At Velocity, we love coming up with high-quality content that is fresh, easy to grasp, and inspiring. With every article we write, we strive to bring you content that can help you break all barriers and take your next step towards transforming your business. After spending weeks on research, we have come up with the ultimate guide to Instagram marketing for your D2C business. Read this blog post to learn how you can change your Instagram game today and connect to your potential customers at the very basic level.
What is Instagram marketing and why is it important?
Today, there are over 1 billion monthly active Instagram users posting various types of Instagram content. Instagram marketing refers to the process of marketing your brand and its products to these active users via the various options available on the platform. It is no surprise that brands that play the Instagram marketing game right are able to develop a richer and more meaningful relationship with the desired consumer population, while increasing their sales.
ProTip: Make sure your account is a Business Account if you are new to Instagram. You can easily convert any account into an Instagram Business account in the settings tab.
The above is an example of Instagram Marketing done by the Country Bean Coffee team. The team has created a post that introduces their new product line. Notice how well they’ve used the principles of design to create this eye-catchy image. If you need tips to design Instagram ads that convert and attract Instagram followers, read our latest blog post.
Fact: 81% of users on Instagram say that they use the platform to research products and services.
Instagram, as a platform is a great place that gives you tons of opportunities to take your brand to the next level. Right from increasing the brand awareness to boosting sales, everything can be done via Instagram. With its unique interactive ecosystem, it allows brands to connect with their target audience like never before. In a nutshell, the three major benefits of Instagram marketing are widespread brand awareness, boosted sales and lead generation, and a highly engaged community.
Bonus: Want your target audience to find you easily on Instagram? The secret is to have Instagram bio that is fully optimized.
How to optimize your Instagram bio?
You have 150 characters to explain who you are and what you do on your Instagram account — Provide a concise and direct summary there that speaks volumes of your brand personality. Also, make sure you use your logo as your profile image. It helps with brand awareness, and maintains your brand’s aesthetics. It also helps your audience recall your brand whenever they are surfing on social media and see the content you post on Instagram. The best way to get more clicks and hence more followers is to link your website in this area . Make sure you provide all the necessary information to ensure your lead goes the right way.
ProTip: Adding branded hashtags makes your bio much more efficient, allowing you to highlight branded content and share more of your interests with profile visitors.
What kind of content can you post on Instagram?
Instagram offers marketers multiple ways in which they can promote their brand on the platform and hence increase their follower count. The most popular channels of marketing on Instagram are:
A post is a regular media (Image or video) that is posted on your Instagram profile and appears on your users’ Instagram feed. This was the standard option which was the only way to share content in its initial days. Refer to the below image to see what an Instagram Post looks like.
The post is usually a picture or a video, accompanied by a caption that describes what the post is about. While many might think that just the image is enough, the Instagram caption, if drafted correctly, can significantly increase the lead generation.
For example, see how Purplle has leveraged the caption space to tag the multiple accounts and also used relevant hashtags so as to increase the reach of the post.
Instagram stories, on the other hand, are images or videos (Usually 15 sec long) that are posted on the account’s ‘Stories’ section that last for 24 hours. They can be leveraged to post updates about the brand that do not require a post dedicated to the update but is essential to reach your Instagram audience.
You can also ‘share’ your post on your Instagram stories to increase the reach of the post. Stories can be made fun and creative using the various features available like stickers, Gifs, music, etc. Adding hashtags in the stories can also be helpful in ensuring the stories reach the right audience in their explore tab. If you want your stories to last more than 24 hours, you can add them to ‘Highlights’ which allows the stories to remain for as long as you want on your page.
A surefire strategy to keep your audience hooked is to group your Instagram Stories Highlights into various categories, events, or topics so that your audience can quickly find content that interests them.
ProTip: The more consistently you post, the more views you get which in turn increase your number of followers. This is a great way to ensure your content is highly engaged.
If you’re looking for unique ways to create Instagram stories that convert, read our blog on 16 Unique Instagram Story Ideas for your D2C Business.
Instagram reels is the latest way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram. They are usually 15-60 seconds long, and can be posted either on the Reels tab alone, or on the reels tab and the brand’s feed. Reels have made millions of heads turn and follow various trends on the social network. For example, see how Bewakoof uses trending audios and video ideas from Instagram Reels and adds its own twist.
ProTip: Avoid posting Instagram Reels that are low-resolution, too shaky, or are visibly taken from other apps.
Learn how to promote your brand, amplify your reach, and engage your followers with Instagram Reels in our recent blog post.
One thing to keep in mind while you work on the above is that each of the variants must be designed in different dimensions. You can refer to the below table for the right dimensions.
How to build a winning Instagram strategy?
Before you dive deep into the Instagram world, the most important thing you need to do is build a data-backed Instagram strategy. While it might sound daunting, knowing what your plans are will help you achieve your goals faster and more efficiently and you will have a road map to the type of content you need.
The first step to building a successful strategy is to be clear about your goals. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why do you want to market on Instagram?
- What do you hope to achieve by leveraging this dynamic platform?
Once you have that chalked down, the next steps would all fall into place effortlessly. Setting your goals will also help you understand your KPIs which you can then align with your strategy.
Some of the most common goals of brands using Instagram as a marketing tool are:
- Increase brand awareness
- Build a brand-loyal community
- Boost sales through lead generation
The above are just examples of what goals can be set to navigate through the best practices for Instagram Marketing. Brainstorm with your team and consider different goals that you’d want to achieve with Instagram Marketing.
Additional questions you should be asking yourself:
- Who is my target audience?
- What are my competitors doing on the social media platform?
- How much time and budget can I spend on Instagram?
- How do I identify my target audience?
ProTip: A little something we love suggesting is to build your buyer personas and keep them handy. Knowing who your buyer is, and what kind of content they like to consume will help you in your journey of building a winning Instagram marketing strategy. You can do this by analyzing your previous buyers’ patterns, getting inputs from your sales team, and talking directly to some customers about what they like about your business.
Here’s a sample Buyer persona template for you, that you can download and use instantly.
One thing that comes along with setting goals is knowing how to measure the outcomes. Instagram provides you with ‘Instagram Insights’ that tell you how your content has worked, what the engagement is like, and so on. Keep track of the same on the platform, or use social tools like Hubspot that connect with the Instagram API to pull all their data and present to you in a comprehensive dashboard. Some of the factors you can track include views, reach, clicks on links, engagement rate, etc.
Once that is sorted, the next big thing is building a content strategy. In simple terms, it refers to deciding what content goes when, and in what format on the instagram app. Planning what you intend to post on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis helps you decide what kind of assets you’ll have to create. It, in turn, makes the entire process more efficient and your business profile looks flawless.
Bonus: Here’s a sample tracker to get you started: Link to the excel sheet. Be sure to download it before working on the same. We recommend updating the tracker on a weekly or fortnightly basis so as to avoid last minute content or design changes. It will also help your team plan their work accordingly.
One of the most important things to do while building your Instagram strategy is to see what your competitors are up to. It gives you the opportunity to understand what kind of content is being created in your circle. It also helps you know who your competitors are targeting and if their tactics are actually working.
Bonus: If you’re keen on knowing what kind of promotions and Instagram ads your competitors are running on Instagram, we tell you how in three simple steps.
- Go to your competitor’s Instagram page and click on the ‘Three dots (⋮)’ on the top right.
- Click on ‘About this account’. It will lead you to a page that has the ‘Active Ads’ tab.
- Click on it, and you will be redirected to the brand’s Ad Library on Facebook. Voila!
See what kind of ads they are running, and on which platforms. It is sure to inspire you to create amazing content!
But, how do you create content that resonates with your audience and gets them to click on that “Shop Now” button? Read on to find out.
How to create content on Instagram that converts?
Content is the king on social media. Especially on a platform like Instagram, where the visual elements are of utmost importance. Strong visual character differentiates a brand from its competitors. We personally love it when brands follow their guidelines and aesthetics and create designs that look and feel good.
Users are quick to follow great content, but are just as quick to unfollow if content is not engaging or interesting enough. Every brand must find a way to create unique content that sticks to the brand promise, maintains consistency, and balances different themes skillfully.
Bonus: Instagram has an algorithm that influences people’s feeds so they would theoretically see more content that was relevant to them. Though it had a lot of the content creators voicing their displeasure, Instagram did share what the algorithm is based on. Some of the factors that affect what posts appear on your audience’s feed are:
- Interest: What kind of content interests them?
- Timeliness: How new or old is the content posted by accounts?
- Relationship: How do they engage with the accounts they follow?
- Frequency: How often do they open the app?
- Following: How many accounts do they follow? More accounts=More content
- Usage: How long do they use the platform in a day?
ProTip: Instagram Stories stickers are a great way to encourage audience engagement and go around the Instagram algorithm. Some of the most engaging stickers are the polls sticker and the questions sticker.
Use Instagram analytics and metrics to see what content works and how your community is engaging with your posts over time.
Now that you know what influences the content that appears on your audience’s feed, we tell you what more you can do to create content that attracts them.
One of the most trending tactics that brands use today is collaborating with influencers whose values align with theirs. Not only does it establish a sense of credibility, it also helps increase your reach tremendously. Did you know? For every $1 spent on influencer marketing, brands earn up to $5.78 in return. Ensuring you collaborate with an influencer whose followership matches your target audience is key to having a successful stint with your influencer marketing. Here’s our latest blog post titled ‘Top Instagram Influencers for D2C Brands in 2022’ to help you get started.
Ultimately, your audience is there to see and engage with the content you post as a part of your social media marketing strategy. Hence, it is of utmost importance to design content that would attract your target audience. Using sharp images, leveraging various features available on Instagram, ensuring you use fonts that grab eyeballs are all ways you can design better content. We have written an extensive blog post that talks about designing tips that are sure-to-work on Instagram. Bookmark this page so you don’t miss out!
Bonus: Running contests on Instagram is a great way to ensure your content stands out, milks in loads of engagement, and gets you the leads you want. Here’s a blog post on running successful Instagram contests that you will love!
Remember, the time at which you post the content you create also matters. Here’s what Hootsuite, an automation software, says is the best time to post for each industry.
- Travel and tourism: Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Media and entertainment: Tuesday and Thursday, 12 to 3 p.m.
- Food and beverage: Friday, 12 p.m.
- Retail: Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 12 p.m.
- Professional services: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9 or 10 a.m.
- Non-profit: Tuesday, 10 a.m. or 4 p.m.
- Non-retail e-commerce: Thursday, 4 or 9 p.m.
- Pharma and healthcare: Wednesday and Sunday, 9 a.m.
- Personal care: Thursday and Friday, 1, 2, or 3 p.m.
- Technology: Monday and Tuesday, 2 p.m.
- Education: Thursday, 4 or 5 p.m.
We also LOVE the ‘Shop’ feature on Instagram. Note that the feature is only available for ‘Managed clients’ as of now in India. Wondering what we are talking about? Here’s our latest on the ‘Instagram shopping’ feature that will tell you how you can leverage it to propel your sales.
Instagram Ads: How to win at this game
Instagram ads are, in essence, ads either in the form of pictures or videos that you can pay for to reach a wider audience. Per Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 October Global Statshot Report, 27% of users say they find new products and brands through paid social media. These ads are a great way to boost your sales, engage your audience mindfully, and generally increase your reach on the platform.
You can set up an ad on Instagram in 5 simple steps.
You can leverage all types of content that you would post organically to create ads on Instagram. Using Instagram ads also allows you to choose a custom audience based on tons of factors like age, geography, interests, and more. You can advertise in Instagram feeds, Stories, or Explore.
We at Velocity have written a series of blog posts on creating Instagram ads that can help you achieve your Instagram Marketing goals. It covers the most important elements of creating ads, like the different types of ads you can create on Instagram, the varying dimensions you can use, tips to design Instagram ads that get you conversions, and a bonus blog post on Indian brands that are creating the best Instagram ads. We recommend you go through these before embarking on your Instagram ads journey.
Track Relevant Metrics With Velocity Insights
Staying on top of relevant metrics such as Instagram ad conversions is extremely important for D2C businesses. Therefore, we launched Velocity Insights – a one-stop destination to track your online business’s performance every day. Insights consolidates the six key metrics we believe every D2C business should track in one comprehensive report and delivers it via WhatsApp every morning. The Velocity Insights Beta is live and free. Sign up today!
Instagram has transformed from being a tool to share pictures to a platform that businesses worldwide leverage to achieve multiple goals. If planned right, Instagram can become a strong marketing tool that helps form connections, generate leads, and increase your reach significantly. Have you tried marketing on Instagram? What are some tricks that worked well for you? Let us know in the comments section below.
If you’d like to read more of our blog posts mentioned above, here’s where you can find them:
- Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Stories for Your Business
- Building A Winning Instagram Ads Strategy
- Designing Instagram Ads that actually work
- How to use Instagram Reels for your business
- 10 Indian D2C Brands With Best Instagram Ads (Update for 2022)
- Top Instagram Influencers for D2C Brands in 2022
Velocity is India’s largest revenue-based financing company, we offer growth capital of up to Rs 3 crores to D2C and e-commerce companies. Businesses with healthy revenue streams can apply for instant funds and pay it back as their revenue grows. Want to know more about revenue-based finance? Check out this comprehensive guide on RBF. To get instant revenue based funding for your business, apply here.