As the 8th most visited website in the world (source), it’s fair to assume that you’ve at least considered Instagram for part of your marketing strategy in 2023.
Many brands ask for our support in planning an Instagram strategy or campaign, and here are some of the main things we recommend we work through with them.
Step #1 – Why Do We Need This?
Before we start here, I think it’s good to note that it doesn’t make sense for every brand to have an Instagram strategy, so before we jump right into how to do this, it’s essential to ensure you’ve got the “why” sorted first.
Great reasons for IG making sense as a part of your strategy:
- Your target audience is there. Here’s a list of demographics; for example, if your audience skews older than 34, Instagram might not be where you want to start.
- You have a naturally visual brand (e.g., consumer product)
- You’ve got a budget to test things across social media.
- You’re selling a product on your site & that product is a bit more of an impulse buy.
- The person who is going to be running it is just really, really good at Instagram and is excited to try a bunch of new stuff on the platform for your brand.
Wrong reasons for IG making a lot of sense for your strategy:
- We want to look cool, so we have to use IG.
- We’re already investing in social media content, so let’s copy and post that on Instagram.
- A board member heard from a friend while golfing that Instagram is hot right now, so we need to do this.
- Side note, if you are up against this, it reminds me a little of this gem from Adobe from years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnJucRfS_ig
- We want to drive a ton of traffic to our website from social media, and since so many people use Instagram, we should do that.
- All brands have to do Instagram; it’s one of the required platforms to look relevant.
Step #2 – What Do We Want Out of This?
Yes, I know -every post about marketing strategy almost certainly references the fact that you need to set goals. And this one is no different.
If you are going to invest in Instagram, your next decision needs to be “why.”
Here are some different goals to consider setting with Instagram and some different KPIs that might make sense associated with that:
- Increase brand awareness among our target audience
- Great KPIS: Followers, Impressions, Reach
- Build better brand sentiment and recall with our target audience
- Great KPIS: Engagement, lack of unfollows, reshares
- Sell more stuff
- Great KPIs: Sales associated with social-only campaigns/offers, revenue related to social media promotions
- Get more partnerships
- Great KPIS: followers & rate of follower growth
Step #3- Whose Your Audience?
Most brands and marketers have a pretty good idea of their target audience. You don’t need to spend a bajillion dollars paying for fancy persona development, but you want to think through a few different things to ensure you’ve got a good idea of your target audience.
- Demographics: Here’s a nice long list of different models of demographics from the NIH.
- Psychographics: Here’s a great outline from Hubspot for how to develop a psychographic profile.
Overall, you want to have a buyer persona or set of personas that look at some demographics (e.g., I’m targeting 20-year-old women who live in cold states) and how they think (and those women are frustrated that winter clothing isn’t comfortable, etc.).
Step #5- How do we Want to Come Across?
Next up, it’s essential to work through your brand voice and how you want to talk to your audience.
Here’s a link to our brand voice template, if you need a little help working through what your brand’s voice on social media is: https://www.v9digital.com/wp-content/uploads/Brand-Voice-Template.pdf
Step #6- What Categories of Content are We Gonna Post?
We’re huge advocates of having content categories your posts fall into. This helps you organize your content and strategically evaluate it later as an overall category.
Most brands should have at least four different categories of content, and many brands have quite a bit more than that. A great thing to look at as you build this out is what your top competitors are doing and what different aspirational brands might be doing.
Here’s a list of some different categories, but this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list – just something that can get your creative juices flowing 🙂
- User Generated Content
- Product or Service Features
- Fun Facts / Information
- Purely Engagement
- Contests / Giveaways
- Teaching something (tips)
- This vs. That (comparisons)
- Industry News
- Company News
- Thought Leadership
- Employee Spotlights / Features
- Business Partner Features
- Behind the Scenes
- Lifestyle Content
Step #6- What Kinds of Content Will We Create & How Often?
Once you’ve got the categories down, it’s time to consider what kinds of Instagram content we should post. Whether it’s static images, videos, reels, carousels, etc., there are many ways that content can be added to Instagram.
Some great things to think through are:
- Budget – What kind of budget do we have to try different content?
- Quality over Quantity – What kinds of posts can we get done and keep them high-quality and on-strategy? Your audience will not be impressed with stock photos and “happy donut day” posts long term.
- Variety – How can we test variety without getting past the tip of our skis? For example, you can try videos without committing your owner to do a weekly podcast interview.
Step #7- How Are We Going to Evaluate This?
Before starting to get your strategy down to the next step, which is execution (stand by, we’ll write a post on this soon, this is a whole different ball of wax), you want to consider finally how you will agree this is successful.
Maybe you need to see follower growth up and to the right for a while, or perhaps you already have good engagement and need to see it at the next level. Wherever your baseline is, it’s good to set some targets against your goals and milestones and evaluate them regularly.
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