One billion people use Instagram. As far as social networks go, only Facebook and YouTube have more users logging in. So, as a business owner, you might think: “That’s a lot of potential customers for my business!” Well, you would be right. And did you know that engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook? That says a lot about the marketing potential of Instagram.
But don’t take these statistics for granted. You have to create awesome content and follow a cohesive marketing plan before you can say “My business is killing it on Instagram.” To help you stand out on Instagram and attract new followers and prospects, check out these 15 Instagram marketing tactics to try right now:
1. Stick with a Unique Theme
Branding is what separates you from the sea of businesses in your industry. It’s not just about having an attractive image, but also about making your brand recognizable. Plus, a consistent, unique brand image looks more professional than if you post random non-cohesive content.
So, we recommend for Instagram, to use the same filter or one color scheme consistently across your feed. Just like a logo, you want your Instagram feed to be instantly recognizable. That’s one of the pillars of building a strong brand.
2. Use Instagram Live
Instagram Live is a great way to reach your audience with news and other urgent content. Live videos are limited to an hour, which gives you plenty of time to showcase your content. Of course, don’t forget to tell your audience to turn on their notifications beforehand!
Not sure what to live stream? No problem! Try these examples: behind the scenes, contests, Q&As, “how-to” demonstrations, product presentations, event updates, etc. To get even more engagement, invite a friend, an influencer, or another brand into the mix. Also, you can save your live streams to your camera roll, allowing you to repurpose it for other social media channels as well.
3. Share Testimonials
User testimonials are a lot more credible than using your own words when it comes to promoting your business. Got a great review or testimonial recently? Then, share it on Instagram! And, it doesn’t matter if you got it from Google, Yelp, Facebook or another platform. If it’s a video testimonial, that’s even better.
Let your followers know about the joy you brought to your clients. Don’t be shy. This can have a powerful impact on the purchasing decisions of those who aren’t sure whether to trust your brand or not.
4. Start a Hashtag Contest
Hashtag contests on Instagram can help drive new followers and user-generated content very quickly. Here’s an example you can try: offer existing social media followers some sort of prize for following your Instagram page and posting an image with a theme and a unique hashtag (that you provide).
Then your new IG followers encourage their friends to vote for their photos. Then, at the end of the contest, view all the photos tagged with the contest hashtag using a third-party tool. Determine who got the most votes to select a winner.
5. Run a Giveaway
While a hashtag contest may drive more prospects and engagement, it requires a larger budget and a little more effort. If you’re not ready to start a contest just yet, try running an old-fashioned giveaway. There are many ways to start one, but here’s an example.
Think of an event, celebration, or milestone which would provide the context for your giveaway. Ask followers to tag a friend or two in the comments and optionally write their favorite product (of your brand). Choose a winner randomly, reach out to them with a DM, and coordinate the prize delivery. That’s it!
6. Use Branded Hashtags
If you don’t have a unique hashtag for your brand, you’re missing out. Having a branded hashtag distinguishes your brand from competitors. Plus, it helps people search for your brand and see content from your brand on Instagram and Google as well.
If you’re not sure what hashtags to use, think of your tagline. If you don’t have a tagline, create one and also some other versions of it. We all know and recognize Nike’s #justdoit, right? Add your unique hashtags to all your posts for more discoverability.
7. Offer a Behind-the-Scenes Look
People love to get a glimpse into how their favorite businesses are run. This includes you, too! Post some behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram to showcase your staff, workplace, or office pet. It humanizes your brand and creates a personal bond with your followers.
Take candid snapshots outside of the context of work and share them. A simple candid photo with your team at work may complement pictures of your products beautifully. Show your followers you’re just like them – real people doing fun activities.
8. Celebrate Company Milestones
Every time you have something to celebrate, whether it’s a business anniversary, employee anniversary, or something else, share the great news on Instagram! People love it when their favorite brands celebrate milestones and events, and engaging them lets them be a part of the excitement.
9. Share User-Generated Content
Speaking of pleasing your followers, they also love when their favorite brand focuses on them. A great way to do that is by sharing content – that they’ve created – on your own channel and tagging them. This applies to businesses such as clubs, coffee shops, clothing stores, tattoo parlors, etc.
By doing so, you develop your brand’s community and personalize your interactions with them. Also – Bonus! – there’s a ton of user content to tap into. Of course, choose some of the more eye-catching and visually stimulating photos/videos you can find and you’ll possibly boost your reach as well. Just make sure to tag the original creator. (Always give credit where credit is due!)
10. Use Marketing Tools
To select only the best content for your Instagram, a content curation/analytics tool will help you do it faster and better. Marketing tools like Iconsquare, Later, or INK361 allow you to take your Instagram marketing to a new level.
More specifically, use these tools to track your progress, find great new content, schedule posts, track your followers, and determine which of your posts are getting the best engagement. This helps you find content similar to your best-performing content faster and more efficiently than searching manually.
11. Use Instagram Advertising
One of the constant struggles of building your Instagram account is gaining new followers and more engagement organically. But, if you’ve exhausted all the strategies in the book and you’re running out of ideas, try Instagram advertising. While you’ll have to pay out of your pocket, you’ll reach a bigger, selected audience.
With Instagram ads, you can promote five ad formats: photos, videos, carousels, canvas Story ads, and Story ads. As a rule of thumb, promote content that, in your experience, has gained the most engagement organically.
Also, Instagram ads are integrated with Facebook Ad Manager, so you can take advantage of Facebook’s wealth of user information for targeting your audience with laser precision.
12. Follow and Engage with Influencers
Another good Instagram marketing tactic is to follow popular people (influencers) and engage with them. These individuals are talented at building a good follower base by posting great/useful content.
So, just as influencers have the potential to reach a wide audience, companies that are targeting that audience pay the influencer to promote their product on their account in a photo or video. Influencers typically get creative in the placement of your product – depending on the compensation.
To find influencers for your business, try using a tool such as Upfluence, Moju, or Keyhole. These tools let you search for influencers by keywords, manage your influencer campaign, and track your success.
Of course, if you don’t want to pay influencers to promote your product, just follow them and engage with their content. You may be able to get their attention or reach their audience in the process.
13. Make the Best out of the URL in Bio
Instagram bios are very short in nature, so you have limited space to describe and promote your business. Besides the short description, you can also add a link. But that link doesn’t always have to be your main website address.
Whenever you promote campaigns or share new content and want to direct followers to a specific webpage, add that webpage in your bio. This makes it easier for your fans to go to that exact webpage.
14. Use a Selling Tool
If you want to sell something through Instagram, consider using tools like Like2Buy or Have2HaveIt. These tools generate a link in your bio that takes followers to your Like2Buy (or whichever app you use) gallery to shop for products.
Alternatively, try using Instagram’s product stickers in the stories feature. It offers customers quick access to product information and simplifies the shopping experience. So, get creative with your stories and followers might just flock to your offers.
15. Include a Location in Posts
When posting content on Instagram, don’t forget to capitalize on the Location feature. Adding a location is especially important if you’re marketing locally. It helps visitors know they can find you if they’re close to your location.
Note that Instagram’s default setting for Location is “off,” but you can turn Location on whenever you post a photo. Choose whether or not to allow Instagram access to your location in your phone’s settings. Also, you can also add a location manually when posting content.
Instagram’s popularity is continuing to grow, and if you don’t adapt to current trends, you could fall behind your competition. So, create an Instagram marketing plan, follow it, analyze what works, and adjust – that’s the key to tapping into Instagram’s incredible potential to engage and convert prospects to clients.