via Locowise : Little less than five years ago, Instagram was the new kid on the block. Even then some startups and a few brands were looking to optimize their social media marketing performance by jumping on the platform.
Yet, the social network was still in its early stages. Instagram was primarily a place where people shared the same photos they did on Facebook, with the added touch of a few filters. Food selfies and photos were all the rage and the term ‘influencer’ was still in its early stages of being defined as such.
Fast forward to today and the picture is quite different. Instagram managed to achieve the fastest growth rate in its history and overtook Facebook with 70% better engagement rates.
It’s the hottest social media platform right now and brands are all over it. And while social media marketers are well familiar with how things are done, even the best need some inspiration and at times benefit from some guidance when planning their campaigns.
For the big brands planning a social media marketing campaign can be a long process, incorporating numerous stages of analysis, shooting, reviewing and more. However, most influencers know that a campaign on Instagram could be as simple as preparing a few photos in advance and posting them in order.
THE FIVE STEPS TOWARDS A SUCCESSFUL INSTAGRAM CAMPAIGN
Social media campaigns on Instagram are as much the same as they are on other platforms as they are different. The photo sharing platform is unique in a sense that as your posts are visual, you are primarily on a quest to build a photo album that best presents your brand.
Even before you start planning your social media campaign, you should have a clearly defined idea of what is the Instagram character of your brand. By doing so, you would be able to achieve a level of consistency throughout your multiple campaigns and posts on the platform.
TIP: A Great way to define your brand character on Instagram would be to ask yourself if your brand was a person, what would this person post on the platform.
STEP #1 – CHOOSE A GOAL
Going from there, make sure to first focus on the goal of your campaign. While a social media campaign serves multiple purposes, when you are in the conception stage you should focus on one prime goal. Such goals can include:
STEP #2 – THE IDEA
More often than not, an Instagram marketing campaign would be a relatively small endeavor. As aforementioned, it can be as simple as planning out a few photo posts under the same hashtag and narrative.
Having this in mind, don’t be afraid to come up with more than a few ideas. Depending on your goal, focus on what your brand stands for and create the most fitting photographic representations.
TIP: Instead of defining a clear idea, rather leave your final idea open to changes. The initial idea should serve as a guideline of what your Instagram marketing campaign would ultimately turn out to be.
STEP #3 – THE HASHTAG
Once you have the idea for the marketing campaign set, define a clear hashtag. When it comes to hashtags, there are generally two types of social media marketing campaigns – those revolving around the hashtag and those who define the hashtag.
In the first type of campaigns, the hashtag is the cornerstone of the content. The hashtag, with the planned potential trend, is the defining factor of what the content is. On Instagram, you would often see this. Some brands even put the hashtags as text on the photos themselves.
The second type is quite straightforward and is safer for those who wouldn’t want to put all their eggs in the hashtag basket. The most used type of social media marketing campaigns are those which are made based on the initial idea and goal, with the hashtag being the latter priority, once the content is already made.
Even if you choose to first create the content for your campaign and then come up with the hashtag, make sure to consider a few different options beforehand. You should keep the idea of a hashtag in mind in the process of creating your content as well.
TIP: The hashtag is the foundation of your campaign. Make sure that it is simple, catchy and relatable. Even though photos are arguably the most important part of your Instagram campaign, a great hashtag would definitely serve its purpose in the long run and towards the success of your goal.
STEP #4 – THE CONTENT
This should be the most straightforward step. Based on your idea, create the needed content. For Instagram, this is usually done through digitally manipulated stock imagery or through photo shoots.
TIP: Some Social Media Marketers would spread a photo shoot into multiple marketing campaigns on Instagram. They do so by making the photo shoot as versatile as possible and later organizing the content they have to fit the narrative of their current marketing campaign.
STEP #5 – THE PLANNING
Once the content is ready, all that is left is to post it on the platform. What you would often see is people scheduling their posts at a set date. However, the mistake most do is to set a date pretty much randomly.
Instead, you should use statistics to your advantage. See at what hours your audience is most active. What is the time at which your Instagram posts perform best? If this is a test marketing campaign created for the purpose of review and the run of a bigger campaign, you might want to schedule your posts at the least active times and receive feedback from your core audience. At other times, the best strategy would be to schedule your content for the time at which your posts perform the best.
TIP: You could also go with a flexible schedule. Especially if you have more than a few posts spread out for a couple of weeks, consider the insights and statistics you receive for the performance of your first posts and plan out from there.
FOCUS ON AN INSTAGRAM-SAVVY AUDIENCE
Especially if you are new to Instagram, make sure to build your campaign around the platform itself. While on platforms such as Twitter people tend to engage with humanizing content from the brands, on Instagram quality is the top priority.
Even though you should still focus on your inbound marketing strategies through the platform, people tend to expect a certain level of consistency and quality from brands on Instagram.
Whether you are going to use designer-made content or perform a photo shoot for your marketing campaign, it should be obvious that you should first edit your photos on a computer and then post them on mobile.
TIP: Today, putting a filter on top of your photos simply won’t do the trick. Instead, you should hire the help of a professional image editor to ensure the magazine-like quality of your Instagram posts.
The use of hashtags is certainly not compulsory within a social media marketing campaign, but for Instagram it can be crucial. People tend to respond best to engaging hashtags. Something they can snap a photo of and post on the platform. What’s more, the search function often relies on a hashtag to help people find relevant content.
TIP: On Instagram, your audience plays a huge role in the success of your marketing campaign content-wise. Consider making a campaign that engages your audience and helps them interact with your brand through visual imagery and Instagram posts.
REVIEW, RINSE, REPEAT
One of the greatest social media marketing benefits of Instagram is that you can run multiple campaigns with a relatively low investment. Rather than focusing on one big campaign, you should invest into multiple smaller ones.
By doing so, you would be able to curate your content based on the statistics from the previous campaign. Going all in can sometimes be the right call, but the most secure way to move forward is to measure twice before you cut.
Run a small Instagram marketing campaign. See what it does for your brand. What are your engagement rates? What is the sentiment of your audience? Make changes, run a different campaign, and review again. Combine your analysis of the two campaigns and invest into a bigger one.