1. Create Personal Content
Try to keep your content as original as possible. Just like with Facebook, don’t try to reinvent the wheel, but don’t copy exactly what others are doing either. Test different types of posts to see what your followers respond to best and always remember to tell a story.
While eye-grabbing images is what Instagram was build on, the caption, that doesn’t limit the number of characters, can offer your endless possibilities to experiment and share awesome content with your followers. When in doubt, always go to a call-to-action: ask users to like your post or follow your account.
Stick to a certain topic that is related to your business. If you’re into fashion, there’s no reason to post pictures of food, for example. Look for a niche that you can grow in.
Also, find a way to elicit emotions with your posts. Make your followers laugh or be happy or nostalgic or inspire them. Always aim to make your public feel something deep and they will come back for more.
As types of contents that you can post, you’ve got:
# Pictures: blend them with filters. Now you can actually post a carousel of photos.
# Videos: straight from your phone
# Stories: available for 24 hours
2. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are the key, especially if you are just starting out on Instagram, to grow your account, get more engagement and followers. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post so make use of every each one:
# Research popular hashtags in your field
# Research popular hashtags for days of the week, seasons or holidays
# Post a mix of hashtags to get the most coverage: hashtags that have over 1 million posts, over 100k posts and below 100k or even 10k posts
# Create a branded hashtag so you can follow your growth and create a community on Instagram around it
# Copy and use hashtags from top influencers in your industry as well as from your competitors
# Create around 2-3 sets of 30 hashtags and rotate them on your posts
# Post trending hashtags of the day or week
Keep in touch with changing trends and follow what’s cool in online (whatever was last week may not be this one).
3. Engage With Others
If you want people to know you’re on Instagram, let them know yourself. One way to growing your following is to interact with people who you know might be interested in your brand.
How would you know that? Check out your competition and influencers in your industry. See who is following them and who they are following back. Or find hashtags that are relevant to your industry and see who posted them.
There are several ways to engage on Instagram:
# Follow people who are interested in your industry and follow them
# Like or comment on posts that are relevant to your brand
# Always answer comments on your own posts
It may take up some time, but getting social on Instagram can help you grow your network faster and start turning followers into customers.
4. Post Videos
While Facebook videos can and should be more planned out, Instagram is all about fun. You can create videos no longer than 60 seconds that capture your brand’s uniqueness, like an employee’s birthday party, preparing for a product launch or showing how a casual Friday looks at your office.
Videos are relatively new to Instagram, but as the trend grows, so should you be taking advantage of it, as marketing professionals consider video the type of content with the best ROI.
So as the video trend grows, people are switching their desktop screen to mobile, which means more and more internet users will be getting their news and updates from their phone and, thus, will be using Instagram as one of the primary sources for content.
All the more reason to invest in Instagram videos. So how to do it?
# Create video content especially for Instagram: you only have 60 seconds to convey your message and it should be enough to send a strong brand call-to-action
# Rely on images, not sound: Instagram is still a powerful imagery social network, so make sure the video will provide a good visual experience
# Start with stories: if you are afraid of too much content on your timeline, use video in stories and see what results you get
When it comes to social media, following trends is a must. Things change quickly, so content that used to be popular a year or two ago, may not have the same effect today. Keep up with what’s new and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly.
5. Go Live
Instagram Live Videos are, probably, the it content nowadays and an easy tool to engage with your public and get your posts seen. Instagram’s new feed is controlled by the Facebook-like algorithm, but as far as live videos are concerned they will appear at the top of the news feed (in the Stories section), so have a lot more better chances to be seen.
Plus, there are plenty of other reasons to do it:
# Your audience will be notified when you go live: more chances for them to see your video
# It’s definitely a trend and has a better reach than other types of content
# You will be able to interact and get live feedback from your followers
# It’s an original way to do a product launch, Q&A, a live chat or interview, show behind the scenes footage or celebrate something big
Going live shows another side of yourself and your business – it’s not just a logo anymore, your followers will be connecting to the people behind it.
6. Post Stories
Instagram Stories, inspired by Snapchat’s famous feature, is used by over 200 million people daily. Your story will only be available for 24 hours, so it can be a really fun way to share exclusive content to your followers.
They appear on top of the Instagram timeline, which means users have a better chance of seeing it than anything else you post. Also, they can see stories when tapping on your profile picture. So what can you do with this interesting feature?
# Post pictures or videos: make a daily story that your followers will love to discover
# Give exclusive offers: available for only 24 hours, to boost sales
# Make an important announcement
# Use stickers, emojis and texts onto your images
# Do a takeover: have members of your team handle your Instagram page for a limited amount of time. Let them post like they would on their account for a day and promote this as a way for the public to engage with the people behind the brand
# Feature your products
Get as creative as you can!
7. Do An Instagram Takeover
One of the top ways to get more followers is to address an already established community. Partnering up with an influencer will get you access to his or her following and there are several ways to make use of this:
# Get the right person for the job: someone related to your industry, that shares the same target audience and that your customers will be interested in. Don’t just get someone with a lot of followers that doesn’t really know anything about your products (or ever uses similar ones)
# Let them post on your Instagram account for a day or more. Needless to say, you need to set up a strategy and use the takeover to promote a new product, an event or a campaign
# Ask an expert to do a Q&A session that your followers would be interested in and have them share their know-how
# Give that person the freedom to post anything they would like, but set up the terms before hand, such as number of posts, avoiding certain topics or anything that is not in conformity to your brand persona
# Cross promotion is the key: you should get someone that your public will be interested in and, in the same time, shares the same target audience as you do, so their followers can migrate over to your account. Ask them to promote the takeover days in advance so that people will be ready to see it happen.
8. Do Photo Contests
Give back to your followers and they will become loyal brand ambassadors. There is nothing easier than organizing a photo contest which will reward your fans and get your channel a bigger reach than usual. How to set this up:
# Offer an amazing prize: something that your followers just can’t resist like your best selling product or a shopping voucher
# Make it last: get a better reach by doing a week long contest
# Create a hashtag: hashtags make it a lot easier to collect photos from Instagram and it will also help take your contest viral. Make sure you create one that isn’t easily replicated and used
# Promote it on other channels: cross promotion is vital to the success of your campaigns on one social network. Just because the content takes place in Instagram doesn’t mean you can’t promote it on Facebook or to your mailing list
# Create an appealing visual: this post should stand out among anything else you post on the platform, so make it pop!
# Come up with a unique title: keep it short and catchy and turn it into the hashtag
# Set objectives: how many entries do you want, how many new followers, site traffic, engagement etc. Decide on which of your marketing goals you want to reach with this contest and set clear objectives.
# Set a budget: how much money do you want to spend on it? This includes graphic and copy work, the prize and promotion
Get started and reap the rewards!
9. Get Shoutouts
What do consumer respond to best? Recommendations!
Word of mouth is one of the best (and free) forms of promotion out there. Literally, getting talked about is a good thing.
So when another Instagram account mentions you, it can boost your following, engagement and improve your brand’s awareness (especially if this account has many followers). There are a couple of ways how you can attain this:
# Create a group of similar Instagram accounts and promote each other by tagging and sharing your posts
# Get influencers to shout you out (this may require a fee, but it can be worth it if they can guarantee a strict ROI)
# Get other accounts to share your content by doing an S4S deal. This means giving the other person something that’s an equal value to their promotion. Be creative.
# Use hashtags like #s4s or #share4share to find accounts who are willing to exchange shoutouts
Make friends on Instagram and help each other out. You will see how fast your page can grow when others write about you!
10. Use Instagram Ads
You can set up your Instagram Ads from your Facebook Ads Manager account (you don’t even really need an Instagram account to advertise on Instagram) or you can promote your posts directly from your phone.
You can promote photos, carousels, videos or stories. So basically any Instagram content you post.
When setting up an ad, keep in mind the following:
# Have a powerful caption: keep the message short and include a call-to-action, encouraging people to click on your photo.
# Add a relevant link: you can either send people to your website or have them call your business, but if you choose the first option, don’t just link it to your homepage – send them to a shop, a registration form or a landing page where they can take action.
# Make good use the action button: this will help enforce you call to action, so make sure they are both sending the user to the right action
# Experiment with the budget: don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.
Set aside a monthly budget and test to see which ads get you the best results.
11. Reward followers
Instagram is all about interacting with others and others interacting with your brand which can mean tagging you, using your hashtag or commenting on your post, all of which will help grow your following. There is no better advertising on social media than turning your customers into brand ambassadors.
That is why you should do your best to encourage them into posting about you and what’s the best way to do that? By rewarding them! There are several ways to do that:
# Give out special discounts only for your Instagram followers
# Organize contests and special promotions, like I’ve talked about before
# Host a follower of the month contest, where you reward one of your followers each month with a prize and featuring their picture on your timeline, provided you choose from those who have tagged your products. Encourage them to post pictures and tag you and they will soon get used to you ‘Follower of the month’ campaign.
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