By strategically using Instagram as a marketing tool, businesses can form a substantial online relationship with their target audience. With more people on the platform than ever before, treating Instagram as a valuable tool is crucial in the modern era.
Did you know that Instagram has more than one billion monthly active users? And 80% of those users follow at least one business on Instagram?
According to Sprout Social, Instagram ranks as the third most popular social media platform –behind only Facebook and YouTube. On top of that, Instagram already has over 2 million monthly advertisers.
This leaves you with good reason to consider Instagram as part of your digital marketing strategy.
A look at Instagram’s audiences provides a wealth of information. Instagram’ users range across all ages, but 67% of users tend to be ages 18–29. If your business targets millennials and younger audiences, Instagram is a marketing opportunity you simply can’t ignore.
Do you know what’s the best part? You can promote your business on Instagram with less than 20 minutes of effort per day. From creative bios to unique hashtags, there are boundless opportunities.
Let’s explore some tips that you can implement today to promote your business using Instagram marketing.
8 Instagram Marketing Tips
- Create a content strategy
- Be active and engage with your followers
- Provide value outside of your business
- Find creative ways to promote your brand
- Create a unique hashtag and build a story around it
- Run a bonus-entry contest
- Post at the optimal times
- Measure your results
1. Create a Strong Instagram Content Strategy
A strong content strategy is necessary for succeeding in Instagram marketing. Consider including a mix of content including:
- In-house content: Videos, pictures, infographics, and statistics. You can do a variety of content posts to educate customers on problems you’re solving, emphasizing how unique your product is, or celebrating your milestones.
- User-generated posts: Feedback, testimonials, pictures, and experiences customers share with your products
2. Be Active and Engage With Your Followers
Building an audience of followers on Instagram is a great first step. However, it won’t be of any use if you’re not actively engaging with your followers.
One benefit of social media is it allows you to interact your audience.You can engage with them through social media posts, discussions, contests, polls and promotions.
Though these tips apply to many platforms, these strategies work well specifically for Instagram:
- Reply to your users' comments and posts regularly. Remember social media is a two-way conversation.
- Appreciate your customers by saying “thank you” or @mentioning them in your posts.
- Follow and engage with influencers in your niche. By building a relationship, you can ask them to promote your brand. This can result in attracting more followers and building credibility.
If you are already on Facebook or other platforms, let your existing users know that you are also on Instagram. This is a powerful way to kickstart and promote your Instagram channel.
Instead of passively having a business Instagram account, taking an active role is highly important.
"If you want to use social networking as a sales tool, then you must actively participate in conversations and the exchange of ideas," said Shannon Belew, of The Art of Social Selling.
If you want to use social networking as a sales tool, then you must actively participate in conversations and the exchange of ideas.
Interacting with your target audience online requires an approach that makes you an active participant.
3. Provide Value Outside of Your Business
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing only on promoting their products on Instagram. Instead, show your customers that you care about them.
Post about different topic that may be of interest to your followers. By sharing valuable content, you’re more likely to generate sales in the long run.
For example, if you are in the apparel niche, encouragefollowers to share photos of the latest fashion trends. Or encourage themto donate old clothes to local charities.
Similarly, if you are in the food niche, you can show your support for local farmers. Remind people to purchase from local farmers and support their community.
It’s crucial to remember establishing trust in your brand means developing a relationship with the people you’re targeting and building a connection.
"Social media is not only a place for the hard sell — it’s a place to build trust and credibility," said marking instructor Julio Viskovich.
Social media is not only a place for the hard sell — it’s a place to build trust and credibility.
By building credibility, you’ll be able to have more open channels of communication about your products and create loyalty.
4. Find Creative Ways to Promote Your Brand
A common misconception is that Instagram is only for businesses that have visually appealing images. Specifically, in industries like food, clothing, fashion, pets, and travel.
Luckily, you can make your business stand out with some basic photo editing creativity.
Weave, a business communication system, incorporates lifestyle photos of millennial clients into their Instagram feed.
Doing this helps connect with their target audience in a fun and playful way.
Another example includes showing “behind the scenes” content of your workplace.
Sharing personal information like this can help connect with your followers. It shows that you’re more than just a faceless business.
5. Create a Unique Hashtag and Build a Story Around It
Creating your own hashtag is a great way to promote your brand. Instead of sharing content with generic hashtags like #love, #food, #life, consider promoting a unique hashtag tailored towards your audience.
WeWork, a shared coworking space company, created their own #DogsOfWeWork hashtag. It allows people to share photos of their pets in the workplace.
Their hashtag is great way for the company to promote their laid-back culture, while also inviting customers to interact with their brand.
6. Run a Bonus-Entry Contest
Use contests to increase your Instagram engagement. Consider creating a contest that involves sharing with friends, tagging people in comments, or following your brand across multiple social channels.
Instagram contests are often setup in a way where users receive bonus entries for successfully completing additional tasks, like tagging a friend.
Making enticing offers like this is great ways to grab your followers’ attention. Users are directly rewarded when they engage with your brand on social media, leading to, hopefully, more engagement.
7. Post at Optimal Times
Not only is it important to post highly engaging content, you also want to narrow in on the optimal posting schedule.
Try posting at different frequencies. For example, run a test where you post 3 times per day one week, and 4-5 times per day another week. Use Instagram Analytics to compare which strategy yields better results, in the reach section.
Later analysed 12 million Instagram posts and found the best time to post is between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Test optimal posting times with your audience and use the learnings to schedule your posts accordingly.
8. Measure Your Results
Instagram offers various tools for businesses to track their progress. Instagram Insights (mentioned in step 7) can show you information about your social media audience, follower growth, clicks and reach. It’s a great free tool to start tracking your metrics.
If you are looking for something more robust, there are many other tools in the market like SocialBakers.
SocialBakers also offers additional services like monitoring content, ads, and influencer marketing and an interactive dashboard. While these tools include a monthly fee, they can often track metrics across several social platforms.
Instagram Marketing Can Work for All Businesses
The key is to remember to start with a strong content strategy and engage with your audience. Share relevant information and to provide value for potential customers.
The more creative and relevant your posts, the more successful you will be. Using tactics like creating your own hashtag or running contests are also great ways to connect with users.
Finally, don’t forget to optimize your posting schedule and track monitor metrics.
Whether you do this in-house or hire a team, follow these tips and you’ll start to build an engaged audience, while seeing your business grow.