Social media has gone beyond an avenue for just sharing content to changing the way people shop. Instagram, with 1.074 billion users globally, is now home to thousands of brands, influencers, and advertisers. In fact, statistics from Oberlo reveal that 71% of U.S. businesses now use Instagram as part of their marketing strategy. On top of this, at least 80% of these think of Instagram engagement as the most important metric. Whether you’re a start-up or a solo entrepreneur, Instagram is definitely worth checking out as you expand your business.
That being said, here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
DO: Build a relationship with your community
With the overwhelming number of people using Instagram, simply posting photos or stories won’t be enough. And your goal shouldn’t be just to rake in as many likes and comments as possible. Social Media Examiner emphasizes engaging with your followers as well. Instagram Stories, in particular, are good for short-term engagement — such as polls, Q&As, and even fun quizzes. Posts and comments, on the other hand, are great for long-term engagement where you can be more informative and detailed.
DO: Strategize your Instagram posting schedule
Many brands just starting out on Instagram often wonder about the best time to post. However, there is actually no one right answer. In reality, the best time to post on Instagram ultimately depends on where your followers are. If you’re running on EST, for instance, then the most ideal time is between 9AM to 11AM. But still, check your analytics to see where the majority of your audience is, and adjust accordingly. Posting during your personalized best times gives you a higher chance of getting great engagement since it’s when most of your audience is active. Plus, Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes posts with lots of engagement, since they’re perceived to be more interesting.
DO: Be consistent with your posts
As with all marketing strategies, handling Instagram should be a commitment. It doesn’t have to be every day, but posting on a general schedule lets your audience see you consistently as well. This also allows you to keep growing since potential followers see that you’re active, so they can expect content from you on a regular basis. It’s good to give your audience something they can keep looking forward to.
DON’T: Post for the sake of posting
Always choose quality over quantity. Make sure your posts are brand-centric, or at least relevant to the interests of your target audience. For example, if your business sells clothes, you can also have posts about how to repair them, the proper way to wash them, or how they can be styled. If you’re a wellness brand, then you can share healthy recipes, workout recommendations, and even some mental health tips. In general, it’s better to take your time with meaningful, informative posts rather than prioritize churning out content after content. This might also over-saturate your audience.
DON’T: Be pushy with sales
Instagram does not like brands that are pushy with sales since they perceive it as spammy. This hurts your business since Instagram will end up shadowbanning you — which is essentially when the app “hides” your account/posts, causing engagement to decrease. To that end, Social Media Today gives tips on how to market responsibly. The bottom line is to build trust; show that the products/services you offer are beneficial to your followers’ lifestyle. Eventually, people will find value in your business.
Keep in mind that Instagram is only one way of marketing your business. For more tips, take a look at my article entitled What is Martech? 7 Types of Tools for Marketing Success to help improve your marketing strategy.