In the realm of social media, Instagram remains one of the staple platforms alongside Facebook, Twitter and the newest member—TikTok. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has evolved from sharing one pixelated photo at a time with harsh filters and decorative borders to posting high-quality photos and video, direct links to online shops and donation pages, paid advertisements and more. As the app’s popularity grew, people began to see the opportunity Instagram gave them—limitless reach, 24/7. Fast forward to today, Instagram has become quite the online marketing tool.
When used correctly, the app can draw in new customers, raise brand awareness and even sell goods, just to name a few. But how do you successfully use Instagram as a marketing tool for your business? FCNews rounded up several social media experts to get their advice.
First, have your company’s Instagram profile set up as a business page as it’s better for the algorithm, according to Gretchen Murray, a social media analyst at Mobile Marketing. That way, potential customers are able to find your account faster. Plus, you’ll be able to run ads, which can only be done via a business account.
From there, Murray suggests using Instagram to build relationships with new customers. “A good general rule of [thumb] is your posts should only be about 20% selling and the rest should be geared toward building trust in your brand,” she explained.
Danielle Krempasky, social media and content specialist at Mobile Marketing, said it’s all about the hashtags. “You should be strategically utilizing hashtags on your Instagram posts [as] they play a large role,” she said. “Do your research and look at which ones are trending in the flooring industry and make sure you incorporate those in your posts if they’re relevant to your brand.”
Another key usage factor for Instagram is engagement. “[An] important way to use Instagram is to meaningfully engage—not just with customers but with influencers and synergistic brands,” said Irene Williams, owner/principal, Msg2Mkt. “This kind of engagement can result in helpful tagging/mentioning/sharing in user generated content.”
Elevate form and function
When it comes to the look and feel of your company’s Instagram, Jenna Cappabianca, director of social media at The Godinger Group, advised creating a specific company theme/aesthetic by incorporating brand colors and fonts throughout the Instagram page. “When developing brand assets we try to use the same color palette so it is recognizable to the consumer,” she said. “Overall, we try to keep our page visually appealing with bright colors, allowing our products to be the highlight of the content.”
Murray agreed, suggesting all posts displayed on your page should be cohesive and strategic. “You need to make sure your images tie together versus a bunch of random images you like,” she explained. “Show who you are as a business and your brand through your posts. You should approach Instagram strategically and know your brand voice.”
Jeff Bieber, vice president of marketing at Broadlume, suggested showing off the “vision” and what the product is able to provide for consumers rather than the products themselves. “In flooring, instead of showing swatches, show off room inspirations,” he said. “With all social media, your pages should be an extension of your brand.”
Utilize Reels, ads, influencers
As a primary digital platform, Instagram explores different avenues of sharing content—one of which is videos. With a recent update, the focus is shifting toward “Reels” or short-form videos. “Businesses of nearly any type or stripe must commit to creating engaging visuals and videos if they want to connect with customers on any social platform or digital marketing channel today,” Msg2Mkt’s Williams urged. “The active, strategic use of Instagram demands marketers create this kind of content.”
Godinger’s Cappabianca suggested outsourcing or hiring an individual who specializes in creating video content. “On other platforms, content is more searchable and has a longer lifespan, thus resulting in a higher reach,” she said. “Instagram has been adapting by pushing Reels, but it is still more difficult for photo content to have a lifespan longer than a few days.”
Along with creating Reels and posting engaging photo content, there is one more piece to the Instagram marketing puzzle—ads and influencers. “You see a lot of the best brands utilizing micro-influencers who have a small but very alert and connected audience,” Broadlume’s Bieber said. “There’s a lot more trust and credibility that comes from that.”