With around 1.3 billion active users, you can significantly increase your national and international audience by embedding Instagram into your marketing strategy.
To effectively reach your target audience there are lots of tips and tricks to optimise your visual content and grow your engagement rate. So, we've put together the best ways to use Instagram to significantly increase your brand reach, sales and attract new customers.
Get the most from each post
One of the most important Instagram tips is to get your hashtags right. Relevant hashtags are one of the main ways your target audience will find your content. To give you the best chance of popping up in someone’s feed you can use multiple hashtags on a single post, but more than 10 can start to look spammy.
Research your competitors and other popular Instagram accounts to see what hashtags they use. Initially, you might have to start with quite broad topics, but as you analyse your posts and see what brings users to your Instagram feed, you can narrow them down to the most relevant hashtags.
Create clever captions
As with hashtags, you can analyse your own or competitors’ posts to see which captions drive the most engagement and sales. Find inspiring user-generated content or posts from brands you admire then create similar captions that reflect your brand ambitions. Captions are good conversation starters so ask questions and encourage Instagram users to engage with your posts.
Be visually bold
With its gorgeous imagery, Instagram is an ideal platform for creating a bold visual identity. Instagram stories, reels and posts give you the chance to showcase your products, services and brand personality with eye-catching content.
Make sure your images are high-quality and colourful, unless you’re going for a black and white look. To create a more recognisable brand identity, keep using the same filter, fonts, colours and overall image style. Follow these Instagram photo tips and you’ll soon have an instantly recognisable style and professional-looking Instagram profile.
Time your posts
To boost your Instagram follower count, when you post is as important as what you post.
The times to post depend on what you’re trying to sell. For example, if you’re a fitness brand advertising your classes then an early morning post might encourage Instagram users to book a class for that day. Or if you’re selling health and beauty products you might want to hit the after work slot when people have more time to browse and make purchases.
The general consensus seems to be that good times to post are in the middle of the day, roughly 11am-2pm, or early in the morning, about 6am. Remember to factor in different time zones when planning your Instagram marketing strategy.
Experiment with different content types
Instagram stories are available for 24 hours, then they disappear. This makes them a great chance to create more fun, informal content. You can also use Instagram stories as a way to feature and respond to user-generated content that promotes or aligns with your brand.
One way to use Instagram stories is to give your followers a peek behind the scenes. For example, showing how your products work, are tested and get made can help promote their quality craftsmanship and the ethical credentials of your brand.
You can also use Instagram stories to introduce new products or create teasers for products that are launching soon. Then once the product is on the market you can use them to create guides and tutorials.
Instagram story tips include highlighting your most successful Instagram stories on your profile so you can keep them for more than 24 hours.
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Instagram live enables you to host live stream events that your followers can comment on in real-time. Like Instagram stories, they’re a chance to portray your brand more informally and give your customers access to something they can’t get through your Instagram posts.
Longer live streams generally perform better and reach more Instagram users than shorter ones, so aim for at least 10 minutes. When broadcasting, your profile picture will appear at the top of your followers’ feed, so it’s a good way to get a prominent position within Instagram.
The recent announcement that Instagram is killing off its live shopping feature means that users will no longer be able to tag and sell products while broadcasting a live video. Businesses and creators will still be able to set up a shop and tag products in organic posts for sale, but the live commerce side of Instagram is set to end in March.
With the increasing popularity of TikTok, Instagram has come up with Instagram reels as another way to share fun, short videos.
They’re also another selling opportunity for brands, especially if you’ve built a strong Instagram business profile and have an engaged following. With similar features to TikTok, Instagram reels are a great way to reach a younger demographic.
Push your products
We’ve already touched upon how you can showcase products using Instagram stories, live and reels. Our Instagram for business tips include coming up with a holistic strategy for any product launch that makes the most of all of Instagram's features. For example, you could do a cryptic teaser on stories, followed by some posts featuring stunning product photography, then a product demo on Instagram live, finishing with some user-generated content or fun Instagram reels that show your product being used.
You can now sell products directly on Instagram, meaning a post on Instagram can lead to direct sales as well as followers.
Use high-end product photography to create a curated list of shoppable products. Your followers can then access these directly from your Instagram profile by selecting the "View shop" button. You can use "Collections" to organise your Instagram shop into themes, such as new arrivals or gifts to make your products even more discoverable and enticing.
Tips for Instagram shop include tagging your products in your Instagram feed. You can also tag them in your Instagram stories, live and reels so you can link sales directly to the content you’re creating.
Partnering with influencers
There are now entire platforms and agencies dedicated to connecting brands with influencers who can help sell their products. Pre-pandemic in 2019 the influencer economy was worth £5 billion, with about 20% of brands’ marketing budget being spent on influencer posts.
When deciding if influencer user-generated content is right for you, it’s worth thinking about your brand and Instagram business goals. When it goes right, Instagram influencer marketing can introduce your product to a huge new audience. What’s more, the plug is coming from a trusted or well-known source. But, when it goes wrong it can seriously damage your brand, so if you’re thinking of working with an influencer, thoroughly research their previous posts on all social media platforms to make sure their ethos and behaviour matches your brand values.
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