Looking to build a million-dollar enterprise in a day? Well, unless you have a lamp that grants you three wishes, you probably can’t. On the other hand, with all the handy features Instagram has to offer, you can get there eventually! We scoured the success stories of so many brands and digital marketers, and finally extracted the secret ingredients that when combined together, can make your brand turn heads! Read this blog post for our favorite Instagram secrets and how they can add more figures to your revenue!

 Go All In On Instagram Ads

A fortuitous trip to Tokyo had Remi and his girlfriend riveted to stickers, and the joy it brought them. Today, their sticker business, Black Tag Co., generates more than $100,000 per year!

After Google Adwords failed to build him a stolid customer base, Remi turned to his favorite platform, Instagram as a marketing tool. Initially, he started out with posting regular images of his sticker products, compounded with hashtags like #stickers #sticker, #shopsmallbusiness to reach out to maximum customers. But here’s the catch: While great content can build you a steady following on Instagram, followers don’t always convert to customers. Here is where paid advertising comes into play.

For a start, you can incorporate the Facebook tracking pixel to your website like Remi did. This would help you build a repository of data about user conversions and actions on the site, which in turn would allow you to set up custom audiences of people who are likely to follow the same course of action. After testing out the performance of various ad types and ad placements across Facebook and Instagram, Remi noticed that Instagram dominated the test!

Optimizing ad performance is the main player in the game, so test out different elements until you find the perfect way of optimizing the ad performance. Blank Tag Co. measures results by closely monitoring customer acquisition cost vs. lifetime value and return on Ad spend. For instance, even when you are acquiring customers at $5, which may seem a lot at a glance, but their lifetime value is $50, its worth every cent spent.

By testing out various image and video styles, you can find out what works for your business. In Remi’s case, videos failed to create the right impact, so they chose to stick with vibrant images superimposed with their stickers. If you are also going full in on Instagram ads, here are a few aspects of Instagram ads which would help you garner a high ROI:

  • Ad Placement: With their new feature of “Stories ads”, advertisers have the choice to either reach out to their audience via stories or feed.
  • Compelling Copy: Open up your ad with a thought-provoking question to reel in the audience. For instance, Blank Tag Co. ads often begin with copy like “Love stickers?”. Hone your adjectives to describe your products as aptly as you can.
  • Location: Test your product across different location to see which of your product is more in demand where.
  • Audience: Learn to switch between manual targeting and look-alike audience to make sure that you avoid audience fatigue by targeting your ads to varying audience.

Build An Engaged Community

Instagram engagement is pretty much the Holy Grail for social media marketers. When you proactively invest in activating your community, be prepared to see tremendous results down the road in terms of word of mouth and engagement. for instance, with over 83 million followers around the world, Nike sees a hell lot of engagement. This all translates into tons of conversations and even noise for Nike’s customer care and marketing teams to sort through. Even then, we were astounded to hear that Nike takes a personalized approach when it comes to engaging with their audience.

Even with 200 different social media accounts, every employee responds as “Nike”, not as individuals, all the while making sure that they retain the ‘human’ touch. They make this happen by creating a unified experience for their customers, no matter who they are talking to. This entails some serious training for their employees!

If you are looking to offer that same consistent experience on social media, make sure that all your employees have a thorough comprehension of your brand. They should be able to answer questions like

  • Who you are?
  • What is your brand voice and tone?
  • What do you do?
  • What are your business values and core concept?
  • How does your brand improve people’s lives?
  • What makes your audience tick?

For this, you can give your employees a set of guidelines to help them sort through common conversations and sets of situations across social media. This would help your customer care representatives adopt the same tone of voice. Trust your employees to make the best decisions for connecting your brand to the community. This goes for each conversation across every channel.

Coming back to Nike, the gigantic brand has literally hundreds of people across dozens of different departments. They make sure their employees are consistent in terms of captions, hashtags, messaging and tone of voice by briefing them on the stories that are going to be told among the various Instagram accounts.

However, bombarded with over a million messages each year means that Nike cannot always jump in on each conversation. They pick their battles wisely. Similarly, your brand can take part in relevant conversations on social media, especially where you can directly add value to your customer’s lives, and possibly help more than one customer at a time! If you receive tons of similar requests, try to help multiple customers at once whenever you can. They more customers you help, the more they will help others in turn, subsequently minimizing the future volume of questions around a particular topic for your brand. Downright Genius!

Understanding the value of community building on social media can surely take you places. If you are struggling to get people talking, here are a few pointers:

  • Find something that clicks with your audience and get tongues wagging. Your goal should be to get people moving! Link it to a reward, and your chances of success automatically boost up!
  • Make sure your content is innately shareable. Find out what makes your customers tick and share accordingly. Customer generated content also wins big time. Try to get your customers to share the story of their journey with you.
  • social media is the mecca of relationship building that trump phone support and email. Meet your customers where there are, don’t make them come to you.

Embracing Episodic Content on Social Media

While a plethora of businesses are still jumping with awe at  the power of video marketing for engaging and building audiences, most are oblivious to the fact that creating episodic video content on Instagram helps businesses deliver value consistently. Replete with blog posts, e-books, and social media posts galore, the web is rather a noisy, cluttered space, and it can be rather challenging for digital marketers to keep people coming back for more. Episodic video content on the other hand, helps brands deliver their unique message consistently through a series that resonates with their audience and aligns with their business value.

Bustle — a premium publisher reaching millennial women — has amassed an audience of more than 4.5 million followers on Instagram through episodic content. Hannah Caldwell, a New York-based Social Editor at Bustle, gleefully says, “We love when people message us to say how much they loved an episode and can’t wait for the next one or answer a question we’ve posted in the story.”

Creating a series has allowed the brand to partner with influencers and brands on social in unprecedented ways. One only has to look at Bustle’s collaboration with Sephora Collection. The brands partnered on “The Beauty Lab” — a series co-hosted by Sephora Collection National Makeup Artist Helen Phillips and Bustle Branded Beauty Editor Irma Elezovic, consisting of four weekly episodes.

Each episode telecasted a beauty challenge and viewers could shop the items by swiping in the Instagram Story Image.

When playing around with episodic posts, make sure to embrace as many features of Instagram Stories as possible to make your post come out as native to the platform and friendly. Instagram offers a bevy of fun-filled features to help you make your content feel true to its nature. Things like in-video purchases and poll stickers make a story truly interactive, which inevitably keeps the user entertained and engaged.

Your benchmark for success: Hearing your fans utter praises, sending in suggestions for future episodes, showering accolades for how entertaining or educational it was, showing excitement for another episode, and so on. Once you start getting real-time qualitative feedback around what people want to see more of, what they didn’t like in an episode, and what they loved, you will be able to turn around and make that a reality in a jiffy, with the ephemeral nature of Stories content Take qualitive feedback into account and adjust their content strategy accordingly, before grappling with the quantitative data (number of engagements) to measure against your Stories experiments.

Win Big With Stories

Instagram is Kettlebell Kings’, a leading kettlebell equipment supplier based in Austin, Texas, most successful marketing and acquisition channel. Instagram hasn’t just helped the brand generate one-off sales to consumers, they consider it their most valuable channel for business development.

We analyzed their Instagram campaign, and the first thing we noticed was that they curate content for their Instagram page depending on what their audience wants to see and engage with. Kettlebell Kings focuses on sharing workout examples and educational content in their Instagram feed, which has helped them garner a whopping 79,000 fans. Being reposted by the brand is highly rewarding for loyal fans, which encourages more people to share their content.

It is also keen on user-generated content and reposts videos and images from customers. So much so, that the hashtag #kettlebellkings has been used over 20,000 times on Instagram.

All their posts undergo stringent quality checking to make sure that the content features a viable use of one of their products, shows good form, and provides value to their audience. Stories give them the freedom of posting less-polished content at a higher frequency.

But how does all this translate into revenue and leads? Here’s how the brand drives hundreds of leads per week, and so can you:

  • Sharing compelling content to stories: Kettlebell Kings shares original workout examples as well as reposts from customers to Instagram stories. There is a higher chance of their followers seeing the story if it is preceded by a CTA in a feed post, prompting the readers to ‘check out stories’.
  • Embedding Swipe up CTAs to reroute traffic to a relevant Landing page: By including a ‘Swipe Up’ CTA, viewers will be taken to a landing page or an article when they swipe up, where they enter their email address for more exclusive content or they can read more about a topic. This strategy has a 25-45 percent success rate of converting viewers to email addresses.
  • Create custom email flows for each landing page. Upon sharing, users’ email addresses will be entered into one of the many email workflows designed by the brand depending on how someone has entered the system, to answer helpful emails with expert techniques and workout videos. This strategy is all about instilling trust in customers. While emails occasionally contain product photos, the brand has made a point of not sending offers through emails.

All this would make sure that the brand always stays on top of the minds of customers, so that whenever they are ready to purchase some new equipment, they will eventually convert. By making sure that your Instagram feed is always filled with fresh, engaging content, you can expect to get new followers every week, who come just to enter into your email funnels and check out your stories, and eventually convert subconsciously when the time comes.

Post When The time Is Right

It doesn’t matter how compelling your content is, unless you post it at a time when it can reach a maximum audience!

Based on data from Sprout’s 25,000+ customers’ interactions, the best time to post on Instagram is found out to be the periods of maximum engagement: mid-day and mid-week, with a few opportune windows found in the evening and morning during the middle of the week.  While weekdays are the safest times to post, perhaps you need to determine if your audience is more of ‘reaching out to Instagram first thing in the morning or last thing at night’. I

In general, Saturdays do see increased engagement around midday, but weekends are not your best bets. No matter how much your users burn the midnight oil, even the avid night owls call it a day sometime during the night, with engagement falling to none between the wee hours of the night and the earliest hours of the morning.

Here’s a breakdown from Sprout:

  • The best times to post on Instagram are Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday at 10–11 a.m.
  • The safest times to post are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m–3 p.m.
  • Wednesday is the overall best day to post to Instagram
  • Sunday receives the least amount of engagement on Instagram
  • The least amount of engagement occurs during late night and early morning from 11 p.m.–3 a.m.
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