Do you want know how to use Instagram marketing to grow your business? Do you want to get enough interaction with your brand? Do you want to know how to get more followers on Instagram? If you answered yes to any of those questions then you’ve certainly come to the right place. Instagram is cool way to connect with your socially engaged consumers. There are over 130 million active users on Instagram every month, and every day 1 billion photos are liked. Use Instagram for business purposes in the right way, and you could have an instant viral marketing success. Use it wrong, and most of your efforts on this young site could be a big empty fail and nobody wants that. Why do you use Instagram? Do you use Instagram to tell a visual story about your brand, instantly engage with your followers wherever they are, and even get very real user-generated content through photo contests on the app? Whether you’re new to the platform, you want to find out how to get more Instagram followers, or just want a few more pointers, we’ve put together 75 tips to market your brand more authentically on Instagram.
Focus On Engaging Your Customer #1Post images with your customer in mind. Post about more than your product. Make your business Instagram about lifestyle, and authentically connecting with your customers. Show Your Stuff
Be Creative With Your Photos #2Use filters to enhance your photos. Use cool angles, lighting and other photography tricks – whether you hire a photographer, or learn a few tricks on your own. Use photoshop, Diptic, or photoshake to edit your pics, or combine a number of photos into one. Here’s an example of three photos in one from the Instagram blog:
Make Videos #3Instagram now has video capabilities. Use this to make 60 second videos on your Instagram feed.
Post Photos and Short Videos of Your Products #4Take and post cool photos of your goods to share with Instagram users.
Show Your Products Authentically #5Show photos of your products as they are used in real life. Here’s an example from Whistler Water, showing fans drinking their water at an outdoor concert.
Show Your Products Creatively #6Be cool and creative on this hip mobile site. Pilot Pen USA is a great example of creative marketing on this Instagram. They sell pens, right? So how you market that on a social site like Instagram? They show photos of handwritten notes, and their pens.
Show Your Brand Story #7Post cool photos and videos to show your company’s core values and brand.
Show Who You Are #8Feature fun photos and videos of your employees. Give your Instagrammer’s a behind the scenes look at your company. This makes you look like a cool company. Williams Sonoma uses this tactic – here’s an Instagram photo showing a behind-the-scenes look at their test kitchen manager before a photo shoot:
Post Fun, Authentic Videos of Your CEO #9Make your top executives look personable. Make short, quirky videos of them to post on Instagram. For example, get them show one thing they like to do when not working, or doing something fun at the office.
Share Exclusive Content #10Use your Instagram feed to show photos you haven’t shared on your Facebook, Twitter or blog (and vice versa). This makes your followers feel special.
Launch a Productlive On Instagram #11If you’re launching a new product, taking your music group on tour, or opening a new store, etc – do it live on Instagram. For example, the day you launch your product, make a few 15 second videos of you and staff behind the scenes preparing for the launch, and the actual launch with excited customers. Post this to Instagram.
Build Pre-Launch Momentum #12If you’re launching a new product through Instagram, be sure to build excitement. Tease your followers with a 15 second video behind-the-scenes looks at how you’re preparing for the new product – without giving away exactly what it is. (Think iconic Steve Jobs marketing.)
Show Your Post #13launch staff party (or clean up) -Dare to show you and your employees authentically, by posting a short video of you after a product launch.
Partner With Other Brands on Instagram #14Whether you’re a small one shop business, or a large multinational, you have relationships with other businesses. If they’re on Instagram too, partner up, and get them to post your products on their Instagram feed. For example, this year’s Wimbledon created partnerships with brands such as Nike. Add More Tactics
Ask For Comments On Your Photos And Videos #15If you want more engagement on your posts, ask for it. Questions open up conversations. Ask your followers what they think of a new post you made, and more.
Ask Questions About Your Business Or Products #16Use questions to get your people talking about your business. For example, ask your Followers if they have used your product today. Add a unique hashtag and give your consumers a hub to share photos of how they used your goods with each other. Target uses questions, such as asking followers their favourite popsicle flavour. This gets people talking about products Target sells.
Ask Questions About Lifestyles #17Ask a question about lifestyles or how to solve common problems. For example, if you’re a fashion store – ask what boots your followers would wear with a new line of jeans you have.
Use “Fill In The Blank” Posts #18Make updates with a sentence followers can complete. For example, if you sell groceries, create a post with an image of breakfast cereals. Include a “fill in the blank” post such as “I love starting my day with a bowl of______”. This gets people talking about products related to what you sell.
Use Photo Caption Posts #19Another great way to get engagement on your Instagram posts is through photo caption questions. Take a cool image of your products, or something related to your brand lifestyle. Ask your followers to have fun by captioning it. Tip: You can even make a photo caption contest, to entice engagement in your followers through a cool prize.
Crowdsource Photos #20Ask followers to submit photos of how they use your product. This could help your business gain customer insight, and future product development research. It’s pretty easy to do, but you may need to up the ante. To entice lots of consumers to give you their photos, run an Instagram photo contest. Run Instagram Contests
Run Instagram Hashtag Contests #21Hashtag contests are the newest and most fun way to gain user-generated content and engage your followers. Followers simply upload a photo with your hashtag and submissions are placed into a gallery on Facebook and your website where they are voted on to choose a winner. Here’s an example of an Instagram hashtag contest run by Jorg Gray. It involves users taking a picture with a Jorg Gray watch, following the brand on Instagram and hashtagging #jorgstyle to win a free watch.
Run Instagram Contests With Cool Prizes #22When you host an Instagram contest, make sure your prize provides the right incentive to get your customers entering, and sharing with their friends, too. The right prize that connects with your market, can easily make your contest go viral.
Run Instagram Photo Contests WIth Voting #23Include a voting element in your Instagram photo contest. This will get your contestants vying for the most votes. They will spread the word about your contest to their friends, and friends of friends. Make Use of Mobile
Geotag Your Posts #24Target your local consumers by using Photo Map to tag where you are.
Bring Offline Online #25use QR codes to entice your in-store traffic to engage with you instantly on Instagram. Entice them with group offers and coupon codes.
Bring Offline Events Online #26Are you hosting a live event? Promote a hashtag for attendees to use to share their photos of it.
Bring Online Offline #26Host an Instagram meetup to engage in real life with local Instagram enthusiasts – and potential customers. Improve Your ROI
Post Consistently #27Regardless of your follower count, post consistently. This gets your brand seen regularly by your followers. They will be more apt to become more regular customers this way too.
Determine Post Frequency #28You might need to post 2-3 times a day, or 2-3 times a week. Monitor your account to determine your post frequency.
Find Your Perfect Instagram Posting Time #29Not all brands have the same best time to post on Instagram. Not all products do either. Use analytic tools to monitor when your photos are getting liked and commented on. Find out when your hashtags are being used. Then post your fresh content at these most active times.
Monitor Your Instagram Results #30use third party analytics, or track your followers, your hashtag post numbers, your post likes and comments.
Continuously Improve #31Based on your content results, keep improving your photo and video posts. If a particular type of image drives tons of engagement, keep using those types of posts. If using general hashtags get your posts interacted with a lot, keep searching for and using general hashtags.
Keep On Top Of Instagram Trends #32Instagram is constantly developing new and innovative ways to engage on this application. Keep learning to stay knowledgeable about the coolest ways to connect.
Setup Your Instagram Account #33Create your Instagram for Business account- It’s easy to make a business account on Instagram.
Make a Business Username #34Use your business name as your username. If it is taken, choose a username that is instantly recognized with your brand.
Complete Your Profile #35Include a cool, branded photo, a short informative bio, and a link to your website.
Connect Your Account to Facebook #36Instagram is owned by Facebook. Connect these two very powerful social media sites to boost your marketing efforts.
Make An Instagram Tab On Your Facebook Page #37This enables you to instantly share your Instagram photos to your Facebook Fans. Companies like Mercedes Benz are brilliant at integrating their Instagram content on Facebook:
Create A Brand Specific Strategy #38Keep your Instagram content strategy focused on your brand’s unique way of seeing the world. Instagram is a photo (and now video) sharing site. Connect your business with your ‘tribe’ on Instagram in a consistent and particular visual way. Use Hashtags
Use Hashtags In Your Updates #40Hashtags are a major part of Instagram. It’s a big way of how users can find you through their mobile Instagram searches. Unlike on other sites (such as Twitter), you’re not limited by character count. Include a few tags (but not too many – or you’ll look desperate) in your posts to get connected. Here are a few strategising using hashtags:
Use Brand Specific Hashtags #41Include your business name in some of your post hashtags. Also, use unique tags for particular marketing campaigns you run. For example, if you’re hosting a photo contest on Instagram, make a unique tag just for that campaign. This tactic both promotes your contest, and it gives your consumers a distinct tag to connect with others participants (so they can see their competition!). Here’s how Dry Soda uses a brand specific hashtag, #fridayDRYday to engage their community, and show off fan photos of the week.
Use General Hashtags #42Include general tags on your posts, to be found for your products or lifestyle posts. For example, if your business is a coffee shop, and you post an image of your scrumptious latte, include tags like #latte or even #coffee. Often even quicker to go. If you spot a trend, and it fits with your brand, use it. Your post could literally be seen by thousands of interested consumers in a matter a minutes.
Run An Instagram Hashtag Contest #43A hashtag contest allows your fans and followers to upload photos under a certain hashtag. All submissions are then displayed in a voting gallery on you Facebook Page, website, etc.
Monitor Your Brand Hashtags #44Your consumers are using your tags to connect with you. Be sure to keep checking your Instagram hashtags, just like you would your Facebook Page and Twitter mentions. Respond to comments and concerns quickly, and you’ll build happy customer relationships. Focus on Your Customers
Make Your Followers Famous #45Share followers photos on your social sites. Show your customers you appreciate them by acknowledging their cool photos, and share them with your Facebook fan or Twitter followers. NOTE: be sure to ask permission to use their photo first!
Embed Followers Photos #46Instagram now enables you to embed Instagram photos on your website and other sites. Use this, like Starbucks, to show cool images of your brand and product from your Instagram followers by embedding the entire post. Make sure you tell them you’re showcasing their image, to make them feel appreciated, and to get their permission to use it.
Like Your Follower’s Photos #47Acknowledge your customers’ awesomeness by liking their photos – particularly if they include your product, or emulate your brand.
Comment on Followers Photos #48Engage with your consumers by commenting on cool product related photos they post.
Respond To Comments On All Your Posts #49If someone comments on your posts, respond to them. This is particularly true when then comment is a question, or even something negative about your brand.
Mention Your Customers #50Mentioning is another huge part of Instagram. @mention your followers, your customers, and any other user with great photos of your products. You show appreciation for them, and you get to engage with your market. Here’s an example of Coke @mentioning a customer who won a recent Instagram photo contest:
Mention celebrities and other related industry leaders #51If your images are about celebs – let them know. They may just appreciate it enough to share it with their followers!
Determine Content Medium & Ratio #52Instagram started as a photo-sharing app, but its wide base of creative users publish everything from videos to graphics to Boomerang videos. As you plan out your content on your social media calendar, consider a balance of content types that will work best for the resources you have and the engagement you want from your audience. If video enables you to tell a compelling story about your product, work it into your content more often. If you don’t have the resources to execute video at high-quality level, you may want may want to only use video for specific campaigns and promotions. With composition for Instagram, quality matters, and it is worth spending the time to create the best possible content. Beyond its flagship app, Instagram offers several supplementary apps that help you get even more creative with your posts. The Instagram suite of apps includes:
- Hyperlapse: This app allows users to shoot stop-motion time-lapse. While the camera moves a short distance, the action between each shot is rapid.
- Layout: Combine photos and videos together in a single Instagram post through custom layouts and features like mirrored landscapes.
- Boomerang: Much like a GIF, Boomerang plays a short cut video forward, but also backward, repeatedly to create a nonstop motion. These additional apps allow brands and consumers alike to create even more unique, Instagram-specific content even without in-house design or video production capabilities.
Determine Your Objectives #53First thing’s first, what do you want to achieve on Instagram? What’s the purpose of your brand using Instagram? Whether you’ve never published a single photo or you’re an Instagram seasoned pro, consider the following for your Instagram marketing strategy:
- What will Instagram allow you to do that other platforms don’t?
- Who is your target audience and which members of your audience are active on Instagram?
- How will Instagram integrate with the other networks in your social media strategy?
Build Content Themes #54Review your objectives and determine what aspects of your brand to showcase in your Instagram content. Products, services, team members and culture all offer rich potential for subject matter over time. Once you have a list of specific content themes, brainstorm possible subjects for your images and videos. Your content themes should align not only through your brand voice, but visually as well. For example, Pantone consistently uses similar visuals to help tell a better story on Instagram. Using vibrant and colorful content highlights its products and increases interaction (aka: clicks and traffic). Did you know that Instagram photos with faces generate 38% more likes than those without? Building content themes around what you know works is essential to success. Start by using an Instagram analytics tool like Sprout Social to benchmark your content and see what actually drives engagement. Once you have your data, develop your content themes around that style of visual, whether it’s photos with faces, brightly-colored images or videos of your product. A quick Instagram audit will tell you everything you need to know.
Set a (Flexible) Content Calendar #55To establish and maintain an active presence on Instagram, determine the frequency with which you will post. It helps to learn some of the best times to post on Instagram so you reach your maximum audience for engagement. Afterward, develop a content calendar that cycles through your themes and integrates key dates and campaigns. Sprout’s Instagram Scheduling features allow users to select, edit and schedule Instagram posts from our dashboard. While you cannot schedule posts directly on Instagram, you can easily prepare content (photos, videos, captions) in advance through Sprout. Some of the best content for Instagram will occur spontaneously, especially if your aim is to highlight company culture or events. By preparing content and setting a general schedule in advance, you can allow the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities when they occur. During events, be ready to publish quickly to take advantage of real-time social engagement. But use scheduled Instagram posts to fill in the gaps in between.
Curate User-Generated Content #56If your Instagram community members share posts featuring your brand, you have access to a repository of potential content gold. Curating content from your fans allows you to foster audience engagement and create an incentive for your audience to share posts. Several brands primarily rely on Instagram user-generated content to fill their Instagram feeds these days. Brands like Anthropologie, Home Goods, GoPro and even Instagram rely heavily on UGC to promote their brand. However, one brand that truly lives off UGC is AirBnB. Each image on Instagram is an actual place customers can book through its site. The company has a great landing page for followers to find all the Instagram places mentioned by real customers. UGC can be extremely rewarding, but as always, the photos you choose to curate should match your brand aesthetic. Make sure to review users’ accounts and posts before sharing their content to ensure it’s appropriate to publicly align your brand with their account. Always give credit by mentioning the original photographer in your caption and provide your fans with insight on how to get featured. For Sprout Social users, you can easily share posts through our new Instagram Reposting tool. Users can Regram content straight from the app or schedule content on your calendar.
Establish Clear Team Guidelines: Style, Publishing & Workflow #57A consistent voice on social media is key to building your brand. And on a visual platform, the need for a clearly defined aesthetic is key. Even if one person is responsible for managing your brand’s Instagram account, establishing guidelines composition, filters and captions will ensure your Instagram account is part of a unified brand experience. When publishing on Instagram, you have more decisions to make than which filter looks best. From visual composition to location tagging and using hashtags in your captions, planning your approach in advance allows you to maximize the potential of each Instagram feature and functionality.
Maintain a Brand Aesthetic #58Review the existing visual representations of your brand: your logo, website, graphics, stock photography and other collateral. Do you have an established color palette? A cool or warm tone in pictures? Your Instagram content, and the editing effects and filters you choose, should reflect the same. Consider creating a social media style guide to maintain consistent branding.
Understand Your Brand’s Composition #59Not every social media marketer is a natural photographer. Shooting photos for Instagram is a learned skill. Determine your approach to a few basic elements of composition in order to create a sense of visual harmony when a user looks at your profile, such as:
- White space balance
- Dominant color(s)