Students are using social media daily, so it’s important for your campus bookstore to be a part of how students communicate. Marketing through social media will not only make your store competitive, it will provide a trustworthy source for students to purchase their books from each session.
Instagram is an incredible marketing tool that connects businesses to their audience through vibrant images and videos. It has an audience of 1 billion monthly active users, making it the third most popular social media network. Over half (64 percent) of Instagram users are between 18 and 29 years old, making it a great platform to engage college students and campus bookstore customers.
4 Ways to Get Started with Instagram Marketing
Make a Business Profile
Create an Instagram account, or if you already have a page, go into your account settings and switch to a business profile. This gives your account access to analytics, call-to-action buttons and sponsored ads.
As you create posts, ads or videos on Instagram, you need a plan to convert social media followers into sales. Analytics will provide you with business intelligence like demographics, website clicks, profile views, and other useful data that will help you identify your core audience. Once your audience is defined, you can better select posts that will appeal to them and the hashtags they are likely to follow. Call-to-action buttons give viewers an easy way to visit your website and buy the merchandise they see in your posts. Whereas sponsored ads help you ensure that your ideal audience sees your content. This helps you define your target market and assists with hashtags. Call-to-action buttons will give your audience an easy gateway to your website. Sponsored ads ensure that your message appears in your audiences’ Instagram feed.
Make a social media plan
Being consistent on social media tells the algorithms that your business is active and alive. You don't have to post every 10 minutes, but if you go a few weeks to months without posting, your profiles will not show up as often in searches and feeds. We recommend posting at least once a day on Instagram and not exceeding three times a day. Posting too often will become overbearing to your audience and will reflect negatively with search algorithms.
Use relevant hashtags on photo descriptions to define your business. Hashtags give a readable description of an idea that the algorithm can connect to users who have an interest in that idea. Say that you use a hashtag like #collegebooks, students on Instagram who look up things like #college, #students, #books, #university, will be more likely to come across photos with similar hashtags. Use several hashtags and try to hit a variety of different topics that are associated with your school and campus bookstore. This gives the algorithm several definitions upon which it can construct your audience.
Reach more students with stories and sponsored ads
Instagram has made it easy to connect with your audience through their stories and sponsored ads. This would be a good way to share upcoming deals or events with students. Stories are a photo or video that you take and post in the heading of your main page. Stories typically last 24 hours, but you can also save the story to your page.
When selecting images or videos for an Instagram story, choose something that represents your campus store and compels students to visit. These images or videos can include anything that represents your campus bookstore and compels students to visit. Use stories to promote upcoming events, current deals, and photos of the store and staff. Stories can humanize the campus bookstore and strengthen community engagement.
Choose how much you want to spend on the ads and which groups the ads target through “Detailed Targeting.” To do this, you establish characteristics you want to target. For example, as a campus store, you could target students going to your university by selecting targeted interests like your university, its athletic teams, or fraternities and sororities.
Communicate with your audience
Interaction is a key element of social media’s appeal. A campus bookstore interacts with its audience by responding to student comments and commenting on posts related to your campus. Engagements such as these show that there is a person behind the brand listening to the audience. If you receive a negative comment, reply quickly and respectfully. We suggest asking the customer to message you directly about their experience and how you can improve it for them the next time they come in. When you receive comments of praise, let them know how appreciative you are that they chose to be your customer.
Instagram is a powerful tool that your campus bookstore can leverage to reach more students. Use it to your advantage.