The “Why and How” of Digital Marketing and Instagram

What is Digital Marketing?

“What about our digital strategy?” is a phrase commonly heard today, when a business talks about its marketing strategy. Formally put, “Digital Marketing” or “data driven marketing” is the marketing of products using digital means, primarily the internet which brings in the personal computer, mobile phones and tablets and also display advertising, in-application advertising or any such digital medium. The increasing popularity of the internet in the 1990’s followed by the invention of smart phones in 2000’s has taken the digital marketing concept to new heights and of paramount importance in the marketing strategy.

There are several techniques of digital marketing such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), e-commerce marketing, content marketing, social media marketing etc. Social media marketing, in particular, has become one of the most important techniques in today’s world with mankind’s new basic needs changing to food, clothing, shelter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. It uses social media platforms and techniques to market a product or service, enables marketers to track a range of stakeholders such as current and potential customers and employees, bloggers, journalists and the common man, by monitoring their activities, opinions, likes and dislikes etc.

The firms that use social media effectively enable the users to be interactive with their product or service by letting them post their content in the form of comments and reviews and also enable them to interact with other users by posting comments, sharing their thoughts and opinions, sharing photographs and locations etc.

 

What is Instagram?

It is a Internet based application that allows the user to post photographs and videos which can be made public or kept private for a set of pre-approved followers. Created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, it is avaiable for free for iOS, Android and Windows 10 devices. In addition to posting, the app lets you edit photos and videos using various filters and add hashtags to link them to other content on Instagram and add locations where the photos were taken. Users can also link their Instagram accounts to their other social media platform account such as Facebook and Twitter, allowing them to share the content across platforms as well. It also includes Instagram direct, which is a private messaging service, eliminating the need to use a third party chat service, locking in the user to Instagram’s eco-system. It also has a story feature which enables the user take photos, edit them, add effects and add them to their story. Users can also look for publicly available stories at a particular location, which are compiled by the app and displayed at the nearby business’es or place’s Instagram page.

 

But there are other apps that let you do all these things, then why Instagram?

A user’s perspective:

  • Instagram photos and videos cannot be downloaded
  • It is an app to peek into my friend’s lives as opposed to sharing social and political messages and stories and opinions among “some” personal stuff
  • It is an exclusive and fun experience as the posts disappear after 24 hours, like a quick peek into your friend’s day
  • Photos speak much louder than words
  • Instagram had the first mover advantage with the chat and the story feature

 

How it fits your business?

Instagram is a very popular app and hence a handy tool for B2C business. It uses images and videos to communicate to the common man, which has more appeal than common plain text. It creates a perception, raises emotions and compels the user to pay attention and interact with the brand, increasing the odds by 40% as per a study by mashable.com. A Pizzahut ad with a photo of a cheese dripping pizza creates a stronger impact on the consumer than a text saying delicious pizzas.

Also, Instagram is

  • very user friendly
  • faster than other social media platforms
  • able to redirect you to other pages by posting a direct url
  • able to integrate with Facebook accounts
  • FREE!

 

Which businesses is Instagram for?

Generally speaking, its for all, small and big, B2C and B2B.

Some encouraging statitics (courtesy: www.smartinsights.com):

  • Marketing reach on Facebook is down by 63%, and up on Instagram by 115%
  • Brands on Facebook reach only 6% of their followers per post, whereas 100% on Instagram
  • Instagram has a high average order value of $66
  • Only 36% of marketers use Instagram, whereas 93% use Facebook

So a larger reach, a highly engaged user base and lesser competition makes perfect sense to use Instagram

 

What should the strategy be like?

A few key factors to consider when marketing on Instagram:

  • Know your objectives: It is critical to know what your brand stands for, who your target audience is, how can you integrate with other social media platforms
  • Content is everything: Products, culture, values make up for a great content, build images accordingly.¬†Keep a balanced ratio of photos and videos, use Instagram’s apps such as Hyperlapse and Layout to create a unique and Instagram specific content
  • Always use a hashtag: Hashtags enable to photos and videos to show up in related live feeds thus reaching the prospects. It helps drive traffic to the Instagram page, which can then be directed to websites and offers
  • Integrate the contacts: Get all your contacts to your smartphone, using a Gmail or Facebook account for example, then use the “follow all contacts” feature of Instagram to follow them. This is great to understand your contact’s likes and dislikes, preferences etc.
  • Integrate your email: This enables sharing photos taken by your contacts in emails sent out to your customers and prospects, making the email more engaging
  • Use Influencers: Finding a popular figure such as an actor or a sportsman makes their followers your followers, greatly increasing your presence
  • Curate content: Create competitions for best photos pertaining to your brand, use geo-tagging to promote your presence
  • Management: Define clear roles for the team, determine the frequency of the posts and be conscious of the brand’s aesthetics

 

Keep clicking, keep sharing!

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