Instagram Strategy for Businesses

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Today, I wanna talk a little bit about Instagram, and specifically, Instagram for businesses, the kind of strategy. It's funny 'cause with the social media stuff, a lot of times, social media feels easy, and at the same time, it feels extremely hard, and it's very difficult. Especially for a business to be able to figure out what their strategy should be, and what they should be posting up online in a way that's measurable, and actually effective for their business. So and that gets to... The first thing I wanna talk about is when businesses come to me, and when I speak to folks, they typically ask you, "What am I supposed to be posting up on Instagram?" And right off the bat, that's the wrong way to approach something. You've got to ask yourself two questions initially. Initially, what you wanna do is you wanna ask what do you hope to achieve as a business when you're up on Instagram. What are you trying to do? What are the results supposed to look like? And not just some vague 10,000-foot, "We wanna get more customers."


What we wanna talk about is what are the clear defined and measurable goals that need to be a part of an Instagram strategy as a business for us to feel like and know that we're being successful? So that's question number one. And number two is, why should anybody care? One of the things one of my older brothers told me a while back was, "Whenever you start a business... " And he works in law in IP as an attorney. And he used to always look for entrepreneurs that had business card before they had a business. And to him, that was a red flag that they weren't focusing on the right thing, right? And so when we're out doing our marketing and our engagement out on social media, we need to be focusing on why people should care that we're posting stuff? And that inherently means that as a company, we honestly have to look outward to the consumer as opposed to trying to get the consumer to look at us. And that's a completely different mindset. It's hard to get your head wrapped around that.


That's the right way to do it.


Well, it's the most effective way to do it because companies that go out, and always try to push their agenda on a consumer to try to find that consumer that way are the ones that typically fail and they get frustrated, they don't understand why they're failing. So...


That was... Was that in 1960s model? 


Yeah. I'll tell you right now, it's the 2018 model for a lot of businesses. So yes, it's old marketing. It's old advertising, and it's typically... If everything... If all I have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail. And there's still too much of that. And certainly, there's plenty of companies that are... Especially companies that have been created in the last few years that have a different mindset, but there's still a ton of them. I would say, the vast majority that everything looks like a nail to them. So how do we figure out what we're supposed to be producing for people up on Instagram that is gonna be effective for us? Well, whenever you're looking at people that are on any social media site, and particularly on Instagram, they're looking for one of three things. They wanna be entertained, they wanna be educated or they wanna be inspired or they wanna engage somewhere, and be motivated. Those three elements are what they're looking for. I didn't say they wanna be sold to. I didn't say that they want you to tell them what's best for them. They wanna be motivated so they can discover stuff. They want to be entertained or they wanna be educated about something.


If we can do one of those, that's fantastic. If a business can do two of 'em, you're pretty aware. If you can do all three of those at the same time, you are hitting it out of the park, ninth inning, three runs down, bases loaded because it's not easy to have the creative, and have the execution to be able to do all three of those. But let's focus on what do we wanna do with trying to achieve one of those much less, all three of them? Now, what tactics? Strategy, when we look at the strategy of how we're gonna focus on something, that's the, "why." And we figure out, why are we gonna do something? Now, the "what," is gonna be the tactics. What are we gonna do to support us achieving the goals that we want to achieve? Are we gonna tell stories? Do we have a brand story to tell? And that backs us up into whether or not the brand is fully developed. Is live video appropriate for what we're doing? If we're gonna do live video, and even if we're doing photography on Instagram, what kind of cameras do we use? And it doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a camera, but you got to decide what kind of camera you're gonna use, and how often are you gonna do it? If you don't have any time, and you don't have any resources available, Instagram is a tough platform to break into.


You pretty much wanna focus on other things, more traditional marketing 'cause it takes a fair amount of effort to be successful on Instagram. If you've got some time but don't have a ton of resources, and you don't have a lot of people available to you, then you can create a man-on-the-street editorial content with your phone. Learn some basic, the best practices. And this doesn't mean that the CEOs and entrepreneurs are the owners of these companies. Folks that work for you, pick somebody out that's fairly creative, and get them to learn the basics of photography. And have them do that stuff for you with the folks that are in the office. If you've got no time but you got a ton of resources, either the train is running off the tracks, you're making tons of cash. The business is successful, but you haven't built your team yet, super easy, you outsource it. You get a creative agency to come in, you teach them a little bit about what you brand needs to be, and have them do that work for you.


If you've got tons of time, and tons of people, and tons of resources, then you bring it in-house, and you do it yourself, and you essentially become a publisher. That's obviously the best case scenario because folks inside your business are gonna be the ones that are gonna take care of your business for you, and understand it the best. You need to be able to measure what you're doing. Let me back up really quick. Everybody always wants to know. Everybody always asks, "How often do I post, what do I post, how often do I post." How often do I post they ask it a 1,000 times. The weaselly answer I'm gonna give you is, "It depends." You post stuff and you look at your analytics and the data tells you whether or not your audience wants more or wants less of it. So, that's the first part of it.


Data tells you? 



Data always has the answers for you.



How do you know that what they're telling you? 



Here's the rocket science. When they respond more to it, do more of it. When they respond less to it, do less of it. And the super, super smart person you have at the end of the hour today that talks about data analytics knows a gazillion times more about this than I do. I'm a lowly consultant who's doing this for 20 years and I've learned that when the hockey stick goes up, you do more of what you're doing and when it goes down, you do less, right? 



So, number two, the amount of content you post that is within the areas of entertain, execution, engagement and inspiring folks, outside of that, you clearly have to have some kind of a cause, you have to have some kind of a way to cause people to then act upon your content that benefits your business. You can't just be like an entertainment channel. So, typically in social media, what we wanna do is about 80% of the time, we wanna entertain, educate and inspire people. And in about 20% of the time, we have the ask, the call to action, the whatever.



In social media that's highly visual like video and Instagram and photography and stuff, that number needs to be ramped up to 90% of the time you need to be engaging people in a way that entertains, informs and educates and about 10% of the time, you got to call to action. You ask someone to do something that benefits your company. So, that's a lot to think about this week. That's a lot to get your head wrapped around. Next week, we're gonna roll this into, "Okay now, what are we gonna talk about when it comes how do we measure the success? How do we analyze the different engagements and which ones are worthless and which ones are worth more and how do we reboot our current Instagram branding for our business in a way that feels fairly seamless so we don't turn around and throw all our current members, our current viewers out of whack because we've turned the train on 'em and we didn't tell 'em. Turning the train, I just made that up.