Using insights from our app, Latent’s start-up experience, and a fresh Generation Z perspective, this blog article presents the best Instagram marketing strategy tailored to start-ups.

Social media opens doors for companies to directly connect with current and potential consumers. Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter allows companies to build a following and then market content to them directly. Other apps, like TikTok, open doors even wider, where accounts with not even a single follower are able to share their content and connect to an audience of millions.

These channels on social media revolutionized the previous marketing strategy by allowing companies to bypass traditional gatekeepers.

However, while the social media game may sound pretty straightforward and simple, it has developed into a platform filled with marketing campaigns. Bombarded with ads, sponsored posts and other marketing campaigns, users have become attuned to avoiding marketing content and desensitized. Furthermore, with app updates regarding new features like Instagram Live or Story Highlights, there may be a steep learning curve for your start-up if you are not familiarised with the app or do not have someone in charge of digital marketing.

How Start-Ups should use Social Media

In order to develop strong customer relationship management, I believe that start-up businesses should focus on the following.

1) Firstly, having a strong brand identity: Potential clients need to be able to have a sense of what your start-up is about, what it does, how it does it and your ability to deliver immediately. Your brand identity is essential in your marketing efforts. First impressions do count and can determine whether clients/consumers respond to your marketing efforts.

2) Secondly, maintaining strong customer relationship management: Communication between your business and clients/customers is essential. Your responsiveness to customer service issues will determine the conversion your Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). Strong CRM is necessary for the highest return on investment of marketing resources.

As a millennial, the social media game is pretty self-explanatory to me, however, I recognize this is not the case for everyone, I break it down for you in this post. Here is my summarised research report on how start-ups should manage their social media, with reference to the newest giant in the industry, Instagram.

Social Media Management of Instagram

1.1 Content

Have a mixture of different types of posts tailored to your target audience:

For example, if your product is a SaaS. Posting information about your products, news articles and blogs and insights on your industry is highly relevant and insightful to your target audience.

Make your feed aesthetic:

Instagram is after all a photo posting platform.

The best feeds have a good variety of subjects that are evenly spaced out. The goal is to create balance and depth of field with our Instagram feed as a whole, just like you would in a photo. (View @latentapp’s instagram feed above for an example of two different ways to manage your feed.)

If you post a busy photo, you’ll want to balance it out with a lighter photo or a photo with a lot of white space around it. Avoid posting the same shots close together.

Edit and streamline your posts:

All blog article updates should have a similar format. This helps establish your brand identity and voice.

1.2 Captions

Optimise your captions:

Instagram captions have a limit of 2,200 characters. Take advantage of this space to share information about your company or product.

Your followers want to hear more about the behind-the-scenes and personalities of your business. Your captions are the perfect opportunity to do this and build a strong brand identity!

One of the factors that affect how your Instagram post performs in the algorithm is “time spent on post.”. An easy way to increase the time people spend looking at your post is by writing an engaging (and long) caption.

Optimise the hashtags used in your captions:

Some believe that the use of captions clutter your caption. However, it is well known that captions will increase the clickability, thus likeability and most importantly, reach of your post. Use highly relevant and niche hashtags for your posts

Create saved hashtags to save time when posting similar style/content (ie. regarding SaaS stat-ups, such as Latent, all posts could have hashtags: #machinelearning, #AI, #latent, #startup to name a few)

1.3 Stories

Versatility of Instagram Stories:

Have a variety of Instagram stories to keep your consumers and target audience interested:

Post regular updates on content production or articles

The AMA (Ask Me Anything) trend on Instagram Stories is a fun opportunity for your followers to get to know your brand better, or get more information about your products.

Engage your followers via poll or vote stickers. Maintain CRM with your followers via interactive tools that allow you to get direct information or feedback from them.

Repost relevant user-generated content to share and build your community on social media!

Optimise every instagram story:

Use a mention sticker when reposting: Collaborate with Like-Minded Brands and Influencers. Helps in building our community. That account may, in turn, repost and thank you for the mention, or even share it with their followers

Use location sticker: Instagram Stories are searchable by location, meaning that anyone who searches for that location in Instagram will be able to see our Instagram Stories.

Use hashtags

Note: As it might ruin the aesthetic, hide them by making the text really small or covering them with a sticker

Include some humour and fun in your story and posts.

Note: However all content should be relevant to your brand or to your target audience. You need to honor our brand’s overall theme and tone — if memes don’t fit in with your Instagram aesthetic, then it’s better to leave them out of your strategy and not compromise on your look and feel.

Have clear and informative highlight reels on your Instagram profile.

The value of a highlight reel lies in its ability to organise and package information neatly to your followers. For example, @latentapp has four highlight reels to concisely show our followers the benefits of our Social Listening and Data Marketplace platforms, as well as update our followers on our new blog articles and answer consumer questions.

1.4 Scheduling / Timings

Schedule your posts:

Find out the optimum time for your account. If you have a business account, go into your Instagram Insights and review your audience metrics to find the times of highest traffic.

Scheduling your posts can be tedious when done manually, use an external app to schedule Instagram posts for your start-up.

Note: You can only schedule single photos and videos directly to Instagram

1.5 Live Videos

Live Video Streaming

Record live videos sharing the culture of your start-up, discussing your product and services and more. This live feature helps start-ups to directly interact with your audience.

With the live comment feature of Instagram live videos, your business will also be able to gather live reviews and comments from customers. This helps CRM and works to build the trust of people regarding your offered service or product.

1.6 Trending topics

Capitalise on topics, themes, and accounts that are trending.

However, remember to keep relevancy and not distract followers from your brand image and identity.

1.7 Building community

Follow top accounts of your niche.

Build a community of brands in your industry, like-minded individuals or brands with similar values. This allows your start-up to keep up with trends in your industry as well as facilitate conversations with others.

Respond and reply to DMs (direct messages) and comments

Be responsive and engage with your target audience. Hold conversations on relevant topics or simply thank them for their support. Small comments and messages are the building blocks to your customer and business engagement.

All this information has been condensed into one bite-sized package for your start-up. Building an Instagram feed and following takes time, patience, a lot of hard work and planning. While aesthetics are important, building your brand identity and maintaining strong CRM should be the priority for a start-up.