It’s no secret that your business needs to be active on Instagram — with more than 500 million users, it’s a social network that provides a great marketing platform to reach potential customers from every corner of the world.
In order to improve your Instagram marketing, you need to increase your following on a steady and consistent basis. After all, the more people that come in contact with your brand and follow you on Instagram, the larger your audience is that you can potentially reach every time you post. Here are seven easy to implement Instagram marketing tips that will help you grow your brand — for free.
1. Take advantage of free Instagram tools.
Instagram just started to roll out business profiles, which heavily mirrors Facebook’s business profiles, complete with a huge “contact’ call-to-action, allowing users to email, call or text the business.
Along with the contact option, business profiles have access to analytics, or as they call them, Insights, giving users access to impression and engagement data. If you use your Instagram account for your business, you might want to consider converting your personal profile to a business profile in order to take advantage of these options. The more you understand about how your users are interacting with your content, the better you can make adjustments to improve your engagement.
Related: Why Your Business Should Establish an Instagram Presence ASAP
2. Cross promote Instagram posts.
Want to easily add new Instagram followers that already love your brand? Post across all over your other social media profiles — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. — and invite them to follow your Instagram profile. They are already following you on social media, so they are obviously interested in what you offer, so give them another way to socially connect to your brand.
Don’t assume that your posts will reach everyone that’s connected to your brand on social media. Many people move away from certain social media platforms and some aren’t as active on some than they are on other networks. You want your followers to be connected to as many of your social profiles as possible to increase your reach per post.
3. Don’t overwhelm your audience.
You want to post often enough that your brand stays relevant, but at the same time you don’t want to post so frequently that you overwhelm your followers and they end up unfollowing your account because they feel you are constantly in their face.
There isn’t a magic posting formula that will work for every brand. You need to test and see how your audience responds. As a starting point, I would suggest posting twice daily, alternating times of the day to find out when your highest engagement occurs. Then start to experiment with more and less posts per day, really paying attention to engagement. Once you find your sweet spot, the work doesn’t stop — as your following increases you will have to adjust. Post frequency optimization is a never ending task.
Related: Social Media Is for More Than Just Marketing
4. Interact with followers to spark growth.
If someone takes the time to leave a comment on one of your posts, take two seconds to reply and thank them. That simple engagement can create a loyal customer as well as a raving promoter of your brand.
Also, incorporate ways to get your followers to interact with your posts. A simple, “Tag three of your friends that would love this” can quickly put your brand in front of a larger audience as well as attract new followers. Since they are being introduced to your Instagram profile through a friend, there is less resistance, resulting in many of the tagged users following your profile.
5. Create an interactive hashtag.
Creating an interactive hashtag is a great way to create instant engagement — just make sure you are using hashtags the correct way. A very simple strategy I have used for some of the larger brands I consult for is creating a hashtag that customers use to tag photos of them with the product that they just purchased.
For example, creating a hashtag that your company can search for to re-post the pictures of your customers with your product will accomplish two things:
- It will cause more of your followers to use the hashtag and post images of them with your product because they will want to be featured on your page
- Every time someone posts using your hashtag they are exposing all of their followers to your company and product(s) — free advertising!
6. Repurpose content from other relevant accounts.
If you are finding it hard to come up with enough content to meet the needs of your following, consider repurposing content from other relevant Instagram accounts. Just be sure to credit the original source in the post by tagging their profile and mentioning them in your caption.
Related: 9 Tools to Improve Your Instagram Marketing
There are many apps available that download Instagram photos and save them to your camera roll, allowing you to easily repost them. Repurpose content from accounts that have an audience you would like to get in front of, because many accounts will return the favor and repurpose your content after they see you share theirs.
7. Use creativity to connect with your audience.
Being creative with your images is a great way to connect with your followers — it’s much more effective than posts that look like straight up advertisements. Take this Instagram post by FedEx as an example:
The “Elvis Slept Here” sign actually overpowers the FedEx truck. Everyone knows what FedEx does — they ship packages. Their Instagram strategy is based around branding, and incorporating their FedEx delivery vehicles and staff into creative images. It’s a smart move, because without the creative angle nobody would follow their account, let alone engage with it.