There’s a multitude of ways to utilise Instagram’s ever expansive list of features and formats to reach your business objectives and create conversations with potential clients. Inspired by the mia’s recent insightful webinar with Kimba Cooper, Custard has expanded on Kimba’s thoughts and generated its own series of top tips on how to generate leads from Instagram – read on to find out more.
1. Why Instagram?
As with all marketing activities, you should always consider why you are undertaking a task before you do it. Much like starting a brand-owned TikTok account when your entire audience is 80+, think about why your business needs to be on Instagram, if your audience is there, and whether you’ll be able to dedicate enough time and resource to create impactful content that produces real results.
You could also be using Instagram for additional reasons aside generating revenue, including creating PR opportunities to build brand reputation and exposure, for example working with influencers or glossy magazines, or you could be looking to find new members of your team and develop your employer branding strategy. In short, don’t just create a company Instagram account because “everyone else” has.
2. Dream up your ideal customer
To ensure your brand messaging, tone of voice and content is relevant to your followers, delve deep into your dream customer, and draw an image of them in your head, or on paper. From basic demographics such as their age, location or gender, to more detailed psychographics like what newspaper they read or what car they drive, creating this depiction of your ideal customer can ensure you create content that can be of use to them, by being helpful, informative or simply interesting.
Utilising analytics and data from additional channels can assist in this greatly, by looking into your other social media platforms, website data and CRM segments. Tools like Google Analytics have useful sections that share who has been visiting your website’s top interests, or LinkedIn can share their job seniority. Harvest this data and create your target customer profiles.
3. Bio not biography
Your Instagram bio is short. In fact, it is 150 characters short, which is about 21 words on average. This brevity means it is important to convey exactly who you’re attracting, what you offer and how it’s delivered in your bio, much like an elevator pitch. Make sure every word is relevant, or find appropriate synonyms to reflect similar meanings. Utilise emojis to promote calls to action, or illustrate words that can’t be summarised.
Bios are also great social media SEO tools, and you can use integrated hashtags, keywords or tag other accounts to additionally help boost the reach of your profile. Make sure these are targeted, and relevant to your audience, such as #eventprofs. Also, ensuring the link in your bio leads to either an optimised Instagram landing page, or a Linktree page, where multiple relevant website pages are linked out, simplifies the steps a customer has to take to access the right information, and send an enquiry or make a purchase. Find out more about boosting SEO through Instagram with our guide.
4. Finding your post balance
Followers like consistency and expect a standard procedure from your postings on Instagram, whether it’s on your feed, Stories or IGTV. Do not go full force into posting three times a day if you aren’t able to keep it up, and Instagram’s algorithm will swallow up your feed posts and they won’t be seen or engaged with by as many people. Utilising a basic content calendar can help in maintaining consistency by visualising your posting schedule and can showcase where there might be gaps in your planning.
The ratio of posts should also be considered, ensuring the majority (around seven out of ten) of posts are value-based, while two out of ten should be indirect sales and one post should be direct sales content.
5. (Hash)tag, you’re it
Across all Instagram posting formats, hashtags serve as a great way to increase your reach to new audiences and grow your following, track campaigns or build brand awareness, depending on your objectives.
Increase followers by targeting popular hashtags such as #virtualevents or #eventplanning, track your own campaigns with specific tags that match a competition or promotion you are running, and build brand awareness by developing your company’s own hashtag – this can simply be your brand or a clever pun or phrase that your audience can utilise to interact with you. Building an effective hashtag strategy is an important step in tailoring your hashtags for each post format and content variety.
6. One size doesn’t fit all
Ensuring you create Instagram-specific captions and assets ensures your content remains professional and valuable. The most effective sizing for videos and images is the vertical 4:5 dimension, as it fills most of the viewer’s phone screen, while captions should be optimised to fit best with your most engaged posts – this is sometimes just a few words, or sometimes whole paragraphs if your brand has more of a conversational and insightful tone of voice.
It is also key that posts should not be auto-shared to other platforms by interconnecting accounts to Facebook or Twitter, as captions and sizes need to be changed. For example, by automatically sharing to Facebook, your post may include a load of hashtags in the caption, something that doesn’t sit as well within the platform, or automatically sharing to Twitter can cut out the full caption, as Twitter only allows 280 characters.
7. Telling Stories
Instagram Stories are an increasingly popular format for posting, with over 500 million accounts using Stories daily. With its top-of-the-page design and automatic flipping to the next clip or image, Stories are a great way to share a variety of content ideas, like bite-sized behind the scenes clips, quizzes, polls and Q&As to encourage engagement, or simply share additional content you don’t want sitting on your feed.
Saving Stories into category highlights can assist in followers and new business prospects finding new information, much like being able to click through onto different pages on a company website, and ensures your Stories content doesn’t go to waste, being available for just 24 hours. If you have over 10,000 followers, make sure to include plenty of swipe up links to further help conversions with seamless linking to promotions or offerings.
8. Need for Feeds
Feed posts are the bread and butter of Instagram. As permanent posts, feed content is viewed on your profile, and in the general Instagram feed when it’s newly shared. Feed posts should be shared in a variety of formats, with a range of content themes. From photos to carousel posts, to videos, or previews of IGTVs and Reels, Instagram Feed posts can be utilised to share a multitude of content forms.
As mentioned in Tip no. 4, there are three overarching objectives you should consider when devising your content strategy; direct sales posts, indirect sales posts and value-based posts. Direct sales posts share exactly what you are trying to promote, with obvious, promotional messaging, for example to push sales for a new DDR rate or to push a certain venue room. Indirect sales posts share more details about your business, your general service listings, your team profiles, client testimonials and why you do what you do. Finally, value-based posts offer more general information that is useful to your target audience, for example sharing thought leadership, top tips, or more entertaining content like recipes, or trending memes or challenges.
9. Reel it in
Instagram’s newest addition to its content formats, Reels is a rival to the teen-craze TikTok and its short-form video content. With a choice of graphics, songs and effects, Reels allows you to create engaging videos in tandem with other formats such as Lives, normal videos and IGTV content. It’s another great way to generate engaging content for your followers and should especially be utilised if you’re targeting a younger demographic, and as you now know, engaging content, or ‘value-based’ content, can result in lead generation. Want to know more? Find out more about our tips and tricks for Instagram Reels with our guide.
10. Right content, right place
One of the most important factors in creating your Instagram strategy is deciding where to place what content. Share behind the scenes and ‘in the moment’ or real-time updates to your Stories, giving a background insight to your followers, while entertaining or trending content should be shared to Reels. Longer-form storytelling with any video over one minute should be shared to IGTV, or this can be utilised to create a content series, similar to those on YouTube but without followers having to leave the platform – just make sure to film it in a vertical format. Direct conversations can be had on Lives, where comments can come in during the streaming and can be answered on the spot, and these should be promoted before the Live commences so followers can make sure to tune in. Finally, feed posts can be utilised for everything else that does not fit into this, and should be optimised further by tagging other accounts, your geolocation, and utilising an aforementioned hashtag strategy to boost reach.
There are a variety of ways you can enhance your Instagram marketing strategy to generate more leads for your venue, most of which can be implemented quickly and with simple planning and analysis. However, the need for demonstrating ROI is an important step in measuring whether your Instagram strategy is delivering real results and generating revenue and this also needs to be considered to further analyse what is working best for your followers and business.
As specialists in hospitality marketing and PR, we develop and deliver integrated strategies to support travel, leisure and MICE businesses in reaching their business objectives. To find out more about how we can develop and implement a targeted social media strategy into your marketing activity, please contact a member of our team.