Gone are the days when Instagram was just another social platform for sharing photos. Today Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media apps for brand building and marketing. Instagram is an important part of our lives, especially for online businesses. In this article, we uncover 27 awesome Instagram tips for your marketing needs.
1. Build a killer Instagram profileIf you want to use Instagram as a marketing tool, you need to create a great presence on Instagram; this is especially important for small brands. You need to give a clear idea of who you or your brand is to new followers.
A good bio is your elevator pitch. Try to include the essentials about you and what you do. Use target keywords and action verbs to help people find you. The SE Ranking keyword research tool can help you find the top-performing keywords and phrases. For example, Nathan Chan, the founder of Foundr Magazine, focused on the topic of success, brand and posting informative content for young startup founders and business owners on a regular basis.
2. Keep up with the different types of contentGood content is the key to your Instagram marketing success. Keep an eye on engagement-based content instead of promotional. Experiment with different types of content. You can use a mixture of videos, photos and text, a Carousel feature, a before-and-after sequence in one slideshow post or showcase your most popular products in different pictures. I really love the idea of “Spot the Difference” posts. It is a unique and fun way to focus on your brand without sounding self-promotional and can help to improve your engagement. Here is a good example from Paula Norris that demonstrates a “spot the difference” post. She shows how decreasing or increasing the portion of your food can influence your overall calorie intake.
3. Create mind-blowing videosAs we know, Instagram is a great visual medium, but sharing a video can attract 3 times more inbound links than written posts. You can’t miss the chance to generate traffic, increase the number of followers and grow your Instagram presence. Moreover, Instagram has super-easy video editing features to create fun and shareable videos.
You can create different types of videos. Share a pack of images together with a short video, add how-to videos where you can answer a question or just teach how to do something, make funny videos or just create videos around key events and holidays. Here is a good example from Amerisleep that shows an exclusive Variable Pressure Foaming manufacturing process that produces zero emissions.
4. Take advantage of Instagram StoriesInstagram Stories are a great tool to tell your story and spark interest in your brand. The advantage is to tell more than you can do through written posts. It looks like a first-class ticket that sits at the top of the feed, so followers can easily notice them. Update your stories once per day if you want to keep your followers engaged with your brand.
Users are increasingly watching Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories offer a wide range of great features like polls, interactive live broadcasts, etc. You can run ad campaigns, teach how to use your product, give discounts and special offers, create contests and giveaways, highlight new and featured products. That doesn’t take much time and preparation to record your story. You can use a mixture of photos and videos, give a link to certain blog posts, websites or profiles. Just make sure that the URL is short so followers can remember it and visit later on. Make sure that stories are temporary and disappear after 24 hours.
5. Use raw photosInstagram was initially built for artists and photographers to share their unique photos. If you want to increase your reach, use raw photos without overlays and Photoshop. As you know, now Facebook owns Instagram and uses special algorithms to review your content. If it looks like spam, your reach will be low. To increase your engagement, you can add relevant hashtags and appealing titles to help new visitors find your content.
You can periodically post your product images where you can mention the price, some key points, and provide the link so people can purchase the product. It can be a good idea to show your product images in action, e.g. you can show how someone is using your product and how he or she is doing that. This helps your customers visualize using the product which can help influence a buying decision. The following example demonstrates the product from Nike in an interactive and interesting format without sounding too promotional.
6. Nail Instagram contestsWhether you want to sell more products, increase engagement, or gain new followers, running different contests or giveaways is a simple way to have it all. People love different contests, and they work well on Instagram. You can run photo contests, “like” contests, comment contests, sweepstakes and giveaways. To incentivize engagement with your brand, you need to create a unique hashtag contest. It is a great way to get user-generated content and connect your contest to trending topics.
For example, Starbucks launched a contest that encouraged customers to create Starbucks cup art, take a photo of it and share it through social media using the unique hashtag #WhiteCupContest. The results were fantastic; the contest sparked a lot of buzz around Starbucks, generated a ton of blog posts and 3,500 submissions on Instagram alone, and received positive reaction by coffee drinkers. The winner received a Starbucks gift card worth $300.
7. Share customer testimonialsIt’s one thing when you recommend your products to your followers because they are awesome - and it’s totally another thing when your customers recommend your products. Just collect as many testimonials, reviews, stories, videos as you can about your products, and post them on Instagram. Customer testimonials show off how others benefited from your products, and serve as a powerful tool to establish your brand authenticity and make potential customers take action.
8. Use the right hashtagsAs you know, hashtags play an important role in your Instagram success. To reach the target market and increase engagement on your posts, you need to use the right hashtags. There are a few types of hashtags you need to use for your brand: local-related hashtags (#losangeles #brentwood #moscow) and brand-related hashtags. The use of brand hashtags helps you to effectively promote your brand on Instagram. They should be simple, unique and eye-catching. For example, Citywide Law Group uses the hashtag #citiwide in practically every post on Instagram. Brand-name hashtags help customers easily find your brand, gain recognition and build rapport for the brand and its users.
9. Collaborate with influencers
For example, BECCA Cosmetics worked with Chrissy Teigen to develop a new beauty highlighter palette. The video received 5 million views, over 140,000 likes and a lot of comments. This collaboration not only helped increase the relationship between the influencer and the brand, but it gained a lot of social media engagement.
10. Post creative teaser campaignsBuilding hype before launching your product can stimulate curiosity within your target audience and make your Instagram marketing campaign more effective. Offer exclusive content to your loyal followers. Post teaser photos, product teaser videos or use Instagram Stories to push your teasers. Reward your followers and let them know the launch date of your new products, events or services. Take a look at this teaser video below. It was posted before the launch of Coldplay’s CD. This kind of preview makes your followers feel inspired and stay tuned to find out more.
11. Partner with other brands
12. Cross promote Instagram postsCross promotion is one of the most effective ways to increase your following. Promote your Instagram posts on other social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and invite your fans to follow you on Instagram. You can use different ways to cross-promote. For example, you can post your video content on Facebook or Linkedin and drive more traffic to the intended network, share your Instagram contests on relevant social networks or schedule your posts on other social accounts with special tools.
13. Include a clear call-to-action
14. Give GIFs a chance
15. Post user-generated content
16. Offer discount codes and couponsIf you want to increase sales on Instagram, your followers should engage with your content and become active users instead of passive scrollers. People love to buy something at a discounted rate. Give them a coupon code or any discount by including your product photo and text to explain more about what's happening. Holidays and special occasions can be a great opportunity to promote your offerings and prevent your products from cheapening in the eyes of your target customers. Just ask users to follow your Instagram account, and give them 10% off.
17. Build strong relationships with customers
18. Develop smart Instagram ads
19. Add Locations to Your Posts
20. Take full advantage of free Instagram toolsThose who use business profiles can easily access analytics and the connect option. You can easily connect your profile to your Facebook account, and better understand how users engage with your content, which posts get more exposure and earn responses. It’s imperative that you focus on this information to improve your engagement. Check out these 5 free Instagram tools every marketer needs.
21. Don’t abuse the Direct Message featureUse the Direct Message (DM) feature effectively without being “spammy”. Once people learn about this feature, don’t instantly start sending direct messages like “Hi, you have a great profile! Would you love to buy something?” Surely, it will make you get blocked. If you want to use the DM strategy, create some value in your DMs and send it out to people that really want your product or service. When you build a great connection, say thank you in your message and ask to tag them in your thank you post. Stay real, sincere and grateful. Create more customer value.
22. Monitor the right metrics
23. Post on Instagram at the right time
24. Find the frequency of your posts
25. Use Instagram filters and third-party apps
26. Use a Content CalendarA content calendar is a great way to organize your Instagram posts and manage your overall content strategy. The calendar helps you track performance and plan for future posts. Define a timeline of activities you want to post on Instagram, and improve efficiency. You can use tools like Google Calendar or Trello.
27. Schedule postsIf you don’t want to spend chunks of time publishing your posts every day, you should certainly use scheduling tools which can help you schedule and preview Instagram posts in advance. They are really big time savers for bloggers. Such preparation will give you the possibility to focus on other important tasks.
The Bottom LineYou know what? Your Instagram journey is never over. If you create an Instagram profile for your business, you will never stop growing and evolving. By using these 27 awesome Instagram tips, you can maximize your earning potential and find success on Instagram. It can be tricky, but I am sure that these tactics can help you kickstart your Instagram marketing in no time.
Irina Weber is an active blogger, content marketing enthusiast and brand manager at SE Ranking whose contributions regularly appear in publications related to online marketing, social media, conversion optimization, and business development. You can reach out to her via Twitter @irinaweber048.
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