There are 1 billion active users on Instagram every month, and every day, 4.2 billion photos are liked. With Instagram, the quality of the posts are much more important than the quantity. According to Forrester research, Instagram user interactions with brands is 400 percent higher than on Facebook and Twitter, delivering 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.
The numbers speak for themselves: Instagram is a must for building your personal brand and business if you are looking to appeal to millennials. If you’re new to the platform or looking to increase your engagement, here are 30 tips to help you maximize your Instagram exposure.
30 Instagram Marketing Tips for Business:
1. Create the perfect Instagram username. Make sure your Instagram handle is recognizable and easy to search. Try to avoid using underscores or numbers in Instagram handles.
2. Use Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories are used daily by over 500 million users. Leverage this rising trend and build your audience by showing followers what’s taking place in your business behind-the-scenes. Pin the story highlights to your Instagram profile. Fun fact: over 2 million advertisers are buying Instagram Story ads across Facebooks properties.
3. Geo-Tag. Be sure to utilize the location feature on each post to increase visibility using geo-tags. Add locations to all of your posts to increase search optimization and geo-targeting.
4. Create a branded hashtag. Create a unique and relevant hashtag for your business that followers can use. But be sure to heavily promote the branded hashtag at events and on marketing materials. A custom hashtag is worthless if no one is using it.
5. Hold Instagram Takeovers. Utilize local celebrity influencers to drive traffic and engagement through cross-promoting content on both Instagram accounts. Here is an example of a successful Instagram Takeover we did with News 12 Anchor Tara Rosenblum.
6. Utilize user-generated content (UGC). Show appreciation for your followers by featuring them using your products or service. For example, Sharpie powers their Instagram account with fan-submitted doodles created with their products.
7. Switch to a free Instagram business account. Convert your personal account to a business account. This will enable you to track insights and analytics that regular profiles don’t have.
8. Use Instagram planning apps. To win at Instagram, you must be very creative and good with graphic design. Consider using an app like preview or Plann to lay out all of your upcoming posts in a grid before you click post.
9. Include a call-to-action. Tell people what you want them to do. This may seem simple, but it is often overlooked! If you are looking to increase sales using Instagram, consider running Instagram ads or boosted posts and include a CTA in any Instagram ads.
10. Weekday Hashtags. Use popular hashtags every day of the week to make it easier to get found in hashtag searches. These include #motivationmonday, #transformationtuesday, #wisdomwednesday, #tbt and #flashbackfriday.
11. Regram. Search for people who are mentioning your brand and use the Repost app to regram any brand mentions. Be sure to tag them and mention any associated Instagram handles in your posts.
12. Tag brands. Tag Instagram users and locations in posts to make your brand easier for new users to find. Also tag other influencers in your Instagram posts to get found in their tagged photos, but be careful not to spam!
13. Aspirational Instagram Marketing. Think of Instagram as a vision board for your business. Post photos that will inspire your prospective customers to be part of the lifestyle brand that is associated with your company.
14. Like and comment daily. An easy way to increase visibility is by liking and commenting on prospective customers photos. Through this Instagram marketing strategy, people will check out your account and are more likely to follow you back. Leave a comment on at least one photo per day to create a digital footprint.
15. Offer exclusive content. If you’re launching a new product or service on Instagram, try creating an exclusive promo and offer followers a unique code to track how effective the promotion was. Consider creating an Instagram carousel post to highlight the new content.
16. Run a photo contest. Use all images—even those that don’t win—as fresh content to help promote the brand. Make sure any contests adhere to legal rules by avoiding social media legal mistakes that can get you sued.
17. Focus on the story behind the post. The image may be the star and the hashtags may offer context, but the caption tells a specific story, highlights subject matter expertise, and gives insight into the context of the photo. Make sure it is formatted properly and use emoji’s sparingly.
18. Download editing apps. Use apps such as Afterlight, VSCO, Whitagram, Pic Stitch, Aviary, Hyperlapse, Quick, Bokehful, and Snapseed to edit photos. Studies have shown that photos using Mayfair, Inkwell, Amaro, Walden and Lo-Fi filters to get more likes and enhance your images.
19. Social Listening. Follow and monitor top trends to grow your brand’s awareness and stay on top of industry trends through a newsjacking strategy. Use social listening tools such as Mention or Google Alerts to monitor for brand Latergram, HootSuite or TweetDeck can also help with this process.
20. Analyze new followers. Get to know your followers to make posts more relevant to them. When someone follows you, follow them back and then analyze what your followers are interested in and what hashtags they use.
21. Run contests. Have an incentive for your Instagram community to share content and promote your brand with the use of prizes and giveaways. For example, National Geographic hosted a #MyAWAY Contest where users could upload photos of places that, to them, are an escape. On Instagram, they would tag the photos with #MyAWAY and at the end of the contest period, one lucky fan wins a digital camera plus goodies from NatGeo and Go RVing.
22. Reward your followers. Create lasting relationships with followers by using discount codes. Reach out and connect with influencers one-on-one. Brands that go the extra mile by rewarding their Instagram followers see better success rates.
23. Create a compelling visual aesthetic. Post photos that show the lifestyle of your customers, while staying relevant to your brand. Your account should be a balance of fun pictures and branded, promotional business photos. Make sure all images share the same aesthetic.
24.Do not over post. “Feed speed” is a critical factor of your brand’s Instagram success. There’s a fine line between agitating your followers by clogging their newsfeed and posting so infrequently that your followers forget you exist. Create a posting schedule and editorial content calendar that allows you to track what works and then decide which direction to take.
25. Post at peak times. According to a study by TrackMaven, the most effective days to post are Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Another study found that posting at 5 PM EST yields a higher engagement rate.
26. Leverage video. Use diverse visual formatting, such as 15 seconds of video or a cinemagraph (still photographs in which a repeated movement occurs.) Also consider leveraging Instagram TV (IGTV) for longer form video content.
27. Resize Graphics. Make sure all of your graphics are consistent using a graphic design software such as canva.com. Be sure to use Canva’s “magic resize” tool to resize images to spec to fit the Instagram specs.
28. Promote your Instagram handle. Connect your Instagram account to your website using social plugins and link your Instagram handle in your email signature to expand your reach. This creates an avenue for traffic for each social media site. Also consider making your Instagram account visible on Facebook.
29. Reverse engineer. If you’re trying to get prospects who may be interested in your services, think about their hobbies and demographic profile. Search for hashtags that align with their hobbies, such as #yachting #countryclub or #hamptons. From there, like and comment on their photos and follow them directly. They may even follow you back.
30. Measure. Observe when your followers are online and review performance metrics. What images and posts do your followers respond best to? Where are your new followers coming from? Is your brand growing or shrinking on Instagram? To refine your Instagram marketing strategy, it’s important to know what resonates best with your audience.
Finally, be sure to repost images that show your product or service in use, while also using hashtags where your optimal follower can be found. Also remember to respond in real-time to the latest trending content. If you receive a sales lead through Instagram Direct Messaging but respond four weeks later, the lead will be gone. Try to keep your followers entertained and engaged with educational and informative content.
By following these tips, you will maximize your Instagram exposure and, as a result, increase your brand awareness (and sales!). Need help with developing your Instagram marketing strategy? Contact us today to learn more about our social media marketing services.
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We break it down for you here.
Instagram Marketing Resources