How to Apply the Principles of Content Marketing on Instagram
Have you considered that Instagram, a completely visual platform, can still be a great tool for content marketing?
Maybe you’ve adopted the principles of content marketing for your business website, blog, white papers, etc. Great! But what about your Instagram marketing?
First of all, it’s important to understand what exactly content marketing is:
a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as blog posts and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
Content marketing is all about creating valuable and relevant content that people might care about. Rather than just trying to sell your products or services, with content marketing, you give value away for free. That might be in the form of a solution, a tip, advice, information, or other engaging material. By sharing content that people care about, they start to notice, feel connected to, and care about your brand. Ultimately, by giving away great content, you can draw attention to your expertise so that people know and trust you, which leads them to choose to buy from you.
Despite popular belief, content marketing isn’t just about copywriting. Your visual content can also be content-driven.
Instagram Then & Now
Of course, Instagram wasn’t created for marketing purposes. And if it was, it wouldn’t currently have over 500 million active monthly users because it would be boring and irritating for those that use it. Instagram was created to share and see visuals instantly; to take a photo of something happening right now and share it immediately with one’s followers.
Originally, Instagram wouldn’t allow you to post anything that didn’t come directly from your phone. Now, you can schedule content via a computer using a tool like Buffer, but you’re still required to confirm the image on a mobile device before it goes live. (There are tools that get around this, but they go against the Instagram terms of service so watch out! Accounts have been known to be shut down for breaking this rule.)
Since the scheduling functionality came into “sanctioned” play, more and more brands have been sharing marketing visuals on Instagram. There’s less spontaneity and a lot more sharing of product pictures and promotional visuals. There are also a lot more “designed” images since it’s a lot easier to design something (e.g.: via online tools such as Canva, or in programs such as Adobe Photoshop) and schedule it right on your desktop without having to send it to your phone.
But if you’re only using Instagram to toot your own horn about your business or to tell people about your upcoming sale, you’re both missing the point and a huge opportunity. Not only is salesy material a huge turnoff for many people, but it misses the chance to reel in your audience with the much more effective principles of content marketing.
The idea of “not always selling” is something that everyone talks about a lot in terms of written content, but it’s just as true for your visuals. Rather than constantly showing people your products and/or services, give your followers and browsers something to really sink their teeth into.
Make it Fun… and Informative Too!
We definitely encourage you to have some fun with your Instagram marketing! Instagram is a chance to show the human side of your business, and sharing fun photos of the real people behind your brand is a great idea. But when you aren’t posting purely fun Instagram images (take our “Barker on Parade” images, for example) it’s also important to not be salesy but instead to be content-driven.
So how can you accomplish this? Our approach is to pepper in really useful content along with the fun stuff. We design attractive branded templates and fill those templates with a variety of content that the internet loves—and we don’t just mean cupcakes and kittens! Depending on your brand and industry, this loveable content could be a combination of tips, quotes, questioms, facts, and trivia. Here are a few examples:
When you're writing a blog post or any kind of marketing copy, talk about a problem and explain how to solve that problem in a way that your target customers can relate to. ⠀ ⠀ Speak directly *to* them rather than in a vague, general way. ⠀ ⠀ Show that you understand their challenges and make it personal so they feel they can trust you. ⠀ ⠀ #socialmedia #marketing #business #socialmediatips #marketingtips #businesstips #contentmarketing #valueproposition #ROI
This quote is symbolic of our entire working philosophy. Along with "change before you have to", this quote encompasses everything that we believe about efficiency and effectiveness. ⠀ ⠀ #business #marketing #socialmedia #businesstips #marketingtips #socialmediatips #smallbiz #motivation #inspiration #quote
The Canadian Pacific Railway was originally built between eastern Canada and British Columbia between 1881 and 1885 (connecting the Ottawa Valley and Georgian Bay area lines built earlier). The building of the railway fulfilled a promise made to British Columbia when the province entered Confederation in 1871. The CPR was Canada's first transcontinental railway, though it no longer reaches the Atlantic coast. Primarily a freight railway, the CPR was the only practical means of long-distance passenger transport in most regions of Canada for decades, and was also instrumental in the settlement and development of western Canada.⠀ ⠀ #Canada #Canada150 #Canadian #CanadianTrivia #OhCanada #CanadianPacificRailroad
Do you want to know the secret to growing your business? ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ You have to make people CARE. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ When you find a way to make people care, you can turn “people” into “customers”. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ People don’t buy because you tell them to buy. They buy because they care about the product or service in some way. That caring comes from a sense that they’ll benefit in some way from the purchase. As human beings, we’re naturally driven by our own desires, and it’s the belief in personal benefit that creates the feelings of “want” and “need” that make us care.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Read our blog post: ⠀⠀ barkersocial .com / make-people-care/⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ #marketing #marketingtips #business #businesstips #customerservice #customercare #socialmedia #socialmediatips #blog #blogpost #blogging #contentmarketing
What’s great about this approach is that you can give away information and ideas that people will actually care about because that content is useful and interesting. At the same time that you share that content, you’re also subtly reminding people that your business is expert in the industry.
All of that great content gives people a way to get to know you in engaging, no pressure, and non-salesy kinds of ways. Your Instagram visuals embed your brand into the hearts and minds of your followers. This method is proven to be very effective because it helps people feel connected to your brand and, ultimately, helps them remember your brand. When they feel ready to make a purchasing decision, they will think of you, and the result will be increased sales.
If you need help with your Instagram marketing, you might be surprised by how affordable and impressive our Instagram plans can be. We offer a free consultation, so why not drop us a line? We’d be happy to look at your current Instagram practices and give you ideas about how you can ramp up your content marketing potential.
**Looking for information about Instagram stories for business? Check out this great infographic.