You might think you’ve got all the tools you need in your social media marketing strategies, including many that belong to the social media realm, but are you leaving Instagram marketing out because you don’t think it can be effective for your business goals?
Among so many types of social media marketing, Instagram is considered the simplest and most successful marketing tool because it focuses on visual appeal.
At the beginning of 2015 it was announced that Instagram’s user base has surpassed that of Twitter.
A large factor behind the popularity of Instagram is the ease and simplicity of use it provides.
You snap a photo, add a caption, share it to your Instagram page, and the image can now be seen by your followers and others on the social media network. Using it for personal reasons is truly that simple, but how about using it for your business?
Hashtags are like bookmarks on social media, and they allow people to find your content based on hashtag searches. While they were initially popular on sites like Twitter, hashtag use has now become a standard part of updating content on nearly all other social media networks, as well.
Your hashtags should be relevant to your content, and you can also include hashtags that are currently trending (as long as they, too, are relevant).
Another way to make hashtags work for you is to create your own and build up awareness and popularity through sharing and use. Use the hashtag you’ve created throughout all your social media marketing channels.
2. Avoid Overt Salesmanship
Yes, you are using Instagram to promote and sell your products or services, but more importantly, you want to use it to increase brand recognition and awareness.
When your content is centered about a “sell, sell, sell” theme, your audience will quickly lose interest, especially on a site like Instagram, because they are looking initially at the visual appeal of your posts, not the product or service the posts may represent.
Discount offers, refer-a-friend promotions, and other sales-related ideas are fine on occasion, but make your content more about who you are and what you do, not what you’re trying to sell to people.
3. Collaborate With Others On Instagram
While you should avoid too much salesmanship, collaborating with others can bring awareness of your company, products, or services to a wider audience. An example of this would be to offer free samples or sponsor popular Instagram personalities that are willing to include pictures on their account featuring your items, along with a tag referring back to you (and a unique hashtag, if you’ve created one).
This can work well to draw more attention to your product line whether you’re a small boutique outlet or a large national chain, and it will act like an endorsement if it’s done right and appears natural.
4. Be Consistent With Branding In Your Posts
One of the keys to becoming a successful brand with Instagram marketing is through consistency. If you don’t have a clearly identifiable brand image, your posts won’t be able to bring together a theme that relates to your brand.
Herschel Supply’s contents are consistent with a style and theme.
Choose a style or format for your images and content that reinforces and promotes your brand and be consistent with it, so that your viewers and followers can identify your brand’s posts even without looking at the username attached to the content.
5. Add New Content To Your Instagram Account Regularly
Posting several times a day on Instagram is totally fine since users spend very little time on each content. However, you should make sure your posts have a few hours interval in between them. Doing this will ensure you have the maximum reach towards people who login in different times and also prevent being annoying to your followers.
Posting on Instagram is fairly easy so it shouldn’t be a problem posting several new content a day, however, make sure your images are original, engaging, and appealing. Fresh is best when it comes to visual social media content.
6. Instagram Is A Community, So Be A Part Of It
It’s easier for you to attract followers when you become one yourself. Follow other people’s feeds and posts. Add comments to content you like, and reply to comments you receive. Share content that is relevant to your brand or company.
The more active you are with your Instagram marketing efforts and the more engaged you become in the community itself, the more visible and popular you will be with others in that community.
7. Host Contests
Hosting an Instagram contest is a great way to gain new followers and email subscribers. You can do this by offering prizes as an incentive for your audience to participate in your contests.
There are many kinds of contests you can host on Instagram. For example, “Like-to-Win” or “Follow-to-Win” contests where the audience can win just by following your account and liking your picture; “Hashtag User-Generated Content Contest” where the participants are required to share a picture using a content-specific hashtag that you have created for this purpose.
Each of these contests have their own benefits, but regardless of which kind it is, hosting contests on Instagram is an efficient way to generate new followers, and to increase social media presence, with a very low cost.
8. Use All The Tools Instagram Offers
Instagram has a wealth of options and features to help you boost the popularity of your content, so take advantage of those tools. You can edit images to make them more appealing, sponsor advertising on Facebook (which owns Instagram), and include captions with user tags to catch the attention of users with whom you’d like to collaborate (and don’t be afraid to ask for inclusion in their posts!).
9. Promote Your Instagram Account On Other Social Media Platforms And In Other Online Content
You can include links to your Instagram posts via Facebook and Twitter, or you can “pin” your images to your Pinterest account. You can also create blogs that are suitable for sharing on Instagram (and Pinterest) by adding a relevant and appealing image to your blog entries.
Add social sharing buttons to your website, blog, landing page, and elsewhere. The social media realm is a huge one, and the demographic is getting broader every day, so don’t feel like you’ll only be reaching one segment of the user base with your content – push the boundaries and make it convenient for people to share your content anywhere.
Instagram Marketing in a Nutshell
Using Instagram, or any other social media platform, for marketing purposes is no longer about reaching the young college crowd. People from 12 to 82 have social media accounts and use them on a daily basis, so you can use Instagram to reach an audience far bigger than the one you’d be able to touch if you were restricting your content to a demographically-limited social media network.
Social media marketing is evolving constantly with so many new social networks coming up. However, one social network that you shouldn’t ignore in your social media marketing effort is Instagram. Think big and think outside the box, include Instagram in your social media marketing and see how well it would work for your company!
Zhi Yuan is an inbound marketer who has expertise in both SEO and content marketing. He is on a never-ending quest to understand the mysteries of the search engine world, and sometimes, on his way to the ice-cream parlor.