If you’re trying to capture attention with visual content on Instagram, then you need a good Instagram PR & marketing strategy.
Instagram has one billion active users, with 80% of these being business accounts. In fact, Instagram offers wonderful opportunities for B2B brands that want to connect with their target audience.
There is no denying that this network is distinct from previous social media networks. It lacks LinkedIn’s professional atmosphere and feels different from both Facebook and Twitter. Despite these differences, Instagram has emerged as a significant player in both the B2B and B2C marketing spaces. Whether your company is aiming for lead generation, brand awareness, or more traffic, Instagram can help you reach out to a wider audience.
In this article, we will explore some tips to create an effective Instagram marketing and PR strategy. Before we do that, let us look at how you can use public relations on Instagram.
What is public relations?
PR stands for public relations, which refers to the interactions between a company and the general public. This can apply to any organization or business. This relationship between a company and the public is critical because it can have many effects, including increased business branding and revenue. People usually prefer companies with whom they can get in touch quickly or with whom they can get better support.
Social media has become a powerful platform for businesses to connect with their target audiences, by simply employing a variety of PR tactics. Public relations became even more crucial during the pandemic when customers and the general public had difficulty accessing businesses physically during the pandemic. As people go back to a seemingly post-pandemic world, PR has remained at the forefront of most marketing strategies. One of the ways in which brands have been connecting with these people since the onset of COVID-19 is by developing an active presence on Instagram. Where before Instagram was a nice add-on to a bigger PR strategy, Instagram has now become a must-have for any small to medium-sized business.
Public Relations (PR) specialists use unpaid or earned communications such as social media, traditional media, and in-person engagements to help a company or individual develop a positive reputation in the public. They can also help customers to defend their brand reputation during a crisis that jeopardizes their credibility.
Why use Instagram for PR and marketing?
Instagram was thought to be a purely personal social network for a long time. You’d use it to stay in touch with family and friends. The last thing that came to mind was using it for B2B brands. However, as Instagram has evolved over the years with new features and a more modern algorithm over time, it has become the ideal environment for B2B businesses to thrive and put their PR strategies into action.
The primary advantage of Instagram over other social media platforms is its visual nature. Instagram is considered one of the better platforms to showcase content if your business has visually appealing products or eye-catching photos.
Video, visuals, and graphics are excellent forms of content for this social media platform. Having said this, your marketing approach and strategies will ultimately determine what type of content you publish and how regularly you post it. No matter how well a particular social media platform works for other brands, constructing a strategy before you dive in is important. A well-thought-out PR strategy will help you to focus on your goals and, most importantly, your audience.
The essence of good public relations and marketing is storytelling, and Instagram’s visual nature has made it the ideal storytelling platform. When used correctly, visual content, such as photos and videos, engages audiences and makes them feel more connected to a brand and its stories.
Instagram is an excellent platform for your target audience to learn more about your brand. Every image is an opportunity for your audience to learn more about you. It could be a photo of your team that demonstrates how diverse and inclusive your brand is. It could be a photo depicting a cause that your company is passionate about or a photo highlighting your brand’s wacky and fun side.
The bottom line is that each Instagram post gives your followers a taste of who you are, contributing to your public relations and marketing goals.
How to use Instagram for PR
You can do public relations on Instagram through comment management, regular content sharing, direct messages, and the use of Instagram Stories and IGTV.
Direct messaging is one of the best ways to connect with others, whether they’re already your followers or not. You can improve your reputation or build trust by sending out offers, promotions, banners, and so on. Adding a comment under someone’s photo or video is a simple and convenient way for all Instagram users to ask questions or provide feedback. Instagram now allows you to manage comments, restrict individual accounts, and pin your favorite comment.
If your account already has more than 10,000 followers, then you can add links to your Instagram stories. This allows you to add value to your content. In fact, this is one of the most effective ways to connect with the general public for your company.
In the end, Instagram is all about content. Hundreds of millions of people open the app every day to check out the 95 million photos and videos that are shared on the platform. Of course, quality content should be central to your strategy.
Before you consider your visual style, it’s a good idea to have a clear vision for the type of content you’re putting out.
According to experts, an effective Instagram marketing strategy includes posting consistently high-quality content that aims to build a brand while also connecting with community members on an individual level.
The first step is to identify your content pillars. There is no hard and fast rule on how best to do this. In fact, content pillars will vary from business to business. Focus on creating content that is relevant to both your audience and your goals.
The foundations of any strategy are built on solid content pillars or themes.
Regardless of size, industry, or location, every company has a plethora of potentially brilliant content to share on Instagram. There are many opportunities and worthy subjects for your videos and photos. This includes employee stories, culture-focused content, or product-led demos.
How to create a content calendar
Once you’ve established your content themes (you can always test and adapt themes to see what works best), it’s time to put everything together into a content calendar. A content calendar should assist you in defining the style and aesthetic feel of your posts. A calendar of this type will also help you to decide clearly how frequently you will post to Instagram. Here’s what you should include as part of your content calendar:
1) Style guide
The style guide is an essential component of any social media strategy. Why is it so significant? It ensures consistency across all marketing channels and in all content you create.
Style guides contain all of the information needed for a piece of content from start to finish – from the design and layout of the post to the copy and hashtags that accompany it. When it comes to Instagram, you should think about the following: composition, color palette, fonts, filters, captions, and hashtags.
Composition is defined as the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art. Since not every marketer is an expert photographer, it can be helpful to establish a few quick composition rules.
Choosing a color palette will help you to keep your feed consistent and focused. Having a palette doesn’t mean you have to use these colors exclusively, but it will help your posts have a nice uniform, familiar feel. It can also feel good to keep your color palette consistent with other aspects of your brand.
If you’re using quotes or text overlays on your Instagram images, keep the fonts consistent with your branding and messaging by using the same fonts on your website or other marketing materials.
Instagram filters can make even the most inexperienced photographer seem like a professional. They’re also a great way to enhance photos with just a few taps if you don’t have high-end photography equipment or editing software. Filters can significantly alter the look and feel of an image or video, so use only a few that you believe do justice to your brand image and stick to them. Using a different filter for each post can quickly create a disjointed Instagram feed.
Instagram captions are truncated with an ellipsis after three lines of text.
Captions are a great way to enhance content, and brands use them in various ways. Some people use captions to share stories and microblogs, while others use them to add a short, snappy headline to a post. Others use captions to ask questions and encourage responses.
Hashtags have become a standard way to categorize content on a variety of social media platforms, hashtags help Instagram users find new content and accounts to follow. According to research, posts with more than 11 hashtags receive more engagement.
Types of Instagram posts
An image post is the most common type of post on Instagram. When posting images, you can increase interest in your brand by posting a variety of photos. Variety demonstrates your brand’s diversity and engages different segments of your followers.
It’s also vital to remember that Instagram users want genuine posts from brands rather than posts that are blatantly advertising a product or service. Posting too many photos of your product is not a good idea. Attempt to capture your company’s culture through lifestyle shots, and behind-the-scenes shots.
As you begin to explore the platform, you’ll notice numerous types of images you can post to your account. Be inventive! Make a mental note of any concepts or styles you believe would work well for your brand.
2) Behind-the-scenes posts
These posts provide a look at a side of your company that most people don’t see. They must not appear staged — authenticity is everything!
3) Reposts from team members
Great content may be right in front of you… on your employees’ Instagram accounts. (However, remember to tag or credit the original poster.) Reposting photos that have been taken by your employees is an easy way to curate authentic content and humanize your company. Your audience will not only engage with your brand, but they will also begin to “bond” with your employees.
4) Educational posts
Educational posts provide bite-sized tips on how to do or make something. The instructions are usually quickly presented in photos or videos and in an easy-to-follow format.
5) Influencer posts
Instagram is filled with influencers who you can reach out to if you need help promoting your brand. Once you’ve come to an agreement with these influencers, they will then create content that features your brand. These posts frequently include images of the influencer using or interacting with your products or services. By creating this kind of content, an influencer can introduce your brand to a new audience – their audience.
6) User-generated content
User-generated content (UGC), like employee reposts, is curated content from your fans and followers. Posts that you’re tagged in and posts that use your brand hashtag are excellent sources of user-generated content (UGC).
Sharing the photos of your fans and followers not only makes the original poster happy but also demonstrates that your brand genuinely cares about what customers have to say. Remember to include a tag or mention the original post in the caption. To repost user-generated content, take a screenshot of the original post and crop it, or use a reposting app such as Repost for Instagram.
Tips to create an effective Instagram PR & marketing strategy
1) Establish your goals
If you want to achieve long-term success on Instagram, you need to start with a clear purpose and goals that will justify your time, energy, and financial investment. Before you post on Instagram, ask yourself (or your team) the following: What is your reason for being on Instagram? Leave the platform’s popularity out of this conversation – your response should not be, “… because everyone else is.”
Define your Instagram objectives. Remember that Instagram can serve multiple purposes. For example, you can post product images while sharing user-generated content (UGC). It’s not so much about the different types of posts you share as it is about why you share them. You can measure your performance and use Instagram Analytics tools to understand what kind of content your followers prefer.
2) Get to know your audience
Instagram is popular with a wide range of users. Instagram audiences are a very active bunch in general, with 90% of them under the age of 35 and 60% being active daily users.
It is now your responsibility to delve deeper into user behavior and learn more about your target audience. What are they eager to discover? What type of content gets the most likes and comments in your industry? Understanding this will help you to attract your target audience to your brand.
Use Instagram Insights as your audience grows. With this Instagram tool, you’ll be able to see who is following you, as well as their age, gender, and geographic location. Consider how this information can influence your content and interactions.
Take note of what content receives the most engagement as you post. You will learn more about what makes your target audience tick as you progress.
3) Do a competitive analysis
Following the identification of your Instagram audience, conduct a competitive analysis to see what kind of content other marketers in your field are posting.
Start by reviewing your top competitors’ Instagram profiles if you already know who they are. If not, look for accounts that are similar to yours by searching for terms related to your business and industry.
Perform a quick audit of related accounts to see which posts are receiving the most engagement, which hashtags are the most popular, and which captions attract the most interest. It’s also important to identify how frequently these brands post, and how quickly they’re growing. This data can be used as a guideline as you begin to build your account.
Take note of any opportunities your competitors may have missed while auditing their content. Including a mix of one-of-a-kind content will help your company stand out from the crowd.
4) Refine your profile
Instagram limits the length of your profile bio to 150 characters. Make good use of these characters. This section should explain who you are as a brand and what sets you apart.
Consider Intel’s Instagram bio: “Bringing amazing experiences to our global audience through #technology innovation.” Every photo on its page backs up that claim. The company won’t bore you with a laundry list of its products and features. This exemplifies how Intel creates incredible experiences.
Use everything Instagram has to offer when building your profile. Make it easy for your audience to contact you by including call and email buttons. Include a link to your current website or landing page.
Instagram profiles are shorter than those on other social networks, giving you more opportunities to shine. Reduce the length of your message to the essentials and make it count.
Some things that you should include your profile are:
- Your name: Should be 30 characters if you want to be included in the search results.
- Your handle: Also known as your username. Up to 30 characters are allowed in the search results.
- Your web address: A clickable URL that you can change whenever you want.
- Category: A company feature that tells people what you stand for without taking up too many bio characters.
- Contact information: Let followers know where they can find you.
- Call-to-action: Include buttons on your profile page to allow Instagrammers to interact with you directly.
5) Have the right profile photo
For most businesses, the most ideal Instagram profile photo is the business logo. This adds credibility and allows visitors to see who you are at a glance.
Your Instagram profile photo is fixed at 110 by 110 pixels in size, cropped to a circle 110 pixels in diameter. It is, however, stored at 320 by 320 pixels, so you should upload a file that large to ensure that it still looks good if Instagram changes the way profile photos are displayed.
6) Have visually compelling content
We cannot stress this enough – your posts must be visually appealing because Instagram is a visual medium. Don’t worry – you don’t need professional photography equipment. Nevertheless, your photos and videos should be sharp, well-lit, well-composed, and in focus.
If you’re using images other than photos, such as infographics or animations, make sure they’re crisp, clear, easy to read, and visually appealing.
Even more importantly, your visual content must be engaging. Great photos are lovely, but they won’t engage followers if they don’t tell a story or excite viewers.
Here are some examples of photos that you can share:
- Behind-the-scenes posts: Show your followers your office, storefront, or manufacturing process.
- Quotes and text-based images: Use text to create visually appealing content without photos.
- Regrams and UGC: By definition, user-generated content is authentic and compelling.
- Instructional posts: Teaching followers how to accomplish a goal is about as persuasive as you can get.
- Videos: The maximum length for an Instagram video post is 60 seconds, but you can go much longer with IGTV.
- Reels: Use this multi-cut video format to keep your audience on your page.
Remember that compelling content can help you expand your reach if people are inspired to share your newsfeed posts to their Stories. When considering how to market your business on Instagram, focus on creating content worthy of a share rather than just a quick like.
How Instagram can help promote your Instagram content
If you need help with promoting your Instagram content even further, you should consider partnering with a PR agency. Pressfarm is one such agency that works with individuals and businesses of all sizes to create newsworthy and appealing content distributed through their channels and to journalists.
Once you sign up, the Pressfarm public relations team will gather information and create content that will help you gain media attention. By writing and distributing email pitches, press releases, and guest posts and creating eye-catching press kits, Pressfarm can help you capture attention and drive traffic to your Instagram page. Furthermore, their Account Executive will create a customized media list from their database of over a million contacts. This way, you can begin developing relationships with the best media professionals in your niche.
7) Use hashtags
Hashtags (keywords preceded by a #) are essential for finding your brand and content. Create your post as usual, and then add relevant industry hashtags at the end. Followers of those hashtags will be exposed to your brand.
Hashtags can even be used as a research tool. Go to Instagram’s search section and type in a common industry search term ( for us, that would be #b2bpr or something similar). Instagram will then display various content (both recent and trending) for you to sift through so that you can see what’s going on and get ideas for future posts. Instagram even lets you follow hashtags so that this information appears in your feed. By optimizing your content with the right hashtags, you can reach the target audience that you’re after.
8) Build your brand look
Once you’ve decided what kind of content to publish, you must determine how it will look. Color influences purchasing decisions and brand recognition.
Your Instagram aesthetic should be consistent across posts, allowing followers to quickly identify your content in their feeds.
9) Create Instagram stories
While your regular feed is an important place to engage your audience, the Instagram Stories feature is an additional powerful tool to consider.
What exactly is it? Instagram Stories allows you to share unique content that appears at the top of your audience’s feed for 24 hours before disappearing. This can be used to highlight a special sale, promotion, or time-limited offer. This is also an excellent place to post behind-the-scenes videos, tutorials, or introductions to team members.
You don’t want to overwhelm your audience’s feed with multiple stories per day. Even so, it’s a good idea to set up a calendar with regular Stories that will keep them engaged.
Another helpful feature is Instagram TV (IGTV). It is similar to stories, but it allows B2B companies to upload longer video content (up to one hour long) that does not expire after 24 hours. This feature is ideal for brands that want to showcase more in-depth tutorials or explainer videos outside their feed.
10) Engage with your audience
Don’t leave your audience hanging. If someone comments on something you’ve posted, you should respond and engage as soon as possible. If you cannot engage with your Instagram audience regularly, you should find someone who can. Otherwise, you’ll most likely lose your audience in the long run.
What if someone leaves a negative comment? While your first instinct may be to ignore it and hope it goes away, you must confront such complaints and criticism head-on. Failure to do so can bring your brand image into question, potentially even costing you the trust that you’ve taken ages to build with your audience. Be tactful, polite, and considerate. Potential customers will read both the comments and your responses. The way you respond can positively impact your business in the future. If someone raises a severe issue in your comment section, politely request that they send you a direct message on Instagram so that you can assist in resolving the issue. This creates a more one-on-one environment and removes negativity from your public feed.
11) Use social ads
Approximately 1 billion people currently use Instagram. Instagram’s ad platform and audience targeting tools provide access to that audience. Social ads have the potential to raise brand awareness, generate new leads, and encourage people to use your brand.
Instagram ad formats can be used in a variety of ways, including:
- Photo ads
- Stories ads
- Video ads
- Carousel ads
- Collection ads.
Depending on what you want to promote, each ad format has a variety of call-to-action options, such as Contact Us, Book Now, Download, and Learn More.
You can access the ad platform through Instagram or if you prefer, through Meta’s Business Suite.
12) Post on a regular schedule
In social media, consistency is everything. While a couple of months without posting may not seem like much, it could be enough time to lose your audience’s attention.
Make a schedule for your social media posting to stay on track. Writing down your schedule can help you visualize it and identify potential gaps. A schedule can also assist you in maintaining a good balance of content so that you don’t focus too heavily on one topic.
Your brand’s audience is likely to span multiple time zones. Examine your Instagram Insights to see which countries and cities people are from, and keep that in mind when you schedule Instagram posts.
13) Time your postings correctly
Posting times can vary depending on the audience. Take the time to experiment with posting days and times to help your posts get the best response.
Use your Insights to determine which days and times your audience is most engaged with your content. When scheduling your posts, keep in mind the time zones of your audience. If you have many followers in Europe, for example, it’s a good idea to schedule some posts at a time that is convenient enough for your target audience to see them.
14) Grow your follower base
Purchasing followers will not result in the engagement that you want on your posts. (In addition, Instagram’s recent API changes will delete those followers automatically!)
Here’s what your brand should focus on if you want to build a legit following:
- Make sure your username is memorable and searchable. People won’t follow you if they can’t find you. Complete your biography. Include who you are and what your purpose is.
- Begin posting once your profile has been optimized. Before you start engaging people, it’s a good idea to fill your feed with ten to fifteen high-quality posts. Users who visit your profile and find it empty are unlikely to follow you.
- Consider Instagram to be a community, and look for other businesses or influencers in your area who might be interested in your product or service. These people are likely to engage with you. Then, begin following accounts that pique your interest and are relevant to your business. As you follow accounts, Instagram will suggest similar ones for you to follow.
- Interact with the content of the accounts you’ve followed. Respond to your followers’ comments and engage with their content to show your appreciation. This is the most natural way to get people to notice your Instagram account without being spammy. Every time you follow a user or interact with their content, Instagram notifies them. This may entice them to check out your account and begin following you.
- Encourage followers and supporters to spread the word about your content. Invite brand ambassadors to share your account or collaborate with accounts similar to yours.
15) Design Instagram-specific landing pages
Instagram only provides brands with a single, valuable bio link that directs traffic from the platform to your website.
Don’t let this real estate go to waste. Add a link to your website or online store to maximize the chances of attracting traffic from Instagram.
Oh, and make sure your destination pages are optimized for Instagram’s primarily mobile user base. For example, don’t just put a generic homepage link in your Instagram bio. This limits your ability to evaluate your Instagram marketing strategy’s behavior, social traffic, and ROI.
This is why many brands promote Instagram-specific landing pages or, at a minimum, mobile-optimized landing pages. The advantage here is twofold: you can create a seamless shopping experience for visitors and track how well your Instagram followers convert.
16) Use influencer marketing
Instagram influencer marketing is gaining popularity for a reason. It is a more authentic form of paid promotion.
Working with influencers allows brands to humanize their brand while introducing themselves to entirely new audiences. Brands collaborate with influencers of all shapes and sizes to engage with customers.
Brands frequently work with relevant influencers to create content that promotes their products and services. This enables them to build authenticity by tapping into the influencer’s engaged audience.
Influencer marketing works in the same way as a friend who recommends a vacation spot to you. You value their advice because you believe in them. Influencers’ recommendations are also trusted by those who follow them. When you collaborate with an influencer on a marketing campaign, you gain access to a warm and welcoming audience, leading to better business results than other marketing tactics such as banner ads.
As you experiment with your Instagram PR & marketing strategy, you’ll notice some trends that other brands have used successfully. Once you start posting content, you’ll also be able to identify the type of content that can help you achieve your goals. Building a loyal, engaged following on any channel is never easy, but with the right approach and enough experimenting, you’ll find an excellent fit for your brand.