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Instagram Marketing: What It Is & 11 Expert Tips

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What is Instagram Marketing?

Instagram marking is how brands generate new customers and strengthen relationships with current customers on the social media platform.

There are a lot of different components that can work together to create a comprehensive marketing strategy – photos, videos, stories, live posts, and hashtags just to name a few. With these components, companies work to build brand awareness, boost sales, increase customer loyalty, and even recruit new employees and partners.

Is Instagram a Good Marketing Tool?

Instagram currently has 1 billion active monthly users, so there’s a good chance members of your target audience have an active presence on the site. Big brands are already harnessing the power of marketing on Instagram, with 86 percent of big brands having a presence. No matter what industry you’re in, the potential to find interested followers is definitely there.

And for brands that sell products with a visual appeal, the advantages of being able to present your content in a stream of photos is ideal for promoting your inventory. Even if your company only sells a service, Instagram can still serve as the perfect place to grow brand awareness and build a loyal following.

Plus, Instagram has been releasing tools specifically for marketers, and encouraging them to use the platform for their marketing purposes. Business profiles, posts that are shoppable, and analytic tools all serve marketers looking to use Instagram as a way to leverage their business.

How Much Does Instagram Marketing Cost?

One of the most appealing things about marketing on Instagram is that it doesn’t necessarily have to cost you any money if you don’t want it to. You can create an organic presence and build a following without paying for any advertisements or boosted posts.

The downside to organic marketing is that it’s far more time-consuming to get the desired results. Your posts won’t reach as many followers on a regular basis and it’s much harder to acquire new followers without the help of paid ads.

What About Instagram Ads?

if your budget allows for it, you should consider investing some money into targeted ads and boosted posts.

  • Instagram ads are a great way to reach more people faster, giving you more potential for new customers and growth. And they’re by far the most effective way to reach people that aren’t already following you.
  • Boosted posts offer you a way to increase your reach with the people who are already following you, which is a great way to boost engagement by making sure they see your posts. You can also use boosted posts to reach custom audiences who are not following you. This is perfect for building brand awareness, as well as your follower base. Consider using boosted posts when you have something particularly important to share, like a new product announcement.

Instagram ads do cost money, however, so it’s important to plan ahead. You’ll want to target your ads as specifically as possible to ensure that you’re reaching the people who will be most likely to engage with your brand on an ongoing basis.

Follow These 11 Expert Tips For Instagram Success

Standing out from the crowd on Instagram can be tricky. Even though your target audience is there, you still need to take the right steps to ensure that you can reach them and keep them engaged.

These 11 expert tips will help you do just that.

1. Optimize Your Instagram Account

The first thing you need to do when you set up an Instagram account is thoroughly flesh-out your user profile. Your bio is one of the first things visitors will see when they click on your profile, so make sure you put it to good use.

Gatorade-has-a-great-instagram-profileSource: gatorade

Here are a few other things to keep in mind as you’re creating your profile:

  • 1a. Use High-Quality Images
    Pick an image that reflects your brand and is easily recognized by followers. For many companies, this simply means using your logo. For personal brands, it can be a logo or a headshot. Whatever you choose, you want it to represent your brand and to be memorable.
  • 1b. Name
    You’ll want to name your account after your brand so that it’s easily recognized and searchable. Your display name should always be your brand name. As for the username – using your brand name is ideal, but if that isn’t possible, make it a variation that’s as close as possible. You want your users to be able to find you, and your brand name is most likely what they’d be typing into the search field to get to your page. Consistently using your brand name as your Instagram name also assures people that you are who you say you are, and not a similar company or even a fake account.
  • 1c. Catchy Description
    Your profile description should give followers a quick snapshot of what your brand is all about. A good bio will feel familiar to people who already know your brand, but be informative and revealing to newcomers. This is the perfect place to let people know what you’re all about and how you’re different from the competition. If you have a branded hashtag, you should also include it here.

2. Instagram Is All About Images, So Post Amazing Ones

Instagram is a visual platform. People are there because they want to look at beautiful, captivating images that align with their interests. So if you want to be successful in marketing your brand, you’ll need to post images that stand out from the crowd.

You’ll also want to keep the overall aesthetic of your content consistent. If your brand tends to use darker, warmer tones, try to make the majority of your images fit that feel. It helps make your overall image as a brand more recognizable and memorable in the minds of your audience.

3. Post Daily

To generate a loyal following, you’ll want to post content to Instagram on a daily basis. When you post content every day, you’re ensuring that people are constantly viewing and engaging with your brand. Posting daily has also been shown to increase follower growth.

4. Post Consistently

Posting at the same time of day consistently will yield you the best results. You’ll need to do some experimenting and figure out exactly when your target audience is most active on social media. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer as to when the best time to post is. But once you figure out what times your audience tends to interact with content, you’ll want to post the majority of your content around the same time every day.

When you have a consistent posting schedule, people will know when to expect your content and look forward to it on a daily basis. When you post at a particular time that more of your followers are active, you raise the chances of getting more likes and comments coming in right away. Instagrams algorithms actually favor content that generates engagement quickly, so this will also help get your content in front of more eyes organically.

To figure out the best times to post content, look into your Instagram insights which will show you when your audience is most active.

5. Use Long Descriptions on Your Instagram Posts

While Instagram is heavily focused on visual elements, including a relevant and informative caption for your posts can go a long way in boosting engagement. Captions should be relevant to the image and written in a conversational tone that encourages people to keep reading and engage with the content. You can ask a question that encourages followers to respond in a comment or insert a CTA that encourages them to visit your site.

6. Utilize 5 – 10 Hashtags Per Post

Utilizing relevant hashtags is one of the best tactics you can employ to get your content in front of new eyes. But for your hashtags to be successful, you’ll want to do some research on the best categories for your brand.

What kind of hashtags should you use?

You’ll want to use a mix of general and specific hashtags. For example, if your business was a tea cafe a general hashtag like #tea would expose your content to the most searches, but because there are so many photos with that hashtag, they’ll get buried quickly. Using something more specific like #bostontea will put your content in front of fewer people, but they’ll be people who are more likely to engage with your brand and become a customer.

A QUICK NOTE REGARDING HASHTAGS:  While you can currently use up to 30 hashtags on a single Instagram post, we recommend only using between 5-10. Using too many at one time can make your posts look spammy, and the 5-10 range gives you enough flexibility to still employ a good mix of general and hyper-specific hashtags.

7. Follow People Within Your Niche

A great way to get your name out there on social media is to follow people who are already active in your industry. People tend to follow you back when they see that your content is relevant to their interests, and other people can find you when they scroll through the list of users who their favorite accounts are following.

8. Engage With Your Followers

One of the best things you can do to ensure that people stay interested in your content is to interact with them. This makes your brand seem far more personal, rather than being a brand just posting an advertisement. Have some fun with it, respond to customer complaints with tact, and make your audience feel valued.

80% of customer correspondence actually goes unanswered on social media. If a customer can’t get a reply from you for a complaint or question, they’re likely to spend their money with a different brand that will acknowledge their inquiries . Responding to customers on social media is a small way to show customers that they matter.

9. Track Your Metrics

Having a defined and measurable goal will keep you on track and give you something to work towards. Your goals might vary by campaign – sometimes you might want to focus on brand awareness, while at other times you might want to focus on promoting a particular product or service and driving sales.

Once your goal is in place you’ll want to keep a close eye on your metrics. You need to monitor your progress and track results in order to grow and improve. The metrics you monitor will depend on your campaign goals. Brand awareness campaigns will judge success by post likes, new followers, and post engagement. But a sales focused campaign will focus on click-through rates and store conversions.

Monitoring your metrics allows you to see just how well your current marketing strategy is working and highlight areas that could be improved upon. Once you have a good idea of what’s working and what isn’t, you can make adjustments to your strategy and post more content that connects with your audience.

10. Use an Instagram Business Profile

For the best results on Instagram, you should post your content from a business profile. And it can be done in a few simple steps.

While you could post from a standard page, Instagram offers business a few perks when setting up their profile this way -like shoppable posts, adding links to stories, and access to analytics and insights. It also allows customers to find your contact information much easier by allowing you to add your phone number, location, and email address so that no one has to try to Google your business – all the info they need is right there on the page.

Use-an-instagram-business-profileSource: paul pogba

11. Use Influencers To Reach a Larger Audience

One of the best ways to reach more people is to tap into the audiences that influencers already have. 60% of all Instagram users admit to learning about a product and/or service there, and the top 50 Instagram influencers, when combined, have a following of over 3.1 billion people. The sheer reach of influencer marketing on Instagram is far too great to ignore.

Influencer marketing is successful because it breaks down the wall that usually exists between branded advertisements and consumers. People are more likely to trust other people than advertisements because it feels more like a personal recommendation than a sales pitch. The best influencers are authentic when representing a brand, which maintains’ their followers trust while simultaneously driving engagement.

Since their followers already trust the influencers, they are likely to engage with your brand if their favorite influencers are promoting it. While big-name influencers come with a big price tag, you can narrow your influencer search down to micro-influencers whose audience is in line with your target demographic. These influencers might not have the most followers on the platform, but they do have loyal ones – and if their interests intersect with yours, you’ll quickly find yourself with new followers who are likely to be loyal and engage with your brand.

Conclusion

Instagram marketing can have a dramatic impact on your brand in terms of growing your audience, improving brand awareness, generating new customers and strengthening your relationship with existing customers.  Just keep in mind that there is a right – and a wrong – way to do it.

By optimizing your profile, posting aesthetically appealing images with compelling descriptions that include the right hashtags, interacting with your followers, and posting content consistently, you’ll have a solid foundation upon which you can build.  

But the best brands don’t stop there.  

They also embrace influencer marketing, boost posts, and religiously track their metrics so that they know what’s actually working, and can modify what’s not.  Much like other forms of social media marketing, great Instagram marketing campaigns are rooted in data analysis and optimization, so make sure that your strategy is nimble enough to be modified as needed. This will help to ensure that you see a positive return on your investment.

What are your favorite Instagram marketing tips?

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