12 Killer Tips for Mastering Instagram Marketing

12 Killer Tips for Mastering Instagram Marketing

As we are all aware, Instagram has become a mainstay for the digitally savvy. It leads the charge for visual content and, with more than 1.074 billion users worldwide in 2021 (eMarketer, 2020), and a very high percentage of users logging in daily, it’s a powerful platform for awareness and perception shifting. That’s why we’ve collated a dozen tips for mastering Instagram marketing in this guide.

Instagram is especially a game-changer in the retail world, as engagement is particularly high among young people. What’s impressive is that these audience and engagement levels have been reached despite the fact it’s the only major social network lacking a click-through mechanism.

What’s also surprising when considering these stats is that Instagram’s a network designed primarily as a mobile tool, which is where the majority of interactions take place. There’s a version of Instagram on a desktop allowing for viewing of content and interaction with followers, but it doesn’t allow you to upload content. So a mobile device is a must for any Instagram user.

With the audience primed and engagement thriving, the opportunities for businesses to excel on Instagram are endless. All that’s needed to build a brand and establish a new customer base is some dedication, patience and creativity.

Oh, and a plan. The following twelve tips will help you to engage your followers, attract new customers and showcase your products and services for maximum return.

12 tips for mastering Instagram

  • Keep your brand personality intact
  • Use links effectively
  • Use the right hashtags
  • Post content regularly
  • Build User Generated Content (UGC)
  • Provide expert advice
  • Avoid static product shots
  • Embrace video
  • Use clever post captions
  • Approach influencers to share content
  • Schedule regular updates
  • Run contests

Now let’s get into each of these tips for mastering Instagram, in a little more detail for you.

Keep your online personality intact

Use your logo as your Instagram profile picture and your company’s full title as your username so people can easily find and recognise you.

Use your logo as a watermark on images to reinforce your brand and to protect your photos. Choose pictures that reflect your online voice and the emotion your brand elicits.

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Instagram marketing tips

Use links effectively

The only place you can provide a clickable link on Instagram is in your profile so use this link effectively. It can be changed as often as you like, be it your blog page, product page, custom landing page, lead generation page or contest page.

Just be sure to make it trackable using a trackable link creator so you can check analytics and get a real assessment of how much traffic you’re actually driving to your website from Instagram (currently Google Analytics records traffic as direct rather than as a referral from Instagram).

Although Instagram doesn’t recognise hyperlinks in posts, you can still use shortened links in post descriptions for users to copy and paste into the browser navigation bar.

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Instagram marketing tips

Use hashtags

Did you know that an average Instagram post contains 10.7 hashtags (HubSpot, 2020)?

Instagram hashtags increase your following, reach and engagement dramatically, especially if you use hot and trending hashtags. By using hashtags, images are catalogued so other Instagram users can find them, and when someone shares your Instagram content to Facebook, the Instagram hashtag is published along with it, allowing those searching for the hashtag on Facebook to see the image too.

It’s important to research which hashtags are most popular or searched for. This can be done using Iconosquare or Webstagram. Like Twitter, Instagram hashtags don’t support special characters like +, !, $, %, -, ^, &, *, etc., but they do support numbers and underscores.

Instagram post via web
Instagram post via web

Participating in popular hashtag games like #throwbackthursday, #tbt, and #MondayMotivation can help make your Instagram posting consistent (e.g. you have a theme for days of the week) and increase your following and interactions.

Other well-used hashtags include #regram (reposting other users’ photos) , #nofilter (natural shots not requiring Instagram filters to enhance the images) or #latergram (posting after an event has occurred) and posts that include a tagged location get nine percent higher engagement.

While you can add up to 30 hashtags, only use relevant hashtags, otherwise it will come across as  blatant marketing!

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Instagram marketing tips

Post regularly

Frequent and consistent posting is key to success on Instagram. The feed is constantly refreshing so to ensure visibility in your followers’ feeds it’s essential to post regularly. It’s a matter of trial and error to know how many times your brand needs to post but, as a suggestion, posting at least daily with a mix of product photos, fan photos and fun quotes is ideal.

Experiment with the number of posts and times of day and measure the results. By testing and tailoring over time, you’ll find what works for your brand.

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Instagram marketing tips

Build User Generated Content (UGC)

One of my favourite tips for mastering Instagram is effectively using your audience to create content. UGC is gold as it effectively generates real, authentic marketing images created by and for your consumer. Ask users to contribute their own pictures and use a reposting app like Regram to allow you to give the original user credit, while showing your audience how others enjoy your product.

With such a strong position in the buying cycle, Instagram helps 80% of Instagrammers decide whether to buy a product or service (Facebook, 2019).

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Instagram marketing tips

Give expert advice

Establish yourself as an expert resource in the field and bring attention to your product or service. Provide value and share social proof via testimonials. Remember, photos speak louder than words so motivate others by sharing your customers’ successes with your product.

You can also offer samples of products for free to get customers hooked i.e. a sample article or tip from an eBook. You can offer free samples or special offers using text overlays

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Instagram marketing tips

Avoid static product shots

Successful fashion and accessory brands often showcase their products with people wearing them in familiar environments, bringing their products to life.

Tips for mastering Instagram

If you don’t have tangible products, another of my tips for mastering Instagram is to take photos or videos of employees, customer interactions, before and after shots that represent your service, or other related actions, such as navigating your site.

Use text overlays on your images to ensure people don’t miss your message i.e. price, sales, limited offer or event promotion.

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Instagram marketing tips

Embrace video

Create visually compelling stories and promote your brand and marketing message. Fifteen seconds of video recording, editing, filters, cover image selection, app integration and Facebook in-line viewing are all features that make Instagram videos a successful tool.

When it comes to tips for mastering Instagram, the power and options of Instagram video is limitless. You can try by shooting product demos and answer FAQs, showcase service skills, promote events or special offers, invite user submissions and feature behind-the-scenes footage.

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Instagram marketing tips

Use clever post captions

A post caption is a valuable piece of Instagram real estate as it’s always visible regardless of how many comments your posts get so don’t leave this section blank.

Why not use the caption as an incentive like Nordstrom did with its ‘Like it to lower the price!’ campaign? For every 10,000 likes they’d lower the price of the featured product by 10 percent.

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Social media marketing

Approach influencers to share content

Have an influencer who resonates with your audience promote your product. Another one of the great tips for mastering Instagram is that you could reach out to a celebrity (TV, music, artist), a famous Instagrammer who has amassed a huge following.

Send them your products and ask them to use and review them, and get them to take a snap with the product. Make sure they hashtag the pic with your page so your followers, and more importantly theirs, will see.

You can also check out the top contributors to your page and then check out their follower base, or even major contributors to other relatable hashtags to widen the scope. Instagram has plenty of communities related to most industries so reach out to as many influential members as you can. Knowing that an expert recommends the product influences the perception.

Actively research which Instagram influencers are a great fit with your products and consider collaborating more with them i.e. partnerships. Chances are their followers have the same interests and are potential customers, so gain access to them and open up more leads.

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Instagram marketing tips

Schedule regular updates

Followers don’t expect you to be on Instagram all the time but they do expect you to post consistently, so use these handy tools next time you’re stuck in a conference or travelling:

Missinglettr – a fantastic social media scheduling tool, that also allows scheduling for Instagram, and allows you to post to a number of other networks, like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Publer – allows you to schedule and publish images on Instagram, as well as schedule and post statuses on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

SproutSocial – also allows, like the tools above, Instagram as well as a variety of other social media platforms.

Instagram scheduling with Publer
Instagram scheduling with Publer

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Instagram management

 

Run contests

Instagram is great for running contests. There are three types of Instagram contests you can set up:

Like to Win – ask an Instagram user to like an update. This option presents the lowest barrier to entry, is an easy way to increase reach, and is simple to set up. You can add a tagging request for a little more engagement but these type of campaigns are known for having low engagement and consumer connection levels as participants don’t have to exert much effort to enter, and are not necessarily that invested in the brand.

Hashtag User-Generated Content (UGC) – create a contest-specific hashtag and ask participants to share a photo or video using that hashtag to enter. You can add a sharable element in the post caption like “vote to select a winner” to increase the promotion’s reach. Asking for content deepens the emotional connection between consumers and the brand, and spreads the campaign reach as users’ friends and followers see their entries in the contest stream. It does however increase the barrier to entry (take photo, hashtag and tag friends) so, at the very least, make sure you keep the hashtags short.

Email-gated – ask for participants’ email addresses to enter. This is great for building your email database (for future campaigns and promotions*) and if you request a photo or video too, it increases UGC. But it presents a high barrier to entry and many Instagram users want a quick, seamless entry method. You’ll need to lure entries with an enticing prize to match the participant effort levels.

*Be sure to get permission to send ongoing emails using an opt-in checkbox on the email form.

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Instagram marketing tips

Tips for mastering Instagram

The above tips for mastering Instagram are the key to being able to really adopt Instagram. Rather than echoing content from your other social channels, pick inspirational images or put together snapshot videos on how to use your latest products.

As a quick recap, those dozen tips for mastering Instagram, are;

  • Keep your brand personality intact
  • Use links effectively
  • Use the right hashtags
  • Post content regularly
  • Build User Generated Content (UGC)
  • Provide expert advice
  • Avoid static product shots
  • Embrace video
  • Use clever post captions
  • Approach influencers to share content
  • Schedule regular updates
  • Run contests

Using the above tips will help you engage specifically with your Instagram followers, and remember, they’re not following you to be sold to. They’re there for the experience. So respect this and give them what they’re looking for!

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