A Complete Guide on Instagram Marketing: 8 Ways to Grow Your Business
Though Instagram started its journey in 2010 as a photo-sharing app, now it has turned into a new sales funnel for ecommerce businesses. More than 1 billion people are actively using Instagram only in the US. And 83% of them got introduced to a new service or product on this platform. That surely tells of the efficacy of Instagram marketing. You’ll miss out on a big number of the audience if you don’t take Instagram seriously. Are you a complete novice in Instagram marketing? No worries, I’ll help you learn how to use hashtags, stories, captions, live sessions, and more to achieve your business goals with Instagram.
Why Is Instagram Marketing Important?
Instagram is a visual-centric social medium, making it ideal for engaging a diverse audience to generate more leads and sales. Instagram ads offer way more engagement compared to other social media. Your sales may skyrocket if the right ad reaches the right audience. According to a stat, almost 80% of Instagram users grow a buying intent when they discover a new product or service on the platform. Instagram persuades buyers in a friendly manner without hard selling to them. That’s actually a huge advantage of Instagram marketing.
Types of Instagram Marketing
Like any other social media marketing, Instagram marketing is quite similar in terms of promoting your business and increasing sales. But the strategies, tactics, and content types are different. Check the following section to have some idea about various types of Instagram marketing.
Unpaid Tactics: Unpaid tactics refer to using organic content like pictures, videos, stories, and boomerangs for Instagram marketing.
Instagram Ads: It is the process of running ads with images, stories, or videos comprising a call-to-action button to induce potential customers to make a decision.
Hashtags: You can reach a larger audience with the right hashtags. These clickable hashtags allow users to find topics relevant to their interests.
Carousel Ads: With a carousel ad, you can showcase up to ten pictures or videos per post. You can also use a unique link for each item respectively.
Stories: Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours. You can store them in Highlights to display on your profile forever.
Shoppable Posts: With this feature, you can tag products in your Insta content. By clicking on these tags, interested customers can visit the product page directly.
Influencer Marketing: A popular form of Instagram marketing is partnering with influencers who have organic followers based on a specific niche. It will expand your reach to the influencers’ followers and your audience.
Live Sessions: You can go live directly from your mobile through Instagram stories. These live sessions show the authenticity of your business.
Instagram Contests: Running different contests are one of the best ways to engage customers. These contests and giveaways require users to follow your account and use specific hashtags and content as per your direction.
IGTV / Instagram TV: IGTV is a video-watching app associated with Instagram. You can upload long, vertical videos comprising interviews, product reviews, tutorials, promotional videos, or anything else related to your business.
How to Open an Instagram Business Account
First things first! To reap the benefits of Instagram marketing, you must have a business account. It’s fairly simple. Download the Instagram app available in application stores dedicated to different operating systems. The website also works fine, but using the app is more convenient in every aspect. Then follow the instructions given below.
Sign Up with an Email
After opening the app, you’ll be offered a few choices to pick from. You can sign up with a Facebook account or a phone number or an email address to proceed to the next steps. I recommend you use a business email so that your personal Facebook ID doesn’t get linked to your Instagram account. Write your business name, user name, and put a strong password.
Choose the business name/profile name in keeping with your actual business avoiding anything fancy that doesn’t go well with your niche and target audience. The username is more critical than the profile name. It’s a unique name dedicated solely to your account and the Instagram community will recognize you by this username. That’s why you should choose a username that is easy to find and recognize.
Optimize Your Account
Choose an aesthetic profile picture to impress your visitors. Maintain consistency with other visual components of your brand. You can also use a logo. Instagram automatically updates profile pictures in a circular shape, so select a picture that has extra space around the corners and fills the circle fittingly.
Instagram allows only a 150-character long description as a bio. Write about your business precisely and concisely within the limit. You can inject clickable links and hashtags in your bio to direct users to your desired destination.
The Edit Profile button allows users to edit their photo, username, name, URL, and bio anytime when necessary.
Review Your Instagram Account Settings
Enter your profile and click on the three short horizontal lines placed in the upper right corner. Click on the Settings button and it will expose a few options for you. Keep the privacy settings for Instagram Stories to Your Followers and allow message replies for them. You should keep your account as public as possible to enhance brand visibility and engagement.
To make your presence as a business profile, switch to a professional account by accessing the Account Settings options. If you manage a Facebook page for the same business, connect that to your Instagram business profile. The Add Account button at the bottom of the page will let you add up to five Instagram accounts and use them simultaneously by switching between them.
How to Grow Your Business with Instagram Marketing
Now that you have an Instagram business account, it’s time to implement the marketing techniques to make the best out of your business. The below steps will help you grow your business and attain all the goals effectively.
Specify Your Goals & Objectives
Without specific goals, you’ll reach nowhere. Fix an exact milestone for your business instead of aiming at a vague destination. Go for goals that can be tracked and measured using analytics. The goals must be realistic. If you want a million followers within a month, that’s quite unreachable. Give your business the required time to achieve your goals. After setting the goals correctly, build a strong content strategy, and start working on that.
Post Aesthetically Pleasing Images
The core of Instagram marketing lies in sharing a variety of images. Don’t post only one type of picture. Keep your profile as authentic as you can by posting behind the scenes, user-generated content, lifestyle shots along with promotional pictures, motivational quotes, educational posts, tutorial content, and reshared photos. Whatever you’re sharing, make sure that it looks beautiful. You can check for the following things in an Instagram image.
- Keep enough white space or background in your pictures.
- Avoid overuse of dark colors.
- Focus on the subject more, keeping the image clutter-free.
- Try to flaunt patterns and symmetries.
- Make use of the natural light.
- Adjust colors, contrast, and brightness.
- Use the built-in Instagram filters if necessary
Write Intriguing Captions
A large number of Instagram users just scroll through their social media feed without paying enough attention. You can draw their attention by writing captions that have the X factor to make them notice your posts. Keep the caption aligned to the content of the post. If your image or video is about a product, write a precise description using relevant hashtags and emojis. Engage them with your post and facilitate the decision-making process.
Share Short and Informative Videos
Videos contain more information than images but if you keep them too long it may become boring. Instagram allows you to share up to one minute of your video to your profile and feed. And IGTV allows the full-length video with a preview that can be shared with your followers. The average attention span of Instagram users while watching a video is 15 seconds. So, the first few seconds play a pivotal role in engaging users for a long time. As Instagram focuses more on visual rather than text, the videos should come with great transition effects, attractive titles, and beautiful music.
Use Different Types of Hashtags
You can turn any phrase or word into a clickable text just by inserting a # symbol before the text. These are called hashtags and applicable for Instagram captions, bios, and stories. When a user clicks on a hashtag they’ll get access to all public contents shared with the same hashtag. This allows users to see posts only that interest them. Hashtags contribute greatly to maintain a stream of relevant content, helping merchants expand their reach to a greater extent. The major types of hashtags are as follows.
- Branded Hashtags: Almost every brand has a unique hashtag that carries its brand identity. This branded hashtag will appear across all marketing channels where hashtags are applicable. This is very crucial for user-generated content. Users are encouraged to use this hashtag while posting about their brand. For example, the most famous hashtag of Nike is #justdoit.
- Contest Hashtags: Contest hashtags are specially designed to run a contest successfully. Usually, contests are conducted from business profiles and a specific set of hashtags are introduced to the participants. The participants have to attach these hashtags while submitting photos/videos to take part in the contest. This is an effective way to increase brand awareness and engage potential customers.
- General Hashtags: You can also use hashtags that don’t have a specific purpose to serve. Some common hashtags are popular among a large number of diverse audiences. You can use them to reach more people. But this reach will hardly convert into sales as these visitors usually don’t have buyer intent.
If you narrow down the reach by using niche hashtags, it is likely to increase the conversion rate. For example, if you use a general hashtag #mobileappdeveloper, this will attract people around the world, but if you use a more specific hashtag #mobileappdeveloperindubai, that’ll attract only those who are looking for a mobile app development company in Dubai.
- Event-specific Hashtags: Every ecommerce store launches timely offers targeting different festivals, occasions, events, seasons, and holidays. It’s a standard practice to use event-specific hashtags to celebrate days like Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, New Year, etc. Reach a broader audience with timely hashtags and don’t miss out on opportunities to grab a big sale on various events and holidays.
- Funny/Clever Hashtags: A good sense of humor never goes unappreciated. Flaunt your funny and witty side through the hashtags. Focus not only on highlighting your products, entertain the visitors to help them grow a sense of belonging with your business. For instance, you can use the #TogetherWhileApart hashtag that carries a paradoxical notion but tells of the actual corona situation. This is a clever hashtag that implies that you acknowledge social responsibilities and care for your followers.
To succeed as an Instagram marketer, you must know the best practices of using hashtags. The following list will help you in this regard.
- Integrate the branded hashtags visibly on your profile.
- Place the entertaining hashtags at the beginning to sound less salesy.
- Use 5-10 hashtags for each post, maintaining diversity
- Avoid stuffing the same hashtags, again and again, tweak them to reach different audiences.
- Conduct background research before using a hashtag so you can choose the right keywords
- Check the hashtags for sensitivity as a few hashtags are banned across social media
Share Authentic & User-generated Content on Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories allow users to post frequently without taking a lot of space in the followers’ feed. It doesn’t clog their feed but reaches them more efficiently. Stories usually contain less polished, authentic images and videos that show the lifestyle and daily activities of business-related people. Instagram Stories also allow users to go live and host or attend live sessions. Normally, a story disappears after 24 hours but you can feature it on the profile forever as a highlighted content. You can get the best out of Instagram stories in the following ways.
- User-generated Content: If you post text, images, videos, reviews, etc. created by your followers and customers on Instagram stories, it will prove your authenticity. You’ll naturally express good things about your brand, when an outsider does so, adds more value to your business.
- Audience Engagement: Creating a poll, asking and answering questions, running a contest, etc. are a few effective ways to engage your audience. You can use stories to do this effortlessly.
- Event Promotion: As a business organization, you have to attend and host many events. Promote these events using Instagram stories. Don't let your audience miss out on your activities. This will keep them updated about yourself.
- Behind the Scenes: Everyone knows that you post well-captured and polished photos on social media feeds. To look more original and genuine, share behind-the-scenes pictures, and reshare pictures posted by your employees while working. Candid lifestyle shots work best for this purpose.
- Live Broadcast: You can go live from Instagram Stories to let your followers watch what you're doing in real-time. It is extremely helpful if you want to cover an event or conduct a Q&A session. Be cautious while going live. If you use this feature for trivial things, your followers may get bored and ignore future live sessions.
- Highlighted Stories: If you want to preserve these stories on your profile and prevent them from disappearing after 24 hours, you can add them to your profile as Highlights. You can add multiple Highlights, ensure that all of them are important and useful for the visitors.
Create Shoppable Posts with Price Tags
Instagram allows only business profiles to share posts and stories with product stickers and price tags. If a visitor clicks on any of these tags, it will take them directly to the product page allowing them to have a seamless shopping experience. Instagram introduced this feature to ensure convenient shopping for users.
Run Exciting Instagram Contests
Everyone loves to win something. Instagram contests make use of this instinct of people and you can drive more followers to your profile by running a contest. The best practices of Instagram contests are as follows.
- Tag your friends: Your current followers will tag some of their friends in your post. Thus the network will grow bigger and bigger.
- Follow our profile: Usually, following the contest runner’s profile is the first prerequisite of participating in a contest.
- Give a comment: Users are asked to give a reply to a question, review a product, or simply leave their opinion in this form of contest.
- Share photos: These types of contests require more time from the users and consequently they provide the best results. Users have to post an original photo with a specific contest and branded hashtags to take part in the contest. Even, you can use this user-generated content later on for future promotion.
Partner with an Influential Person
Collaborating with an Instagram influencer is a common marketing strategy to reach a broader audience. Choosing the right influencer is a great challenge. Make sure that the person you are partnering with works in the same niche as you. For example, if you own a clothing brand, you're likely to get more benefits by patronizing a model. This partnership works in two ways. You can feature the influencer on your post and vice versa. No matter what method you follow you'll reach his/her followers.
If you minutely follow the above-mentioned techniques, you’ll surely attain your Instagram marketing goals. Analyze your success using Instagram Analytics. This tool will let you know the number of visitors, website clicks, total reach, impressions, views, etc. All these data will help you measure your growth. Keep track of these metrics and adopt an effective strategy to overcome the challenges.
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About the Author
Md. Tanvir Faisal
Md. Tanvir Faisal is a Content Creator at Royex Technologies with 3 years plus experience in Content Writing, Copywriting, Proofreading, and Editing. He emphasizes writing content that draws social media attention and enhances search engine visibility. To date, he has successfully developed useful content for many websites across all formats.