Instagram, with more than 700 million monthly active users, now claims over 8 million accounts using business profiles. What does that mean for the mobile-based photo and video-sharing social network? Brands want their Instagram marketing strategy to reach targeted demographics, engage users and drive real social value. In this blog, we present 12 valuable Instagram marketing strategies for 2018.
Your Instagram bio is your most important piece of real estate. This is the first thing your followers see when they check out your profile. You need to make a great impression! Whether you use your business name or your real name, the name people see in your bio is how they know you. For the bio remember this is your brand/company…what do you want to say about yourself and your business? Make it exciting and fun; emojis are encouraged!
Relative and attractive username
Creating a username for Instagram is as important as naming your new-born. It is the lifeblood of your Instagram profile because the username is used to discover your brand and it is a critical factor whether a person will follow you or not. Build your username around your target audience and content strategy. For example, if your content is on book sales, your username should reflect that.
Don’t forget captions in photos
Writing good Instagram captions may not seem as crucial as your Instagram feed to you, but they play a critical role and not just regarding building a community around your brand. Instagram captions with effective call-to-actions (CTAs) is one of the best ways to motivate your followers to comment on your posts, and it will help to drive even more engagement on your account. Therefore, it could be the key to having your post seen by more people.
90% build the audience by creating value and 10% posts try to sell or advertise
Identify what your followers value in your services and products, but also in their lives. Once you are clear on your values, take some time to research and understand your audience. Follow trending conversations and hashtags to see if there are specific values that are most important to your customers and prospects. By highlighting how these values align with your brand, you can increase loyalty.
Engagement, ask questions, make compliments to your target audience
As with all social networking platforms, Instagram works best when you use it to form relationships with other users. Using the platform is not about posting pictures in your little vacuum. It is about participating in and building a community around photos.
There are many ways to build and become a part of a community on Instagram. Using hashtags allows you to connect with people you may never otherwise have met. Liking and commenting on other user’s photos gets you engaged with the greater community and often helps you grow your followers as people reciprocate. Participating in Instagram campaigns intended to further a worthy cause can help you contribute to a greater good. Sharing images and videos from events can help your followers feel like they are in on the action, and are a real part of your community.
Post at least 4 times in a day
You will read lots of conflicting advice regarding how often to post to Instagram. Ultimately, only you can decide what works best with your audience. Begin with once a day, and gradually try increasing the frequency up to at least 4 times a day. In other words, don’t be afraid to push the envelope when it comes to your posting frequency. When you reach a point where engagement starts to drop, scale back a bit until you reach your optimal level.
Hashtags are everything
Apart from your image, your hashtags are the most crucial element of your post. While captions help you tell the story behind your image, hashtags allow you to get your image and caption seen by those outside your current sphere of followers. When users search for relevant industry-related hashtags, you want your posts to show up. If not, there’s a good chance your competitors’ posts will…increasing their influence and helping them grow their followers.
There are three main strategies you can use for choosing hashtags:
- Use popular hashtags that have the best chance of getting searched for (e.g., #love, #tbt, etc.)
- Use less popular hashtags yet highly-relevant hashtags. These may drive fewer users to your posts, but the ones who do find you will be more targeted.
- Use hashtags commonly thought to attract new followers. Some of the most widely used are #followme, #follow4follow and #follow.
Whichever strategy you use, try to use at least one hashtag on each post. Don’t worry about using too many hashtags; some research even suggests that engagement is highest on posts that have 11+ hashtags!
Give genuine comments to your followers
With many engagements, your posts might be featured in the top posts of hashtags or even in the Explore tab, reaching more people. And probably gaining more followers. Liking and replying to your followers’ comments to your posts is a great practice to engage with them. Since they took an effort to check out your posts and commenting on them, it feels great to reciprocate by continuing the conversation.
Use third-party tools for analytics
You can be successful on Instagram using only your Instagram app. However, there are many great tools that can save you time and give you better insight into how well your posts are doing on the platform. These third-party tools allow you to access your account via your web browser, find out which of your photos and videos are getting the most engagement, and track who is following and unfollowing you.
Post video content
Although Instagram started as a photo-sharing network, it has since grown beyond just photos. With features like videos, stories and live videos, brands can now create many different types of content to engage their followers and build their audience. One of the main reasons why you should try posting these new content types is that the average engagement for videos is growing faster than the average engagement for images and when you go live on Instagram, you appear right at the front of the stories feed.
Having multiple accounts is good for the brand
The first reason why having multiple accounts is good for the brand is to distinguish your brand’s location. If your business operates in different parts of the globe, you may want to consider multiple Instagram accounts.
The other reason is that the individual Instagram accounts serve a very specific and unrelated purpose compared to the other networking platforms. So you can play to your strengths far more efficiently this way.
And the third reason is to find a unique voice as language barriers can provide a massive disconnect when communicating with your audience. Consumers may find it off-putting and distracting to read different languages on one account.
Know and spy your competitors
You might be new to using Instagram as a marketing channel, but your competitors probably aren’t. So use the platform to follow their activity to see how they interact with their community. What content do they post? When? How often? How do they engage with their fans? Do they have an Instagram contest running? By answering these questions, you will be able to discover some best practices in your business and define your creative strategy.
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