When it comes to marketing your business, there are tons of options you can choose to get your message across and reach new customers. While there are always traditional methods like coupons, email marketing, and print advertising, one of the best, most cost-effective way to reach your target demographic is through social media. As more and more users get onto sites like Facebook and Twitter, the need for better social media marketing is only going to increase. In fact, one of the best sites for this type of marketing is Instagram. On the surface, it makes perfect sense; Instagram is a visual medium, and marketing relies on visual ads to send a targeted message. Naturally, the two would go together.

Today we’ll not only show you why social media marketing through Instagram is right for your business, but we’ll even walk you through the steps needed to make your own Instagram ad.

Advantages of Social Media Marketing

Although most companies see the potential of social media, you still have plenty of old-fashioned folks who aren’t quite sure if this is the right medium for them. However, given the fact that we’ve now had social media for over a decade, it would seem irresponsible not to take advantage of the benefits that it offers. Here are some top reasons why social media marketing should be at the forefront of your next campaign.

  • Cost-effective: with print advertising or broadcast marketing, you have to spend a ton of money on paper or ad space. With social media, you still have to spend money if you want to get results, but the cost is so much less. Why? Because it’s much easier to promote through social media channels than it is through traditional media.
  • Wider Audience: if you ran an advertisement in the newspaper or on TV, then you are limited to reaching only people who read that periodical or watch that particular program. With social media advertising, you can reach a much broader audience in a shorter amount of time, while also being able to target your ads to reach a specific demographic.
  • Engagement and Tracking: another problem with traditional marketing methods is the fact that it’s hard to determine the impact it had on your customers. How many new clients did you get as a result of a TV ad? What is your Return on Investment (ROI)? With social media marketing, you can track how your ads are seen, where they are viewed, and how well they convert new customers. With data and analytics from Facebook and other sites, you can get better feedback which you can then use to create better campaigns in the future.

Videos vs. Images in Conversions

Overall, the central aspect of social media marketing (or any marketing for that matter) is to convert potential customers into real clients. When crunching the numbers, it turns out that video ads are actually better at converting than images. In fact, some sites report a vast increase of sales and conversions with videos than they do with pictures. Overall, users can be up to 1.81 times more likely to buy a product when watching a video than when reading an ad. To put it another way, how often would you rather watch TV than read a book? No matter what, video is where it’s at.

Thankfully, you can create fun, short videos in Instagram to help reach your audience. That isn’t to say that static images don’t have their place, but be sure to incorporate videos along with your pictures to increase your potential.

Influencer Marketing

One important shift that has happened in the last few years is a focus on influencer marketing. As more people are becoming “internet famous”, consumers are looking to these influencers to help them make decisions on which products and brands to buy. For example, if Kim Kardashian promotes a pair of shoes on her Instagram page, then you can be sure the company who makes those shoes will get a lot of traffic as a result. Thus, when creating your Instagram ads, you may want to try reaching out to high-profile people to see if they would be willing to share your ads or promote your brand. It’s basically the same thing as paying a celebrity to endorse your product, but it’s much easier and usually much more cost-effective in the long run.

Ideally, however, you will eventually shift to become the influencer yourself, by engaging, educating, and entertaining your customer base. The bigger following you get, the more influence you’ll have, which will pay greater dividends overall.

Now that we know the benefits of social media marketing let’s walk you through how to make an advertisement on Instagram.

Creating an Instagram Ad

Connect to Facebook

First, if you haven’t already set up a Facebook account, you’ll need to do that so you can generate an ad. Since Facebook owns Instagram, the two services are intertwined. In fact, to create your ad, you will be using Facebook’s ad services.

Choosing an Ad Type

Once you’ve connected your accounts and set up the service, then you will need to select the type of ad you want to create. There are three primary styles from which to choose, as listed below.

  • Image: the most basic type of ad is a photo or collection of images placed in a collage. Depending on your business, as well as your target demographic, you can choose to place text over the image or just have the picture itself and any pertinent information below.
  • Video: as we mentioned, many businesses can significantly benefit from creating a short video rather than a static image. Perhaps you want to show your workers making something, or you prefer to talk to your customers directly. Video ads are usually about fifteen seconds long.
  • Carousel: if you want to tell a story through static images rather than a video, you can do so with a carousel ad. This ad type uses a set of pictures that the user will scroll through to get a better idea of your product or service.

Targeting Your Audience

Once you have decided on your ad type and created the material and copy, then it’s time to figure out who the ad will go out to. Facebook has an excellent service which allows you to choose a variety of qualifiers that will allow you to target your customers as broadly or as specifically as you want. For example, you can market to all middle-aged people in the US, or you can target only teenagers between 16 and 18 who like a certain music genre. The choices you have for your ad placement are as follows:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Custom Demographics

Custom demographics are either created by you or found on Facebook itself. If you want to specify a particular group, this menu is where you would do it.

Once you’ve determined your target audience, finish the ad and send it out. It’s just that easy!

Tips for Creating a Memorable Ad

Actually, it’s not just that easy. If you really want to get a better ROI, then you have to create an ad that will speak to your audience and inspire them to shop with your brand or company. A dull, flat image with no call to action (more on that later) will never get the results you want. Here are some general tips for making the best Instagram ad possible.

No Stock Photos

Back when the internet was in its infancy, stock photos were everywhere. These days, however, many businesses choose not to use any stock images because they give the impression that your company is boring or cliche. Furthermore, many Instagram users can spot a stock photo immediately, which then triggers the fact that it’s an ad, which makes them less like to click on it.

Call-to-Action

As we mentioned above, to really get more conversions, you need to include a call to action (CTA). A CTA is something like signing up for email alerts, buying a particular item, or going to the store. The easier your CTA is, however, the more likely your customers will follow through with it. Overall, the most common CTA is to get potential clients to enter their email so that you can create an email list for further marketing down the road. Simply put, without a CTA, your customers have no incentive or drive to engage with your business.

Make Hashtags Work for You

If you go onto Twitter, you’ll see a list of hashtags that are trending. For many businesses, this a fantastic way to boost your profile without having to pay for any extra marketing. Piggybacking on hashtags can both improve your presence online while also showing that your company stays on top of current trends. Just be careful, however, that you don’t jump on a hashtag that either a) doesn’t fit with your brand or mission statement, or b) is a hashtag that you don’t want to be a part of. For example, DiGiorno Pizza used a trending hashtag #whyistayed to promote its pizza. Unfortunately, the tag was used to call out domestic violence, which is not something you want to associate with frozen pizza.

Engage with Your Audience

The best reason to use social media marketing is that it allows you to connect with your customers in real time. Instead of putting out an ad and hoping for the best, social media allows you to start a conversation and get feedback from your customers immediately. With Instagram, a great way to interact with potential clients is to follow your customers and like their images. If they see your brand being active with them, they are far more likely to pay attention to what you have to offer.