It’s hard to believe it’s only been 7 years since Instagram introduced us to filters and square format photos. Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has taken the world by storm. Across the globe, there are over 800 million Instagrammers — more than 500 million of whom use Instagram every single day, sharing more than 250 million pieces of content each day. It’s no secret that your business needs to be active on Instagram — with more than 500 million users; it’s a social network that provides a great marketing platform to reach potential customers from every corner of the world.
Boasting over 300 million daily active users, Instagram has huge potential for marketers. But the potential in Instagram lies more in the user behavior than the numbers.
Instagrammers like to connect with brands
Research shows that brands enjoy a number of distinct benefits and advantages on the network:
- Instagram, brands enjoy regular engagement with 4 percent of their total followers.On networks like Facebook and Twitter, engagement is less than 0.1 percent. (source: Forrester)
- 70% of Instagram users report having looked up a brand on the platform (source: Iconosquare)
- 62% of users follow a brand on Instagram (source: Iconosquare)
- Only 36 percent of marketers use Instagram, compared to 93% of marketers who use Facebook (source: Selfstartr)
Must read – Top 10 Ways to Improve Organic Reach on Facebook
In order to improve your Instagram marketing, you need to increase your following on a steady and consistent basis. After all, the more people that come in contact with your brand and follows you on Instagram, the larger your audience is that you can potentially reach every time you post. Here are seven easy to implement Instagram marketing tips that will help you grow your brand — for free.
1. Take advantage of free Instagram tools
Instagram just started to roll out business profiles, which heavily mirrors Facebook’s business profiles, complete with a huge “contact’ call-to-action, allowing users to email, call or text the business.
Along with the contact option, business profiles have access to analytics, or as they call them, Insights, giving users access to impression and engagement data. If you use your Instagram account for your business, you might want to consider converting your personal profile to a business profile in order to take advantage of these options. The more you understand about how your users are interacting with your content, the better you can make adjustments to improve your engagement.
2. Cross promote Instagram posts
Want to easily add new Instagram followers that already love your brand? Post across all over your other social media profiles — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. — and invite them to follow your Instagram profile. They are already following you on social media, so they are obviously interested in what you offer, so give them another way to socially connect with your brand.
Don’t assume that your posts will reach everyone that’s connected to your brand on social media. Many people move away from certain social media platforms and some aren’t as active on some than they are on other networks. You want your followers to be connected to as many of your social profiles as possible to increase your reach per post.
3. Don’t overwhelm your audience
You want to post often enough that your brand stays relevant, but at the same time, you don’t want to post so frequently that you overwhelm your followers and they end up unfollowing your account because they feel you are constantly in their face.
There isn’t a magic posting formula that will work for every brand. You need to test and see how your audience responds. As a starting point, I would suggest posting twice daily, alternating times of the day to find out when your highest engagement occurs. Then start to experiment with more and fewer posts per day, really paying attention to engagement. Once you find your sweet spot, the work doesn’t stop — as your following increases you will have to adjust. Post frequency optimization is a never-ending task.
4. Interact with followers to spark growth
If someone takes the time to leave a comment on one of your posts, take two seconds to reply and thank them. That simple engagement can create a loyal customer as well as a raving promoter of your brand.
Also, incorporate ways to get your followers to interact with your posts. A simple, “Tag three of your friends that would love this” can quickly put your brand in front of a larger audience as well as attract new followers. Since they are being introduced to your Instagram profile through a friend, there is less resistance, resulting in many of the tagged users following your profile.
5. Create an interactive hashtag
Creating an interactive hashtag is a great way to create instant engagement — just make sure you are using hashtags the correct way. A very simple strategy I have used for some of the larger brands I consult for is creating a hashtag that customers use to tag photos of them with the product that they just purchased.
For example, creating a hashtag that your company can search for to re-post the pictures of your customers with your product will accomplish two things:
- It will cause more of your followers to use the hashtag and post images of them with your product because they will want to be featured on your page
- Every time someone posts using your hashtag they are exposing all of their followers to your company and product(s) — free advertising!
6. Repurpose content from other relevant accounts
If you are finding it hard to come up with enough content to meet the needs of your following, consider repurposing content from other relevant Instagram accounts. Just be sure to credit the original source in the post by tagging their profile and mentioning them in your caption.
There are many apps available that download Instagram photos and save them to your camera roll, allowing you to easily repost them. Repurpose content from accounts that have an audience you would like to get in front of, because many accounts will return the favor and repurpose your content after they see you share theirs.
The formula for Instagram success
Success for businesses on Instagram relies on more than simply publishing a few nice-looking images. You need to also have these elements:
- Clear vision and strategy
- Consistent frequency
- Familiarity with your audience
- Clear visual style
When you combine together these ingredients, Instagram can deliver huge results for your business.
Why are you on Instagram? Choose 1-to-2 main goals
Whether you’re completely new to Instagram and preparing to share your first post or are already established and looking to boost your presence on the platform, it’s important to start with clear goals in mind.
Setting goals will help you to define your strategy on Instagram and create content that will help you to achieve your targets.
Here are some common ones that brands, teams, and individuals tend to choose:
- Showcase your products or services
- Build your community
- Increase awareness of your brand
- Showcase your company culture and values
- Advertise to potential customers
- Increase brand loyalty
- Share company news and updates
It’s best to choose one or two goals for your Instagram profile, either from the above list or a custom goal of your choosing.