If, like most brands, you want to grow your customer base and get more sales for your business, you might be using Instagram. So, you might be pretty surprised to see the title of this blog post, particularly as there’s so many posts out there which explain about how Instagram can be good for business. It’s true that Instagram can be a good marketing tool, I even teach some Insta strategy myself. So, why am I saying it can hurt your business?
Bottom line? Instagram is a tool. Not a marketing strategy.
Instagram and other social media platforms are a small piece of the puzzle. You need more than just people clicking ‘like’ and ‘follow’ in order to have a successful business. I say that Insta can hurt businesses because lots of people focus so much of their time on posting and interacting on social media, they seem to lose sight of why they’re even doing it. They also look at the wrong metrics. I get people asking me how they can grow their following, when they should really be concerned about the end result – making the sale. Having a large social media following isn’t a measure of business success. A follower doesn’t put money in the bank, so why spend so much time trying to get followers?
So many of my 1-on-1 clients come to me saying their marketing strategy is Instagram and I explain to them that marketing should only be part of their strategy. In this post, I’ll share my feedback and help you to understand how you can attract customers to your brand...
What is a Marketing Strategy?
The answer to this is pretty complex and will vary greatly between brands, but in a nutshell, it’s a process which takes a potential customer from having no idea who you are, to making a purchase. Typically customers need to have several ‘touch points’ (or, interactions) with your brand, before they have enough trust in you to make a purchase. Don’t forget too that many people who find you might not need something right now, so it’s your responsibility to keep them engaged long enough to remember who you are when they do need something. Generally, the more expensive the product, the more of these ‘touch points’ you’ll need.
For a fashion brand, social media can be one part of the puzzle. Someone might discover your brand on Instagram, but you need to do more. It’s of no help to you if they just ‘like’ the photo and leave. You need them to interact with you, visit your website, join the mailing list, contact you, read your blog, etc. Potential customers need to become invested in you and eventually, they’ll trust you enough to make a purchase. Keep in mind that Instagram, along with other platforms, has a complex algorithm, so only a smaller percentage of your followers will actually see your posts. You can’t expect that everyone will see what you’re posting and it’s important to have a more direct way of communication, like email for example.
Instagram is distracting, not just for you, but for customers too. Think about how you use Instagram, or your platform of choice. Can you honestly say that you’ve visited the websites of all the brands you’ve ‘liked’ photos from? Do you even leave your feed to check out more photos from the brand? Have a you ever made a purchase as a direct result of seeing someone on Instagram? Most likely not. Reason being is that as users, we get shiny object syndrome; we see so many pictures we like and just keep scrolling. This is why Instagram has become one of the lowest converters. Meaning that people will be less likely to buy from you after seeing you on Instagram, vs other methods of marketing.
Social media can often be described as ‘busy work’, meaning that you can spend so much time on it and you can tell yourself that you’re ‘marketing’, but at the end of the day, what have you actually achieved? If you spend all your time commenting and posting online, you’ll be missing out on things that have a much bigger impact on your sales, like having a website that’s designed to covert (meaning it creates the maximum amount of sales from the visitors you have). Even if you have millions of followers, if they click on your website and it’s not appealing to them, they won’t even stick around, let alone buy from you.
When posting to Instagram, you need to think past simply sharing an interesting picture. As a business, the aim should really be to get people to visit your profile and click to your website. You’ll even need to think this simple aim too; when people get to your website will they be directed to something relevant and worth sticking around for? Or, are you just sending people to a generic homepage of little interest, so they instantly click away? Every post you create should have purpose, both for your business and also, for the customer. It’s important to give a reason for someone to visit you. If you can help someone with a problem they have, big or small, or if you can entertain them in some way, you’re giving them a reason to click through. And stay on your website.
This is why content creation is so important. Creating interesting videos, articles, photo galleries, podcasts, what ever it might be, to help your customer and keep them engaged.
In my view, smart content creation is the key to successful marketing. It can help customers to have an interest in you and keep coming back for more. It helps you to post to Instagram with purpose and with a strong CTA (call to action), giving customers a reason to visit you, rather than simply double tap.
Tips For Using Instagram, Without Hurting Your Business;
Create interesting content that will make customers click through to your website, rather than just ‘like’ your pictures
Use well considered links to your webpages
Post with purpose, have an objective for every piece of content that you share
Don’t spend all day on this, your time is often better spent on other parts of the marketing ‘journey’, such as email marketing, content creation and also factors that will create sales, like a well organised website and great product descriptions
Don’t get distracted. Use one of the many tools available to schedule your posts and reply to comments, so you can quickly do what’s required and move on
Back up your Instagram with other forms of marketing and sales tactics. Don’t expect to just post a picture and get sales.
Create a whole marketing strategy, including all of the stages a potential customer will go through before making a purchase
I hope this has helped you to rethink your approach to marketing and attracting customers for your brand. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, my new course, ‘Attract Loyal Customers To Your Fashion Brand’ is available for enrolment now. The course includes over 4 hours of video training on this and other topics, including; ways of getting customers to keep coming back, automating your process so you don’t spend all your time marketing, getting press for your brand and much more. You can learn more about the course by clicking here.
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