. But that is not always the case, especially on social media. The main reason businesses use social media is to raise awareness of their brand, and the best way to do this is to post often. Don’t be afraid to post the same message multiple times, because seeing it over and over again will allow it to really stick with your audience. That being said, find different ways to convey your message, don’t just post the same image every day. Through trial and error, find what works for you and run with it!
3. Overcoming the lack of links
The biggest issue that businesses face with Instagram is that it doesn’t let you post links. Anyone who knows even a little about SEO knows to post links – they send users directly to your site and it is the easiest way to increase traffic organically. The most commonly used workaround with this on Instagram is the “Link in bio” trend. In the caption of your post, give readers a reason to want to learn more, then direct them to the link in your bio. Make sure to choose this link wisely; whether it be your home page, contact page or even your about page, make sure it is a landing page that will help get you to your conversion goal.
4. Ask thoughtful questions
Instagram likes to see posts that get a lot of engagement (likes and comments). The more engagement your post has, the more Instagram will share it. The best way to do this is to ask questions that spark conversation. Stay away from things like “how are you doing today” and yes or no questions and instead focus on open ended questions. Be sure to relate it to your post! If you post an image of a new cake that your bakery is selling, ask “What is the best dessert you’ve ever had?” This in turn offers some great insights that you can use to your benefit – you now know what your audience likes and can cater to that. Comment threads give you a chance to interact with your customers, so make sure to contribute to the conversation happening on your post.
5. Hashtags are your friend!
Hashtags are HUGE on Instagram if used correctly. Imagine that if Instagram is a search engine, then hashtags are your keywords. They help get your post viewed by the correct audience – people who are actually interested in what you have to offer. Before just adding hashtags to your post, make sure to do your research. Search different hashtags in the app and see what kind of posts come up. Learn about the people that engage with them and the way they interact with the posts. Is this the audience that you are targeting? If so, you’ve found your hashtag! Continue this process until you have between 10 and 15 hashtags for your post.
Now take these tips and head to Instagram! Don’t forget to track your performance and figure out what works best for you. Remember, building a brand takes consistency and patience – it won’t happen overnight! If you need any guidance formulating your social media strategy, feel free to reach out to Haneke Design.