It’s no secret that your business needs to be active on Instagram – with more than 500 million users, it’s a social network that provides a great marketing platform to reach potential customers from every corner of the world. In order to improve your Instagram marketing, you need to increase your following on a steady and consistent basis. After all, the more people that come in contact with your brand and follow you on Instagram, the larger your audience is that you can potentially reach every time you post.
Last year, we shared with you about Powerful Instagram Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Brand which helps you get started on Instagram marketing for your brand or business.
Today, we’re here to share with you six easy to implement Instagram marketing tips that will help you grow your brand for free.
1) Cross-promote Instagram posts
Want to easily add new Instagram followers that already love your brand? Post across all over your other social media profiles – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. and invite them to follow your Instagram profile. They are already following you on social media, so they are obviously interested in what you offer, so give them another way to socially connect to your brand.
Don’t assume that your posts will reach everyone that’s connected to your brand on social media. Many people move away from certain social media platforms and some aren’t as active on some than they are on other networks. You want your followers to be connected to as many of your social profiles as possible to increase your reach per post.
2) Understand your audience
This is critical no matter what marketing you produce. You might create the most beautiful Instagram content in the world, but if it doesn’t appeal to your target buyer, what’s the point? Take the time to find out who your existing audience is, and think about who you’d like them to be. Since you’re using Instagram for marketing, you need to consider whether they are potential buyers, or can help you build your brand in some way.
So how can you learn more about your audience? Try Instagram Insights.
The tool offers some interesting insights (hence the name) into the people following and interacting with your account. These include:
- Impressions: How many times your content was viewed
- Reach: Total number of unique accounts that viewed a piece of content
- Website clicks: How many clicks the link in your business profile has received
- Follower activity: How often your followers are on Instagram daily
- Video views: How often your video content has been viewed
- Saves: How many people have saved your posts
Insights also include demographic information, so you can see where your followers come from, their age, and their gender With this, you’ll have plenty of information about your existing Instagram audience.
But what if you want to attract new followers? Use a listening tool.
Social listening shows you conversations happening on social media. That includes Instagram. A good listening tool will tell you what people say about your brand or your industry on Instagram.
If you’re trying to appeal to new Instagram users, you need to know what makes them tick. Monitor Instagram for keywords that matter to you. That might mean hashtags you or your competitors have created or other terms that relate specifically to your industry.
What’s important is that you know what Instagram users respond well to, so that you can produce winning content yourself. That makes social listening tools like Mention a must-have Instagram marketing software.
3) Know when to post
Here are the top 3 global best times to post on Instagram for each day of the week, represented in Eastern Standard Time:
Here are some other tips from Later:
- Aim for non-work hours (lunch and evenings)
- Weekends if you’re a B2C company; probably not for B2B
- Wednesdays and Thursdays seem to be best for engagement
- 3 – 4pm is generally the worst for engagement
In the end, it’ll take a little research to figure out what works best for you. Monitor your posts and your competitors’ to arrive at an optimum posting schedule for your account.
4) Talk with them, not at them
Social media marketing is not an excuse to spam your followers with nothing but sales material. It’s vital to try to engage with followers as much as possible.
For one, it makes your company feel more human and less corporate. Also, the more that users share and comment on your content, the easier it is for new users to find it. Instagram’s algorithm prioritises content with higher engagement and you want to appear in as many feeds as possible.
Here are a few great ways to encourage interaction.
- Share their images: User-generated content like this is a powerful endorsement for future buyers. When they see other people loving your products, they’re more likely to buy themselves.
- Hold contests: The best way to get interaction from your audience is to ask for it. And one of the simplest ways to do this is with contests. People love the chance to respond, and a little healthy competition goes a long way.
5) Use an interactive hashtag
Hashtags help you “organise and categorise images and video content” to find content more easily. They’re a simple way to tag your content to make it easier to find for others.
For example, creating a hashtag that your company can search for to re-post the pictures of your customers with your product will accomplish two things:
- It will cause more of your followers to use the hashtag and post images of them with your product because they will want to be featured on your page
- Every time someone posts using your hashtag they are exposing all of their followers to your company and product(s) – free advertising!
Here are a few hashtag best practices:
- Don’t overdo it: five targeted hashtags are better than 25 random ones
- Avoid overused tags: adding #love or #instagood is as good as useless
- Don’t spam: keep them relevant to the image
From there, you have two main options when choosing hashtags for your posts: general hashtags or branded hashtags.
General hashtags are hashtags that anyone might use, depending on the content of an image. “#Sunset” springs to mind, as do “#food” and “#wine.” But frankly, these examples are so broad that it may be hard to get noticed using them. Instead, try to find niche hashtags within your industry. This increases your chances of attracting the ideal audience to your content. A quick Google search will bring you lists of niche hashtags by industry. If you want to get more creative, see what hashtags your existing followers use. This is a smarter way to find the right people to appeal to.
If you’re launching an Instagram campaign, a branded hashtag is a must. This applies to contests, influencer shoutouts (keep reading), or new product launches. Branded hashtags are specific tags that only apply to your brand. They could be your brand name, the name of a product or person, or something special you’ve created for your campaign. Branded hashtags are much easier to track because they’re almost always used to talk about your own brand. Track the reach of your hashtags throughout a campaign to help judge whether the campaign was a success. This also lets you compare several campaigns against one another, to see which strategy was more effective. If one hashtag received twice as many mentions as the other, that campaign was the winner!
6) Tell stories
If you’re an Instagram user, you already know about the Stories feature. It sits at the top of the follower’s feed and lets them see several posts in a row from the same user. For marketers, this is a wonderful gift. You don’t need to try to convey your entire message in a single image, you can string several together to tell a narrative.
Stories are different from your usual Instagram posts in a few key ways:
- These images flow from one to the next in a slideshow
- Each image is erased after 24 hours
- Because the images are full-screen, there are no captions
- Other users cannot see comments
And you don’t need to worry about trying to appear higher in your followers’ feeds. All Stories sit at the top of the app, and users can scroll through them to find the ones they like.
Here are a few tips for Stories:
- Offer something different: Don’t just string together your usual Instagram content. Show sneak peeks or “day in the life” glimpses to make this content feel special.
- Focus on the narrative: Try to give Stories a beginning, middle, and end. Introduce a person, place, or product, pique the user’s attention, then knock them out with a killer CTA.
- Be informal: Stories also tend to be more intimate, and less polished, than other Instagram content. That doesn’t mean that they can look rough – far from it – but you can show your brand’s human side here.
- Try a takeover: Let a talented staff member take over the account for the day and build their own story. Or, if you have good connections, a well-known influencer is even better.
If you’re lucky enough to have a verified account, you can even add links to Stories. This makes for great CTAs, where the user simply has to swipe up to go to your site.
Take advantage of this opportunity to craft a different style of content. Balance your carefully composed timeline images with more off-the-cuff Story content. This variety keeps your users paying attention for longer, and hopefully sharing you with their friends.
Those were 6 great tips and way too many words to make Instagram work better for your brand. Now it’s just time to put them to use. Learn more with our one-day course – Instagram Marketing & Advertising.