Instagram recently announced that it now has 400 million users (which is more than Twitter’s 300 million active users!). The platform is growing at a rapid rate, which is why we (the springbots) are making it easier for stores to connect their social media engagement to their eCommerce sales through our newest integration with Instagram. Now, online stores are able to easily transform their Instagram account into a social storefront that drives social engagement and sales. Pretty cool huh?
Because of Instagram’s explosion of growth (and since Cyber Monday right around the corner), now is the time to start planning out your Instagram content marketing strategies. If you haven’t started planning your Instagram content strategy or are fresh out of ideas, check out these 7 tips for inspiration:
1. Photograph items in holiday themed settings
This may sound obvious, but it’s a good idea to stage product and brand lifestyle photos around upcoming holidays. Instead of posting a photo of one of your products and adding a description about your upcoming holiday promotions, photograph your items in a holiday setting — near a Christmas tree, next to a menorah for Hanukkah, on a Thanksgiving table, etc. Go a step further and show your products being used for the holidays. Does it make a great gift? Show it creatively gift wrapped.
2. Give a sneak peak with behind the scenes videos and images
How do you and your team prepare for the holidays? Do you have company Halloween costume contests? Do you carve pumpkins with your store’s logo? Do you have an order-packing party for the Cyber Monday rush? Snap photos and videos to show what the humans behind your store do #IRL (in real life).
3. Showcase items with different image formats
Instagram no longer restricts images to a square format. This means that you have more space to play with in your photo composition. One photo format style that is currently trending on Instagram is one photo that is split into multiple photos. The result is a banner or grid of a photo in your profile (see example below from photographer and lifestyle blogger Liz Morrow’s profile). Don’t worry, you don’t have to crop these photos perfectly yourself! There are apps like PicSlit that will do this for you.
4. Make announcements with text over images
Use tools like Canva to add words over product and lifestyle photos. You can upload your photos to your computer, use their templates to create stunning motivational or informative graphics, and share them with your followers. This is a great way to announce holiday sales, share inspirational quotes, remind followers of shipping deadlines, and more. Check out this quick guide to sharing your Canva creations on Instagram.
5. Research & use relevant holiday hashtags
Hashtags increase your odds of being found by people who are not following you. The trick lies in testing relevant hashtags to see which produce the most engagement with your content. Around the holidays, some helpful tags to start with may include: #giftidea #giftforhim #giftforher #holidayspirit #Christmas #cybermonday #Instasale
Ask yourself, “What would my target customer search to find photos similar to mine?” Research the popularity and frequency of the hashtags with tools like RiteTag and Hashtagify.me (our personal favorites). These tools are specific to Twitter, but they are a good starting point for finding hashtags related to keywords.
Then you can track which of your posts are receiving the most engagement with a tool like Iconosquare.
6. Add a custom landing page to your bio
When you post photos that feature your items, you need to make it simple your followers to find the items they like and make a purchase (especially during the holidays!). Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t currently allow clickable links in photo captions, and you’d have to pay for Instagram Ads to integrate a buy button with your photo. The next best option is to create a custom landing page for your bio that showcases your recently featured items.
We love this example of a shoppable Instagram landing page from Apricity Boutique. We helped them build a landing page that lets shoppers quickly view the items or input their email to be reminded about the product later (so they don’t have to leave Instagram right away). It’s on brand and easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for from a shoppable landing page than it is from the home page.
If you use a custom landing page, place the URL in your Instagram bio. Then, when you feature one of your items, add something like “Like this dress? Check out the link in our bio!” Your followers are two taps away from viewing your items.
7. Show your support for a cause
As the holidays approach, people become more conscious of giving to charitable organizations. In fact, it’s reported that 34% of charitable giving is done in the last three months of the year, 18% of which is done in December alone. Partner with an organization you are passionate about, and leverage the giving spirit of the holidays to make an impact for a good cause. It’s a win-win for your brand and for the organization.
On Instagram, post a photo that represents how your brand is contributing the cause and how your followers can get involved. In this example, the team at Brownie Brittle baked 5,000 cookies for a charitable bake sale, and they shared a photo of their hard work.