So, you’ve got your online shop set up and are starting to explore different avenues for traffic. Instagram is one of the most popular avenues for online merchants but can also be incredibly tricky. With roughly 600 million active monthly users, Instagram is loaded with potential new customers.
All you have to do is set up an Instagram account, post a few pictures, like a few photos, and … boom! You’ve unlocked a stream of traffic available at your every wish and command, right? Wrong. Just being there is not enough to make the most out of Instagram, and, in order to hit the growth metrics you want, you will have to pursue a more active Instagram strategy.
To boost your Instagram traffic, you must adopt a two-part strategy that focuses on first building up credibility and your audience on your Instagram account, and then funneling that traffic to your site.
Building Your Instagram Audience
Accounts and niches respond to different strategies in a variety of ways. The first step in building your Instagram audience is to clarify what type of audience you want to have, relevant to your industry.
Building an Instagram audience is getting increasingly more difficult, as Instagram post engagement is down an average of 33% for 2017. Every Instagram user is seeing much more content than they were just a year ago, and they have started to react to this content overload by becoming increasingly less engaged with brands.
Variety of Post Content: If your focus is on building an audience, your posts should primarily be entertaining, informational, and community oriented. These posts help to build up your brand and increase your follows. Having a variety in the type of posts is a great way to keep your followers interested. For each product-oriented post in the early growth stages, you run the risk of pushing your audience away.
Hashtags: Having at least one hashtag on Instagram, on average, gets a post 12.6% more engagement than a post without one. Although hashtag use is not as novel as it was a few years ago, there are still massive numbers of users that use hashtags to discover and surf new accounts. Try to find what hashtags your audience is already using instead of playing guessing games. The more community-oriented, trending, and specific a hashtag, the better.
Call to Action: Having a CTA in your Instagram caption is an excellent way to encourage users to engage with your brand. Sparking a conversation in a caption like “What does everyone think about Instagram Live? We like it better than Snapchat, but we want to hear your thoughts” is a simple way to bring up a topic with which everyone using the platform should be familiar. The more industry-specific your captions, the better you will be able to target your audience in the future.
Sending Instagram Traffic to Your Site
So, now you’ve got a significant amount of engaged followers familiar with your brand. Your Instagram growth strategies don’t need to come to a stand-still, but it’s time to start incorporating specific posts that send traffic to your site. Once you hit a sweet spot of followers and engagement with your Instagram account, consider using a few of these strategic posts to boost your site traffic.
Related Content Post: Now that you have a significant following on Instagram, you have an excellent opportunity to share useful content from your site. Creating a captivating and informative post adds variety to your posts, but a link to your on-site content in the description also provides interested readers with additional useful information. Using a site like Canva.com allows online merchants to create graphics with text that drive the reader’s attention toward the description and then toward your site.
Host an Instagram Contest: Running a giveaway or photo contest is an excellent way to reward your followers with an enticing prize. An effective prize for your contest would be something that draws attention to your brand and your products. Although showcasing your best-selling product in the giveaway might drive attention to the product, it could also seem overly promotional if done a certain way. It is important to set the criteria to enter to meet your end goal—in this case, getting site traffic.
An alternative brand-building strategy to drive site traffic is to promote an on-site contest on your Instagram account, with the main prize being something not directly related to your business. For example, if your store primarily sells high-quality bandanas and your Instagram audience consists of a high percentage of music-festival-goers, you could host a ticket giveaway to an upcoming festival.
Run a Limited Time Discounted Instagram Promotion: The first step to taking advantage of Instagram’s feed is to understand what time your audience is checking their Instagram. By viewing optimal times on Instagram, online merchants can plan contests to add an atmosphere of exclusivity and urge users to pay attention to their brand name in the future. If you find that the majority of your audience is on Instagram at 3 p.m., you could launch a two-hour contest during which each purchase comes with a free item.
Network with Influencers: Sometimes the best way to send traffic to your site is to work on promotions with influencers with significant followings. Most influencers usually welcome working with other companies for a share of the revenue, a fixed payment per post, free products, or even, occasionally, goodwill if they are familiar with your brand.
In addition to the above strategies, there are many other tactics that will help online merchants boost traffic from their Instagram account. The logic behind driving Instagram traffic to your site is pretty straightforward, but, in order to optimize the full potential of Instagram, online merchants need to have a clear strategy and the ability to analyze what works and what doesn’t. Neither of these strategies is a magic pill for site traffic, but when combined with a holistic content strategy they can come pretty close.
In the last five years, social networks have acquired about 1 billion new users. Over one third of the world’s population is now accessible via social media, and companies have gone from being skeptical about social media marketing to seriously investing in it.
In this social media dominated world, marketing is heavily reliant on technology, but that technology remains focused on people. This year’s trends will help marketers reach and engage their audience on a more personal level, over social media noise. Companies will be able to fine-target their niche communities, with increased support from software solutions.
Social Media Marketing Trends and Tips
The following is a list of trends and tips for social media marketers to leverage now.
1. Investment in Visual Marketing Will Increase
Most social networks have already launched their versions of live-streaming. Twitter has Periscope, Facebook’s Live, and other networks like Blab and DubSmash support live video sharing. Live-feeds are becoming the “in-thing”. Even the US Presidential election updates were broadcast live by BuzzFeed on Twitter.
You can use live video platforms to engage you audience will near-tangible experiences. If you don’t have a Facebook Live strategy, now is the best time to get one.
With social feeds growing crowded and viewer attention spans growing shorter by year, you’ll need powerful graphics to captivate your audience. In the last five years, the graphic design software market has expanded, giving marketers extensive options to choose from. You can put together graphics on a drag-and-drop editor to simplify your content creation process.
2. Personalization Will Become Priority
Today’s social media users are faced with ads and commercial content on multiple fronts. The receive information from multiple sources, and breaking through that barrier is becoming a tough task for brands and marketers. Personalization will help marketers slice through the chaos and reach only the people who matter.
Tracking consumers’ behaviors on social platforms and targeting them based on interests will become an essential part of marketing. Some social media marketing tools and apps are already incorporating features to support personalization and targeting. More technology solutions will appear in the time to come. You can target your high-potential market by posting content that only they can relate to, or by targeting them using data pulled from tools.
3. Brand Advocacy Will Grow Popular Among Marketers
Ad saturation is driving brands to look for alternative means to reach their target markets. Investment in advocate marketing has seen a steep increase (by about 191 percent) in the recent times. Micro-influencers could be the key to increasing your brand’s reach on social media, because they are more influential and credible than your brand can be.
Employees, customers and social fans are among the micro-influencers that brands are activating. There a quite a few great employee advocacy guides and case-studies that you can look at for inspiration in building your brand advocate outreach programs. You can use an advocacy platform to build and run your brand advocacy program.
4. Native Content Promotion Will Expand
In Joe Pulizzi’s words, native advertising is content marketing’s “gateway drug”. The modern audience is wise to commercial ploys, and traditional advertising alone may not be a great option for branding your company. Native ads help you create awareness without disrupting users’ activities. Content delivered in this manner can help you connect with your audience without being too pushy. According to a study, native ads are set to to grow to $21 billion by 2018.
Content discovery tools, content distribution platforms and content amplification tools are interesting means to having your content shared organically on social media. You could use one of these solutions to have your content positioned where it can earn you some traction.
5. Marketing Automation Will Go Mainstream
Companies with constrained marketing budgets may have not used marketing automation until now, but according to a study, 92 percent of these companies are losing revenue because of that decision. 2017 may see business of all types and sizes adopt marketing automation. 91 percent marketers are convinced that automation is an indispensable part of marketing.
Each social network is unique in terms of demographic and use-cases. This may force businesses to be present on more than one of them to keep consumers and prospects engaged. Managing social pages can be a time intensive task, without the assistance of a supporting social management tool. The idea is to use the tool to automate tasks that don’t require personal attention – like posting created content to multiple accounts and catching mentions of your brand. You can also curate content with a tool and take the final call on what to share. It all comes down to the extra-time that you can save to better invest elsewhere. Managing content on a central platform can also help you maintain consistency across different pages.
Social media marketing is set to evolve into a highly tech-focused and detail-oriented effort. To succeed at reaching and engaging your target market, you need to explore and stay abreast of the latest developments and technologies offered for social. The areas mentioned on this post are good places to keep tabs on.
Social Media Photo via Shutterstock
When you’re active on social media for marketing, you quickly learn its stressful nature. Social media has powerful business benefits, but it can also easily overwhelm any marketer. With so many platforms and features being constantly rolled out and updated, the process of maintaining an effective social media strategy can be a struggle.
You have multiple responsibilities as a marketing professional, and you can’t afford to get lost in the vast black hole that is social media. So what can you do to manage this?
Here are four tips that can help maximize your time and lessen the stress of social media marketing. Consider applying them for better marketing results.
1. Re-evaluate your active platforms
You might think you need to jump onto any and all of the popular platforms out there. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat… there are so many. For small to mid-sized companies, it’s not practical and often impossible to be active on every platform. When you’re spread too thin, you’re not able to give your best platforms the attention they need for maximum ROI.
You don’t have to shut down or ignore other platforms – instead, consider setting up static accounts that direct your audience to the platforms where you’re active. Better yet, give them a quick and easy reason to go straight to your website.
Focus your attention on the platforms where your target audience would most appreciate hearing from you. Regardless of whether they’re most active on Facebook, they still might prefer to hear from a business on Twitter instead. This requires research and experimentation.
2. Seek assistance
Sometimes, you just can’t do it all on your own – all the activity you’re in charge of can prove impossible to manage single-handedly. That’s when you need to seek out assistance.
You have two choices for how to acquire assistance:
- Hire a qualified social media expert as an employee or intern
- Ask your existing coworkers for help
Regardless of which approach you take, you should always seek help as soon as you realize you’re getting overwhelmed. If you wait, you could harm your business’ social media results and even its brand image online. Don’t wait.
3. Find the right tools
When you’re getting overwhelmed by social media marketing, you could choose to audit how you currently handle the activity.
- Do you have multiple tools for different parts of your activity?
- Have you invested in any tool(s) to manage your social media marketing?
To help you prevent social media burnout, consider finding a tool that will streamline your activity all in one place. Find a service that can help you schedule and optimize your content, while also you helping you measure your results. Ideally, you also need to find a tool that’ll connect to your website for easier social sharing of your content.
These are just a few tools you can consider, depending on how extensive your needs are:
- Hootsuite – Provides social monitoring feeds + content scheduling + real-time insights + team collaboration
- Buffer – Provides content scheduling + post schedule optimization + results measurement + team collaboration
- Sprout Social – Provides scheduling and publishing service + engagement management + extensive measurement + team collaboration
4. Have an effective strategy
Perhaps the most important stress-reliever of them all is to have a thorough strategy written out and ready for your social media marketing. Without a strategy, you’re a wandering traveler without a map or destination in mind, and you risk getting lost in the massive social environment – and your results will suffer.
What do you need in your social media strategy? These are just some of the components that will help you make your activity easier to manage:
- The platforms you want to be active on
- The types of content you want to share
- The frequency in which you will publish content
- Who will be responsible for what activity
- How you will handle social customer service
When you have a social media strategy, you lessen the burden you would otherwise have. It’ll help guide you and give you what you need to handle your social media marketing with less stress. Make your social strategy thorough and easy to follow, and you won’t get overwhelmed by your marketing as much anymore.
With social media marketing, you’re bound to get overwhelmed at some stage – new platforms plus new features equals increased stress. The above techniques will help you find some relief.
Main image via geralt/Pixabay