Instagram is more than a fun photo-sharing social network. If you know how to use it, it can actually be a windfall when it comes to marketing your spa. Instagram can help you promote your products and services, get more leads, and convert followers into paying customers.
Today, marketing across many channels has a direct link to return on investment (ROI), so it literally pays to convey a consistent message across all platforms. After all, the customer’s path to purchase occurs on various digital devices and channels, with social media influences often guiding the journey. In fact, a recent Social Annex study showed that 90 percent of all purchases were affected by social media influence, while a Nielsen study revealed that 90 percent of consumers trust the recommendations of people they know. Clearly, these digital channels are the primary providers and promoters of customer communication, and Instagram is currently leading the pack.
In less than five years since its debut in October 2010, Instagram has quickly grown from an iPhone iOS operating system-only app to a massive social network with Android and web presence. It doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, and with Facebook’s funding behind it now, its growth will likely continue. Instagram reports it has 300 million users, a total of 30 billion photos shared, and an average of 70 million photos shared per day. The app’s rapid growth rate proves that people are increasingly drawn to mobile, image-based content. And similar to photo-centric Pinterest, Instagram is popular among women—68 percent of its users are female, according to AppData. As always, where consumers go, so should marketers.
Instagram is a great place to tell your story, reinforce your brand, and build impressions. However, it works a little differently than other social media platforms, and it pays to become an expert. Here are a few tips to optimize your account and create engaging content:
Add a link to your Instagram profile.
This is the only place on Instagram where you can put a URL that’s clickable and will show up after your bio description. The most important thing is to link to your website or a special landing page so you can track and measure its effectiveness. You can change this URL as often as you like, so if you are running a contest and want people to opt in or register, temporarily make this page the link on your profile.
Create a custom location.
The location is another clickable place available in a post. Make sure to “name your location” at your spa when you post, and encourage clients to do the same. That way, when you click on the location, a gallery view of the other images posted in your location will appear.
Make it Instagram.
People love Instagram because of its small-format gallery of beautiful, interesting, and high-quality images. No one is going to this social sharing platform to see advertisements and stock photos. So it’s important to post images here that express your brand with interest and authenticity.
Put your offerings in context so your audience connects with them. An image of a beautiful bracelet on the counter of your retail store doesn’t convey the same feeling as someone wearing that same bracelet with a stylish outfit at a party.
Spas and other wellness businesses that don’t have tangible products to sell can still use Instagram to showcase their services. Take photos and videos of key employees, customer interactions, and before-and-after photos of a service you offer.
Hashtags, which are a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the hash or number character, are the doorways through which people will discover your brand. Without them, your images won’t be seen by anyone besides your engaged followers. One click on a hashtag brings a user to an entire page of other images with the same hashtag. It’s the way people will find you and your content. There is no better way to earn more impressions and gain followers than by using hashtags.
First, you must create a strategy. Choose hashtags that others would look for who share the same interests in your local community. Think about what the keywords would be for your business, the words people would use to find you. And if you don’t know, create a focus group of five to 10 of your best clients and ask them, “When you think of me and my business, what words come to mind?”
Next, create a list of niche-specific hashtags, otherwise your image may be lost in a stream of photos, and less relevant eyes will see it. For example, if you are a spa located in San Francisco, you might use the niche hashtag #sfspa instead of the more general #spa. That way, more relevant people will find you, and you’ll have a longer shelf life. Search hashtags you are thinking about using to see how relevant they are and who else is using them. Finally, keep a list of your hashtags organized in your notes section on your smartphone so you can copy and paste them easily into the app.
Write clear calls to action.
Use the post caption (the first comment immediately underneath each Instagram post) to convey a clear and descriptive message to your audience to drive traffic and results. If you want them to visit your website, ask them directly to “Click on the link in the bio” or include another message requesting what you want them to do. This valuable real estate should not be left blank, and it will remain clear and visible beneath the image no matter how many subsequent comments are posted. You can also engage your audience with incentives in your post’s call to action. For example, Nordstrom ran a “Like to Lower the Price” campaign. For every 10,000 likes, they’d lower the price of the featured item by 10 percent, up to 30 percent.
Respond to all comments.
Don’t leave a comment on your post unanswered. Let respondents know you appreciate their feedback, whether they are a potential customer or not.
Track and measure.
The third-party app Iconosquare is an excellent tool that allows you to track and measure key metrics. It even offers a free version.
Adopt a “Give Before You Get” mentality.
As remains true on all other social platforms, it’s important to connect and care about others’ posts before you can expect them to care about yours. Make a list of current and dream clients, and follow them. Comment and like their posts, and they will receive a notification that you have engaged with them. It’s an excellent way of getting attention and drawing them in authentically.
An Instagram plan will help you stand out from the competition, especially because many spas are still getting the hang of how to use it. Create content that’s a little different from your other social media sites to best engage your followers. Interact with your audience, and then market your business to these people to get more traffic, conversions, and sales using Instagram. Instagram is a fun and beautiful app that is also a really powerful marketing tool. You just need to know how to use it.