Everyone loves Instagram, but it’s not for everyone.

Instagram is a growing social media platform, with over 500 million users and thousands of businesses sharing billions of images every week.

But is it the right social media platform for marketing your IT solutions practice? If so, what’s the best way to market your business on Instagram?

Let’s start with the first question: Is it right for your business?

Sure, it’s a huge potential audience for you to reach with your messaging, and everyone seems to be saying you just have to advertise on Instagram, but there are a few things to consider first.

For example:

The average user on Instagram is between 18 and 35 years old

So, if the average Instagram user is only recently a high school or college graduate, is this your target audience? Or, to put it another way, are you looking to advertise your IT solution provider services to someone who is probably still living at home or only starting to ask what they want to do with their life?

Chances are, these aren’t exactly the people you should spend your precious marketing dollars to reach. That’s the hard truth you should seriously consider before jumping on the bandwagon.

However, if you have an e-commerce business that sells direct to end-users or if you offer services that might appeal to these younger demographics, then perhaps creating an Instagram presence makes sense for you after all.

Posts are very photo-heavy

The fact that Instagram is mostly a photo-sharing platform means that your ads need to be designed to fit into that universe. This means you’ll need to re-think your ads from the ground up and learn to communicate your brand without a lot of text. Are you up for such a challenge? If not, you’ll need to hire an outside agency who can do this for you.

Everything is “Pay-to-Play”

Honestly, this is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about Instagram. They think that if they can build up a large follower-base that this audience is seeing everything they post, but that’s just not true. Much like Facebook—who recently acquired Instagram—there’s an algorithm involved that, essentially limits the number of followers who can see what you share on your platform. This means that if you want to reach everyone with every post you’ll need to pay for the privilege. If you don’t pay to boost those posts, only a handful of your followers will ever see them.

Still interested in marketing with Instagram?

Ok, then. If none of that has scared you off and you’re still committed to taking the Instagram plunge, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

Be sure to switch your account to “Business”

This is crucial. Once you switch your account over, you’ll get access to a lot of great analytics info and access to other key features that aren’t available to the basic account users. Don’t worry, it’s free to switch your account to a business status and as easy as flicking a switch on your profile page.

Minimize your branding

I know, this seems really counterintuitive, but trust me, you’ll be much more effective on Instagram if you shy away from the sales-talk and keep everything real. If possible, find creative ways to disguise the fact that your posts are ads. Unless you have a specific call to action like “click here to download our e-book” or “register for our free webinar,” your posts should tell a story. You should be building your brand identity without slapping your logo or your tagline everywhere. Success on Instagram looks very different and involves a very unique strategy to connect with your audience.

Experiment with different ad types

The good news about Instagram is that you have more options to play around with. Take advantage of videos and carousel slides to tell your story, in addition to the standard photos you share. Of course, you need to pay attention to what is working and what isn’t working and adjust your efforts as necessary to optimize results.

Post your ads from your Facebook account

As we mentioned, Facebook purchased Instagram recently and along with that comes not just those funky algorithms we mentioned above, but also a few other perks. Facebook’s Ad Manager allows you to get more detailed with your targeting and provides more analytics features when you run Instagram ads through your Facebook account.

For example, you can boost your posts when you post directly through Instagram, but you can only target ads by creating custom audiences based on location, interests, age and gender. However, when setting up Instagram ads using Facebook’s Ad Manager, you’ll get more flexibility because Facebook allows you to target by email lists, phone numbers, lookalike audiences and more. You also get access to more analytics features when running an Instagram ad through Facebook.

So, there you have it.

Instagram could be a great marketing platform if you use it properly and understand who the potential audience is and how to reach them with relevant, organic content that isn’t too salesy.

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