Surprise surprise! Instagram has been around for the past 11 years. And while the app is still meant for images, the developers have included new features that make it a suitable platform for e-commerce business owners too.
The addition of its new features is no surprise to many who use the app regularly. Instagram continuously adds new features like Story posts, Instagram Reels, and even longer IGTV videos.
But along with these changes, Instagram also has changed its algorithm to determine what succeeds on the app. The company doesn't fully disclose factors that affect how its algorithm assesses content. But they have revealed what the algorithm usually looks for.
One thing to know though is that Instagram doesn't have just one algorithm. As a matter of fact, Instagram has admitted to having "a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose."
Some of the factors that affect how your post shows up on the feed include information about the post, information about the poster, your activity, and your interaction history.
Knowing this, it's important to create content that your community will likely engage with so you can be prioritized in their feeds.
How to Plan an Instagram Marketing Strategy for the Holidays
One thing you have to remember is that your prospects do not stop using social media during the months of November and December. As a matter of fact, many shoppers choose to go on Instagram and Facebook to look for ideas on which gifts to give their loved ones.
And now that people are starting to make plans to gather for the holidays, it's important that you work on your marketing strategy for the holidays. A survey discovered that 85% and 92% of people plan to "normally" celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, respectively.
As a business owner, it's important that you plan your visuals and captions ahead of time. Instagram suggests using a Content Calendar much like this:
Here are some tips on how you can get your Instagram marketing strategy ready for the holidays:
1. Make Sure Your Website is Ready for the Surge
According to statistics, the average cart abandonment rate is around 69%. That's a pretty high number for an e-commerce site to take for granted. This number is affected by things like slow page loading speeds, poor customer support, and a cumbersome checkout process.
With the holidays coming up, it's important that you get your site up to speed. You cannot let your website take more than three seconds to load. Otherwise, your site visitors will likely leave.
One way you can combat shopping cart abandonment is by using a countdown timer. The tool helps give an incentive to new and repeat customers to complete checkout by creating urgency for the items on their shopping cart.
A slow-loading site will mean you lose valuable prospects. And in addition to that, your site will not rank well on Google. Website speed is being measured in order to rank on a search results page.
Apart from a fast-loading site, it's also important that you have a responsive page. Your website should easily open on a mobile browser so you can attract your customers who are using their mobile phones to look for you.
Lastly, you should take the time to optimize your site to get the best results. If you forget to update your site, it will have outdated content and even mislead your shoppers. So don't forget to update your site every now and then.
2. Review Your Buyer Persona
As a marketer, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Get to know your target market's pain points so you can thoroughly understand your customers. There are plenty of customer acquisition strategies that you can use to identify who your customer is.
One way to attract customers is to use their emotions. This is because people don't always act based on their intellect. They sometimes let their emotions drive them consciously and unconsciously.
Knowing this, you can use customer psychology as your holiday marketing strategy. Instead of telling them about the pros of buying your product, show them how they will feel when they buy from you.
A good example is Toms' social impact strategy:
Their message is clear: when you buy from them, a third of their profit will go to its grassroots efforts. When you evoke an emotional connection with your customers (like what Toms did), they will be pushed to take your desired action.
3. Update Your Marketing Funnel
The holiday season is an important time for you to make sales. This is why your holiday marketing strategy should not be a time for you to build brand awareness. See to it that you update your marketing funnel to earn the most sales during this season.
The best way to do this is to build your audience list in the months leading up to the holiday season. You can also make a temporary adjustment to your ad budget during this time.
It's also a good practice to highlight your reviews. This is because people actually read reviews and make decisions using these recommendations.
By making a few adjustments to your marketing funnel and your goals, you can change your focus to what really matters during the holiday season.
4. Improve Your Product Packaging
In today's very visual society, it's important that you pay attention to how well you package your products. This should be part of your marketing strategy for the holidays: custom packaging to commemorate the season.
According to Packlane, 72% of consumers say that a product's packaging is one of the critical factors that influence their buying decision. This takes the place of a traditional store aisle, especially since users have now turned to shop online.
Facebook also agrees with this and shares that 70% of people window shop on Instagram. By having an Insta-worthy packaging, your followers may just stop scrolling and learn more about what you are offering.
One way you can make your custom packaging part of your holiday marketing strategy is to make the unboxing experience special. Instead of using a plain brown box, include a few extras. Or you can support a good cause by offering sustainable packaging.
Some ideas include using custom tape or using custom tissue paper. You can also incorporate a QR code into a card with a personal thank you message from you, the owner of the company.
5. Choose Your Hashtags Wisely
When it comes to working on your Instagram marketing strategy, it's important to use hashtags with your posts. This is because this is still the best way to reach more people on Instagram.
In fact, a study revealed that an Instagram post with at least one hashtag gets 12.6% more engagement than a post without any hashtags.
Instagram has a limit of 30 hashtags. But it's important that you have a good hashtag strategy so you don't end up spamming people. At the same time, you get to reach people who are relevant to your business.
Fortunately, there are tools that you can use to discover new hashtags. By using these tools, you can save time and effort in finding the right hashtags to use for your marketing strategy for the holidays.
6. Use Instagram's Latest Features in Your Marketing Strategy
Instagram continues to expand its app with new features. This year, it launched Shoppable Posts and Instagram Reels. Unfortunately, the two features are not yet widely available across all countries.
As a business owner, you can use these two features to your advantage. The first feature that you can use is Instagram Reels, a TikTok-like feature with an algorithm that generates content "on what might entertain you."
You can use Instagram Reels to post short 60-second clips and share this with your followers. The video will be displayed on a user's "Explore" feed as the topmost video content. It is also a larger-sized video than the rest of the content on that page.
By using Instagram Reels, you get to target new people to discover your brand and your content.
Shoppable Posts, on the other hand, lets you tag a product from your Instagram Shop catalog directly on your feed posts, IGTV videos, Instagram Stories, Reels, Guides, and Live broadcasts. This way, you can easily turn followers into paying customers.
The Product Tag lets your followers discover more information about the product and even make a purchase directly on Instagram Checkout.
As of this writing, this feature is only available to Business accounts in 46 approved countries. Meanwhile, the Instagram Checkout feature is only available to eligible businesses and shoppers based in the US.
7. Incorporate in Influencer and UGC Marketing Campaigns
Another way you can make the most out of your Instagram marketing strategy for the holidays is by using influencers and user-generated content (UGC) marketing campaigns.
The main reason why so many brands are now tapping into the help of influencers and using UGC marketing campaigns is that they truly work. Get in touch with social media influencers who recommend your product so you can build trust among your customers.
When a potential customer sees an influencer he trusts recommending your product, they will be inclined to purchase from you too.
So how do you look for influencers? Nowadays, there are a number of digital marketing tools you can use to look for influencers. These tools don't only help you find the right influencer, they also provide link-building tools that can be used for influencer outreach.
Once you have gotten in touch with potential influencers to help with your Instagram marketing strategy, you need to be specific with expectations. Talk to your influencer so you both have a clear understanding of how he should promote you.
Lastly, it's important that you focus on engagement, not on the number of followers he has. This way, you can be sure that the influencer truly engages with his followers and has built rapport with them.
The holidays are, without a doubt, one of the busiest and most exciting times for business owners. By having an Instagram marketing strategy in place, you'll be able to offer your best products and services to customers who are looking for them.
Make sure to sign up for an account with Powr.io to try out the apps they have to help with your marketing strategy for the holidays.
Kevin Payne is a content marketing consultant that helps software companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase their inbound leads.