The most popular and engaging social media app, Instagram is slowly turning into an excellent platform for marketing and brand building. Its huge active user base, around 60% of which falls into the age group of 18-21 years, gives businesses a wonderful opportunity to build a viable customer base.
However, with over 8 million registered business accounts, Instagram is extremely competitive. To get desirable results in such a competitive environment, you need to be aware of the right marketing strategies to create an established mark.
In this article, I will reveal some fascinating Instagram marketing tips which will help you to get real-world results.
Tip 1 – Switch to an Instagram Business Profile
The first step of your Instagram marketing journey should be creating an Instagram business account.
Some of the benefits of switching to a business profile are:
- The contact button helps your potential customers to get in touch with you before visiting your profile.
- You get access to Instagram data where you get a clear idea about stats such as the viewership of your content.
- You can easily publish ads without being dependent on Facebook’s advertising tools.
- The chance of your content appearing in your followers’ news feed increases.
Switching to a business profile may seem like a small step but it would make a world of difference in your Instagram marketing strategy.
Tip 2 – Leverage Sponsored Ads
According to eMarketer, companies have become increasingly inclined to using Instagram advertising to promote their content and the number of advertisers would soon surpass the present advertising giant, Twitter.
As a business, you should try to leverage this huge potential in order to increase your reach to your target audience in a cost-effective way.
Besides the huge, active user base on Instagram, here are a few more reasons for you to consider Instagram advertising:
- Since Instagram and Facebook are connected, you can also use Facebook advertising. The Facebook ad manager would also allow you to manage everything from creating ads to budgeting.
- The ads being engaging and non-intrusive would help you get a better conversion rate at a low cost.
- You get the creative freedom to use both images, as well as videos, to promote your product or service.
- The ads occupy the entire mobile screen and hence are hard to miss.
The Facebook Instagram ad editor helps you get a better return on investment because you get to conduct A/B split tests on your ad from within the platform.
Tip 3 – Partner With Targeted Influencers
Leveraging influencers who have already built a huge and loyal audience to reach your target audience is another useful Instagram marketing tips that businesses can use. Many people buy products based on the content in their Instagram feed, hence it makes sense to partner with the right influencers in order to increase the visibility of your product and services.
Instagram influencers have a large and loyal audience base which trusts their recommendations. Still, in order to make your Instagram marketing campaign successful, it is important that you partner with the right influencers who have a highly relevant audience to your product or services.
Below is an example where HP uses an influencer to promote an ongoing contest:
Focus on building a long term marketing strategy instead of trying to make short term sales and gains from your campaign. Your aim should be to build strong brand awareness amongst an audience which is likely to avail your services.
Tip 4 – Cross-Promote Your Brand
One of the most effective ways to increase your reach is promoting your Instagram business account on other social media platforms. You may have already developed a follower base on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, etc. whom you can invite to follow you on Instagram as well.
By means of cross-promotion, your Instagram account will get even more exposure which in turn would improve your brand image and also help you cut down the costs on creating new content.
Here is an example of cross-platform promotion by personal injury law Marcus & Mack –
Depending upon your goals, you can cross-promote across other social media in a number of ways. Here is how you can do so:
- Automatically post your Instagram content on other accounts with tools like Hootsuite
- Promoting your Instagram-only video content on Facebook and LinkedIn would help you draw more traffic
- Publicize your Instagram contests using relevant social media platforms in order to increase your followers.
When implemented correctly, this strategy can help you substantially boost your business.
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Tip 5 – Track the Right Metrics
When you have measurable results to understand your Instagram performance, you would have more clarity in order to efficiently make the required changes for improving it. Thus, another Instagram marketing tips involve tracking the right metrics in order to get the most out of your efforts.
Some of the metrics include:
a) Follower Growth Rate
The number of followers you have is considered a vanity metric. However, you still need to keep a check on the growth rate of your followers to know the effect of your content or posting frequency.
b) Engagement Rate
Measuring engagement, which includes likes and comments, would give you a better idea of the steps you need to take in order to better engage your audience.
c) URL Click-Through Rate
This is limited to your website link in the Instagram bio. Knowing how many people are availing your services by visiting your website through your URL is crucial.
By monitoring the above metrics along with some others like the growth of hashtags, hashtag interaction, etc., you would be able to market your business effectively through Instagram. To know how to track these metrics, you may use an Instagram advertising service.
Tip 6 – Use Hashtags Strategically
Every social media marketer knows the significance of hashtags. But in order to harness their potential, you need to use them strategically. This way you would be able to increase your audience, connect to your brand, and improve its overall reach.
There are two kinds of Instagram hashtags you mainly need to focus on:
a) Brand or Campaign Specific Hashtags
You create these hashtags in order to promote your business on Instagram. A brand hashtag is usually your company’s name or a slogan and a campaign hashtag is for the marketing campaigns you run. Make sure that your hashtags are unique, catchy, and easy to remember.
b) Content Hashtags
These hashtags are used within your content and are relevant to it. They are not very popular and may seem simple, but using them can make your content more visible to your target audience.
With any kind of hashtag, keep in mind not to overload your posts by overusing them.
Tip 7 – Create a Strong Business Bio
An effective business bio is key to getting noticed by your audience. Your business bio should contain all the information about your business like what it does, etc.
Make sure that the following parts of your bio are taken care of:
a) Profile Photo: Your profile photo should be relevant to your brand and company.
b) Name and Username: Choose the right name and username for your Instagram account so that your audience can easily find you.
c) Bio: The 150 characters of your bio would determine the kind of impression you would have on your audience. So, take your time and write it carefully.
d) Website: Make sure to properly place your website’s link in the bio.
e) Call-to-Action Buttons: The Instagram business account also allows you to insert an additional call to action links such as call, email, etc. Place these call to action buttons carefully to make the most out of this feature.
Spending some time to craft a quality business bio would go a long way and will make a huge difference in your Instagram marketing efforts.
Tip 8 – Have a Solid Instagram Content Strategy
A cogent content strategy is imperative for successful Instagram marketing. Without useful content, you won’t be able to grab the attention of your audience. Planning your content beforehand would help you generate engaging posts.
In order to increase awareness about your product, your focus should be on formulating photos and videos which are more product-centric. If not the product, you may showcase the company culture through your posts and give your followers a behind-the-scenes look.
Depending on what you wish to achieve through your businesses on Instagram, you may generate both in-house as well as user-generated content.
Tip 9 – Create Content in Advance
Another important Instagram marketing tips include being consistent with posting on Instagram. It is one of the most common challenges that many businesses face and a way to combat this problem is to do some additional planning and create your content at least a month in advance.
Following are the things you must keep in mind while doing so:
a) Know What’s Coming
It’s important to know the events in the coming month before pre-planning your content. You should have a clear idea about the content you would be posting along with any special product promotions in order to craft meticulous content.
b) Take Care of the Editing
Your images and videos need to be properly edited before you upload them on Instagram or elsewhere. This would save you from the last minute hassle of editing before posting your content.
c) Schedule It Out
Use some scheduling tools to schedule your content. Schedule only the ones which you feel are ready to be uploaded.
Planning the content beforehand helps you focus on the other aspects of Instagram marketing.
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Tip 10 – Turn Your Instagram into a Sales Funnel
You can even sell your products through Instagram. It is a great place to sell more of your products and take your brand to the next level. Selling on Instagram is, however, different in many ways.
For example, if you don’t add the paid posts feature, you won’t be able to add an external link to your Instagram posts.
Selling your product through Instagram is about following some tried and tested measures and building a strong brand image with the help of your Instagram profile. This can be done by:
a) Be Active Regularly
When marketing through Instagram, it’s important that you include Instagram activities in your daily routine. Posting every day is not necessary, however, make sure to at least interact with content on your news feed, follow other relevant experts, and comment on their photos and videos.
This step would help you in getting noticed by the right kind of audience. This may not seem rewarding initially, but it would help in the growth of your Instagram business profile in the long run.
b) Move Beyond Product Photos
There is nothing wrong in posting pictures of your product, but do not overdo it. Make sure that your Instagram account appears aesthetic and natural, even when you are running a business.
Your Instagram account can also have photos which reflect your company’s ideologies and beliefs. Remember, your content helps your followers understand your vision. You can also post some inspirational quotes which people like to share. This would get your profile and brand the much-needed attention.
c) Post Pictures with Real People
When running a product-oriented business, you should consider showing real people using your products. For example, if you are selling handbags, you have the opportunity to have women in your photographs using and admiring your handbags.
People are attracted to photos that look natural and organic. The involvement of real people makes your brand seem more credible. This will also give your audience an idea about how your product looks or feels in person. For this, you don’t need to hire professional models to pose with your products. You can feature regular people with your products and it would work perfectly fine.
Tip 11 – Run Instagram Contests
Instagram can work amazingly as a marketing channel for your business. However, this would require engaging your target audience in a meaningful way. One simple yet proven way to do this is to run a contest or a giveaway.
There are no limitations when it comes to running such promotions on Instagram. Here are three popular contests which you can run:
a) Like Competition
These kinds of contests require the followers to simply like your photo in order to qualify for the competition. Since the follower doesn’t have to do much, it helps in increasing the engagement of the audience.
b) Comment Contest
In this contest, people need to comment on a photo or a video to enter. This type of contest works well when you are looking for some feedback and at the same time want to increase the engagement on your post.
c) Photo Contest
Photo challenge contests are really popular on Instagram. The interested users need to take a certain type of photo and post it on their personal Instagram account with a hashtag designated by you. The reason why this contest works so well is that it helps you increase your exposure through hashtags.
Tip 12 – Create Instagram Stories
If you want people to notice you, sharing authentic content on Instagram is important. One of the simple but effective Instagram marketing tips is to post stories, i.e. photos and videos which would disappear within 24 hours.
Instagram stories are a great way to keep your followers engaged by providing them with good content. But the question is, why would you want to put in efforts in order to create content that would vanish in just 24 hours? Well, it encourages people to share your content with others. It is a simple way to get people to notice your brand.
Instagram stories are easier to create because they do not require a lot of preparation. All you need is a good idea to put in front of your target audience.
Also, Instagram stories are not seen by a large number of people. This gives you the liberty to test out new ideas which you are not very sure about.
Tip 13 – Build an Engaged Instagram Community
As a business, you have to make sure that your followers are excited and eager to interact with your content in order to ensure a favourable return on your time investment.
Here is how you can build an engaged community:
a) Know Your Followers
Knowing your audience will help you serve them better. Even if you post great photos and videos, you won’t get the desired success if your content is not seen by your target audience. Hence, you need to know your audience and learn about the kind of content they like so that you can post more of it. The results from your marketing efforts are dependent upon your efforts in understanding your followers.
b) Ask More Questions
Asking questions to your followers helps in increasing the engagement. This is because people like to be valued and heard. They also want you to regard their opinions as important. By asking the right questions, you can create a more engaging community. The questions can be as simple as asking your followers about their day or their future plans.
You could even take a photo of your new office space and ask your followers for their opinions. The point is to give your Instagram marketing a human touch by getting your followers to talk to you. Initially, you may not get the response you are looking for, but gradually, you will see more and more people replying to your questions.
c) Stand Out From the Crowd
Instagram is flooding with brands and businesses that are trying to market their products. In order to make a mark in such a competitive environment, you have to do things which set you apart from the competition.
For example, if you are a travel blogger, you can consider sharing a travel tip with your followers. Sharing your experience or knowledge is a great way to stand out. You could also share simple tips every day in order to connect with your audience. The more knowledgeable and information oriented your Instagram is, the easier it will be for you to add value to the life of your followers.
If you find these Instagram marketing tips helpful, then it is great. But to use Digital Marketing to the advantage of your startup, it is also advisable to take a Digital Marketing Course.
Do you have more questions about Instagram? Let’s keep the learning going in the comments below.
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About the author:
This article has been written by Pradeep Chopra. Among the pioneers of Digital Marketing, Pradeep has been part of the Internet Industry since 2000. He has been a serial entrepreneur for the last 17 years and is currently the CEO of Digital Vidya, a leading Digital Marketing and Data Science training company. A graduate of IIT Delhi and a recipient of Adobe Content100, Pradeep is one of the most sought-after international speakers in Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship.