Instagram as a channel for beauty marketing
Instagram is currently the most important social media channel for beauty marketing. Instagram is a free service that allows users to share photos and videos on their profile page, either publicly or privately. It is one of the most popular social networks and has more than 1 billion users every month. The visual nature of Instagram makes it a perfect communication and marketing channel for the beauty community. The recommendations for Instagram marketing given here are based on the latest trends in 2021.
How often to post on Instagram?
Most tend to agree that 1-2 feed posts a day are optimal, while Instagram has recommended at least three feed posts a week. Experts have found that there is no negative impact on engagement for increasing posting frequency. The total cumulative reach of your content, on the other hand, will increase substantially when you post more.
Also, identify the best time for posting. Don’t base it on your habits but view your followers’ active time in the Instagram insights you can open from your profile page (you need to have a business or creator account to view insights).
Tell a story in your newsfeed
Tell a story in your newsfeed instead of bombarding people with endless offers and commercial messages. Good storytelling helps create a more emotional connection between you and your audience by communicating facts and figures in a more captivating form.
Instagram is a social media channel based on images and videos to inspire users. Try taking photos with a good composition of your work, even if it is an instruction, explanation, or similar. Some good examples are NIKE, LEGO, Red Bull, Airbnb, and National Geographic, which have recently been named the best Instagram storytellers.
Instagram is the basis of your branding
Clarity, creativity, and consistency on Instagram result in your success. Create your own visual language that should be as simple and distinct as possible and deliver your message in your personal style. Stick with it and keep with style.
Use a suitable hashtag
You should add hashtags to every post on Instagram to effectively grow your account. Instagram allows using 30 hashtags on a regular post and up to 10 hashtags on a Story. But you should avoid overloading your post with hashtags as this would appear unprofessional and spammy.
Experts recommend seven or fewer hashtags to achieve more engagement (91% of the successful brands follow this principle). Try to avoid using general hashtags such as #fashion or #beauty; be more specific to your brand’s field as this helps to reach the target audience you are looking for. If you find it challenging to come up with hashtags for your posts, look at what others in your field or niche are using.
Ideally, look for hashtags with less than a million public posts as it will be much easier to stay on top of such hashtag pages. Increased time on top of a page will boost the visibility and discoverability of your content.
Develop a color palette and use one filter consistently
Instagram is a visual communication channel, and the colors and compositions of your feed are the first things a visitor notices. Develop a clear and recognizable color palette for your content and use the same photo or video filter to create a uniform visual brand language.
Colour is an influential source of information for customers, and most successful brands consistently use uniform colors and the same filter for a cohesive Instagram look. Research shows that buyers make an initial judgment on a product within 90 seconds of interacting with that product. About 62%-90% of that judgment is based on color. Ensure that your feed’s overall color palette reflects the values and emotions you want to communicate as a brand.
Use GIFs and Boomerangs
There are 900 million daily emoji reactions on Instagram, and they resonate with a growing audience. Instagram is a visual channel, and adding emoji can boost engagement with your content. Emojis act as visual magnets, make posts more fun and help them connect to the reader emotionally. Emojis often work well, but you need to create a strategy of using them or risk losing your brand’s authenticity and consistency. Plan which emoji you use in a specific situation, so the followers get used to your style in the longer term.
Use Instagram to increase traffic to your website
Add the link to your website in your Instagram account profile and edit it when you, for instance, have offers that direct to a specific page. In other words, add the link in your bio. Click “Edit Profile”, write a short introduction of yourself, add contact details and the website address.
Instagram allows adding only a single link to your profile, but you can use services such as Linktree to generate a personal mobile “microsite” with many links. Add a link to this site to your profile.
You can also add a link to your website to the sponsored posts or ads. If you cooperate with inﬂuencers, ask them to always refer to your website.
Use Stories for currently relevant information
The Stories feature of Instagram lets users post fullscreen photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Five hundred million people use Instagram Stories every day, and the feature has been steadily rising in influence since its introduction in 2016. Stories are an immersive and interactive experience that can include stickers, emojis, effects, text, buttons, polls, and other elements. If you have over 10,000 followers, you can add a “swipe up” link to a Story, which will attract even more traffic to your website.
By default, Stories only last 24 hours, but you can pin them to your profile using Story highlights.
Adding Stories to highlights:
- Tap the + button on your profile page under the username and select the stories you want to add to the highlight. Next, choose the name and cover photo for your story highlight.
- You can add to highlights from a currently active Story by clicking the highlights icon in the lower right corner of the screen. Stories will remain in the highlights even when the original Story is deleted after 24 hours.
A picture is worth 1000 words, but a video is worth 1.5 million words
50% of users watch a video on Instagram each day. On average video posts receive 2x engagement of other post types, so it is wise to use video on Instagram whenever possible.
You can use video in Instagram Stories, feed posts, IGTV, Instagram Live, and Reels (Instagram’s attempt to compete with TikTok). All these types of Instagram videos have different formats and best practices that you should keep in mind to deliver high-quality content. As Stories posts disappear after 24 hours it is the best place to start sharing video with your audiences.
You can always save instructive and popular videos used in stories under highlights. Make topic-based highlights with logical/simple names to allow your followers to find the desired content later as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Caption your videos
Instagram feed videos will always auto-play with sound off. While some estimates show that 60 percent of the people who play Instagram Stories have their sound turned on, many people are still watching your videos without sound.
You should add captions to videos to allow people to consume and understand your content, whether they watch it muted or unmuted. Facebook’s tests show that captions increase video view time by an average of 12%, so add them to ensure as many viewers as possible can enjoy your video.
Repost posts by followers
Reposting posts by followers or posting feedback comments allows you to connect to the audience and builds trust with your followers. Reposting has emerged as a central part of Instagram marketing strategy for most successful brands.
There is no official reposting functionality on Instagram, but you can use several methods to repost content from other accounts:
- You can use one of the dedicated Instagram reposting apps such as Repost: For Instagram or similar
- Take a screenshot of the post and reshare this (works only for images and not videos)
- Download the content you want to reshare from the Instagram server (a more advanced method that requires you to get the actual URL of the content you want to share).
It is best practice to request permission via a direct message from the original poster before resharing their content.
Cooperate with influencers
An influencer is a content creator who has an engaged following and is regarded as a trusted and respected source of information by their audience. You can promote your brand, services, or products by collaborating with influencers who share your content with their followers.
Inﬂuencers can be divided into four types – mega, macro, micro, and nano influencers. Mega influencers are usually celebrities with millions of followers. Macro inﬂuencers are those with many followers, generally in a specific niche or topic. Micro-influencers have a smaller following than macro-influencers, but their audience is often more engaged and loyal. Nano influencers are regular Instagram users who have the most intimate and authentic connection to their followers.
You can find influencers by just scrolling through Instagram, but influencers nowadays often work through specialized influencer platforms and agencies.
In many countries (e.g., US, EU, UK), influencers are required by law to disclose the (financial) relationship with the brand or product they are promoting to their followers.
In addition to a fee for cooperation, you can compensate influencers via an affiliate program. Issue a discount code to influencers that their followers can use to buy a product/service with a discount. For every purchase with her code, the influencer makes a predetermined commission. This form of cooperation also enables you to precisely analyze which influencer collaboration was most effective and what worked best.
Organize contests and giveaways on Instagram
Contests and giveaways are a powerful engagement tool that can increase the number of likes up to 3.5 times and the number of comments up to 64 times.
First, make sure that your planned contest follows Instagram’s rules and guidelines for promotions. Then choose the prize, method of entry into the competition, and the deadline for entering. It’s also good to select a unique campaign or competition hashtag. After a contest has closed, always publicly announce the winner.
Analyze your metrics to understand how many people took part in your contest and if the contest reached its objective.
Convert Instagram followers to your newsletter recipients
Email marketing remains a very effective way to acquire new customers and build a loyal customer base. Email newsletter is one of the best channels for communicating with your audiences and can work great in tandem with your social media efforts. Follow these steps to bring your Instagram followers into your list of newsletter subscribers:
- Post an attractive call to action (CTA) on Instagram that would direct followers to become recipients of your newsletter (you need to post a link to a web page into your Instagram bio).
- When you have attracted attention for clicking, ensure that your click-through page is easy to use and provides a clear message that would attract followers to register their email address.
- Nurture your email list by offering valuable information and knowledge to your subscribers. Try not to be overly salesy in your newsletter as this can quickly turn off your audience and make people unsubscribe from the list.
Advertise your Instagram account in other channels
Talk about your Instagram profile and content on Facebook, add the usernames and tags of Instagram and other social media accounts to your e-mail, business card, product packaging, etc. Cross-post your most successful Instagram content to other social media platforms to increase your reach and gain more followers.
Promote your posts on Instagram
If you have an Instagram business account, then you can run ads directly from the Instagram app. The easiest way to advertise on Instagram is to promote an existing post on your profile. Tap the Promotions button in your profile to promote an existing post, i.e., turn it into an Instagram ad. You can promote a post also from the Promote button under each individual post. More advanced customization options are available if you create your Instagram ad using Facebook Ads Manager.
When you choose to promote a post, Instagram will ask you to fill in the following details of your promotion:
- Destination (where to send people from the ad)
- Audience (who will see your ad)
- Budget (how much you want to spend daily on the ad)
- Duration (how long you want your promotion to run)
After filling in the fields, review your promotion, and tap Create Promotion. Your ad will be reviewed within 24 hours, and after the ad starts running, you can pause spending at any time.
Use video ads on Instagram
Image ads are an excellent way to start with Instagram promotions, but video ads enable you to deliver more engaging content to the end consumer and increase your brand awareness.
Especially with Stories, Instagram users expect to see video, and the investment to create engaging video content is well worth it. Research shows that average click-through rates (CTR) of video ads are 7.5X higher than image ads, and video ads now make up for over 66 percent of ad impressions on Instagram.
You have the following formats available for video ads on Instagram:
- Feed video ads: feed video ads are displayed among organic feed posts and have a maximum length of 60 seconds
- Stories video ads: stories ads are displayed among organic Stories posts and have a maximum length of 15 seconds
Analyze your posts
Regularly analyze your Instagram activity via Instagram Insights to understand your content’s performance with your audience. Instagram Insights is the platform’s native analytics feature that provides a ton of information about your profile, followers, and individual posts.
Develop a habit of viewing insights for your account and posts and try to understand the following:
- Which posts generate the most engagement (likes, comments, shares, and saves)
- Which posts have the highest reach and generate the most profile visits
- Where are your followers located, and what is the age range and gender distribution of your audience
- At what time is your audience most active
- What content generates the highest growth in followers
You a need to have a business or creator account on Instagram to view your insights. To switch your profile to a business account:
- Click the icon at the top right of your profile
- Go to „Settings”
- Tap “Account“
- Tap “Switch to Professional Account“
Instagram account insights
You can view insights from your profile in the Instagram app. Tap the Insights button in your profile under bio to open the summary page of your account metrics. There you can see a seven day summary of the most critical metrics of your Instagram profile and tap into the metrics to see different screens with more details about the figures.
- Accounts Reached: Under the metric, you can see detailed information on your account’s reach (the number of accounts that saw your content) and impressions of your content.
- Content Interactions: The section will display a detailed breakdown of your content interactions – these include likes, comments, saves, shares, replies, and other actions on your content.
- Total Followers: When you have at least 100 followers, the section will display a trend of your follower count, the location of your followers, and your audience’s demographics.
Audience demographics info is especially important when running promotions or ads on Instagram as it enables you to target your ads more efficiently. This screen will also show the times your audience is most active on Instagram so you can identify times to increase their engagement.
Instagram content insights
In addition to profile insights, you can view valuable metrics for individual Instagram posts to understand which content resonates the most with your audience.
Tap View Insights under individual posts or swipe up on your stories to view metrics specific to that post. The screen for feed posts will display engagement figures of the post (likes, comments, shares, and saves), post reach, and profile visits from the post. Pay close attention to shares and saves as these tend to be a key signal for the Instagram algorithm and play a larger role in content reach than the plain number of likes. Share and saves will become even more important as Instagram has started testing the removal of public likes count in many markets.
The screen for Instagram stories will display interaction metrics that show actions people have taken from your content and discovery metrics that measure how many see your content and how they navigate on or off the content. Ideally look for hashtags with less than a million public posts as it will be much easier to stay on top of such hashtag pages. This in return will increase the visibility and dicoverability of your content.