2020 has brought some changes to the way businesses look at their advertising strategies. With COVID-19 pushing more people into the digital platform, companies have fixed their eyes on building their business on social media. With over one billion users on Instagram, creating a marketing strategy is the perfect way to reach a new audience and build customer loyalty with existing customers. Whether you're just now getting into the social media marketing boom or trying to reshape your business goals for the new year, here is a guide to building your Instagram strategy.

Why do you need an Instagram strategy?

If there is a product or service that you want to sell to people, having a strong Instagram strategy is one of the best ways to reach that goal. But first, you need a plan before that can happen. You wouldn't want to just jump into the social media platform without a coherent plan of what to do, do you? With a solid Instagram strategy that is well thought out, you could reach a larger audience and boost your conversion and sales.

Define or Redefine your goals

The first thing that you want to do is to define your goals. Or, if you already have your goals set out from the last year, go over them again for 2021. With the pandemic changing many marketing trends, figuring out how you want to use Instagram for your brand is crucial to owning a successful strategy. All you have to do is think about how you're going to use Instagram to sell a product, services or promote your YouTube channel or podcast. Knowing what you want to do will help determine what type of content you'll upload to Instagram.

Find more of your audience.

Reaching your target market is the one way to achieve your business goals in 2021 successfully. Whether you have done no preliminary research on your target audience or have in the past, it's still a good idea to re-examine those findings. Since the pandemic, more people are using Instagram and social media worldwide, so figure out how to connect to these new users. Also, see how advertising to this audience has changed in the past year. Studies find that after 2020, customers are expecting more from brands and how they market to them. Do you know your audience well enough to know how they want to be spoken to?

Create a target audience profile

One of the best ways to research your audience is to create a profile for them. There are many templates out there that can help you research and answer essential questions about your audience. But to help you get started, think about what type of person you want to buy your product or engage with your content. Don't picture many people at once. Just focus on one imaginary person and write what they are like. Know what type of Instagram content they like and what kind of tone you can talk to them with. This will help incredibly well when you're ready to post on Instagram.

Identify Gaps

After finding out more about your audience and what they are like in the new year, identify any gaps or problems that will prevent your audience from engaging with your links. Go back to your target customer's profile and research what type of advertising will stop them from buying your product or services. If you dig deep enough, you may find that specific customer will have pain points or concerns that you can then convince them otherwise. Understanding your Instagram audience is the best way to gain new followers.

Set up an Instagram Business account

Now that you have all of that out of the way, now comes the fun part. Creating your Instagram account. But don't just jump into making a regular one. Instead, make sure that you've opened up a business account. Instagram's business account gives you many beneficial options that you can't get with the regular one. Things like Instagram Insights, Shopping, and Ads are just some features you can use to build your account's following and reach your target audience.

Optimize your Instagram profile

Instagram only gives you 150 characters to convince thousands of users to follow you, so make the most out of it. This section is an essential part of your page. It's the first thing your potential customers will see. So, consider your target audience profile and create a profile worth clicking into. To give you a little inspiration, you can also search business accounts similar to yours and see how they have completed their profile.

Profile photo

Your profile photo will be the image that represents your brand and your business. There are a few ways in which you can choose your photo. You can pick a picture of yourself. You can also use your business's logo. No matter what you decide to use, make sure that the photo you use is the same for all of your social media profiles. That way, people will see consistency with your brand.

Create a great Bio

In this section of your profile, write either the business description or take it further by writing your brand mission. If one of your goals is to encourage your followers to go to your website or shop, then include a clickable link and a call-to-action. You can also have your location, contact information, or business category to better inform potential customers of your selling and how to go about buying your product or service smoothly.

Include your brand identity

To build on your Instagram profile, you will need to incorporate your brand identity. Your brand identity is what people and say about you. It's what they see in your business, thanks to a variety of things. Some aspects that make up your brand identity are your mission statement, values, tone, and visual. And while your bio showed your values and mission statement, your profile page should also show your business image.

Choose your color theme.

One of these factors is the color of your brand. You may have chosen the business marketing colors before. But if you haven't, choose a color scheme that will fit within your company's tone. For example, if you have a small sticker shop, your tone may be happy and playful. If that's the case, you may want to choose colors representing that tone and emotion. Make a list of colors that go with your brand and shape your page around that color scheme.

Choose your filters

When you post anything on your Instagram page, you may want just to upload it as it is. But the best way to come out as a professional business owner who cares for their brand identity is to create photos that have the same thing in common. Making a consistency with your photo's filters will hammer the idea to your followers that this is what your brand looks like. And if you do it long enough, customers will associate the filters and color scheme with your brand.

Examine your competitors

Now, I know that these steps sound more confusing than merely researching your audience and uploading photos. So if you need some inspiration on creating the perfect business page, all you have to do is look at how the pros do it. Search for a business similar to yours on Instagram's search bar and analyze how they have created their page. Make sure the pages you're looking at are from companies with a lot of followers and influence. You can get a broad picture of how you can best optimize your profile page and do it just as good, if not better.

Create a list of your post ideas

Now for the fun part. You can do this now or before you make your profile page. Either way, take out a piece of paper or an excel sheet and start writing what content you should upload to your page. Social Media Calendar provides Instagram templates for your account if you don't know where to start. Whatever you upload, consider your target audience and think about what type of posts they want to see?

1. Guides

Instagram Guides are great for businesses who want to showcase their products and get people to click on their links. It's also great f your an influencer. You can create guides on different products and places, collaborating with a brand and highlighting their products and services.

2. Image Posts

This is a basic type of posts that most users will like and share. Take pictures of your products, highlight your services or podcast if you have one, or repost user-generated content that praises your business. Create giveaways and content that will promote engagement. There are so many things that you can post for your followers with image posts.

3. Stories

Stories may only last for 24 hours, but if you use them right, you can gather more followers to your page. Create story posts with stickers, music, and filters that will make your brand look professional and inviting. There are so many apps that will help you make the perfect story for your customers, highlighting your business.

4. IGTV

IGTV is one of the latest features to hit the social platform, but it isn't the least important. IGTV allows you to create long-form videos that users can watch and stay on your page for longer. You can better use this feature by creating series relevant to your business. If you have an interior home business, you can create a weekly series of home designing tips. Followers and recent visitors will come back again as if you have your own television series. This promotes your business and builds trust by showing your expertise.

5. Reels

Reels, an idea inspired by the hugely successful TikTok app, has become quite popular with Instagram users. But this video creation feature is a little different from the former app. On Instagram's Reels, you see many businesses posts short videos for their products or showing their business. Use this feature to put a spotlight on your product or service and watch your conversion rate grow.

Engage with your audience

It's not enough to just post and walk away. Your Instagram strategy should also include engaging with your followers. This is very important because it makes your business more relatable to your customers. Authentic branding is vital to creating customer loyalty. To do this, share your followers' posts, reply to them in the comment section, and create posts that encourage interaction, such as polls and Q&As.

Research your hashtags

A solid Instagram strategy will always have a plan for hashtags in it. Although many believe that Instagram hashtags are going through a change, making them less useful, you can still take full advantage of SEO. All you have to do is researching your hashtags. Search for the keywords in the app and see how engagement is with the word. If it's high, then use it for your posts.

Create captivating captions

Captions are essential for encouraging people to interact with the posts. So, make sure that you write relevant and engaging captions. But remember, although Instagram allows you to write captions that are 2,200 characters long, you can only the first two lines when you click into the picture. Keep this in mind as you write captivating captions that will tell your followers everything or entice them to read more.

Work with influencers

While creating your Instagram strategy, make sure that you put in influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is when an influencer uses individual influencers to promote or endorse their product or service. This is a great way to build social trust and grow your sales. You may have to create a separate marketing strategy for this. Still, I highly recommend trying it out if you want an Instagram strategy to go over and beyond.

Keep track of your data and analytics.

Last, always keep track of your Instagram strategy's progress with data and analytics. Doing so will help you better optimize your system. On your business account, look at the audience demographics, audience actions to see what they are engaging with and how individual posts are doing. These analytics will help to fine-tune your Instagram strategy and your marketing as a whole.

Conclusion

Setting up your Instagram strategy is your most important step to gaining new followers, boosting sales, building loyalty, or any other goal you may have. Don't miss out on the social media marketing trends or wait any longer to create an Instagram account to grow your business. And to help you launch your new year Instagram marketing strategy, pick up your already-made social media content templates, calendars, and planners to start your Instagram strategy on the right foot.