Why Instagram isn’t just a promotional tool

If I were to ask you, why is your business on Instagram? What would your answer be?  Chances are, your answer will be something along the lines of “To promote my business, obviously”.

But, with the Instagram algorithm changes, your content reaches fewer people organically than it used to. So, in other words, it’s not ideal for marketing your business. But, what if you tried to shift your mindset? What if you thought of Instagram as a branding tool, rather than a sales one?

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Instagram as a branding tool: Why you should stop thinking of Instagram as a promotional tool

It can be tempting to use Instagram to push your products and services – after all, it’s a free way to promote your business, right? Well, technically, yes. But it’s not that simple…

What do I mean by using Instagram as a branding tool?

Your overall brand is made up of many many different touch points. For example, your website is probably a major one. If you have a physical location business, then your shop or your office will be a touch point too.

Research has traditionally found that it takes around 7 touch points to convert someone into a paying customer or client – but there has been talk that it could be as many as 20 touch points in today’s age of social media.

But, get this – Instagram is a touchpoint too. It’s part of someone’s overall experience with your brand. It might be the first touchpoint they see, or the last one before they convert, or somewhere in between.

Someone who has already interacted with your brand a lot before they convert is going to react very differently when you share a promotional post, than someone who is only just coming into contact with your brand for the first time.

But yet, I see so many people only posting promotional content on Instagram, or assuming that everyone has already read their previous posts and knows who they are and what they do.

Depending on your audience, you might find that it’s not uncommon for people to look up your Instagram before they even look up your website. I get this all the time at events – it’s easier for someone to follow me on Instagram than it is to check out my website straight away.

So, if Instagram is a branding tool, what does this mean for you?

It means you need to maintain a brand-aligned Instagram presence, even if it’s not directly leading to sales for you. Just because your sales aren’t directly coming from Instagram, doesn’t mean that it’s not playing a part in your overall customer journey.

It means making sure your Instagram profile is easy to find if someone searches for you (or for what you offer).

It means making sure that every little thing is consistent with your brand – from your Instagram profile picture, to your captions, to your Stories Highlight covers, to the way you comment on other people’s posts.

It means posting Instagram content that’s appropriate for people who are having their first interaction with your brand, as well as those who have been following you for a while. (If that has you confused, here are 7 Instagram post ideas). 

Ideally, your content will be all brand-aligned, so that someone looks at it and instantly knows it belongs to your brand. This means that everything you post is consistent with your website and whatever other touch points you have – so that when someone clicks a link of yours off Instagram, they don’t suddenly feel like they’ve taken a wrong turn and got lost. 

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Instagram as a promotional tool

April 2, 2019



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