One of the most cost effective, yet often overlooked ways to market a startup is through Instagram. Though the platform is largely image-focused and you may think your business doesn't revolve around photos, chances are you'll be able to find a way to intertwine the two.
If you're like most startups and have a limited marketing budget, there's one big reason you should consider Instagram: organic reach. Unlike Facebook where Pages now have reported engagement levels as low as 3%, Instagram still boasts strong engagement across the board, despite implementing their own algorithm. The hard part with Instagram is creating an identity that makes people connect with your company.
To find your identity on Instagram, I'd recommend incorporating your business culture by either showcasing your team or office space. Another option is to actually post photos of the services you provide. As an example, Baarb, a startup using artificial intelligence to custom tailor travel bookings for users, utilizes their Instagram page to showcase unique destinations people could book through their application.
Here are three key ways to integrate Instagram into your overall marketing strategy:
1. Use a Benefit-Driven Instagram Bio
One of the downsides of using Instagram is that you can't include links in your posts (for now at least). Though this may be a deal-breaker for many, you can include a link in your Instagram bio on your profile. This means visitors will always come from your bio, so your bio should needs to be crystal clear as you can make it.
A template I use for bios goes as follows:
"I help [target audience] solve [irritating problem they have] by [your solution]. Learn more at [your website]."
2. Ride a Social Wave
If you see something beginning to trend of social media, you should consider getting involved. This will boost natural engagement and as people look to become involved in a trend, your post might stand out to them.
A key indicator of a social wave can be found by following the trending sections of Facebook or Twitter. Though these platforms are different to Instagram, social waves usually spreads across platforms.
To tap into a trend effectively, be sure to add your own perspective. Though it may be easier to just copy and paste someone else's post, getting caught for copying isn't worth the shame, and potential brand damage, that'll follow.
3. Call Your Audience To Action
The best types of posts on Instagram are the ones that ask your followers to do something. This not only works to boost engagement, but it can also help boost your post's ranking in Instagram's feed.
Just like Facebook, Instagram now filters people's feeds, with post engagement being a relevant factor in how far your post reaches. If your post has a lot of likes and comments, that increases the chance that more people will see it.
To call your audience to action, I recommend asking them questions, having them tag a friend, or choose between a post with multiple options.
As an example, Baarb does this with their travel locations when they ask followers to choose a location they like best or tag someone they'd like to travel with.
Ultimately, Instagram can act as a means of free advertisement, of constructive criticism, and an open pathway for communication that is necessary for any startup to be successful. The most important thing for a small business's success - especially if it wants to grow into a bigger business - is that it has open communication with the consumers it's trying to reach.
Once a business gains its consumers' trust, it's then able to truly help personalize their experience and deliver what they want out of the service or product it provides.