The following is an excerpt from the MIX ‘Gram Jam — 15 steps to launching your Instagram business profile. While there are countless testimonials of small business owners being successful on Instagram, it’s still essential that you consider whether or not the platform is the right fit for you. Therefore, our fourth step offers five questions that must be considered before determining whether Instagram is right for your business. Access all the ‘Gram Jam steps, our webinars, and resources when you join the MIX!
…By now, you’ve navigated the Instagram platform enough to realize that it’s a powerful tool for connecting with others and because of the heavily-hashtagged content, it’s also a great way to narrow in on specific influencers and topics.
Having said that, there are some important things to consider before you launch a business profile:
-Your bandwidth: While there are plenty of apps out there that allow users to automate posts and cross-purpose content (which we’ll cover later), the fact is that there’s no app which replaces good sound marketing strategy. There is no way to automate the telling of your brand story in the marketplace. And so, it’s important to explore how your current team (or team of one) will be able to accommodate the additional task of managing an Instagram community.
-Customer service: Instagram is about more than just photos and engaging visual content — you must deliver on the promise of those visual stories and fix things when you fail to do so. If your customer service model cannot accommodate for the monitoring of customer feedback on Instagram, then you may need to reconsider if now is the right time.
-Your Sales Process: Like any tactic, you must consider your Instagram launch as part of your larger strategy. If your existing sales process doesn’t account for the customer communication that will take place on this new channel, then you’ll need to address that. Are you currently moving customers from your existing social media channels like Facebook into your sales process? If not, then you should consider starting there. You can’t just expect that customer interactions will be limited to commenting on the photos that you share anymore. They will come to expect that your images are shoppable, they’ll communicate directly one with another, rate your products in real time, ask for support, and so on.
-Consistency: One of the biggest opportunities that brands have for Instagram is the extension of the content that they share on their other social media channels. A brand that’s launching a new video ad campaign, for instance, can post short behind-the-scenes footage to their Instagram story and photos/videos of expanded content to their feed. In this way, the channels work together. In the spirit of omnichannel, customers need to feel a consistency as they peruse your various online profiles. If you don’t currently have a strong plan for content marketing, then consider starting with that before you launch onto Instagram.
-Empathy: As I mentioned, Instagram is a channel with lots of opportunities for automations. But it can be discouraging to work so hard to cultivate an authentic and engaging brand on Instagram just to lose customer goodwill by a tone-deaf post that’s the result of an automation. In a recent example, a European bank faced a customer service crisis when it’s systems upgrade resulted in outages and customers losing access to their funds. Meanwhile, during the midst of the uproar, their Instagram profile shared an upbeat profile of one of their small business customers. Problem was, the profiled business was one of those affected and upset. The bank’s Instagram profile became a hotbed of customer complaints and negative interactions, all of which could’ve been avoided had the brand used the automation with a bit more strategy and caution.
Building brand isn’t just about selling your product or connecting with others. It’s about creative a positive and interactive experience for your current and future stakeholders that effectively tells your brand story in the marketplace. The potential impact of Instagram is huge for business who weigh all of their options and align this tactic with their overall branding strategy.
If you’re tired of chasing tactics and ready to build a sound strategy that will grow your business for the long-term then you belong in the MIX — join our online community of like-minded entrepreneurial leaders who cut through the noise to find marketing tactics that simply work!