September 1, 2020

marketing

Burkhard Berger

photo

With more businesses relying on social media to expand their reach and grow their audience, the most important thing is to have a strategy in place. You can't just jump in when you feel like it and post what you want. You need to understand who your audience is and how to properly sell them.

Here are some reasons why social media can benefit your business:

  • It's a great way to build brand awareness.
  • You can connect with your audience and start conversations with them online.
  • Social media can help you learn more about your ideal customer through online engagement.
  • It's an inexpensive way to increase your brand's reach.
  • You can also subtly market your product.

Once you understand the importance of social media, there are several strategies you can research that will make the most of your time and help your business make more money in the long run.

Be subtle with your marketing

According to Statista, the 18- to 24-year-old age group is the largest population group in terms of user base on Instagram.

Gen Z is going to be your target audience with Instagram and it is important to know that the age-old marketing techniques won't work with them. 69% of Gen Z said online ads were disruptive. So your goal should be to focus on non-invasive marketing techniques.

A good example is Apple's "Shot on a iPhone" campaign on Instagram, which publishes pictures taken with an iPhone:


source

This simple strategy allows Apple to use the pictures captured on iPhone to build relationships with its audience and is also a much less invasive marketing technique than others.

Invest in micro-influencer marketing

Don't be afraid to invest in micro-influencer marketing. This is an inexpensive and non-invasive way to grow your brand on Instagram.

A good example of a company that does this is GymShark.

Founded by Ben Francis when he was just 19, Gymshark has grown into a popular e-commerce fitness brand. The brand's success is largely thanks to its emphasis on micro-influencer marketing.

Essentially, Gymshark approaches fitness influencers on Instagram and asks them if they'd be interested in partnering with the brand. These influencers then create sponsored posts for Gymshark that help them reach a whole new audience – the influencer's audience, to be precise.

In some cases, influencers even add a link to Gymshark's online store in their bio.

This marketing strategy works so well because it reaches your ideal audience without you having to struggle.

For a Facebook ad, you need to trust an algorithm to get your ad in front of the right people. However, influencer marketing ensures that you reach the right people. At Gymshark, these are people who are interested in fitness.

Another big part of this strategy is that it isn't that annoying to the viewer. They don't put an ad in front of their face that they're likely to roll past. Instead, it's much more subtle. The influencer's followers, who want to know what they are doing and wearing, see your product presented authentically in their posts.

Use Instagram tools

A great way to expand your Instagram platform is to use tools that allow you to take a look behind the scenes.

Tools allow you to focus on your analysis and previous posts. This is a great way to find out what works for your brand and which posts are good for you. You can also use tools to plan, follow the right people, create a strategy, edit images, and so on.

Some tools to consider:

  • Grum: A release schedule is important if you want to appear professional to your audience. You can't just post randomly without having a strategy in mind. Grum helps you schedule posts in advance so you can get all of your social media work done in one day.
  • Owlmetrics: Looking at the data is always a great way to understand what works for you and what you could do better. Owlmetrics shows you real-time analyzes like the gender of the followers like history, geodistribution of the followers and more.
  • Brand Mentions: BrandMentions is a social media tracker that allows you to monitor your brand and your competitors on multiple social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Zyro: This free logo maker from Zyro is a great way to create an awesome logo for your brand that you can use under any picture you post on Instagram and maybe even your profile picture if you want. Zyro is 100% free, has tons of templates, and is extremely customizable.
  • Ampfluence: Ampfluence is the best Instagram marketing agency if you are looking to get solid growth for your account. To do this, they create a tailor-made strategy with which you can reach your target group and increase your followers.

Let Instagram grow your content

The end goal of your Instagram strategy should be to focus on an omnichannel approach.

For example, if you've already created written content for your blog or recorded an episode for your podcast, you can use it to create micro-parts that you can then use on other channels (posts, IG slides, IGTV videos, etc.) to get more out of it Your already existing content. Use IG as an amplifier.

This can even be done with the courses that you create for your audience. You can give your audience a little glimpse into a premium course by creating well-thought-out Instagram posts or even IGTV videos.

I always say, you have two companies – a media company and your "real business" (in that exact order). The sooner you understand and accept this, the sooner you will be successful with your Instagram marketing and business.

Use IGTV

IGTV is a relatively new feature on Instagram that allows you to post longer videos without ads (at least as of now). Since this is a new feature, Instagram is pushing IGTV content into the feed.

Creating an IGTV channel on your Instagram is like connecting a mini YouTube account to your Instagram. You can use it to showcase DIY videos, tutorials, create a series, etc.

IGTV allows you to create more episodic content that can focus on a specific topic. This can be very engaging for your viewers and they will come back to learn more.

The Budget Mom (Personal Finance) is a good example of a brand that uses IGTV:

Drive engagement by running giveaways and competitions

A great way to get your audience interested in your brand is by hosting freebies and contests. It's one of Instagram's more affordable marketing strategies, and it's pretty easy to implement.

You can do this by following a few steps:

  • Find out your ultimate goal: What do you want from it? More brand awareness, more followers or more likes?
  • Decide on a giveaway price
  • Create a fantastic post description and hashtag to follow your giveaway announcement
  • Define the eligibility criteria for participants
  • Read the rules of Instagram in relation to promotional gifts
  • Find out how you will be promoting your giveaway: It can be by paying for ads, investing in influencer marketing, or relying on your own audience to get the word out.
  • Decide on the length of your promotional gift: You need to set a time limit. Would you like your giveaway to last a few days or a few months? When will you announce the winners? The bigger the price, the longer you can persuade people to wait.
  • Start and promote your giveaway

A giveaway can be a great way not only to strengthen your brand, but also to learn more about your audience. New brands in particular see great success with this strategy.

Share user generated content

A lot of brands make the mistake of just focusing on creating their own content instead of trying to get users to participate in the creation process. The focus should be on getting users to love your brand as much as you do.

Aerie, an activewear brand, does an excellent job here. They're constantly posting user-generated content from women wearing their clothes.

This works wonders for several reasons:

  • It helps your audience connect more with your brand because they see people like you who use your brand and love you.
  • If you share a picture posted by someone who loves your brand, they'll likely get even more passionate about your products and there's nothing like referral traffic.
  • People who would like to be featured on your page are even more likely to post pictures wearing your clothes / using your product / etc.

Creating a social media strategy for your small business is one of the core components of your digital marketing effort. It is important to remember that your strategy should be aligned with your goals and tailored to your business.

It will take time to find out exactly who your audience is and how best to reach them. Hopefully these 7 ideas have given you a starting point.

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