For many different types of businesses, Instagram is a meaningful opportunity to generate new customers or to better engage with existing customers. While some organizations have already adopted serious Instagram strategies (86 percent of the top brands are on Instagram, for example), many organizations have yet to develop a winning Instagram marketing campaign.
Marketers who are ready to launch a serious Instagram marketing campaign should treat the recommendations in this article as a checklist. Review each of the 11 points in order to ensure that your Instagram marketing campaign has the best possible chance to succeed.
1. Wait to launch the campaign until the timing is right.
As with most other marketing campaigns, timing is everything. Avoid launching a meaningful Instagram campaign until the timing is aligned with larger company plans and goals.
Apple is a great example of this. For years the company did not have an Instagram profile. A month or so before the company launched the iPhones eight and X, Apple launched a bold Instagram marketing campaign that generated hundreds of thousands of followers within hours. Try to time your launch with similar finesse in order to build the most successful campaign possible.
2. Set clear campaign goals that can be measured.
Creating predefined numeric campaign goals will give you and your social media marketing team something tangible to strive for. It will also encourage everyone to make ongoing optimizations in order to ensure that the goal is achieved or exceeded.
Marketers who do not associate an Instagram campaign with numerics will find it difficult to prioritize campaign updates or improvements. If you have a specific goal in mind, it will become easier to understand what work should be prioritized in order to produce the best results.
3. Interview members of your target audience to understand their Instagram habits.
Understanding your customer is critical to developing a good product or service, and it is just as critical to developing an outstanding Instagram marketing campaign.
During the campaign-development process, be sure to speak with members of your target audience to understand how they use Instagram. With this information, you’ll be able to confidently develop a campaign strategy that meets their expectations.
4. Test different content types to optimize the campaign.
Even with target audience interviews, it may not be clear what Instagram content format is best. A surefire way to understand what works and what doesn’t is to test various content formats and select the one that performs best.
Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram offers marketers a diverse set of formats to try. Instagram Stories, the latest format, has been phenomenally successful: it is already used by 250 million Instagrammers. In addition to Stories, Instagram features traditional photo, video and carousel content that has served many brands well. Lastly, Instagram Live Video has proven to be effective, especially among younger demographics.
5. Create a cross-channel strategy to maximize effectiveness.
One study found that 72 percent of consumers prefer interacting with brands via multichannel campaigns, a clear sign that marketers should develop coordinated Instagram campaigns that use other channels for support.
Marketers interested in developing highly effective Instagram campaigns should consider incorporating channels like email, display ads, direct mail and live events into the strategy in order to better engage members of the target audience.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
6. Use hyper-targeted Instagram advertisements.
Instagram ads offer marketers a convenient way to engage the right people at the right time. But, ads can quickly become expensive. To keep costs in check, consider using the rich set of targeting tools available to Instagram advertisers, and develop a hyper-targeted Instagram ad.
Most likely, a hyper-targeted ad will be more expensive on a cost-per-click or cost-per-impression basis. However, total spend will be lower than an Instagram ad campaign that targets a wide swath of users.
7. Find inspiration from content creators of all types.
Stunning content, be it an image, video, live video or story, is a common thread among all of the best-performing Instagram campaigns. To find Instagram campaign content inspiration, look at Instagram profiles run by major brands, famous influencers and well-known photographers or videographers.
8. Consider partnering with a micro-influencer.
Mainstream Instagram influencers can be expensive, hard to reach and off-brand. Instead, consider finding and partnering with a smaller, industry-specific influencer who has sway among your target audience.
This will ensure that your investment in an influencer results in content that reaches your desired audience. Furthermore, many micro-influencers are willing to accept free products or lower priced contracts, which can help keep campaign costs down.
9. Pair compelling Instagram captions with content to boost performance.
While visual content is certainly the star on Instagram, a compelling caption can go a long way toward improving the performance of Instagram content. For each visual you plan to launch during the Instagram campaign, be sure you have developed a contextually relevant and compelling caption to go with it.
10. Develop a clear and contextual call to action.
Within the caption, or within the visual content itself, be sure to provide audience members with a clear and motivating call to action that encourages them to engage with your brand in a deeper way.
Rather than simply asking audience members to visit your brand’s website, consider driving them to a specific page for a specific reason. Remember that some segments of Instagram’s user base log in to the platform about 11 times per day. That means that the Instagram platform is highly “sticky.” You will need to provide members of your audience with a great reason to leave.
11. Establish a clear start and end date for the campaign.
As with all marketing campaigns, Instagram campaigns should not run endlessly. Instead, you should develop a campaign with a clear start and end date. Doing so will provide you and your team with a clear way to measure performance, and can motivate everyone involved to find campaign optimizations faster than usual.
Creating a start and end date will also allow you and your team to conduct a post-campaign analysis, which will make it easier to learn from successes and failures moving forward.
Instagram campaigns can make a meaningful impact on business results. Why else would some of the world’s largest brands put so many resources into developing awe-inspiring Instagram marketing campaigns?
Marketers interested in developing a needle-moving campaign should first set clear, time-bound goals. Next, they should interview members of the target audience in order to brainstorm compelling content that will grab people’s attention. Working with a micro-influencer and developing compelling Instagram captions are other ways marketers can find success with Instagram campaigns.