Hello, friends! I hope you are having a wonderful week. I’ve been getting a tons of questions over on my Instagram about engagement and building a following, and I’m so grateful to even be getting those questions at all. I never, ever, in a million bazillion years thought I’d be able to grow at this rate. And I never thought that you all would be able to notice as well! I’ve been able to land some pretty cool opportunities just because of my engagement rate, and I’ve had luck cultivating a meaningful following that’s engaged and interested in my content. So… how’d I do it?
I figured that, instead of building one long post that would detail everything, I’d break it up into tiny segments to be a lil’ easier to digest. Plus, #content, right? Also, I’m thinking about spending time building an e-course this summer all about it, but that’s just on the back-burner for now. But, stay tuned. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
Today’s post is all about understanding Instagram and Facebook paid promotions and target marketing. I would highly, highly suggest this because it’s extremely effective, first of all. Next, it’s surprisingly affordable. As a new blogger and a college student, I don’t have the freedom to dish out tons of money for professional marketing and advertisements. Plus, I’d argue that you don’t even need to in order to build a following. I’ve found that Instagram promotions and target marketing within the platform are extremely effective ways to get your posts in front of the right viewers, and with very little effort.
What is target marketing?
Alright, alright, let’s slow down. What even is target marketing? And where did I learn about it? And why is it relevant to you for your brand and social media accounts?
Well, my friend, I’m glad you asked. Target marketing is what some people describe as the “secret to marketing success.” In essence, it’s the act of making sure your content is seen by the exact people you think it would interest. The Balance SM defines target marketing as “breaking a market into segments and then concentrating your marketing efforts on one or a few key segments consisting of the customers whose wants and desires most closely match your product or service offerings.”
Target marketing requires you to break your audience down by age, interests, hobbies, search engine habits, social media habits, etc. in order to build a profile of your ideal buyer (or, your buyer persona).
For example: let’s say I own a cake company. While I make many different cakes, I really specialize in wedding and engagement cakes. So, who would my target audience be?
It would probably be an audience from 23-35, right? (You can do research on this to be more exact, but let’s just say this is the standard deviation of people who are gettin’ hitched) Their interests would probably be “wedding dresses,” “wedding venues,” “DIY wedding ideas,” and other keywords related to weddings. Maybe we want to add in a location, since this is a cake business after all. Other keyword ideas could be: Vera Wang, wedding invitations, bouquets, etc. Think outside of the box.
What is Segmentation?
You can do a ton of additional research on related keywords and search engine results in order to find more tailored results, which I’d highly recommend. But, putting together your “target audience” and the different keywords, age ranges, geographical characteristics and interests will be beneficial to you when it comes to segmenting your market. So, you should do this anyway, even if you’re not planning on paying for promotions. This exercise will allow you to narrow down your audience and plan effective content around them. Cool, right?
Types of Segmentation
There are several different types of segmentation you can use to break down your audience. Some of these include demographic segmentation, such as gender, age, income, marital status, education, race and religion, or geographic segmentation such as neighborhood, postal/zip code, area code, city, state, region, country.
However, the type of segmentation that I’d like to focus on is called “psychographic segmentation.” This type of segmentation takes several different factors into account, like socio-economic status, personality and lifestyle preferences. These different segments have different values and beliefs, interests and hobbies.
However, this is the group that will allow you to best sell your product, brand or service to customers because you’re choosing an audience that would most likely be interested in whatever you’re offering. Almost every huge brand uses this method to advertise to you, from Netflix to Facebook to Starbucks.
Researching Your Target Audience
In order to research your target audience, there are a handful of tools available online that may be of interest to you. While there are some paid-for tools you can use (of which I haven’t tried, in full disclosure), there are many free tools around the realms of the interwebs that can help you out.
Hubspot Persona Tool
In order to build a buyer persona, Hubspot can help you here. You can pick their demographic traits, degree levels, what type of industries they work in and the size of their organization (this is probably more helpful to big businesses/brands rather than individuals on Instagram, but still relevant!). You can pick their job title, characteristics of their job, job responsibilities, etc. Next up, you can choose which tools they use for their job, as well as how they communicate with others (via phone, email, text messaging, social media, face-to-face). Lastly, you may detail their consumption habits and social media networks they belong to. Remember, they don’t have to be accurate facts; you’re just imagining up your ideal buyer in your head, then basing your information off of that imaginary person.
Claritas Demographic Tool
Claritas offers a demographic tool where you can type in a specific zip code and find out more information about an areas well… demographics. You can learn about household income, composition, population by age, and population by race and ethnicity. This may not be as helpful if you’re an online brand, but can be especially helpful if you have a storefront.
US Census FactFinder
Did you know that all of the information that you put onto your census is a GREAT way to figure out segmentation opportunities? Just type in your area here, and you can learn so many different things about the specific area. You can see business and industries in the area, facts about education and the government, housing and income facts, languages and poverty. It’s extremely useful for, again, storefront locations and possibly may not be as helpful to online marketing, but hey, it never hurts to know, right?
Your Own Analytics
And, of course, you should be using your own analytics to map this stuff out! Use your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blog insights to figure out exactly who is viewing your stuff; what is your audience interested in? Where are they? Who do they also follow that would be your competitor? These are all different things you can consider when looking at and analyzing your own audience insights.
The Monetary Benefit of Segmentation and Target Marketing
Aside from driving more traffic to your social media accounts or website, segmentation and target marketing allow you to strategically spend your money where it counts most. For example, $100 being spent on intentional, segmented marketing is going to go a lot further than $100 being spent on showing your advertisements to random users. Although this can generate some leads, it’s not the most effective route. Target your marketing to ensure you’re getting the most from your money as possible!
Building Content from Segmentation
Finding out who your audience is and their interests can also help you have a better grip on the type of content they’d be interested in seeing. While you don’t just want to push out content that is relevant to your following, you also want to make sure you’re engaging the audience that already makes the commitment to follow you and engage with you. So, use these segmentation strategies to comb through possible content ideas that could amp up your engagement and satisfy this consumer base.
How to Set up a Promotion on Facebook or Instagram
Alright, so now that we’ve got the vocab out of the way, let’s focus on building a successful social media campaign promotion.
I recently ran one for my giveaway with Marily-Rose, a local artist in the Phoenix area. We were giving away some different art pieces. If you’d like a whole other post on running a successful giveaway, let me know! I’d love to talk about that as well.
Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company, and their target marketing tools are very much the same. So, let’s head on over to Instagram to set up a targeted campaign.
Convert your Instagram Personal Account to a Business Account
Girl, if you haven’t converted your Instagram to a business account yet, wyd??? Just kidding. But really. What are you doing? Lol. This is a great way to be able to see your insights — how many people you’re reaching on the daily, where your audience is from, how old they are, which posts perform the best, etc. Plus, it’s easy-peasy and takes two seconds! Switch right NOW.
In order to convert your personal page to a business profile, you have to connect it to a Facebook page. Then, select your category, review your contact information and then voila! Your changes are complete, and now (well, technically, in a few days), you’ll be able to see way more information about your account and have accurate insights on its performance.
Select the post you want to promote
Alright, so now we want to go in and select which post we’d like to promote. I would suggest making it a content rich post! Make sure there’s a lengthy caption, a great, high-quality photo and a supplemental call to action to ask your audience to do something after engaging with your post. Your call to action could be tagging a few friends to be entered into a giveaway or answering a question at the end of your post, for example. Make sure your caption is free of grammar errors and ready to go before promoting, because you can’t change it afterwards!
And, as I mentioned before, I’d highly recommend making this a photo of a person, whether it’s you or someone else. These are usually the posts with the highest engagements on Instagram. Ensure it’s a post that you would like if it came up on your own feed, because that’s the key, right? Once you’ve committed to a post and a caption, it’s time to publish and promote.
Click the blue “promote” button under the post
The first thing Instagram will ask you is where you want to send people. Now, this is basically another “call to action.” Whenever someone will see your post, a colored banner will pop up beneath it telling them to visit your profile, visit your website, see your storefront or direct message you. This direct button is really effective since people can now scroll past and this call to action will catch their attention.
It’s really up to you where you’d like to send people, but be sure it aligns with your business and what you actually want from the interaction. Is your goal to gain more Instagram followers? Then have them go to your profile. Is your goal to get more eyes on your blog? Then send them to your website. Purchasing an item or offering a service may be best with directions or direct messages. So, just think through what’s best for your company and your marketing goals and choose the one most relative.
The different banners will say: “View Instagram Profile” for getting users to come to your profile, “Learn More” or “Shop Now” for website visiting, “Call Now” or “Get Directions” for visiting storefront and “Send Message” for direct messaging.
Select your target audience
Alright, here’s what this whole post was about! Now, we’re going to select our target audience. Now, Instagram does have an “automatic” option, but I wouldn’t recommend this. This forces Instagram to target people who are like your followers, which is great, but are you following the type of audience you’d like to attract? If you’re not into the research for this bit and you are following people you think would interact successfully with the advertisement, then by all means, give “automatic” a go.
I’d recommend creating your own. You can start by giving your audience a name. For example, for the art giveaway, I may give the title “art giveaway” or “Marily giveaway” just so that I can organize it a bit better. This is where all of your handy dandy research I know you have done will come into play; choose the best audience age for your brand, the best locations and different interests.
Since you have the freedom to type in interests, this is where you’ll need to be creative. Think of people who you want to target — what might they put in their biographies or captions? These are all different forms of writing that the AI is scanning and taking into account. So, are these college students? Are they health nuts? Fashion bloggers? New moms? What are some things these different audiences would write about in their captions or bios? You may also just want to have a little look around on Instagram or Google Trends to see what’s being searched up, then add those in there. This is a really strategic task, but TRUST ME. It will benefit you in the long run!
For example, for Marily-Rose’s giveaway and mine, I chose the keywords: “women’s empowerment, visual arts, creativity, arts and music, entrepreneurship, lifestyle, fashion bloggers, feminism and female entrepreneur” because these are all different things I felt would embody our ideal audience.
Select Your Budget
Instagram advertising is surprisingly very affordable. For 6 days, I spent $30 over the course of that time. I chose the $5 daily option for 6 days. This allows me to reach anywhere from 1,800 to 4,600 people, which is just enough for me at this time. However, I would love to invest more in the future for higher reach!
You can choose the exact budget that’s right for you. The max is 30 days for $1,000 daily, which would allow you to reach a whopping 160,000 to 320,000 people. For even $50 per day for 30 days, you could reach anywhere from 44,000 to 120,000 people. And for $1 per day for just 3 days, you could reach anywhere from 240 to 630 people. That’s LESS than a cup of coffee. Why wouldn’t you invest in that?
My Experience with Promoted Posts
Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty for a minute. Every post that I’ve chosen to promote, I’ve gotten HUGE amounts of engagement from. I’m writing this on May 6th, just 3 days after I posted the giveaway announcement. That post already has 800 likes. 800 LIKES. That’s insane to me! The other promoted post I did had 1,133 likes towards the end. Absolute insanity.
I do get what seems like a low number of actual “promotion clicks,” but hey, I’ll take it. As of right now, just three days after I’ve posted that photo for the giveaway, I’ve gotten 366 profile visits. About 3% were from the promotion. I was able to reach 3,340 people so far, 75% of which weren’t following me. Around 67% of people reached came from the promotion. Soooo, that’s neat. I’ve gained 10 followers in these 3 days, and I’m only halfway done with everything. So, there are some realistic metrics for you.
How I Learned This
I’m certified in Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing program, which I had to do for a Digital Audiences class for my master’s degree. This was actually really interesting and helpful for me when it came down to narrowing my audience for my blog. If you’re interested in taking the certification and learning about it through Hubspot Academy (along with several other marketing mastery tools), I’ve linked it up right here. I’d highly recommend it!
Inbound marketing is “about creating valuable experiences that have a positive impact on people and your business.” In addition to talking about target marketing and segmentation, inbound marketing also details the buyer’s journey, generating and nurturing leads and creating a user experience that will benefit your company in the long run. It’s extremely useful to having a better understanding of marketing and strategic communication, so of course, I’d recommend it.
Have you taken any other Hubspot courses? There are a handful of free ones I’d like to try, including “Business Blogging Strategy: Attracting and Monetizing an Audience through Content,” “Measuring Brand Engagement & Emotional Connection,” “Developing an End-to-end Instagram Marketing Strategy for your Business,” and their Content Marketing Certification Course. To be honest, it’s a goal of mine to complete all of these. I definitely have plans this summer to complete as many of these as I can!
Plus, if you’re looking to have social media as a job, this looks great on a resume. Heck, any job, really. Every job needs marketing, right?
What to Expect
You won’t get an explosive amount of growth, followers, and maybe not even likes; however, this is an incredible opportunity for you to reach readers who might like your content. Isn’t that the whole point anyway? Putting yourself out there and getting in front of the right readers is more than half of the battle.
I’d love to hear if you give Instagram promotions and target marketing through segmentation a try! Let me know how you determine your audience segments for it.
Hello, hello friends! I know that it has been insanely chaotic lately and my heart is with all of you, wherever in the world you are. Please stay healthy and practice responsible measures to prevent spreading or contracting illnesses during this time! I encourage you all to stay informed and, again, be responsible not only to keep yourself safe but to keep others safe and healthy as well. For more information, please read more here: Coronavirus Disease 2019 by the CDC. Alright. Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, let’s talk about why you need a media kit (lol).
Hello, hello, friends! This week has been… something else. Today will actually be my very last day of in-person classes for law school; we’ll be switching to online, distance learning then-after. So weird! Earlier this week, I was supposed to be in Arizona this weekend for my step-brother’s graduation, but here I am, flights canceled and out of school for the rest of the semester. Well. On-campus, anyway. But, I just want to remind you guys that it will not be like this forever. Even amidst all of these changes, I want to encourage you guys to stay optimistic during this time. Perhaps, maybe, maintaining parts of our routines that we can is a good idea. So… here’s a blog post on Insights and Analytics, which I wrote two weeks ago when all of this wasn’t happening. Let me know what you guys think! I’d love to continue discussions about things we love during this weird time.
Hello, hello, friends! I am so excited about discussing this week’s topic with you all… not just because I love Instagram Stories, but because this is the first week where a blog will be supplemented with a PODCAST. That’s right — a podcast. I know you’re screaming right now in excitement [right?] and you’re oh-so-excited to listen; the link is at veeeerry end of this blog post, so if you want it, you’re going to have to read this! Or… scroll to the bottom of the page without reading a single thing at all. Just don’t tell me if you do that, okay? Today, we’re talking all about Instagram Stories, friends. Not just what they are [c’mon, we all know what they are], but how they’ve quickly evolved to be one of the very most important social media tools we can implement into our routines. In some ways, social media marketers are regarding Stories as its own social media platform because of the vast opportunity they afford us to engage uniquely with our audiences. In this blog post, we’re going to be covering why. But First… Before we get into the good stuff, I just wanted to reiterate to you guys this is my very first week with a theme or main topic/subject across all of my different content that’s going up. This week’s theme, for example, is Instagram Stories! I would love to know which type of content you’d like to see next from me; it could be anything from “Freelance Social Media Management” to “Graphic Design” to “Forming an Effective Pitch to Brands.” [Hint hint: those are all topics I have scheduled] If there are any other topics you’d love for me to talk about, comment on this post and let me know or message me on any of my social media platforms. I’d love to hear from you! Okay. Let’s get into it! Engagement, Engagement, Engagement Perhaps most importantly, Stories allow for amazing direct engagement with your audience that is truly unparalleled to any other social media networking site out there. The platform smartly utilizes integrated engagement tools, such as Poll Stickers, Quizzes, Question Stickers, and Swipe-up links to allow users to directly connect with their favorite creators. [Not familiar with Engagement Stickers? I’ve got you covered! Read this article about them.] Instagram actually rewards those who regularly and strategically engage with their audiences by algorithmically favoring those accounts. It’s truly a win-win-win; if you’re not using Instagram Stories to engage with your audience, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity to build a genuine community, foster close relationships, and engage in thoughtful conversations with your audience. I’ll talk all about how to garner more genuine engagement with your viewers over on my podcast, so be sure to check that out. Challenge: I challenge you all to ask a question on Stories using the “Question Sticker” this week — your goal is to get at least ten responses, no matter how “big” your audience is [I use this arbitrarily; a “sizable” audience is subjective]. This challenge will require you to ask a question that really invites, or even demands, a response from your viewers. Maintaining Visibility Instagram Stories are incredible ways to maintain visibility throughout the day; they are, after all, designed to show viewers what your “day to day” experiences look like. Stories are an amazing way to provide content [even if it’s just surface-level; i.e. showing people what you ate for breakfast, where you’re at this evening, or maybe even just a quick selfie] to your audience throughout the day that doesn’t have to be so thought-out, organized, or structured. It can be quick and with little to no effort or thought, if you so choose. This is a great way to remain at the top of your followers’ Stories throughout the day. Parasocial Interaction In a way, Stories are a way to truly showcase who you are rather than how you present yourself on social media, if that makes sense. On my Stories, I find that it’s a lot easier for me to be candid, and showcase a goofy side of me that doesn’t often come through on edited copy and structured posts. Have you ever heard of “parasocial interaction?” We actually talked about this phenomenon occasionally in j-school, but mostly in the context of news anchor/audience viewer interaction. Parasocial interaction, or PSI, is defined as “an imaginary relationship, an imaginary friendship, an illusion of face-to-face relationship and an interpersonal interaction between media user and the consumed media.” [Inquiries Journal] Parasocial interaction is, essentially, the feeling an audience member has for someone like a news anchor, or a YouTube vlogger, or a content creator; this is the feeling that they actually are “friends,” with this person, or that they truly know the person. Talking on video during a Story or even just simply contributing frequently and genuinely with Stories is a great way to establish a strong parasocial interaction with your audience. Stories are, arguably, one of the best ways to do just that. Because the platform allows such candid material, viewers often get the sense that they truly are “in the know” about their favorite creators’ lives. [Continue reading about parasocial interaction by viewing this study or by reading this article by Stephen Elliott] How Should I Design My Instagram Stories? Funny you asked that, my friend. This week, I released an IGTV that goes into detail about creating beautiful stories using apps like Canva. You can watch that here. How Should I Strategically Use Instagram Stories? Ah, another amazing question that I am so glad you asked! I’ve released a podcast this week all about How to Strategically Use IG Stories to Leverage Engagement. You can listen to that here. Don’t forget to leave me suggestions for future topics to cover. I’d love to hear what y’all have to say! And let me know if you implement any of these tactics into your social strategy, too. Survey Questions Okay, okay, don’t […]