The following blog is the second part of a series. Read Get ♥ for Your Brand: Actionable Instagram Marketing to learn more about the elements of actionable marketing.
If you’re reading this blog, it’s because you know that the first rule of content marketing is to produce content. Instagram is one of the fastest, easiest and far-reaching ways to create and engage. You may already have a business Instagram account set up, but the idiosyncrasies of this particular platform have caused marketing headaches for years. Today, I’m going to talk about the tools I use to ease the pain.
Start Your Marketing Engines
While there is a plethora of photo editing apps out there, there are relatively few that are really good at helping you get your content onto Instagram. This is largely due to the fact that the only way to post to the platform is through the Instagram app. Scheduling apps like Planogram, Latergramme and Hootsuite are popular but none of them do full automation. These apps send a push notification to your phone for whatever time you schedule, but don’t actually post anything.
That means that you’re going to have to babysit your account a little. What you can do to make the maintenance a little easier, however, is to have all of your accounts integrated into a second-party app. Unlike Facebook and Twitter which give administrators easy mobile access to multiple accounts, Instagram only supports one account at a time. It may not be a huge deal if you have one business, but what if you have multiple locations or franchises? Logging in and out of each account just to check messages is time consuming and inefficient.
Fotogramme for Instagram is an app that allows you to easily toggle between accounts. You can see your feed, like and comment on photos, and engage with followers. For those who prefer to work with a desk/laptop computer, Gramfeed is similar.
Once the Ball is Rolling
After a few posts, you need to something to gauge your performance and audience engagement. Now is the time during a traditional marketing campaign that you would turn to Google Analytics, but Instagram doesn't play by Google's rules. Luckily there are a number of InstAnalytics apps out there. With Iconosquare, you can examine relationships, take a closer look at engagement levels on top-performing posts, and optimize your hashtag strategy.
Once you've taken a look at the data and aligned with your audience, you can begin the funnel process. The most common complaint I get during this phase is how difficult it is to cross-promote. The only place on your profile where you can insert a clickable link is in your bio; if you featured a product in a post, there’s no direct way for your audience to access said product. In other words, the CTA—the darling of the online marketing world—has no place on Instagram. If you set up with Curalate, however, all you have to do is put your Like2Buy link in your bio, and it will automatically connect users to an Instagram store.
In it for the Long Haul
In the past few months, Instagram has added some game-changing features to their advertising options. The Facebook Power Editor is giving businesses marketing capabilities that have never been offered on the photo-sharing app. You may have noticed Sponsored posts popping up in your feed lately. These ads can range from photos, to videos, to clickable gifs that redirect to landing pages. They’re an awesome way to create a visual story with all the bells and whistles that marketers love.
Power Editor perfectly outlines campaigns with goals and KPIs in mind. You can now structure an ad based upon:
- Clicks to website
- Boosting your posts
- Sending people to your website
- Increasing conversions on your website
And app developers have two additional marketing goals:
- Get installs
- Increase engagement
At first glance, this new functionality to the Ads Page makes all the other apps look circuitous and obsolete, but I like to compare the Power Editor to a PPC campaign. The other apps described in this blog are relatively low cost (ranging from $1-2 upfront, to $6 a month for service) and help you achieve organic traction. A Sponsored Instagram post is exponentially more expensive.
Is it worth it? I think so, with conditions. This is not the option for a fledgling startup or the Etsy entrepreneur. A campaign launched with Power Editor would have to have the infrastructure to back it up to see any success. This is something that a business with solid branding, a few thousand followers, and a niche or strong target demographic could pull of quite well.
But whether or not your business is in a place where it can invest in a Sponsored post, the Power Editor provides a new framework for the possibilities of Instagram marketing. Indeed, I’ve delighted in how creative some companies are getting with it. Hopefully, Instagram’s new direction will encourage business owners and marketers alike to dream big in this visual, relatable space.
What do you think of the changes that are happening on Instagram? Share your opinion by leaving us a little love note, below.
Originally published October 27, 2016, updated June 12, 2020
Tags: social media Instagram Marketing web marketing