Instagram – Boon or Bane for SMEs

Instagram - Boon or Bane for SMEs

Instagram – Boon or Bane for SMEs

1280 720 Shikha Sarkar

New-age businesses need a new-age marketing strategy. With time, flyers, pamphlets, and billboards have lost much of their sheen (although traditional marketing tools cannot be entirely written off). The focus has shifted to advertising products and services on digital media, specifically social media, of which Facebook remains an undisputed king. But wait. Facebook acquired a seemingly humble platform Instagram and this in itself is a compelling reason to know what Instagram brings to the table.

Facebook Instagram for SME s
Source: Pixabay

Compare Facebook and Instagram. While the former has multiple functions such as making friends and having a near own personal webpage for the user, the latter is a modest-looking platform specializing in photo-sharing. The feed on Instagram is pictures-only, without any option to download and save them. But minimalism has captured the imagination of social media users, so much so that the new-age users are fast moving to Instagram and have radically cut the time spent on other platforms. However as per the Mediaone 2018, Singapore has 82% internet penetration rate and has more than 3.4million social media users. The top 5 most used social media networks are Whatapps (73%), YouTube (71%), Facebook (70%), Facebook Messenger (42%), and Instagram (40%).

Social Media for you Business
Source: MediaOne

In this context, if we were to tell you that Instagram is the most effective marketing platform – especially if you are a small business with millennials and the youth population as your probable consumer base – it will not at all be an overstatement. The platform that gives to its users a hassle-free and straightforward feed with limited options of liking content or commenting on the picture must undeniably be the area of focus for your marketing team. Although marketing on Instagram does not call for much technical expertise, the strategy has to be apt so that the money and labors that go into this yield good returns. Here, we shall discuss some tips that will be worth adhering to for best outcomes.

1.  The Content

How do you define content? Is it a lengthy article or a detailed video on any subject? Not exactly. Content can be anything that can engage the audience; it can be a single word or a short sentence even. An infographic or a graphics interchange format (popularly known as gif) can constitute content. For you to catch the attention of an Instagram user who conventionally scrolls down hurriedly to have a short glimpse of pictures and videos available on the feed, the content has to be engaging.

Infographic for SMEs
Source: Instagram

Do you know that modern advertising owes a lot to the cigarette industry of the United States? When creative advertisements weren’t as common as they are today, a cigarette manufacturer in the US came out with a full-page newspaper ad that only said, ‘The Camels are coming!’ It was way back in 1914, and marketing has since seen a radical shift. The camel brand hit the right spots and was instrumental in ushering in the era of cigarettes. Indeed, your product or service can be different, but the need for your content to be engaging and thought-provoking is the same as it was for Camel.

The content needs not only the right words but also great appearance. It is for this reason the photo-editing tools have become such a success. Your content must be sized correctly to suit the user-interface of Instagram, and going the extra mile can bring higher dividends. How about using bright colors or a single color alone in all your content on Instagram so that the user knows it’s you all the time? How about adding a tiny brand identity at the corner of your pictures that can differentiate yours from others? Othe option is using the same font in all your content or separating your content by ditching the use of any uppercase alphabets? You can surely come up with more ideas, but don’t forget that users find humbly-designed content more reliable than the overly flashy ones.

Read More: Photo Editing Tools

2.  Understanding Instagram

Ahead of executing your Instagram marketing plan, it will be prudent to know what Instagram has to offer to businesses that advertise on the platform. The primary is the business account, unlike a personal one. With your business profile, you can make the most out of the platform’s analytical tools by knowing whether or not the current strategy is working. Instagram Insights show audience demographics, users reach for any particular post and even other details, including how many users clicked the link in your business profile and how many of them have saved the post. By understanding how Instagram works for advertisers, you would understand how your audience interacts with your content. There some more Instagram analytics tools like Hootsuite, Iconosquare, Union Metrics, Keyhole, and HypeAuditor. Also by using the tool Insights, you will be able to tweak your marketing strategy timely should it be failing to hit the right target audience or the location.

How to use Instagram Insights: Tutorial

Use of Social Media for your business
Source: Pixabay

Another technical aspect is adding links to your content that can take the user directly to a page where the product can be purchased, get detailed information about the reference content or for downloading the mobile application.

3.  Engaging Users

Although using the right content and targeting the right audience can be more than rewarding, there are some special tips for engaging Instagram users.

Hashtags – Hashtags work on Instagram as they work on most other social media platforms. They differentiate one type of post from others and club the same ones under a single heading. Let’s tell you how they correctly work. For instance, you are into the business of women dresses, and your brand name is XYZ. Now if you post a creative content with a phrase #mybeautifulxyzdress and at the same time urge users to share their pictures in XYZ dresses using the same hashtag, you will end up having a stock of images, all displayed with a single click on the hashtag.

Tips on Hastags Click Here

Stories – Stories on Instagram can differentiate your post from the regular feed page of users. They appear at the top of the mobile application’s home page and need to click for it to display. They are quite similar to WhatsApp, and Snapchat stories are visible till 24 hours from when the user posted them. Stories can have multiple pictures, gif, and videos, all of which run as slideshows on the screen. They provide you with ample prospects to keep users hooked to your posts and engage them in your content, provided that it isn’t dull as that can prompt the user to discard your story.

Read More about Stories

Regram – Regram means reposting other’s content, and how it works for your business is simple. Consider a user who has used your product/ service and has uploaded a picture with your brand’s hashtag. The image, quite often than not, will have your product displayed. Since your loyal customer has done all the hard work in promoting your product, they undeniably need a pat on the back. And what can be a more rewarding way than to Regram their post? Which, in turn, will market your product. Bonus is that user-generated content appears more authentic, and the audience relates more with such posts than the ones directly posted by the advertiser.

Conversations – Conversations are the best way to engage. Comments on your posts, even when they troll your product/ service, deserve your reply, although the ones that aren’t supportive of you can be sarcastically shut down. But remember, you cannot afford to disrespect any of the users since users on social media have an unsigned pact of sorts where they come to the defense of any user that gets targeted wrongly. Going live on Instagram is another option where your followers can comment in real-time, and you can engage with at least some of them at the same time. And it’s actually fun.

4.  Brand Ambassadors

Getting an influencer to endorse your product/ service on Instagram may not be as expensive as it sounds. Indeed, we aren’t talking of roping in Robert Downey Jr. or Selena Gomez. By contrast, Instagram has its share of influencers, and it is easy to find one suiting your offerings and pockets. These influencers may not be established actors or musicians, but they are best at what they do- engaging users on the platform. Emerging models have their profiles followed by hundreds of thousands of users, and they are the ones who can endorse your offerings with a single post that can reach all their followers. It can be a genuinely inexpensive way of adding the celebrity-quotient to your product/ service.

New followers of such influencers usually tend to go through their past posts, and who knows if the emerging model of today may become a true star of tomorrow, given the enthusiasm with which film and music video makers are increasing searching for talent on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

The city-state of Singapore is one of the biggest markets for Instagram in Southeast Asia. About 40 percent of the population uses Instagram, and the majority of them are women. People in their 20s and 30s are in bulk, and the time people spend on Instagram is sizeable. It calls for small businesses of the city-state to get their Instagram marketing strategy right to emerge as a winner in the crowded market. Companies cannot shy away from promoting their offerings on Instagram, given the platform’s high reach and promising returns on investment for businesses. An adherence to the points mentioned above can fetch you real money.

Shikha Sarkar

Shikha Sarkar, Director of Kit Kat Events & Marketing has more than 16 years of experience in international sales and marketing, and strong entrepreneurial skills, in-depth understanding of business, markets and customer needs. As the Ambassador of InterNations, a global expat network, Shikha supports a community of over 65,000 expats from 200 different countries living in Singapore. She loves adventure travel and wildlife photography.

All stories by:Shikha Sarkar
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Shikha Sarkar

Shikha Sarkar, Director of Kit Kat Events & Marketing has more than 16 years of experience in international sales and marketing, and strong entrepreneurial skills, in-depth understanding of business, markets and customer needs. As the Ambassador of InterNations, a global expat network, Shikha supports a community of over 65,000 expats from 200 different countries living in Singapore. She loves adventure travel and wildlife photography.

All stories by:Shikha Sarkar

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