- 1. Humanize Your Brand Through Instagram
- 2. Create a Consistent and Cohesive Instagram Feed
- 3. Use Video Content on Instagram
- 4. Use Instagram to Educate (Potential) Customers
- 5. Run Compelling Instagram Ads
- 6. Enlist the Help of Instagram Influencers
- It’s Time for Your SaaS Company to Join Instagram
Instagram might not be the obvious choice for marketing your SaaS business, but with the right approach, it can be a strong pillar of your social media marketing strategy.
Did you know that 83 percent of consumers use Instagram to discover new products or services? Post-discovery, Instagrammers also use the platform to research brands and products, with 80 percent claiming they use Instagram to make final purchasing decisions.
Instagram marketing can boost your SaaS company’s visibility in today’s competitive market. Every year, thousands of people sign up and 90 percent follow at least one business. Plus, not many SaaS companies know how to use Instagram for marketing. It’s an opportunity for your SaaS company to build brand awareness, acquire new customers, and build stronger relationships with your current ones.
However, Instagram marketing can be challenging if you lack something physical to show, like a designer dress or hybrid car. But don’t let that stop you. SaaS companies can do just as well on Instagram as others, and I’ll explain how to most effectively use Instagram to grow your SaaS business in this article.
1. Humanize Your Brand Through Instagram
SaaS businesses can feel faceless to consumers because it’s all about the tech. Instagram is the perfect platform to tell your brand story and show consumers who’s behind your software. Don’t be afraid to be more personal on Instagram than on your other marketing channels. Instagram users respond to humor, transparency, and approachability.
So how can you humanize your brand on Instagram? Here are some content ideas.
Create Behind-the-Scenes Posts
Give followers an exclusive look into the world of your SaaS company and how it functions day-to-day. Behind-the-scenes content helps you develop a closer relationship with viewers because it invites them inside for an intimate, exclusive look at your company.
Show off your (home) office, how you set up for a tradeshow, or what you’re doing for your Christmas party. For example, Meltwater, a platform for media monitoring and social analytics, shared photos of its London and Berlin offices in the holiday spirit.
Share Employee Spotlights
People love being able to put a face to a name, so don’t be shy to share your team with the world. What are your employees’ passions, interests, and strengths? How do they make a difference for your SaaS every day? Turn this input into visual graphics, sharing photos and quotes from your employees on Instagram. For example, Microsoft shares photos and videos of its people using the hashtag #PeopleOfMicrosoft.
And what’s even better than showing off your employees? Showing off their pets! Pictures of animals always do well on social media (puppy pics, need I say more), so ask your employees to share their pet photos with you and use them for Instagram posts – the Microsoft example above was a double whammy.
Try your hand at creating branded memes. Merriam-Webster defines a meme as “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online, especially through social media.” A meme usually takes the form of an image with accompanying text that makes it funny and relatable.
You don’t have to invent a meme from scratch. Check which memes are trending on social media that you can turn into funny business posts. Hootsuite, for example, shares trending memes customized to their audience. This celebrity photo became a meme to illustrate two things working well together, aka “besties” (check out the screenshot below to see what I mean).
Encourage User-Generated Content
If your customers create content and tag your SaaS business on Instagram, don’t miss the opportunity to share it on your account. Not only does it advertise your product in a different light, but it also proves that people are finding value in it (social proof). Trello launched a campaign called #WhereITrello that asks its community to share photos and stories of where and when they use Trello. The result is a vivid story of how people use Trello daily.
Create Polls and Quizzes
Nothing beats a poll or quiz to engage your audience. Fifty-seven percent of people like seeing polls and quizzes from brands on Instagram. The Poll feature in Stories makes it easy to ask your customers about their thoughts and share the findings on your account.
Here’s an example of Meltwater’s poll on Instagram Stories, asking for valuable customer feedback.
If you want to take the poll concept further, create and link to a full quiz from your Instagram bio. For example, Adobe has a website that helps you discover what type of creative personality you have. This is a great way to get followers from your Instagram account to your website.
Sharing who’s behind your SaaS on Instagram will draw people in, but isn’t enough to build a community of loyal followers. Remember that Instagram is a social platform, so interact with people on a personal level (think: person to person, not brand to potential customer). Engage conversationally with your audience by responding to their comments, liking their posts, and sharing their content. It’s all about being proactive and genuine on Instagram.
Adobe, for example, invites artists and graphic designers to submit their work for a featured spot on its account. The result is not only a visually stunning Instagram feed but also a subtle way to advertise its SaaS products. Harnessing the power of user-generated content, Adobe has built a community of (1.4 million) like-minded individuals.
2. Create a Consistent and Cohesive Instagram Feed
Your brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Use that to your advantage and create a visually appealing and cohesive Instagram feed that draws people in. You only have one chance to make a first impression. While your captions might be spot on, you can’t assume that Instagram users will read them.
Start by nailing down your color palette and visual style. Ensure it’s on brand. Your posts needn’t be a work of art, but people scrolling through your Instagram feed should recognize them as your content. Beyond the visual, you also need to decide on messaging guidelines. What type of captions do you want? What’s the tone? Are you going for light-hearted or serious content?
Take a look at Mailchimp’s Instagram feed below. Their signature yellow ties together almost all of their Instagram posts. Not only does their feed look consistent, but anyone scrolling Instagram will recognize one of these posts as belonging to Mailchimp. Cohesive feed – check. Brand recognition – check.
Consistency is equally important. We don’t know exactly what Instagram’s algorithm favors, but the consensus is that posting content consistently helps to grow an Instagram page because it signals that you’re active in the community.
So the big question is always: How often should I post on Instagram? Unfortunately, advice varies, and Instagram says there’s no set formula.
Later, the social media management platform, analyzed 22 million Instagram feed posts (images, videos, carousels, and Reels) to uncover how frequently their customers post on Instagram. They found that nano accounts (0-10k followers) and micro accounts (10k-100k) post an average of 3 feed posts per week, while mid accounts (100k-500k) post an average of 5 feed posts per week. Hootsuite’s research found that business accounts post an average of 1.6 times a day.
So what’s the ideal number? While it depends on your Instagram goals – like increasing reach rate or boosting engagement – an ideal strategy, according to the Head of Instagram, is sharing a couple of in-feed posts per week (like photos, carousels, or Reels) and a couple of Stories per day. But as Later advises, “Rather than posting just to post, be more strategic and consider what’s achievable for you (or your team).”
Use a social media scheduling tool, like Later, Planoly, Plann, or HootSuite, to plan and preview your Instagram feed. You can schedule your Instagram posts days – or even weeks – in advance while checking how each piece of content works together as a whole.
3. Use Video Content on Instagram
Instagram has seen an 80 percent increase in the time users spend watching videos on the platform since 2017. Because of this, Instagram’s algorithm favors video content – meaning it shows videos to more viewers than static content.
Instagram Reels, in particular, is the gateway to boosting your Instagram’s engagement and follower metrics. Reels are short, creative, and entertaining videos that often have audio and visual effects. Instagram offers simple editing tools that allow users to edit together multiple shots and incorporate music snippets. There’s a learning curve to it, but posting Reels can bring in much higher engagement than regular photos, as two billion people interact with Reels every month.
While Reels are permanent, Instagram Stories allow you to share content that lasts for 24 hours. See it as “on-the-go Instagram” where you convey a day’s events or thoughts in casual snapshots. Sixty-two percent of Instagram users say they are more interested in a brand after seeing it in an Instagram Story. What’s more, 33 percent of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are shared by businesses.
Instagram Reels and Stories needn’t be as cohesive as your feed. Video is the perfect format to loosen the reigns. Instagram users want to see authentic and approachable videos that aren’t edited to perfection. Create Reels and Stories that showcase the human side of your brand (see more tips under “Humanize Your Brand” above).
Microsoft uses Reels to share everything from partnerships and tips to polls and ASMR. Its brand on Instagram is relatable, fun, and purposeful, showing how Microsoft products are embedded into people’s everyday lives. Four million followers confirm the company has figured out how to make something often associated with boring work (I’m looking at you, Microsoft Excel) into something entertaining.
4. Use Instagram to Educate (Potential) Customers
Social media can help you educate your customers, too. Use Instagram to familiarize customers with your product and ensure they use it correctly. A happy customer means a long-term relationship. Eighty-six percent of customers say they will remain loyal if companies provide continuous education.
Use Instagram posts, Stories, and Reels to show customers how to be successful with your newest features and product updates. Often, a quick tips-and-tricks video is more effective than a long document in your support center. Turn your SaaS product into cool animations that demonstrate how easy it is to get the most from it. For example, Slack shows off its newest product features through photos and videos.
Canva also has a ton of great examples of how to educate customers through Instagram. Their Reels are funny and concise how-to videos that showcase one of Canva’s editing features, like their video background remover.
But customer education goes beyond your SaaS product. Depending on the maturity of your SaaS market, you might need to educate people on the solution or problem level. At the solution level, your SaaS educates consumers on how to solve an existing problem in a new way. If your SaaS startup is at the problem level, it means no solution existed until you came along.
Educating the market at the problem level is extremely hard (and daunting), but you can use Instagram posts, Reels, and Stories as ways to show your ideal customer what the problem is and how you solve it. People use Instagram to discover new brands, products, or services, so tailor your Instagram content to this discovery phase.
As you’ve probably realized, it’s better to use Instagram (or any social media platform for that matter) to help your audience rather than to sell to them. Today’s consumers are doing a lot of homework before buying, so provide them with the evidence they need to make their decision easier. Seventy-five percent of Instagram users take an action, such as visiting a website or making a purchase, after noticing a brand post. So become a trusted advisor who provides followers with valuable advice.
5. Run Compelling Instagram Ads
Not having much success on Instagram organically? In a rush to win new business? If so, Instagram’s paid advertising could put your business in front of 850 million users. By sponsoring a post, you can reach people who don’t follow you, targeting them based on a wide range of demographic information.
Although both businesses belong to Meta, Instagram’s advertising reach (the number of people in a target audience exposed to an ad) grew by over 20 percent this year, tripling Facebook’s.
Start your ad campaign by understanding what stage of the customer journey you want to target (discovery, consideration, conversion, and so on) and what content to create. If you target consumers in the discovery stage, for example, your CTA must direct them to your website so people can learn more about your SaaS products. If potential customers are in the conversion stage, send them to your product subscription page to increase the likelihood of signups (think CTAs like start free trial and download now).
Here’s an example of an Instagram Stories ad by Coda.io that promotes their replacement tool for inefficient docs and spreadsheets.
Once you’ve figured out the high-level strategy of your campaign, what’s the best ad format to use? Video content (whether as Stories or Reels) soars above everything else. Video ads have a 30 percent higher audience reach than image ads and can generate three times as many leads. Especially for the consideration and conversion stages, videos allow you to give viewers a detailed look into your SaaS product that static images can’t.
Most importantly, test different ad copy, formats, and visuals until you find the right combo. It might take some time, but Instagram allows you to set a budget and time limit for each ad campaign to optimize it with minimal waste.
Pro tip: You can boost any post after publication. So if you’re seeing great organic results with a piece of content, it’s worth putting some money behind it to boost visibility. This is also a great way to test the waters if you don’t have the bandwidth to create Instagram ads from scratch.
6. Enlist the Help of Instagram Influencers
If you’re unsure how to create helpful and relevant Instagram content, reach out to influencers in your industry. Influencers know how to create compelling content, and as a result, have built a big following. While at first glance it might seem like influencers only exist in the travel, fashion, and beauty industry, they exist in every niche.
In the SaaS space, influencers test and review SaaS products and services, helping their followers (artists, marketers, coders, and so on) find the best solutions. They will explain how your product works and why it’s worth buying. In fact, 61 percent of consumers trust influencer recommendations more than brand content, so it’s a worthwhile investment.
But you don’t need to go after celebrity influencers on Instagram. You’re better off finding nano or micro-influencers with a niche audience that overlaps with your ideal customer. To clarify, a micro-influencer has a social media presence between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. Anything less than 10,000 followers is sometimes called a nano-influencer.
Not only will partnering with micro-influencers save you a ton of money, but it also ensures that their followers are extremely engaged. Micro-influencers have a close relationship with their followers, providing trusted endorsements of products. According to BuiltIn, “In the world of micro-influencers, authenticity is currency – social media users develop it by building rapport with their audiences, and brands try to harness it.”
Squarespace, for example, uses influencers to showcase how its product changes the lives of its customers. The influencer will share it to their account and Squarespace can then repost that content.
If scouring Instagram for micro-influencers doesn’t sound fun, you can use a third-party tool to help you with influencer research. Some popular platforms include BuzzSumo, Grin, and Upfluence. These platforms often also have the tools to manage influencer campaigns and measure sales.
It’s Time for Your SaaS Company to Join Instagram
Building an Instagram strategy can help your business stand out in an ocean of SaaS tools. With so many creative features, your Instagram content never has to be boring. Optimize engagement by implementing a mix of content formats, posting in real-time, publishing for a limited time, or keeping posts permanently on your feed.
However, don’t underestimate the effort and dedication it takes to grow your Instagram account. As a social platform, Instagram isn’t just about posting the best possible content, you also need to engage with communities and your followers. Instead of trying to conquer all of the social media platforms, focus on one and find out what it takes to be successful.
What Are the Best SaaS Instagram Accounts?
There are many creative SaaS Instagram accounts, but certain names always make the best-of lists: Adobe, Mailchimp, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Shopify, Hootsuite, InvisionApp, Slack, Canva, and Salesforce.
When Should You Use Instagram for Marketing?
You can use Instagram for a variety of marketing goals. If you’re a brand-new startup, you can use Instagram to build brand awareness, increase visibility in the market, and drive website traffic. If you’re a more established company, you can implement an Instagram strategy that helps develop a close relationship with your current customers, as well as generate high-quality leads and acquire new customers.
Regardless of the maturity of your business, always use Instagram to engage with your followers and the wider Instagram community. This will help to boost your brand engagement and build customer loyalty.
How to Use Instagram for Marketing?
Here are seven ways to effectively use Instagram for marketing your business:
- Create a Cohesive and Consistent Instagram Feed
Create guidelines for visual and written content for your Instagram account, nailing down your color palette, tone, and formats. Ensure people scrolling through Instagram recognize it as your content to boost brand awareness.
- Tell a Story and Humanize Your Brand
Instagram is the perfect platform to tell your brand story and show consumers who’s behind your software. You can humanize your brand by sharing authentic behind-the-scenes content, employee spotlights, memes, user-generated content, and polls and quizzes.
- Use Instagram Stories and Reels
Video content is king on Instagram, so make sure to leverage Instagram Reels and Stories. Instagram Reels and Stories needn’t be as cohesive as your feed. Instagram users want to see authentic and approachable videos that needn’t have been professionally edited.
- Engage with the Instagram community
Instagram is a social platform, so you need to interact with the Instagram community and your followers on a personal level to be successful. Be proactive by responding to comments, liking posts, and sharing other people’s content.
- Educate (potential) customers
Use Instagram to familiarize people with your product or service, ensuring they know how to make the most out of it. Today’s consumers do a lot of homework before buying, so provide them with the evidence they need to make their decision easier.
- Advertise on Instagram With Sponsored Posts
By sponsoring a post, you can reach people that aren’t currently following you, targeting them based on a wide range of demographic information. Video ads have a 30 percent higher audience reach than image ads and can generate three times as many leads.
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