Instagram Marketing That Works can be a great asset for your business.  If it isn’t properly crafted, however, it can eat up a lot of time, and return dismal results for the efforts.

Whether you’ve been using Instagram for years now, or are just thinking about its power now that ads are available, you will need the right strategy to craft Instagram Marketing that Works for your business.

I will readily admit that I take a more whimsical approach to my Instagram usage.  While I love using the platform, I find it difficult to maintain the rigor required to really get a return on my investment of time.  However, over the last year, I’ve taken on an Instagram challenge a couple of times, and had good results from these little experiments.  With Facebook now offering advertising on Instagram, it’s sure to increase in popularity even more.  So, if you like Instagram, and want to learn how to use it as a business asset, now’s the time.  These tips may help you take that step.

Instagram Marketing That Works: Part 1 – Content StrategyInstagram Marketing That Works

Just as with any other marketing strategy, your photos and videos shared on Instagram should be relevant to your targeted audience.  If you want to attract soccer fans, you want to post about soccer, not baseball.  Looking for travel-lovers, post about exotic locations and lifestyle, not being run ragged by your kids during school breaks.

After you get a handle on the type of content you want to share, you should target 3-5 posts per day with compelling content.  You can create your own images with overlays of text or other info, share pictures with mini-posts of content, or short videos (15-second video limit on Instagram).  Share this content consistently.  Unless you are running an ad, the only clickable link is the one in your bio, so you have to be remarkable to get someone over to that bio to click, and possibly become a lead for your business.

When researching this post, I found a great article on Social Media Today, “What to Post on Instagram for Content Marketing Success.”  Here is part of an extensive Infographic included in the article. If you want to create Instagram Marketing that Works for your business, targeting the right audience with tags/hashtags and relevant content will make the work much easier.

As you can see from the graphic here, there are over 70 million photos and videos shared daily and 300 million monthly users.  That’s a very socially active pool of prospective customers.  These numbers are great, but without the correct strategy and analysis, you will just be sharing pictures with friends and followers.

Instagram Marketing That Works: Part 2 – Instagram Analytics

In my two decades in the wine business, there was a pervasive mantra relating to surveying the market: “Inspect What You Expect” (and “Expect What You Inspect” – compliments of E & J Gallo’s methodical sales training programs.  This is really true in every business.  If you expect a specific outcome from your actions, you must inspect those results to see if they are as you anticipated, or expected.  In marketing it’s usually just mentioned as “know your numbers.”  However, knowing your numbers can mean a lot of things.  I’m talking specifically about your Instagram numbers and analytics, so you want to focus on which posts and what types of posts get the most likes, comments and engagement.  Your audience is speaking with their double-taps – give them more of what they like, and you will get more ROI for your time and efforts.

While you could manually scroll through to see all this info – it’s not the most efficient way to work.  Thankfully there are a number of tools to help you out.  If you are just starting, and want to use something free, Iconosquare has some great reporting and analytics that you can use to craft better plans.  You can sign in with your Instagram account and see a lot of info about your followers, including what times they are most active.  You can use this info to post at the times when you know your followers are online looking for content.  Pretty cool, huh?

Instagram Marketing That WorksNow, when you are ready to step up to a paid version that is very robust, then Sprout Social has a tool that will help you drill down in great detail.  The image here links to their post Instagram Analytics Guide: How to Analyze Your Data.

This suite of tools will give you details about your audience, your posts, videos, audience and #hashtag effectiveness.  You can easily and quickly analyze your Instagram Marketing efforts, tweak your campaigns, and see improvements in your results.  Sprout Social is well-know and highly respected for their tools and analytics to help your business.

Having the right tools, and knowing how to use them, can make a huge difference in your profitability.  Sometimes choosing to spend a little on the right tool now can save you thousands later.

Instagram Marketing That Works: Part 3 – Optimize, Rinse and Repeat

After that?  Just keep checking your data every few days to stay on top of your results.  Remember, inspecting the results for what you expect to happen, and making adjustments as needed are all part of the process.  Using social media to grow your business doesn’t have to be hard or confusing.  When you approach it with a plan in place, you can start to see results in just a couple of weeks. Hey, you could create a whole new audience for the New Year!

Optimizing your campaigns means that you are constantly making the necessary adjustments and tweaks along the way.  By using the posting strategy discussed in Part 1 and the Analytics tool(s) from Part 2, you can do all of this in just minutes a day.

If you would like a “cheat sheet” to get started with Instagram, here’s a free ebook to help you.

Penny Kelley is a full-time marketer and business coach, wife, mom to two great kids and one spoiled cat, soccer fan and wine lover.  Connect on social media, or contact Penny here.

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