13 Tips From Social Media Experts on Instagram Marketing

Looking for more ways to improve your Instagram marketing? Are you interested in the latest tips, trends and tools for Instagram? Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms and businesses are especially eager to establish an online presence and encourage engagement on their networks. We reached out to ask a few social media experts to share their hottest and most effective Instagram tips. Here’s what they had to say.

#1: Always Shoot Square

Your Instagram feed is truly only as good as your photographs are, so how about starting with high-quality photos that make your Instagram marketing more effective. Specifically one of the best ways to save time and of course compose better photos for Instagram is to shoot square photos. There are many digital cameras and smartphones that have this option in their settings so it’s really simple to do. By choosing to shoot square you ultimately saving time on cropping and ensuring that the essential elements in the photo won’t be cropped out later when posting. Because shooting photos inside the Instagram app can be limiting, we like to use Camera Awesome by the SmugMug team on the iPhone this feature is also available for Android users. When using this app, you can take fantastic photos using the grid to follow the rule of thirds.

#2: The benefits of using a Customized Shortener Link to Track Traffic

To date one of the most important things marketers always need to know is how well their Instagram account is actually driving traffic that will lead back to their website. However, unfortunately, Google Analytics can’t give you 100 % accuracy to track this traffic when users visit your website from your mobile Instagram account. But not to worry, because to monitor accurate click rates, we recommend businesses use a customized bit.ly link (or a link from another shortener) exclusively for the URL in their Instagram bio. After you created your short link then you can check your bit.ly data to document how many clicks your Instagram account is actually sending leads to your website. Creating a different bit.ly link each time you change the link for a new landing page, campaign or default page to continuously track successful traffic leads.

#3: Get Creative and Strategic With Your Bio Link

For us personally, Instagram is fun, gets creative and spontaneous. However, if you want to use it as a marketing tool, you have to be a little more calculating with it. When you research and suspect businesses that are really killing it on Instagram like Macy’s, Starbucks, Puma, Adidas and several others often plan their posts well in advance. If you’re a one-man show or a smaller brand, you can still develop a great presence on Instagram it doesn’t matter how many followers you have at this point. Using the link in your bio to connect to a landing page that holds the same posts you put on Instagram, and allows you to collect relevant leads, promote your e-commerce site, gain more subscribers to your blog, collect entries for giveaways, promos etc.

#4: Cross-Promoting Your Partners

A key tip is to always Cross-promote whenever you can! The current trend on Instagram at the moment is to share, share and share! Share the love so to speak you can do this by tagging others or even by outright promoting other companies, products, and services on your page. Locally we have restaurants that serve beer from the many craft brewers in the area and both the brewers and the restaurants take full advantage of Instagram by tagging each other. The brewers also support one another with tap takeovers, which are rich grounds for Instagram photos and tags. Cross promoting is also a great way for you to garner more business from the businesses that are cross promoting yours. Get in and cross-promote till your fingers hurt, the results are threefold which means higher recognition for everyone involved, increased followers who in turn tag the businesses during visits and it also increases traffic and sales for the local businesses.

#5: Trending Hashtags Go Ahead And Take Advantage

Great news for all Instagram users you can now use Instagram’s Explore feature to find posts related to trending, most popular or most used hashtags such as #LoveWins, #MLKDay, and #OOTD. If these trending hashtags are relevant to your brand make sure to include them in timely posts to aid your discovery or to be featured on the explore page. While we still on the topic of search, Instagram has also introduced the ability to search by emoji tags. YAY! If emojis make sense for your brand’s strategy, then be sure that you’re thinking about how they can be a great channel-appropriate way to convey what your copy can’t, but also how they can aid in your overall discovery.

#6: How To Drive Instagram Users Into A Marketing Funnel

For the most part and for a lot of brands, getting a follow on Instagram is highly important, but it’s just one step in the overall marketing funnel and here’s why. In order to move your users further down the funnel, you need to consider identifying more ways for you to capture your follower’s email. That is ultimately one of the best ways to capture your follower’s email is to simply ask for it. When you share an image with a call to action in both the caption and visual telling users to click the link in your bio to download an ebook or sign up for a newsletter. Once the user does this action you will then have the ability to engage with him or her on a one-on-one basis and take your connection to that next level. However to do this effectively, you should create a targeted landing page that is directly tailored to your Instagram following, so when you use the correct messaging that references Instagram and shares a similar look and feel as your brand on this channel. From there, you should engage with your email subscribers by delivering them valuable and relevant information that will help move them down the funnel. Drive them to your blog posts and other social channels and keep them up to date with your product, service and of course and new promos or giveaways that you may have.

#7: Mixing Photos and Videos

One of our hottest Instagram marketing tips is to mix up your posting strategy by including videos in addition to photos. When considering that a video can generate three times more inbound links than written posts, it’s definitely a valuable tool that can be used to engage fans, also grow your following and drive traffic. As a social media marketer, we know all too well that Instagram is about visual storytelling, but when it comes to creating a video you can actually bring your story to life. For example, take a look at Oreo or McDonald’s and you’ll see awesome examples of their creative, fun and engaging stop motion videos that feature a product at the center of the video, without coming across as a sales pitch, how cool, right?. The videos are very fun, shareable and engaging, and with Instagram’s video editing features, they’re super-easy to create. Simply hold down the Record button and pause when you want to shoot a different scene. Or you can upload a pre-made video. You can also make your own stop motion videos using different apps like video Splice, Ripl and more. Of course, if you don’t want to include your product or services, you don’t have to. Be sure to encourage your loyal followers to create their own videos and collect them on your page like GoPro does, or you check out the most-followed brand on Instagram which is Nike to see plenty of effective videos. This is a brand that has a really good grasp of what Instagram is all about: inspiring viewers by using powerful visuals that focus on the audience, not the product. The key here is to make it about your audience rather than your business, and you’ll quickly see a surge in followers. Your followers love when you post and share engaging content that they can relate to and for you to engage with them in.

#8: How To Leverage Sponsored Ads

For me personally, one of the hottest marketing tips for Instagram right now would be to be on the lookout for access to the ever-growing and very popular paid feature on the platform. Sponsored ads on Instagram are becoming a daily regular occurrence on people’s timelines, whether it’s one ad or multiple ads using the carousel element, this is giving brands a whole new dimension to target their audience. Before sponsored ads, people following your account would only see photo updates, whereas now brands can promote these to anyone within their target audience. These features are still in their infancy stages and only selected brands working in partnership with Instagram are using them, but not to fear we expect this to take off dramatically with other brands. Again we can’t stress enough that marketers must be ready with content that is both engaging and created with a particular target demographic in mind. You’ll also want to have multiple posts ready to target to different audiences. When you have multiple posts ready, it’s more effective to reach a new target audience and gain more business.

#9: Directing Users to Your Most Valuable Content

Considering Instagram now allows advertisers the ability to add clickable links in their carousel posts, URLs still aren’t clickable in photo descriptions. Fortunately for us, there’s a way to get around this so marketers can seamlessly direct followers to their most valuable content. You need to simply utilize the link section of your Instagram accounts bio. When you choose to direct users to a permanent page or landing page, such as your website’s homepage or your blog. But there’s an even better option for you, that is to link to your most current content, whether that’s an article, blog post or promotion. For example, take Mashable’s Instagram account. In the description of their latest upload, users are encouraged to click through to the link in Mashable’s Instagram bio. Clicking this link will take them to an article related to the Instagram photo. Remember that URLs to actual pieces of content tend to be lengthy, so consider using a URL shortening service to come up with a vanity URL (Read #2 on shortening links). Also, you could share Instagram stories to alert your followers to go onto your page to view your new post. Directing-Users-to-Your-Most-Valuable-Instagram-Content

#10: How to Use Sponsored Posts

Our number-one Instagram strategy for getting massive exposure and building a huge audience is to find a few large Instagram accounts that are already catering to your demographic and pay for sponsored posts on them. It’s one of the most affordable ways for CPM (cost per thousand impressions) for any ad platform right now. The fact of the matter is that there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Instagram accounts being built solely for the purpose of selling featured shout-outs to companies and brands. Most commonly, one person will run multiple accounts that have hundreds of thousands of followers in a variety of niches like health, fitness, cars, sports, fashion, nutrition and many others. When you find the one that targets your ideal demographic and follow them, Instagram will show you “similar accounts.” You will most likely know if these accounts accept paid sponsored posts if they have an email address in the bio. Most likely it will say something like “For Business Inquiries” or click link in bio as well. From there, email them briefly about your brand/company or product/services the smart ones are also looking for a good fit and ask for their sponsored post pricing. Once you strike up a deal with the account, make sure you review their past posts to see what type or style of photos receive the most engagement and consider this when you’re creating your ad image and copy. The best thing to do is to link back to your Instagram account, instead of trying to send users directly to your website, since Instagram doesn’t allow links in comments. Who knew using this tactic makes it so easy to gain thousands or tens of thousands of new followers in your target demographic overnight. The essential key now is to cultivate your new followers with great content that appeals to them while slowly introducing them to your brand. Make sure that when finding a brand to share your ads, you want to find to an account that is most relevantly related to your business or it wouldn’t make much sense.

#11: Making Shareworthy Graphics

Pairing images with captions is an extremely effective way to in engaging your audience. We love an app called Canva, with Canva’s #dailydesigntips we love to combine striking graphics with a piece of sharable cool content like a motivational quote or a simple design tip, here at TNS we love creating creative, fun and quirky graphics. This results in engaging content for a versatile audience. Once you complete the image with a detailed caption and all the relevant hashtags, the entire combination will result in a compelling post packed with nuggets of knowledge and inspiration if you will.

#12: Create an Editorial Calendar

Since you have the ability to access Instagram from your laptop to engage with content from your followers, and it is now come the time to update your account with new content you’re confined to a mobile device such as your tablet or smartphone. For some of you who work primarily from a laptop, making the switch to using a tablet or smartphone for posting to Instagram can be very challenging, especially if you’re trying to manage multiple Instagram accounts at once. We suggest to help make the transition to using a mobile device for posting much more convenient and time friendly, we recommend creating an editorial calendar. Once you’ve used your editorial calendar to plan out your Instagram posts, then all you need to do is create your content calendar, schedule it and post it to Instagram. We prefer bulking our content because it helps save time, you can choose to add these tasks to your to-do list and post them from the native Instagram app or use some of the scheduling tools available to help like Hootsuite, Sprout Social etc. The great thing about using this technique is that as your business grows and you use Instagram more, you will now be able to scale it up to meet the demands of your business. (Please refer to 8 Marketing Tips to Grow your Instagram)

#13: Connecting With Instagram Influencers

When you look for influencers you need to refine your search to keep within your specific vertical and someone who will showcase your products in a creative, fun and innovative way! There are more than 60,000 influencers on Instagram covering a variety of verticals this would be including fashion, beauty, health, wellness, home décor, food and so much more. Today, Instagram influencers are modern-day celebrities and are creating a high-quality world of digital content. Instagram influencers tend to have a large follower base and are well trusted for their opinions on the latest beauty products, fashion, and trends. You need to align your brand with the right influencers so that you can expand brand awareness and your follower reach. There are many ways to work with influencers to promote your products, from contests, promotional offers to giveaways, you must find a unique angle on how you want to carry on the relationship between your company and the influencer you choose to be a brand ambassador for you. One of our personal favorite contest is to tag a friend in the comment section, this is Instagram’s version of word-of-mouth marketing (Neat!). So there are many different types of Instagram contests including some like, like to win, user-generated photos with a branded hashtag or Regram to win. Make sure the influencer’s Instagram posts include your brand’s handle this is absolutely important in order to drive traffic to your page. The influencer can either tag it in the photo or in the social media copy, ask the influencer to include any relevant calls to action as well, the most common calls to action in Instagram marketing are a swipe up to Shop Now or Learn More on our Website or Click link in bio etc. By incorporating influencers and contests into your Instagram marketing strategy, you are tapping into two of the most powerful ways to find new users and convert them into your loyal customers. Make sure you always find compelling ways to have your influencers promote your campaign. Get Creative with it, think outside the box and most importantly be original.

Conclusion | 13 Tips From Social Media Experts on Instagram Marketing

There is no better way to step up your Instagram business game than to be active on Instagram, this powerful platform is to constantly make improvements, generating individuals and businesses so they can get more out of it. Bonus, there are also tactics aside from Instagram itself, to increase organization, engagement, and visibility. Would you be interested in exploring these tools and tips to learn which ones work best for you and your business?