Instagram has become one of the biggest platforms to market your products. As they evolve, and allow businesses to directly link posts and stories to weblinks, staying on your A-game for your Instagram strategy is a must.
But posting in your feed with links isn’t the be all and end all of a successful marketing strategy - engagement is. So how does a small business like yourself create an Instagram feed that keeps their audience engaged?
Posting on a schedule means you are targeting a certain audience on a continuous basis. To simplify it, people who check their Instagram at lunch time, will continue to do so. Those who check if before they head to bed, will continue to do so. So once you have figured out the most responsive time for your product, stick with it. If needed use automated scheduling tools like Hootesuite or Later so you can plan your posts weeks in advance, complete with hashtags and captions.
People are visual by nature. What appeals to the eye, calms the mind. So aim to develop a style or colour palette that works for your brand or is based on a branding strategy that you may have already developed. It is important to be able to have foresight about how your feed will look when you are aiming for design coherence. Styling your feed can be done in various ways. Next week make sure to check out or blog on How To Style Your Instagram Feed to check out different ideas.
What better way to get your audience engaged than to ask them a question in your post captions. Questions can be about your work in progress, ideas you may have for future collections or even general questions about a regular day in your studio, all depending on how you have chose to style your Instagram feed. Here are some example:
“Look at what we worked on all weekend. Let us know what you think in the comments below!”
“We just finished our first piece in the new collection? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.”
“Christmas is around the corner. Let us know what your favourite products are, and we may just put them on sale!”
“We just opened up for commissions! DM us to book one of the limited spots.”
“Have you been to our latest stockist store? Let us know where else you’d love to see our work stocked.”
Always remember to follow up a question in the caption with an action plan. Let people know where they can comment or the benefits they could reap from doing so. The intent of course is to keep your audience engaged. Why? So they feel like they are a part of your brand, not just a customer.
Stories With Polls
Very similar to asking questions in your captions, is creating polls in your stories. Instagram has come up with some creative ways to let you create polls, and it becomes another tool for you to engage your audience. Always keep in mind that while these polls may definitely help test your market, try and treat them as fun exercises as well. It helps keep things light and breezy, and your audience is able to relate to you rather than feel like they are answering a bunch of survey questions. Which brings me to the next point. Like anything else, don’t overdo the polls. Too much of anything gets boring. As you are scheduling your posts and ‘regulating’ the style, make sure your stories with polls work in the same way. Introduce a ‘Friday Chill Sesh’ or a ‘Monday Wake Up Call’ series - something that is memorable for your audience and emulates your brand.
Short and Simple Wins the Day
An occasional long post for special reasons are all right. Otherwise, try and keep your captions short and to the point. Most people focus on the visuals when they scroll through their Instagram feed, so keeping your caption short and concise is key to a more engaging post.
Host Giveaways and Contests
After SALE a customer’s next favourite word is FREE. Host a giveaway or a contest once in a while to get your current audience excited and maybe even bring in new customers. There is no better way for a customer to start buying your product, than to be able to test it out first. Now obviously you can’t hand out freebies to everyone who is interested, but to get enough people excited about a possible freebie works just as well. Of course remember to keep the whole process transparent. Make the rules simple and clear; let them know when the winner will be announced; then choose a winner as “publicly” as possible.
Create a Buzz Around Upcoming Collections
You are about to release a new collection? Creating a buzz around it is the best way to get your audience excited and to engage them and get to ask a few questions. Remember, only sneak peaks of the work to generate that frenzy.
If you’re a small business with a niche audience, try and make yourself personable and relatable. How? Don’t make it look like your studio is run by robots. Show your workspace and your face occasionally. Now I know we aren’t always comfortable in front of the camera, but there are ways around that as well. Maybe an occasional side profile, a shot of you working, an image of your studio.
Show Your Work in Progress
Make your brand a transparent one. Keep your audience engaged by showing them what you are working on. Not only does this get your audience to chime in, but it also keeps them involved. There’s nothing like excitement by your audience about upcoming collections.
Hopefully you try these 9 tips out and see how it helps your Instagram game!