4 Steps to Effectively Promote Your App on Instagram

By David Oragui / 7 February 2018

Learn how to promote your app on Instagram by following a simple, repeatable, and scalable 4-step process that highlights tools to automate key activities such as posting and interacting with followers.

You don't have to be a visual brand with a large budget to succeed on Instagram.

Foundr, a magazine for entrepreneurs, 3M, a global science company, and GE Appliances are living examples of companies that use Instagram successfully to promote their brand. And, it’s not a complicated process – every step is simple and repeatable.

In this article, you will learn how to build a cost-effective Instagram marketing strategy for your mobile app:

  • Switch to an Instagram business profile that drives traffic and quality leads
  • Use branded hashtags to increase engagement on your posts
  • Find and approach influencers to spread the word about your app
  • Use scheduling tools to save time

Step 1: Switch From a Personal to a Business Instagram Profile

Having a business profile on Instagram is key to promoting your mobile app on this social media network.

There are 4 benefits to having a business profile on Instagram, including the ability to:

  • Add contact buttons for your customers to reach you (call, email, and directions)
  • Access basic Instagram analytics to see how your content is performing
  • Run Instagram ads that enable you to promote your posts
  • Add links to your Instagram stories

Here’s how to switch your personal Instagram profile to a business profile:

First, navigate to your personal Instagram profile, and select the gear icon.

Second, scroll down and select  “Account.”

screenshot of account settings in Instagram

Finally, select the “Switch to Business Profile” option.

screenshot of business account settings in Instagram

Here’s a great example of co-working space WeWork’s Instagram business profile.

example of WeWork's Instagram business account bio

Note how short, simple and catchy it is: “WeWork: Make life, not just a living.”

With just a few words WeWork captures the essence of its brand – no frills or extras needed.

HubSpot’s business profile gives more detail about what the company offers.

example of HubSpot's Instagram business account bio

For HubSpot, the longer description features the product it sells, “a full stack of products for marketing, sales and customer relationship management."

As you can see, length has no bearing on the strength of your Instagram business bio.

Understanding your target audience and tailoring your message to match their needs and desires is what truly matters.

Step 2: Create Unique Branded Hashtags for Your Mobile App

Create a branded hashtag for your mobile app and include it every time you post about your app on Instagram.

Hashtags increase engagement on Instagram posts. A small test run by Scott Ayres, content scientist for social media management company Agorapulse, shows that Instagram posts with hashtags result in a 70% increase in likes compared to posts without hashtags.

infographic showing data: Instagram posts with hashtags result in 70% increase in likes
Source: Agorapulse

For example, Good&Co is a mobile app that helps people discover their workplace strengths via personality test quizzes. Suppose Good&Co (@goodcoapp) creates the hashtag #strategistappreciationweek and includes the following caption on an Instagram post:

"We think strategists help make the best companies in the world. Help us discover more strategists by tagging a friend (or two) in the comments below. Use the hashtag #strategistappreciationweek to tell us what strategies you've been planning this week for a chance to be featured. Happy planning!"

Each day Good&Co goes through the photos users post using the hashtag.

The more user-submitted posts Good&Co features on its Instagram feed, the more attention its mobile app and Instagram profile get.

Using hashtags to promote your app on Instagram has 3 main results:

  • Increases comments, likes, and followers for greater brand visibility
  • Provides free, user-generated content to share on your Instagram account
  • Encourages your audience to notify their followers to check out your brand

By encouraging your audience to tag their friends, you can generate more traffic and app downloads.

Here's an example from Buffer, a social media management platform that used unique branded hashtags to grow its Instagram following by over 540% in 1 year.

example of Instagram post from Buffer that uses unique, branded hashtags

Notice how Buffer tags its followers and include unique brand hashtags to keep the campaign running.

Step 3: Partner With Influencers to Promote Your App

Build relationships with influencers who can expose your mobile app to their community of followers on Instagram.

With influencer marketing ad spend set to reach $7.5 billion by 2022, an endorsement from an influencer is a powerful way to draw attention to your app

Instagram influencers are people with credibility in a specific industry and who have a highly-engaged audience that trusts their opinion.

But where can you find the right influencers to promote your mobile app?

Use the tool Ninja Outreach to find influencers to promote your mobile app. Simply search for a keyword and sort by follower count.

The example below shows a search for link building Instagram influencers.

screenshot of dashboard for outreach platform Ninja Outreach

While link building may seem like a niche topic for Instagram, Ninja Outreach shows that at least 46 Instagram influencers may be good matches.

The price of partnering with an influencer to promote your mobile app varies wildly. Remember to do your due diligence and establish core success metrics, such as engagement, traffic, and reach, before agreeing on a project.

graph of top success metrics for influencer campaigns

Agreeing on success metrics ensures both your company and the influencer understand the overarching goal of the partnership.

Step 4: Find Tools to Save Time Publishing on Instagram

If you’re concerned about finding time to promote your mobile app on Instagram, consider 2 automation tools to simplify the process.

Ideally, you need tools that allow you to:

  • Change your bio links to suit your latest campaign
  • Repost your audience’s content on your account
  • Schedule images, videos, and carousel posts
  • Analyze post performance
  • Plot your Instagram feed
  • Queue posts in advance
  • Preview your posts

Meet Schedugram and Planable: two powerful Instagram and social media management tools, designed to help your mobile app gain traction on Instagram

Schedugram Ideal for Scheduling Instagram Posts

Invest in an Instagram scheduling app like Schedugram to schedule your posts automatically, arrange the 9 photos that appear on your Instagram feed, and edit images.

screenshot of Schedugram's homepage

Schedugram publishes posts for you without sending notifications or alarms when it’s time to post.

With Schedugram, you can also plot your Instagram feed, analyze your metrics and repost your audience’s content.

Planable Allows Post Approval, Eliminating PR Disasters

Planable is a social media collaboration and approval platform that lets your team approve social media posts before they go live.

screenshot of Planable's homepage

Think of Planable as the Google Docs equivalent for social media publishing.

With Planable, you can preview your Instagram posts within the app, helping you avoid costly mistakes and PR disasters.

Mobile App Promotion on Instagram Possible With 4 Easy Steps

Marketing your mobile app on Instagram can generate extraordinary results if you follow a proven strategy.

As with every other social media channel, you must continually optimize your campaigns and test new ideas to generate more app downloads, increase conversions, and lower your customer acquisition costs.

Interested in other platforms to use to promote your app? Check out our article on using Quora for app marketing, or pursue other low investment app marketing strategies such as referral marketing.

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