Instagram has an estimated 800 million monthly active users, making it a fantastic platform for those who want to reach their prospects through a visual channel. Learning how to market on Instagram can help you captivate these users and bring more people into your sales funnel. Here is what you should know about Instagram marketing.
How to use Instagram stories for marketing
Instagram stories look similar to Snapchat. These stories will only last 24 hours before they get erased – but saved to your archived stories to create ‘’highlights’. Highlights are past stories that you pin to the top of your profile so they can be viewed anytime someone visits.
Since the stories will only last for 24 hours and some content and promotions can be time sensitive, you want to make sure that you post them at an optimal time. There are a few resources that allow you to schedule an Instagram story, which may be useful when planning your content calendars. Track the posting times that get your other posts on Instagram the highest amount of engagement and use this insight to plan your times of day and days of the week to post your stories.
You can use Instagram Stories to enhance your relationship with your customers. Give them a behind-the-scenes look at your business and let them feel as though they received a special, private tour. You can also use them to offer a deal, such as taking a screenshot to get a coupon. The rapid deletion of the stories will encourage people to act quickly to take advantage of the deal and regularly follow your account to make sure they do not miss any future deals.
Creating optimal images and brand voice
Instagram is all about the images, so you want to make sure yours stand out. Consider various locations that would make for great pictures. Consider the aesthetic, including the colors, filters, and other features you use in your images to represent your brand. You also want to make sure you are talking to your followers as the voice of your brand. Just like sending out emails or talking with business partners, you want your make sure your Instagram page represents what your business stands for. If your business is young and hip you want to speak that way. Knowing your audience and being able to talk to them in a brand-appropriate way is essential for getting conversations started.
Look for images and plan captions that will be relevant to your followers. Fun pictures from conferences, ‘satisfied customer’ images, or pictures of your team working together might all interest your followers. Consider the story you want to create on your account and capitalize on it.
Building your following
Building a strong following on Instagram can help you take advantage of Instagram affiliate marketing. To encourage more people to follow your account, make sure you post regularly. Focus on making posts that include high-quality, engaging images.
You also want to actively engage with others on the platform. If someone likes your posts, make sure you like images on their account, too. Leverage Instagram influencer marketing as well. Find users that have particularly large followings and are applicable to your industry. Engage with these users on Instagram by following them, liking their posts, and posting material that will interest them. This will encourage them to do the same to you, broadcasting your account to all of their followers. Also, consider reaching out to them to see if they would like to collaborate with your business. Some influencers are open to a ‘post for product’ collaboration while others will be interested in a paid sponsorship. There are a ton of great apps that can help connect you with influencers in your area!
To encourage even more followers, offer them motivation for following your account. This might be deals, coupons, or unique insight from your business that will be offered exclusively to those who follow your account. You can also use affiliates, but offering people who link back to your brand and your products a commission for the clicks or purchases they bring you.
Consider using hashtags on your Instagram. There are a few different ways that you can now use hashtags for your business:
- Adding hashtags to your bio
- Adding hashtags to your images
- Following hashtags
By using hashtags, Instagram users can discover your photo which may lead them back to your profile. On the platform, you can use up to 30 hashtags per post and add relevant keywords that users would search for that are associated with your brand or content. Generally adding a ton of hashtags to a post makes it look ‘desperate’. Hashtag best practices consist of adding all your hashtags to the first comment so that they are hidden but still there so that users can find your posts.
Additionally, when users search hashtags, they can see all the Instagram Stories that share that particular hashtag. If you own flower shop and post an Instagram Story with a promotion and add #Flowers then the story will show up under that hashtag, which has 119 million uses and gives you a better chance of being found by the right audience. You can also add hashtags to your bio so that users can find your profile page by searching.
Using Instagram Live
Instagram Live offers a number of benefits for brands. Gaining a large enough audience can even get your live feed featured as a top live story. To build a strong following consider these pointers:
- Promote your live story before the event. Let your Instagram followers know to look for you and plan for your broadcast.
- Include guests in your broadcast. People enjoy watching interviews with relevant famous influencers or personas, so see if you can find any to feature. Interviews with c-suite members of your brand can also be helpful. For example, your CMO might be a strong interview if you are a marketing company.
- You can also include guests from among your followers. If you have an engaged audience, you can connect with people as guests if they have great questions or would otherwise contribute to the broadcast.
Taking your Instagram marketing to the next level
To take your efforts to the next level, consider these points:
- Use Instagram stories
- Carefully consider the images you promote along with your brand voice
- Build your following through engagement and hashtags
- Use Instagram live to build the personal relationship with your followers
Instagram can be a great tool for engaging with your followers. If you want to know more about leveraging social media in your promotional campaigns, reach out to us at Ballantine. With decades of experience in marketing, we will help you maximize your advertising efforts.
Using the New Instagram Tags Feature!
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!