There is no point here in talking about the importance on Instagram. Its ubiquity in our culture is ample proof of its importance. A platform frequented by so many people will naturally be of interest to businesses and brands.
Marketing on Instagram is similar in some ways to marketing on other major social media platforms. It requires a lot of patience and a ton of experiments until a brand finds a set of proven tactics which actually show promise.
Why is patience important? A lot of people post a lot of content on Instagram. If you’re starting a new account for your brand, you won’t suddenly get a ton of engagement on day one. Building a base of loyal followers and a content template ideal for their taste takes time.
Businesses cannot bulldoze their way into getting followers and engagement with paid campaigns. Such a strategy is not feasible.
What about mobile apps? How does one go about promoting an app on Instagram? Most of your target audience on Instagram won’t care if you have an app or website. They will only look to the content you post on the platform and its inherent quality. Thus, success on Instagram is independent of the quality and service your app provides. If the content you post is not up to the mark, you won’t get far on Instagram.
How should a company bringing an app to market approach Instagram marketing? The five sections below highlight some of the things companies can do to promote their app on Instagram.
#1 – The 80-20 rule
Have you noticed brands that only post links to their latest blog post or their products? Most companies promoting their apps on social media platforms tend to do the same.
Their logic is that any content they post is a means to an end. Every single social media post they put out must have some direct impact in terms of website visits or app downloads.
Social media engagement is a process of give and take. You can’t expect your base of followers to grow if you only tell people on Instagram to download your app at every instance.
The 80-20 rule is an unwritten guideline of social media marketing. It basically encourages marketers to dedicate 80% of their posts solely to inform and engage their audience.
There is no overt CTA to make users download an app or visit a website in these 80% posts. The remaining 20% are dedicated to attracting people to perform a desired action such as downloading an app.
This rule tends to work because users start valuing social media profiles which provide them engaging content. The nature of the content doesn’t need to be educational. You can even try to entertain your audience. The point is that the content is tailored solely for the benefit of the audience. There is not an overt attempt in every post to trigger an action.
#2 – Balancing quantity and quality
The quantity-quality debate is older than social media platforms and even the internet. Scaling quantity always comes at the expense of quality. There is seldom a way around this fundamental rule.
The same is true in the case of Instagram content. If you plan on publishing three posts every day, you can’t expect stellar quality consistently. Quantity comes at a cost.
Does this mean you should only publish one post every week to maximize quality? Such a long gap will slow down your growth on Instagram.
The solution? There is always a place for compromise in such binary situations. Work with your content team to find the time they need to create a quality post. Set up your post schedules and content strategy around the same.
#3 – Content choice
Let’s say you plan on launching a WordPress app for your blog. To get more downloads, you want to use Instagram as your blog niche and content matches its overall vibe.
To promote your app, you just post the featured images of your blog on Instagram and ask people to checkout the post on your app.
Would you get a good response? Probably not. The USP of your blog is its content, not the graphic quality of the images. The best strategy you can adopt is putting your blog content in a short digestible form on Instagram.
Here’s how you should proceed. Take one of your most popular blog posts. Select the best lines from the blog and arrange them into four or five slides. Post this set of pictures in the form of a carousel on Instagram.
This post is likely to get more engagement for two reasons.
First, you’re giving your audience a taste of the real content on your blog. This is better than a featured image which does not portray the depth of your content accurately.
Second, you’re telling your audience what you do best. The main quality of a blogger is not really the ability to make a great featured image. The ability to write quality content is the main selling point of a blogger. By putting it in the spotlight, you’re more likely to generate valuable engagement.
#4 – Use follow-for-follow strategically
Follow-for-follow is a common Instagram growth tactic. Essentially, accounts agree to follow each other in order to grow their following.
Many in the Instagram community view this as a useless tactic. The reasons are obvious. The motive of the follower in such a case is to gain a follower in return. It doesn’t help the follower-following ratio either.
These reasons may appear valid, but they wrongly assume Instagram follower numbers as a vanity metric.
Mindless follow-for-follow is useless, yes. However, it makes perfect sense to lean on this tactic if the accounts you follow belong to your niche and actively post content.
The Instagram algorithm is much more complex than our basic assumptions about the follower-following ratio. If your account follows others in the same niche which generate content consistently, your visibility will grow as well.
Furthermore, these follow-for-follow relationships can grow and help you later down the line. For instance, many websites find link building opportunities through Instagram interactions. Thus, it is foolish to disregard follow-for-follow opportunities altogether. They must be taken up strategically from time to time to give an account the boost it needs.
#5 – Promote posts from time to time to boost visibility
Some posts you publish will do better than most from time to time. You should not hesitate to promote these posts to a larger audience and gain further exposure.
Using paid promotions to drive Instagram growth is not a sustainable strategy. Even a brand with a lot of financial muscle would question endless investment in Instagram after a while.
However, paid promotions is a good strategy if used wisely. Pick and choose the posts you promote and get the timing right. It is also wise to sync Instagram promotions with a Facebook campaign. Cross-platform engagement generally helps in driving overall conversions with far-reaching engagement.
Instagram is a very powerful platform for a number of reasons, not just marketing. The piece covers five tactics you can use to promote your app on Instagram.
There is no reason why you should ignore the platform for marketing altogether. Apps in all segments can find some kind of audience on Instagram, from sports news apps to a WooCommerce Android app. The key as always is patience. Besides the tips mentioned here, do the basics right and the tactics mentioned here will guide you through the challenges of Instagram marketing.