We all know Instagram as the visual platform to post selfies, your dog in a halloween costume, and inspiring vacation photos. But, did you know that there will be an estimated 75.3% of marketers on the platform this year, according to eMarketer? That’s a lot of brands trying to get noticed!
I’ve put together some of the top Instagram marketing tips to help increase your profile visibility, gain new followers and in turn potential clients or customers, and drive engagement. And the good news is that you can do 8 out of 9 of them without spending a dime!
Quick facts about Instagram’s users
In a nutshell, here are the top five stats you as a marketer should know about who is on Instagram and how they interact with their feed:
500 million+ users are active every day
The platform is primarily female with 56.4% women and 43.6% men
25-34-year-olds make up the largest age bracket at 35.1%
31% of 18-34-year-olds in the US say advertisements seen on Instagram or Facebook help them make purchase decisions
The bottom stat alone should emphasize the importance of having a brand presence on Instagram. That’s a lot of potential views you could be missing out on if you don’t!
Instagram marketing tips & best practices
With these tips, keep in mind some have to be monitored or maintained on a regular basis, so it’s up to you to make sure your profile is always working for you rather than against you, or not doing anything at all.
Ensure your profile is a business account
First things first, to reap some of the benefits of Instagram as a business you need to make sure you’ve switched your account to be a business profile. Having a business account allows you to publish ads without Facebook ad tools, have followers contact you directly outside of direct messages, and finally, better understand your audience and the content they engage with.
Instagram analytics are a great way to get a view on your followers. It can show their demographics, times they’re most active on the platform, which posts are performing better than others, and show your account reach and impressions.
These are all vital details for you to cater your content to your audience, improve engagement, and also reach new audiences.
Optimize your profile
This not only helps people to find you, but to also quickly understand what you’re about. Start with your bio. Make sure it lets people know who you help and how, add contact information (email, website, etc.), and relevant emojis hashtags.
You should also establish a clear voice and style, add a CTA (contact me, visit my website, etc.), and add location tags.
Instagram stories are displayed at the top of the newsfeed, where your users are looking daily. It’s a quick and easy way to connect with your followers because you don’t have to worry about whether or not the content is high-quality or fits the aesthetic of your feed. Behind the scene shots sometimes aren’t so pretty, but audiences love a look into the background of what’s going on.
Another benefit to using stories is that you can tag other accounts when working with other brands or influencers, and vice versa. Once tagged it allows the other user to repost to their own account, meaning a whole new audience is being reached by your brand.
Partner with influencers
As just mentioned above, working with influencers gets you in front of audiences that follow and trust influential people. If they trust the person they’re following, they’re likely to check out what you offer and even potentially become a follower, customer, or client if they like what they see. Creating a long-lasting relationship in turn means building lasting brand awareness with a new audience. Typically, an audience that is constantly growing.
One thing to keep in mind is to make sure their followers are relevant to your target audience. An influencer selling hunting gear likely isn’t going to have the following you want as a makeup brand. Do your research before trying to attach yourself to someone with a vastly different audience.
This is also the one Instagram marketing tip that you will have to pay for. Influencers typically come at a cost, so be sure you’re paying for results you hope to achieve.
Create a branded hashtag
Consistently using a branded hashtag creates a feed around your business with photos or videos from both you and your audience. Hashtags are searchable on Instagram, so it allows users to scroll through branded content and creates instant engagement.
If you have other users implementing your hashtag, you’re also getting exposed to more followers. The hashtag feed is then generating even more content by encouraging your audience to use the tag. Which brings us to our next Instagram marketing tip.
Curating user generated content
With the content found through your branded hashtag, you can consider posting some of it to your own page as user generated content. This makes your brand a little more authentic and relatable to your followers.
You can also encourage your followers to tag you directly for a chance to be featured and tagged on your profile. They are likely trying to increase their following as well, so it becomes a win-win! It's also one less piece of content you have to create yourself. Just keep in mind that you want the image or video to be in line with your brand message.
Post at the right times
Obviously you want your post to get in front of your entire audience. While this is pretty hard to accomplish, you do have the ability to ensure you at least reach a large number of them. Instagram analytics will give you the data on your audience’s active times. Use this to track the hour when you have the largest number of your audience online. It will vary day-to-day, but jot down each day’s peak and be consistent.
One way to ensure you don’t miss out on the prime viewing time for your account is to use a social media scheduling tool. There are plenty out there from Hootsuite to Sprout Social to Buffer, just research and find the best one for your brand. Facebook even has its own native tool available called the Creator Studio that allows you to schedule your Instagram posts.
Engage with your followers
The key word behind the term “social media” is social. It’s a community where we can all talk and share laughs or stories, and customers expect brands to engage in the social behavior they see with friends. Engaging with your followers - responding to comments, liking photos, sharing posts - encourages further engagement from them, which is good for any business account.
Nobody likes a conversation to be one-sided, so be sure to interact with the people on your page. Especially the people whose names or profiles you notice come up consistently, they can turn into your biggest brand advocates.
Track the right metrics
Stay away from vanity metrics such as number of followers. Instead, if you’re trying to track the size of your account, track your follower growth rate. This will indicate the rate at which your profile is growing rather than just the headcount.
Engagement is a huge metric for business accounts. Be sure to understand the average engagement of your followers and the average engagement of each post. If you have a smaller follower count, your engagement rates should be higher than those with larger followings.
Another metric to keep in mind, is your referral traffic. This will indicate how social media is working as a source and which platform may be a stronger source for you.
Put these Instagram marketing tips to good use
There’s no shortage of benefits to using Instagram as a marketing tool for your business. I hope you take each of these actionable steps to create an awesome visual representation of your brand and in turn have it reflected in your business numbers.
Does this list seem way too time consuming? I can help! Check out my consulting or account management services and reach out if you would like to find a way to work together!