Are you using Instagram to its fullest potential?

If you have a visually striking product or brand (and even if you don’t!) and you’re not on Instagram, you’re missing out on one of the biggest visual trends on social media today. And considering that images are often the most engaging aspect of social posts, that’s saying something.

Whether you’re new to Instagram marketing or you’re struggling to find the ROI of your photos, we’ve got a four-step process to help you kill it with Instagram marketing.

Step 1: Pre-Campaign Data and Insights

If you want to find success on Instagram, you’ve got to do more than just publish beautiful photographs. Your strategic thinking should begin well before you post a single image.

Before launching an Instagram campaign, consider exploring all of your available data and insights. What do you know about your audience? Who are they? What is their browsing behavior like? Where do they shop? What is their lifestyle?

If you are using a social insights platform, you should be able to apply what you know about your audience on other channels, like Twitter or Facebook, to your Instagram marketing to give yourself a great head start.

Step 2: Campaign Execution

Now it’s time to launch your campaign: Snap photos, create captions, insert hashtags and engage your audience.

Be sure that your bio is completely filled out, and that you are posting fresh, new content on a regular basis. Whether you’re running a one-off seasonal campaign or a long-term brand awareness campaign, you’ll need to keep your presence active in order to be successful.

Some tips for great Instagram photos:

  • Set your smartphone camera settings to “square” if available, so that all the photos you snap will be Instagram-friendly
  • Drive traffic to your website by always including a URL in your caption
  • Plan your Instagram photos in tandem with other posts across your social networks
  • Encourage your community to share photos of your product, using a branded hashtag

Step 3: Post-Campaign Measurement

After your campaign, or (better yet) at regular intervals while it’s running, you’ll want to capture metrics that show how successful your efforts have been.

Examples of Instagram metrics:

  • Number of comments
  • Number of likes
  • Number of followers
  • URL clicks
  • Branded hashtag mentions

What you measure will be determined by the goals of your campaign. Is it to drive traffic? Measure URL clicks. Brand awareness? You might want to look at comment sentiment and hashtags.

Step 4: Analysis

No social media strategy is complete without analysis. During your campaign, be sure to check in on the metrics you’ve decided to measure, and see whether they’re indicating growth.

You can analyze the demographic and psychographic makeup of your audience; the reasons why certain images performed better than others; what time of day gets the most engagement and more.

Analysis is a key component of a great Instagram strategy, as even not-so-successful campaigns can teach you what works and what doesn’t. By feeding this information back into your strategy for the next campaign, you’ll be in a better position to reach and engage your audience with your beautiful photos.

Try applying these four steps to your next Instagram campaign to better connect your content with your audience, and get the most out of your branded visuals.