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Amplifr’s SMM Guide: Instagram Marketing Guide

Getting to know Instagram for Business and how to handle it.

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By Una Gašparović
content manager at Ranking Press

If “a photo is worth a thousand words”, it is worth a million on Instagram. Meaning, this platform relies on visual content to extreme extent, with over 95 million photos being posted on it every day. Images are the heart and soul of Instagram, to be honest, and Instagram marketing is what businesses are after in order to gain more visibility on this platform.

For any company, agency or individual entrepreneur, Instagram might be the chosen place to tell their story visually and connect with one of the vastest audiences online.

In essence, Instagram found the sweet spot between the strongest human stimuli – visual expression, and the all-powerful force impending every action – communication.

Instagram for Businesses

Having its mainly visual nature in mind, it might seem that Instagram is not too convenient for business promotion. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Tell us, what is by far one of the main components, ensuring a successful marketing strategy? You couldn’t be more right – the engagement is what matters. Without your audience engaging, the most wonderful content won’t be worth a shiny dime.

The good news is – on Instagram, believe it or not, brands experience the engagement even 4 times more intense than on Facebook.

Clarity and Straightforwardness

Well, we believe that it has something to do with the way users are interacting on Instagram. While on Facebook we all tend to be a bit stretched between various content types and forms, Insta is straightforward: wonderful visuals, with clear descriptions and hashtags.

Furthermore, users of Instagram adore connecting with brands. On other major social media sites, that is not really the case. Additionally, the majority of Instagram’s enjoyers have a habit of looking up for brands on this platform.

Finally, Instagram is not as used by marketers as Facebook or Twitter, for instance. Knowing this, merely placing your marketing efforts on Insta, puts you ahead of your competition, generally speaking.

Meet Instagram’s Algorithm

Alright, so all you need to do is post beautiful imagery on Instagram and you’re set: people from all around the globe will instantly go mad about it and start sharing like there’s no tomorrow?

Think again, because, in order to reap the benefits of Instagram for business, you’ll need to learn how to dance with its algorithm.

Based several factors that are affecting Instagram algorithm behavior, it is possible to understand how and when you should post, in order to reach as many people as possible.

The key factors Instagram algorithm cares about

  • Engagement: as you’ve already learned from our precedent guides, in general – high levels of engagement make social media’s algorithms happy. Instagram’s algorithm will perceive an impressive amount of views, likes, comments and favorites, as a sign of high-quality content, worth presenting to a massive number of users. It will also consider how quickly the engagement is received, so keep your eyes on trending hashtags and jump into the flow whenever appropriate!
  • Time, timing and timeliness: there are three aspects to consider when it comes to the connection of time and Instagram posts: — The time people spend watching your post (s) – write intriguing captions which inspire to click to read “more” or use videos frequently, and Instagram algorithm will reward you with broader visibility; — Timing also matters – scheduling posts to best times for Instagram (stay tuned, as we’ll cover those soon) can increase the oh-so-desired engagement; — Timeliness or how recently you’ve posted – there’s a strange chemistry behind recent posts and Instagram algorithm, so make sure to stay consistent in your posting schedule.
  • Overall optimization of posts: in short (because we’ll dive into these topics in the following sections), long gone are the days of chronological Insta feed. Back then, it was enough for businesses to post continuously and voila, success! Nowadays, certain optimization steps need to be covered: — The content should be compelling and engaging; — A strong enough, clear call-to-action needs to be included in the caption (when suitable); — The proper combination and quantity of hashtags is crucial; — Overall appearance of your business feed should look attractive, creative, and captivating, etc.

Though it might seem confusing, the “battle” with Instagram algorithm can be won. The process does require a bit of planning, but it is possible to boost the engagement on your business profile and therefore, perform better than the competitors. Trust us, it’s worth the effort!

Want to know more about Instagram’s algorithm and how you can outwit it by increasing your engagement? Check out our how to keep up with algorithm changes on social media guide for more information.

Sign up to Amplifr and connect your Instagram profiles to see if their overall performance is meeting your expectations.

Which Target Groups are Active on Instagram?

In July 2019, Instagram reported the mind-boggling number of over 1 billion active monthly users. This makes it the third largest social media platform on the planet, right after Facebook and YouTube.

But, who are its users? In which target market groups do they belong?

According to Omnicore and the statistics from July 2019:

  • A third of all Internet users are enjoying Instagram;
  • The majority of Instagram users are females (around 52%);
  • 80% of Instagram’s users are not located in US;
  • Most of the audience on Insta are young – between 18 and 24 years old, and around 32% are between 25 and 34 years old;
  • Instagram users are mostly invested in lifestyle, music and tech topics;
  • Influencers are truly ruling this online space, setting the tone, course and standards of posting.

Furthermore, Instagram users are diverse: whether it be beauty bloggers, musicians, outstanding visual artists, or stay-at-home-moms offering amazing workout plans, Insta is a place for all these interest groups. A beauty of Instagram is that it’s offering everyone an equal opportunity to grow a massive audience and earn money from it as well.

We’re not sharing these information for fun sake (only). Knowing which target groups are using a particular social media platform, and are those aligned with your desired market/buyer personas, could make your growth easier and faster.

In a couple of words, Instagram is straightforward, dynamic, youth-oriented, and insanely visual

Instagram is a great platform for brands, for it has been recognized as a powerful business tool. Did you know that there are more than 25 million brand accounts on this platforms nowadays? And 90 of the world’s top 100 brands use Instagram to promote their products and services? So, join in the game and start leveraging this social media giant (we got your back)!

How to Structure a Sensational Instagram Post: Images and Captions

“Everything on Instagram revolves around visuals” would be an understatement.

Honestly, mouth-watering images are a body and soul of this social media platform. But, before we dive into the nitty-gritty of post structure, it would be valuable to see how you should set the base – your Instagram profile.

What the Best Instagram Profiles Have in Common

In the midst of over 100 million posts a day, if your profile is not causing a sigh of amazement, the chances of it boosting your business are slim.

Fortunately, resources are many, especially on how to customize an Instagram profile to the point of pure awesomeness. These are a couple of guidelines, based on the most successful profiles, which you should consider applying to your own business-focused presentation:

  • Easily identifiable and memorable username (if the name of your business is taken, try including it at the beginning and then add something afterwards);
  • The profile set to “Public”, not “Private”, so people could see what you’re about;
  • A distinct, eye-catching and unique profile photo (usually, a logo, for brands and companies);
  • Of course, a set of beautiful photos, posted constantly (we’ll explain the right frequency of posting later on);
  • Short, informative and fun bio;
  • Inside the bio, it’s beneficial to add a relevant link to your landing page, offer or campaign – note that only one is allowed, so pick wisely and change it whenever needed);
  • Turn your push notifications “on”, to timely engage with your followers;
  • A proper use of brand-relevant hashtags (both community and branded ones);

Basically, your profile should: inform users on who you are, but also inspire them to click the “Follow” button.

The main elements of Instagram posts:

  • The images – right choice of images and how to edit them;
  • An art of Instagram captions.

Choosing the Images

Should every single Instagram post of yours be of the highest possible quality? The answer is a resounding yes!

Instagram’s users have no mercy when it comes to photo/image quality. This factor is certainly the main one, when a passing user considers whether your brand’s profile shall be followed or not. Do your best to prevent the “meh” reaction, using only the finest of visuals from your arsenal.

When choosing which photos/images to include in your Instagram adventure, here are some of the factors worth thinking about:

  1. Is the subject/idea interesting?
  2. The photo itself – is it well-framed?
  3. How does it represent your brand and what message does it send?

Let’s quickly see what lies behind each of these questions. This step will help you make a better selection, that fits into your general marketing strategy.

Evaluating the Image Subject

The question of the image subject depends mostly on your buyer persona. In order to make the best choice, try putting yourself in your customer’s shoes (metaphorically).

Let’s say that you’re focused on the younger population mostly, interested in music. In that case, think about their activities, trending topics and artists, and so on. Pick your images accordingly, so they resonate with that desired group, whichever that one might be.

Also, whenever possible, add a pinch of personality and/or humor.

Framing of the Photo(s)

Not everything is about the quality or photo subject (topic), though these elements are of great importance. What also matters is:

  • How the photo is lined and framed;
  • Is the perspective interesting;
  • Are the basics of symmetry applied, etc. Trust us, the filter that powerful to transform a poorly taken picture into a masterpiece is not yet invented.

But don’t worry, with just a little bit of research on these topics, you could master the basics and shoot Instagram-worthy photos in no time! Merely having the factors such as symmetry, angles and perspective on your mind while taking pictures, will immensely help you improve.

Furthermore, the editing part will be easier and enjoyable as well. Now, back to the story (because the story matters)…

Brand Representation and Messaging

Similar to photo subject/topic, this element of stellar Instagram brand posts is more strategy-related.

Essentially, no matter how beautiful your photos or how popular and appealing their subject might be, always make sure that all visuals are presenting your brand in a best possible way.

Food for thought:

  • What message are you sending (remember, the largest part of your communication on Instagram is based on images)?
  • Which story are you telling to your audience?
  • Does the photos represent a statement or an attitude you’re supporting?
  • The uniqueness of your business – is it visible?
  • And finally, how does that image inspire people to engage with your brand, doing so in a friendly, non-aggressive way?

There’s a lot to consider on this first step of choosing the right photos for your profile, we know. But believe us, just by taking the time to consider all these aspects, you’ll make an important step ahead of your competitors. In a such a crowded place like Instagram, every wise step counts!

Editing the Images

Once you’ve chosen the perfect set of images for your soon-to-be-impressive Instagram profile, the next step is to properly edit those visuals.

Here are some tips on how to make the already nice images even nicer!

  • Colors draw the attention – dull and pale images can easily pass by unnoticed in the competitive Instagram feed. Boost the colors so they shine bright and clear, but…
  • Don’t overdo the editing – there’s nothing worse than overly edited photos, except maybe warm beer or a cold heart. Honestly, no, excessive editing is still the worst. It’s easy to get carried away while improving on your photos, keep that in mind.
  • Go beyond Instagram’s editing options – sometimes, your photos will need just a small boost, in that case, Instagram’s built-in filters can do the job. Often, it is needed to use additional apps, or even Photoshop, and bring your Insta visuals to their full glory.

Now that you’ve scratched the surface of Instagram images/photos, what content “ingredient” is missing? You’re spot on, those spectacular visuals need a bit of text to further improve the presentation!

The Art of Instagram Captions

So, you’ve got yourself a nice batch of breathtaking images, eagerly waiting to be posted! Hold on for a moment though – a photo is surely worth a thousand words, but a strategically placed caption is an element that can truly engage your followers.

We already mentioned in the previous, introductory part, that an intriguing caption can help you beat the Instagram algorithm:

  • Interesting captions will hold your follower’s attention longer – and Instagram algorithm also calculates the time people spent viewing your posts;
  • The symbiosis of marvelous images and great captions can bring more likes, comments, favorites – our dear algorithm adores engagement!

When properly used, captions can add a unique context to posted photos, but also present your brand, entertain your followers, which could inspire them to take action.

Compared to Twitter’s 140, Instagram’s space of 2,200 available characters certainly sounds monumental! Of course, this space, which includes emojis and the maximum of 30 hashtags, is rarely filled out. Either way, no matter how long your captions are, make sure that they’re readable, entertaining, and provide value.

Crafting the Perfect Instagram Caption

Can we give you the example of the most perfect (if that is even possible) Instagram caption on the planet? Of course not.

But what we won’t hesitate to give you are several positive practices, which you could use right away: to improve on your Instagram strategy, reach more people and finally, boost your business.

Know to Whom You’re Speaking to

Besides the facts that we already know – that among more than 700 million (and counting) users, the majority of Instagram audience are females, 19-30 years old, located mostly outside US – the users of this platform are diverse, with various income levels and interests.

The chances are big that you’ll be able to find the ideal customers and prospects for your business in this digital jungle. But first, you have to know who they exactly are.

Once more, defining your buyer personas or archetypes can level up the social media strategy. Begin with the basics and move on from there:

  • How old is my perfect customer?
  • Where do they live?
  • What professions, interests, hobbies might he/she engage in?
  • Will my caption be understandable and relatable to him/her?
  • Is it appropriate to add some emojis and/or slang in my captions?
  • What could inspire my ideal customer/user to take further action?

Grab the Attention!

The Instagram feed is a competitive battle field. And the posts fly by more quickly than your weekend days.

How to draw the attention my posts deserve? – is one of the most common questions in social media marketing. Listen, one of the tricks connected to captions is simply placing the most important words at the very beginning of your post.

You’re right, not the words that are important to you, but the ones that are probably important and interesting to your ideal customers.

Also, while doing this, make sure that you’re placing the appropriate hashtags and mentions at the end of your caption. First, intrigue and motivate the follower to click and read more. Then, place all the desired clickable elements at the end.

Questions and Quotes

Every marketer’s dream is to have a responsive, engaging audience. That dream is shared by business owners, entrepreneurs, or basically, anyone wishing to raise brand awareness on social media.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to engage your followers is – ask interesting, relevant questions. By doing so, you’ll be able to do your market research, make friends with Instagram algorithm and ultimately, deepen the customer-company relationship.

Another textual model you could use, if it fits into your brand’s style are quotes – either from celebrities or your own (the latter is often used by businesses who wish to spread their presence, using their own brand voice).

Rewrite – Edit – Shorten Your Captions

Rarely (or never) the best piece of copy can be created on the first take. And the type of captions you should aim for in Instagram is short and sweet.

Do not hesitate to process your text through several drafts and edits, as well as doing the necessary cuts wherever possible. The end caption should:

  • Give deeper context to the image posted;
  • Provide additional information or lead the user to click “more”;
  • Inspire the follower to take further action (like, comment, share, click the CTA, etc.).

There are exceptions in every rule, so sometimes the longer caption can be accepted. Either way, always make sure that the text adds value to the image/photo and serves the purpose of your marketing strategy.

So far, we discovered the basic principles behind your Instagram post structure: how to use images and captions. Next, join us in the quest for best hashtag and @mention practices (one of our favorite topics, to be honest)!

The Best Use of #Hashtags and @Mentions on Instagram

Some people tend to use hashtags and mentions in their Instagram posts in a mainly random, intuitive way. Other, more experienced users are well aware that knowing the best practices helps the strategy in a long run.

Welcome to the second, advanced group of marketers, entrepreneurs, and professionals who use carefully picked hashtags and mentions on Instagram to draw relevant traffic, raise the engagement and desirably, grow their revenue through this platform.

Ready? Let’s begin.

Advantageous Tips and Tricks for Instagram Hashtags

Make friends with Instagram hashtags and observe how positively this will influence your marketing efforts. In essence, the smart use of hashtags makes it easier for people to find your brand on Instagram. With over 400 million users on Insta daily, you’ll surely want to get found.

The other way around, you could also use hashtags to find your desired audience, the one which is likely to be interested in what you’re offering.

The Basic Steps for Successful Hashtag Strategy

First, we’ll teach you how to find the ideal Instagram hashtags for your business. Then, you will discover exactly how and when to use those hashtags in your posts.

Finding the Right Hashtags

  1. Brainstorm all the keywords related to your product/service, target audience and industry. Write them all down.
  2. Research which popular hashtags are aligned with your keywords – main topics, interests, activities of your target group, etc. Consider the trending hashtags as well, keep your focus on the hashtags that many people are using.
  3. Avoid too broad or general hashtags like #travel and #Friday and aim for the ones that are both popular and connected to your audience – e.g. #familytravel
  4. Do not think only about quantity (number of people using the hashtag), consider the quality as well. Specific hashtag may reach less people, but the higher possible click-through rate.
  5. When deciding on hashtags, click on them to see the posts – could your business benefit from posting with that hashtag?
  6. Additionally, check the hashtags your (influential) competitors are using and learn from their practices.

How and When to Use Hashtags on Instagram

  1. Your organic (read: free) reach on Instagram increases with the number of relevant hashtags. But, do not place irrelevant hashtags just in order to reach the maximum. Instead, aim for the golden middle, which both your audience and Instagram algorithm will adore – maximum of 15 hashtags, but not less than four-five. Too much or not enough hashtags could hurt your growth strategy.
  2. Think ahead and group hashtags according to the type of your post. Prepare the hashtags ahead and copy-paste them when needed.
  3. Place hashtags near the end of the caption, leaving the initial space for the intriguing, captivating text.
  4. Experiment with hashtag use, change them as the trends shift. Stay alert.
  5. Any brand can benefit from reposting! Use hashtags to ask your followers for permission to repost their images – if they include a custom hashtag, you’ll know the image is available for reposting.
  6. Two ways of placing hashtags: to add them to the caption or into the first comment underneath.
  7. Consider creating a unique, custom branded hashtag – this will both help people find your content and help you spot your most engaged followers.
  8. Aim for the combination of branded and community (more general) hashtags. The key is in the balance.
  9. Try getting into the trending Instagram hashtags (where the ultimate traffic potential lies) with using all the above tips, plus – include 3-5 “big” hashtags per post (meaning, less targeted, but with many likes and comments).

Instagram Shadowban – What Is It?

Yes, it is possible to get banned/hidden on Instagram.

Here are some of the factors which could trigger this undesirable situation:

  • If you’ve used broken or banned hashtags (keep in mind that the list changes)
  • Also, using anything that violates the Instagram’s terms of service, such as Instagram bots, could also get you banned
  • If your profile has been reported as spam.

A Couple of Tips and Tricks for Instagram Mentions

Did you know that using @mentions could double your engagement on Instagram?

Of course, nothing can be guaranteed on social media, as the algorithms constantly change and user’s behaviour is rather unpredictable. But, one thing is certain – involving people directly into your Instagram activities is highly beneficial.

Here are some hand-picked tips on the best use of Instagram mentions:

  • Make sure that all the participants in your campaign are mentioned in relevant posts.
  • Whenever using user-generated content, don’t skip to mention that generous user.
  • Occasionally mention highly active followers to acknowledge their loyalty and engagement.
  • Don’t hesitate to mention a friend/coworker as well.
  • You can also mention people in the comment thread, use this possibility often – to give a compliment, to say thanks or start/continue the discussion.

Basically, if you wish for other people to engage with your brand, be the one who likes, comments and mentions other people, often. Every day, take time to like someone’s photo and make a comment followed by a mention. Trust us, consistency always pays off!

What are the Best Posting Times for Instagram?

Consistency in social media marketing always pays off. Certainly, not any kind of consistency, but a well-planned, highly strategic approach to posting frequency and timing.

As you’ve probably noticed, growing a business using Instagram is quite a challenging (but also, rewarding) task. The carefully chosen images need to be mesmerizing, captions should provide a deeper insight and inspire followers to take further action, the use of mentions and hashtags must be balanced, etc.

And even if you cover all the above-mentioned criteria, the engagement will be rather low, if your posts are sent out at wrong times!

How to Discover the Best Instagram Posting Times

No, glaring into a crystal ball cannot provide you with timing insights you need.

Luckily, social media analytics is a developed, active field, gifting us with research-based data on how certain sites such as Instagram behave. Furthermore, it has become relatively easy to monitor user behaviour and peak activity times.

When your schedule becomes too crowded, the social media tools such as our own can suggest the smartest posting times, based on your profile’s unique data.

Posting Times and Instagram Algorithm

Every time an Instagrammer evenly distributes the posts on the most engaging times, Instagram algorithm sheds a happy tear. Or at least it would, if it was a human.

Seriously, the one thing Instagram algorithm doesn’t like (the same as any other social media site, to be honest) is spamming. Another thing – when a profile is inactive.

Therefore, finding a golden middle between these two extremes, puts your business Instagram profile in a favorable algorithmic position. And benefits are many, including the better visibility all across the platform. More visibility – more chances for your brand to get noticed.

Best Times to Post on Instagram

According to several resources and our own research, there are a couple of time slots with a promise of high engagement.

  • Firstly, it seems that Instagram’s audience in general is mostly active during lunch hours between 11 am and 1 pm and late at night, around 2 am but also in the evening, between 7 pm and 9 pm. Note that these are not times when most people are posting, but the ones when the majority of users are active – liking, commenting, and reposting the content on Instagram.
  • Next, weekends are often “social media” days, as many people use this time relax and dive into various digital activities. Saturday seems to be the most engaging day during the weekend.
  • On workdays, evenings seem to be the most engaging times – from 5 pm all the way to 3 am And when it comes to a particular day which scores the highest engagement on Instagram during the week, the winners are Wednesday and Thursday.

Want to know more about when to post on social media including Instagram? Check out our best times to post on social media guide.

But also, did you know that Amplifr is a great scheduling tool that doesn’t only schedule as many posts as you want on multiple social media accounts, but also suggests the best posting times for those posts?

Based on your followers’ activity, Amplifr will give you the best possible times for you to publish your Instagram posts. This way you’ll dramatically increase the engagement rate on your posts, and they will be shown to a larger portion of your followers, meaning even more engagement.

What are you waiting for? We offer a free 14 day trial, so sign up today.

Sign up to Amplifr and connect your Instagram profiles to receive best posting time predictions.

Focus on Your Own Target Audience

Whatever marketing tactic you might be considering, always think of your own target group. See in which time zone they’re most active, especially if the business you’re promoting is focused on a particular location. According to that data, you’ll be able to tweak and setup your posting schedule.

Maybe your potential customers are spread all over the globe! If that is the case, determine from which country the majority of your users originate and then, adjust your timing plans with their time zone in mind.

Wait, What About the Frequency of Posting?

Truth to say, certain social media networks, such as Twitter, demand the often, almost aggressive posting habits. Despite the stellar numbers of Instagram users and a rather fast thread flow, this platform doesn’t require frequent posting.

Most of the successful brands on Instagram post not more than 6-7 images per week. The explanation behind this number might be – on Insta, quality is what matters. And it takes time to create phenomenal images and captions.

With that said, you can determine the best posting times based on your own audience’s habits and the tips we provided. Once that timing is set, schedule only 1-2 posts into those time slots.

Perfectionism is what gets rewarded on Instagram, so take proper time to do each and every step right.

10 Ways to Optimize Your Instagram Marketing

We all know that Instagram is a potential goldmine for any kind of business (not just visual ones). Proudly counting hundreds of millions of user profiles, Instagram is one of the top positioned social media platforms when it comes to user interaction.

As this Forrester research clearly points out, users are interacting with brands at the much higher rate on Instagram (about 400% higher), than users of Facebook and Twitter.

But, despite the obvious benefit Instagram has on brands and companies in all niches, its prime-quality nature often demotivates people. It’s a pity to miss out on Instagram’s profitable potential, when the optimizing tips and tricks do exist. Merely a handful of advice could significantly ease your marketing efforts.

Measure, Analyze, Optimize Your Instagram Profile

The analytical approach lies in the core of every optimization process. Pay close attention to Instagram stats you already have:

  • Most popular posts of yours – when were they posted?
  • What type of images gets the most engagement?
  • Where is the greater part of your audience located?
  • Your overall brand’s impact on Instagram – is it growing? At what rate?

Once you know the numbers, work on improvements and then monitor, analyze, improve again. Indeed, the circle never ends, but when done right, it becomes both exciting and rewarding.

Prepare the Hashtags on Time

Certainly, preparing the images for posting is a time-eater, but hashtag research could also turn into a tedious task. Think ahead: prepare a balanced blend of community and branded hashtags for your posts you can easily combine with marvelous images. Read more about proper choice and use of hashtags in this mini-guide.

Leverage UGC From Contests and Giveaways

Another powerful time-saver is focused mainly on images. Whenever you’re hosting a photo contest or a giveaway (and you’ll read more about the benefits of those campaigns soon), consider using your participants’ images, including those who didn’t win, for your following posts.

A pro tip: don’t forget to @mention the participants, as a way to say “thanks for participating”, but also to spread your brand’s name.

Plan Your Posts in Advance and Schedule Them Too

Remember when we talked about the best posting times for Instagram? There were some dead of night times such as 2 am mentioned in that post. Our dear reader, long gone are the days when one had to watch over social media 24/7 in order to reap its benefits.

Consider social media scheduling tools such as Amplifr, to ensure that your Instagram presence is up and alive, even when you’re not online. A move that simple saves a lot of time, effort, and nerves as well.

Cross-promote Your Instagram Content

Putting all of the efforts on a single social media network could turn into a dull project. Not to mention that by doing so, you’ll miss out on many benefits of cross-promoting. While not everyone is on Instagram (yet), consider connecting your Insta profile with the other online spaces.

Please note that there is a difference between cross-posting and cross-promoting. The first one literally means to post the exact same content everywhere, which is not recommended because every social platform has its own requirements. Cross-promoting, on the other side, is a strategic placement of the same message in different, appropriate forms.

Sign up to Amplifr and connect your Instagram profiles to make a content schedule.

Cross-promotion might help you optimize your Instagram marketing, by bringing external users and empowering your social media operations. Read more about it here.

Transform Instagram Into the Sales Funnel

Sounds powerful, and trust us – it is! Turning your Instagram profile into a sale-generating machine is one of the wisest marketing actions you could undertake. Any social media site, but especially Instagram, can attract more prospects and help you close more deals – let’s find out how!

There are many strategies out there, we’re sharing one of the simplest with you now:

  • Make sure that your Instagram profile is providing all necessary informations about your brand in the bio/username/name. Also, make sure that it looks nice and respects all the proven content standards we covered in this guide.
  • Next, you’ll need a landing page creation tool such as LeadPages. Here, you can create a sigh-inducing landing page which will inform your followers all about the offer. Which CTA (call-to-action) will you include on the page depends on your business goals – it could be a buy button, opt-in for your email list, or something third.
  • Whatever the goal, use LeadPages to track the page visits, clicks/sales and similar. Adjust and improve your offer if needed.
  • Another simple tool you’re going to use is a Bitly link shortener, or any other tool to help you make a custom URL for your offer.
  • Enter the URL of your landing page into Bitly and customize the ending so it sounds nice and memorable. This is the link you will include in your Instagram bio!
  • Instagram doesn’t approve on link promotion in posts, but you could use the captions and motivate followers to check the link in your bio, showing how an amazing offer/opt-in is waiting for them in there.

Organize Your Followers for a Clearer Overview

As the number of your followers grow, optimization of the profile becomes inevitable. As a brand, you can benefit from quality Instagram connections in a multitude of ways. But first, a system which groups the followers exist in your base.

The main elements worth considering are:

  • Who are the followers that engage with you the most;
  • The persons following you back, but also;
  • Who has unfollowed you recently.

The tools helping you to create fan lists on your business profile, such as Crowdfire, will immensely simplify your marketing communication.

Optimize Your Commenting Activities

For anything you might need, there is probably an app for that! In this case, when the number of your followers becomes overwhelming, it becomes difficult to spot and answer all the comments and reactions. The apps like InstaCommentor come handy in this scenario. This app in particular, acts as an interactive to-do list, but also the responder to Instagram comments. Either way, whenever and however possible, make sure to timely respond to your audience.

Maintaining and growing a social media presence, particularly on a demanding platform as Instagram, can turn into a time-consuming chaos. Photos need to be taken, formatted, edited, captions need to be crafted, hashtags and mentions mastered, posts need to be scheduled, comments answered… You get the point.

There’s absolutely no need to do all this by yourself. And it would a pity to miss out on advantageous possibilities this platform obtains. If you have a team, hand over certain bits of the process to your employees. Depending on the size of your business, consider outsourcing some tasks as well.

Not to mention how different people hold unique creative perspectives, which could only boost your Insta results!

Invite Instagram Ambassadors to Spread the Word

Take the opportunity to partner with Instagram ambassadors/influencers, as they’re probably the most powerful social media figures at the moment.

One single photo with one of those multi-thousand-followers Instagrammers can create an avalanche of leads for your business. But, keep in mind that the ambassadors of your brand do not need to be influencers.

Any of your company’s followers can help you grow your presence and impact. Encourage your fans to post photos and reviews. The more people present you, the more chances you’ll have to engage new potential customers.

A pro tip: always reward your brand’s ambassadors – with a shout out, a real gift or anything else appropriate.

10 Ways to Best Use Instagram Stories in Your Online Marketing Planning

First things first, what’s Instagram Stories?

In the simplest of terms, Instagram Stories is Instagram’s feature, that encourages users to post photos and videos which will last on the platform for 24 hours. Similar to Snapchat, posts on InstaStories cannot be viewed after those 24-hour period.

How Could a Brand Use Instagram Stories as a Marketing Tool?

As a relatively new feature (launched in 2016), InstaStories is a powerful marketing tool, not yet fully used by brands and businesses. This is where you jump in and take the lead! Follow us as we uncover the top 10 ways in which you could use Instagram Stories in your own online marketing planning.

Post Consistently on InstaStories

A compelling story is told continuously. Avoid posting separate, unconnected posts, but think of ways to really present a larger story in pieces. Similar to TV shows, look at these bits of reality as “episodes” and do your best to find a common theme which can connect them.

Focus On the First “Episode”

If your first post in Instagram Stories session doesn’t inspire people to watch more, the further effort will probably be in vain. A form of content worth considering here is a video, the proven high-engaging format. For your next posts in the brand’s Story, try to mix up the photos and videos, as sticking to only one form might feel monotonous.

This one is important for businesses in particular. As you know, Instagram doesn’t allow external links in regular posts, only in the bio. But, with Instagram Stories, you are free to add links and lead your followers towards the offers/campaigns. This shouldn’t mean placing a link on every post, though.

Mention Other Users and Draw Even More Attention

Now, this is the feature missing in Snapchat. And it is surely a mighty tool that raises your brand’s presence and attracts more views for your Stories. Actually, you can mention not one, but up to 10 accounts in Instagram Stories! Use this opportunity to either give a shout-out or showcase a related influencer.

Monitor the Performance of Your Stories

Despite the fact they’re vanishing after 24 hours, it is possible to analyze and thus, improve on your next InstaStories. This extra feature can be found when you open your story, swipe up on the screen, and there you’ll see the number and names of users who have seen your Instagram Stories photos or videos.

Place a Special Offer

When combined with Instagram Stories, the special offers your business is offering can seem even more special to the fans. The secret maybe lies in the sense of urgency, as Stories themselves last only for 24 hours. Whichever the case, try including a direct link, with the “grab the offer before it expires” type of message, and enjoy the results!

Provide a Peek Into the Creative Process

Any action that brings you closer to your (potential) customers should be explored. Depending on the nature of your business, shoot a sequence of product production/packaging, your sketches, behind-the-scenes (insert a popular #BTS hashtag) photos or similar. Do you have a yet unannounced product? Add it to your InstaStories as well, why not?

Describe Your Team and Working Day

A slightly raw and informal view on your business can actually draw more attention and interest. This kind of approach is the key to humanizing the brand – an always welcome tactic. But, do not cross the fine line between plain personal stories and professional, yet casual scenes. Additionally, consider adding a bit of humor or mystery into this kind of Instagram Stories.

Use Location and Hashtag Stickers

By using these simple, but powerful elements in your company’s Stories, it becomes possible to attract more localized, laser-focused traffic to your offers. Combine the location info with hashtag stickers and external links/offer details. The results might surprise you, especially if your business is aiming the customers on a particular territory.

Invite an Influencer for a Takeover

This Instagram Stories strategy is another example of high-level, deep-reach marketing move. First, you need to be connected with the Instagram influencer and next, he/she has to be related to your industry. Get the chosen influencer involved in your Instagram Stories by inviting them to take over your account (not completely, don’t worry!) and speak to your audience.

It is not needed for the influential Instagrammer to literally take over your account, but they can just send you photos or videos you can upload to the Stories. This kind of cross-promotion is a perfect example of a simple, mutually beneficial strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • For any company, agency or individual entrepreneur, Instagram might be the chosen place to tell their story visually and connect with one of the vastest audiences online.
  • Instagram’s algorithm will perceive an impressive amount of views, likes, comments and favorites, as a content worth presenting to a massive number of users. It will also consider how quickly the engagement is received.
  • Instagram users are diverse: beauty bloggers, musicians, visual artists, or stay-at-home-moms offering workout plans… Insta is a place for all interest groups!
  • Basically, your profile should: inform users on who you are, but also inspire them to click the “Follow” button!
  • Only the top-quality images are welcome on Instagram.
  • A phenomenal visuals won’t mean much without an intriguing caption.
  • The basic steps for successful hashtag strategy: — Avoid too broad or general hashtags like #travel and #Friday and aim for the ones that are both popular and connected to your audience – e.g. #familytravel — Do not place irrelevant hashtags just in order to reach the maximum. Aim for the golden middle- maximum of 15 hashtags, but not less than four-five. — Place hashtags near the end of the caption. — Use hashtags to ask your followers for permission to repost their images. — Consider creating a unique branded hashtag – this will both help people find your content and help you spot your most engaged followers. — Keep the balance.
  • The best use of Instagram @mentions: — Mention all the participants in your campaign in relevant posts. — Occasionally mention highly active followers – acknowledge their loyalty. — You can also mention people in the comment thread, use this possibility often – to give a compliment, to say thanks or start/continue the discussion. — Basically, if you wish for other people to engage with your brand, be the one who likes, comments and mentions other people, often.
  • Best times to post on Insta: — Instagram’s audience is mostly active late at night, around 2 am and in the afternoon, around 5 pm — Saturday night and Sunday afternoon seem to be the most engaging times during the weekend.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to hit us up on Twitter and Facebook, or drop us a line.

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