Social media marketing is an easy beginner step for anyone who’s looking to expand into the world of online marketing. It’s also easy to state that the most popular—and important—of social media websites to be on is Facebook.
However, allow me to make a bold claim: I believe that all small business owners need to be on Instagram. That’s right—Instagram. Though it might not seem like the ideal place to cultivate an amazing and engaging audience, Instagram is making itself a staple in the world of online marketing, and I’ve got some incredible Instagram marketing tips that’ll help kickstart your small business operations.
Now, I know what you’re thinking—another social media website to be on? How many do we possibly need, OCL! The answer is, honestly? Only two of them. You don’t need to be on Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram and Twitter and everything else under the sun. I believe you can find success if you select two social media networks to be on and perfect; then you can find a way to reach out to the others.
Of those two, however, I believe the ones you have to be on are Facebook and Instagram. With the amount of content you can replicate and recycle for both networks (in a small time frame, too), making successful and smart choices is easier than ever. Trust me, you’ll want to jump on the Instagram bandwagon now before everyone else crowds the area, and my Instagram marketing tips will certainly help you get the edge up on your current (and upcoming) competition. Let’s get started!
The CLICK Technique and Instagram Marketing Tips: “C” for “Cultivate”
Before we get into the details of my Instagram marketing tips, however, we can’t forget to discuss The CLICK Technique! A five-day crash course of my own invention, The CLICK Technique is designed to help business owners create the successful traffic and leads they’re missing. If your website is sitting dead in the water, make sure to sign up for The CLICK Technique to bring it back to life! Each letter in the word “CLICK” stands for a different step you should be taking in order to climb up that marketing mountain, and when these steps are combined, the results speak for themselves!
In the case of these awesome Instagram marketing tips, I could go with a couple different steps. However, I do think the second “C” in the word “CLICK” will help us the most, and that “C” stands for “Cultivate”. Once you’ve established yourself in the world of online marketing, you want to work hard to make sure that your relationships with clients past, present, and future are well-maintained, and having a positive outlook and reaching out to these people on a fairly regular basis is an excellent way to make sure that these relationships are staying strong. Through this constant communication and conversation, you’re cultivating these relationships and making your business stronger in the process.
When it comes to these Instagram marketing tips, the same ideology applies. You’re establishing yourself on a new social media network in order to reach out to an additional audience and gain a more commanding presence in the world of online marketing. By engaging with these people and making sure that the content you post is content they truly want to see, you’re building your brand on a foundation of happy clients.
Cultivating these relationships when they’re just starting out is imperative to your future and current success, and I highly encourage people to maintain a steady stream of conversation with these people who show their interest in your business and your products.
Instagram Marketing Tips: The 14 Things You Need To Know
Now that we know what we’re focusing on, the discussion of the best Instagram marketing tips I have to offer becomes a little easier to understand. For those of you who have never ventured on Instagram, don’t worry! What I’m about to tell you is basically a rundown of Instagram Marketing 101—the basics, the must-haves, and the pitfalls to avoid when starting your journey into the world of Instagram marketing.
If you’re not that familiar with how Instagram works, I’d give the homepage a once-over to see what sort of things you can expect from your personal Instagram feed. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the landscape of this new social media network, it’s time to dig into the best 13 Instagram marketing tips!
#1: Facebook and Instagram Have a Few Differences
It’s important to note from the start that Facebook and Instagram have a lot of similarities and a few notable differences. The main difference between Facebook and Instagram relies on the fact that Instagram is very much a visual-based medium. Every post on Instagram has to include a picture, and most of the pictures that people post on Instagram are beautiful, high-quality images. The picture makes the statement, and the words are there to help sell the image as a whole.
On Facebook, you can post text without worrying about adding an image, and people will still read what you have to say. As a result, you need to make sure you’re set up to generate pictures that are high-quality and aesthetically interesting.
You can, if you want, integrate stock photos into this lineup—which are photos pre-generated that show a variety of situations. However, you will need to make sure that these photos are edited in a way that you cannot tell they’re stock photos, and you’ll need to integrate them into your photo queue sparingly. Overall, the best thing you can do when starting off with these Instagram marketing tips is taking good, quality photos using your phone.
#2: Hiring a Professional
While this is a more specific case of Instagram marketing tips, it still holds significant importance. If you’re a business that’s trying to market a specific product or service, I would suggest that you hire a professional photographer. You might be a little surprised here, but honestly? That’s what it takes. You want to make sure that your product is shown in a clear, quality light, and a professional will ensure that your vision comes to life.
Overall, you need very good pictures in order to stand out from the crowd of professionalism. Making sure that you’ve locked down how to take a good photo—framing the subject correctly, positioning of the camera in a way that suits the frame, making the subject in focus instead of a background detail—is imperative to your beginning. Before you dive into any Instagram marketing tips and strategies, put some thought into what you’re creating. (If you need specific examples, feel free to check out my Instagram profile for inspiration!)
#3: Search Through Hashtags
When it comes to Instagram marketing tips, one of the benefits of Instagram is how open of a network it is! On Facebook, you have friends and fans, and they can see clearly everything that you post. On Instagram, you have followers. People can follow you, and if they do, your account is added to their personal feed on the Instagram homepage. Seems like a pretty similar situation, right?
However, you can use the search function on Instagram to see what hashtags are generating the biggest buzz. For those of you who don’t know, hashtags are links that trend that you can apply to your content posts.
By searching through these hashtags and researching what pertains to your interests and things that are relevant to your business, you can find profiles that post about things that relate to those hashtags!
For example, I would search through hashtags like “#onlinemarketing” or “#trafficandleads”. Because of this function, Instagram is more open than Facebook and allows for an easier way to connect to people that generate content similar to what you’re looking to replicate. Talk about sneaky Instagram marketing tips!
#4: You Must Be Mobile
With Instagram marketing tips, some might say that one of the tricky things relating to Instagram revolves around how you’re designed to use it. If you visit Instagram on a browser from a desktop, it’s impossible to upload and properly edit a photo for a post. Instagram, as a whole, was meant to be used from a smartphone or mobile device.
A good way to keep yourself well-stocked for these moments is to keep your camera roll ready and full of photos! By taking photos whenever you want, you have a stockpile of content to use which is especially useful when you’re a little stumped about what to post. By saving this content, you can worry about the creation of the perfect caption when you’re sitting at your computer, and you don’t have to rush yourself to create something that works for the image you’re trying to promote.
When you are posting, however, it’s recommended that you’re posting five times a week (the days on which these posts go live is entirely up to you). Once you’ve got a camera roll that’s stocked and ready to go, you can sit at your computer to create the caption (and, if you can, try to incorporate emojis; people love them!), and think about the best possible hashtags to include with your image. It’s important that we remember this among our Instagram marketing tips, as it reminds us that Instagram doesn’t work like every other social media site.
#5: Come Up With Interesting Hashtags
One of the most important Instagram marketing tips revolves around the hashtags you choose to include in your post. Stumped on which ones to include? Look at what other people are using!
Search through the hashtag of the subject of your photo and see what other hashtags people are including on the most popular photos with the same subject or theme. With this strategy, you can effectively carry over some of the hashtags that other people are using to your own post. Though it should be noted that you can utilize up to thirty hashtags, you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so. Instead, use your hashtags thoughtfully and effectively; that’s how your picture is going to be seen.
#6: Be Careful of the “Shadowban”
While hashtags are an important part of Instagram marketing tips and being noticed on Instagram, you have to be wary of what you’re using. Make sure you do your research on the hashtags that you want to use and the hashtags that similar people and businesses are using to make sure that you avoid a “shadowban”.
A shadowban is Instagram’s way to making sure you’re not breaking the rules of their system, and it’s designed to pick out certain hashtags that are often associated with spam accounts as well as hashtags you use repeatedly. If you fall prey to these hashtags, Instagram will hit your account with a shadowban. This means that when people search the hashtags you might be using, your account will not appear in search results. Instead, you’ll only appear in the feeds of people who are already following your account.
A shadowban will cause you to gain fewer followers, reach fewer people, and will hinder your account overall. The importance of these Instagram marketing tips relies on staying aware and using research to make sure you can avoid these punishments.
#7: Connect Your Instagram to Other Social Media Networks
One of the most important Instagram marketing tips revolves around connection! When you upload to Instagram, there’s an option underneath the caption box with buttons that will allow you to share your post across Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. The last isn’t very important, but the first two are! Make sure that you connect your Instagram account to your Facebook account and your Twitter account. That way, every time you post something on Instagram, you share the post on your Facebook and Twitter accounts as well. It’s like hitting three birds with one stone—if you start on Instagram, and let it flow over to Facebook and Twitter, you’re saving yourself the time that would be spent duplicating that content for your other accounts.
#8: Choose Your 5 Pillars
When you’re thinking about what pictures to post on your Instagram account, it’s important to remember that social media networks, above all else, are about being social. With Instagram marketing tips, you have to remember that people don’t want to be sold to. However, they are interested in seeing your products, particularly if it’s presented in a fun way, and most importantly, they want to get to know you and your business.
Because of this, I recommend that you pick five areas of your life to post about, which I refer to as your 5 Pillars. These areas should be a mix of work-related content and personal content which will humanize you, as well as engage people outside of your marketing bubble. That way, when it comes time to post on Instagram and you’re unsure of what to do, you can circle back to these 5 Pillars and see what hasn’t been discussed that week. Boom, content!
From experience, I highly recommend personal topics, as those get a lot more play on Instagram due to their nature. For example, I often post photos of my children—a foot, maybe, or the back of their head, to give them privacy—and those posts gain a lot of positive interactions from people! In terms of Instagram marketing tips, so long as you’ve got that camera roll fully stocked, these 5 Pillars will bring you a lot of success.
#9: Create an Instagram Business Account
Though this might seem like an obvious statement when it comes to Instagram marketing tips, similar to a Facebook Page for your business, you’ll want to create an Instagram business account. Unlike your personal profile, an Instagram business account allows you to monitor specific analytics on your account! Additionally, it allows you to post Instagram ads—which are beneficial and less expensive than Facebook ads—which increases your chances of your content being seen in the feed of your followers.
Unsure of how to get started on this entire endeavor? No problem! Instagram can teach you how to get yourself started and established with an Instagram business account. Once it’s been created and situated, you want to make sure to post from this account as frequently as you can.
#10: Make Sure You’re Investing in Instagram Marketing
Though it might seem a bit obvious to state, an important thing to remember about Instagram marketing tips is how much you’re investing into your marketing. If you’re following The CLICK Technique, then you already know that you should be spending a minimum of $5.00 a day on your Facebook marketing.
What makes this even easier than you could’ve imagined is the fact that you can manage your Instagram ads from the same place that you manage your Facebook ads! Therefore, you can split that $5.00 in half—giving you $2.50 for each—and have both feet firmly planted in the marketing ground.
Keep in mind, however, that running ads for Facebook and running ads for Instagram are two different things. Instagram, as stated, is a visual medium, and the ad that you’re running on Facebook might not work for the format (the size of the ad, the way you’re talking about the subject, and so on). If you’re throwing money into this endeavor, you want to make sure that your ad is suited for Instagram and Facebook, or an easier solution: simply create two separate ads.
#11: Utilize Instagram Stories
We’ve talked before about Snapchat stories, and Instagram answered to the wildly popular content format with Instagram Stories! An Instagram Story is a live Instagram feed that followers can view at the top of their homepage by clicking on your icon. To your story, you can post things like images, videos, and, possibly the most important, live videos! When you go live, everyone in your feed is immediately notified, and your image appears with a large circle around it.
So an important thing to note with Instagram marketing tips is utilizing the urgency that an Instagram Story creates. Since Instagram Stories disappear within 24 hours of posting, they encourage people to tune in and watch it as it’s happening as opposed to waiting until later to catch up. The downside to that, however, is the fact that our content disappears so shortly after we post it, and as a content marketer, that’s not always ideal. However, I do encourage people to play around with Instagram stories, as it’ll definitely increase your engagement and help your overall content strategy.
#12: Have Constant Interaction
Instagram, like Twitter, is a social media network that relies on followers for success. So it’s easy to determine that one of the best Instagram marketing tips revolves around growing your follower list. The best way to do that is by interactions through your Instagram business account. You can start with a leg up if you’ve connected your Instagram business account to your Facebook, which will give you the option to follow everyone on your feed from your personal account. That way, you’re starting with a warm, familiar audience.
However, the best way to really solidify your relationship with these followers comes down to your interactions. At a minimum, you should be spending twenty minutes a day interacting with these people. Find people who have accounts similar to yours and take initiative to follower their followers. Comment on their posts, like their photos, interact with them! By doing this, your follow list will grow, and that is a guarantee. My team does that exact strategy, three days a week, and our follow list grows by ten to twenty people every single time!
Of course, you’ll eventually reach a place where the numbers will grow organically, but when you’re first starting out, these Instagram marketing tips are the best way to ensure that you’re on the up and up when it comes to gaining followers.
#13: Do Not Buy Followers
Maybe the most important thing to remember in our Instagram marketing tips is this: do not buy followers. People will try to approach you and make you believe that by working with them, they can gain you an absurd amount of followers in a very short amount of time. It’s extremely important that you do not believe them and that you do not buy into false followers.
This is important for many reasons, the main one being that it’s much better for you and your business to have a slow growth of people who truly want to follow you and are interested in your content. The vanity metric of having a lot of followers on sight but people who don’t interact with your posts and have no interest in what you’re doing can only hurt you in the end.
The Instagram algorithm is based on how many people like, interact, and comment on your posts after they go live. Therefore, if your follow list is full of fake followers that don’t engage, those large numbers are worthless. These Instagram marketing tips call back to what I state in terms of email lists: quality is much more important than quantity.
#14: Tracking Your Metrics
Since an Instagram business account allows you to track certain metrics, I thought it’d be helpful for the last of my Instagram marketing tips to be which ones you should be keeping tabs on! In order to see if you’re successful with your Instagram marketing, you want to make sure that these three metrics are being tracked.
First, you want to track your follower growth rate. This doesn’t mean the number of followers that you have, but rather how much your follower count increases on a daily basis. By ensuring that your growth is on the up and up, you can be sure that you’re posting the right content and keeping a consistent rate of quality images.
Second, you want to track your engagement rate. This makes sure that people are interacting with your posts and that the amount of interaction your posts receive is increasing as opposed to decreasing.
Third, you want to make sure you’re tracking your click-through rate. This means that, of course, you’re keeping track of how many people are clicking through to your website since your biography and captions allow you to post direct URLs. Since the ultimate goal of marketing is to get people onto your website, you want to have a high click-through rate!
Instagram Marketing Tips: Your 14 Routes to Victory
That’s it! I know it might seem like a lot at a first glance, but these are what I consider to be the basics of Instagram Marketing 101. It’s about constant interaction and cultivating these relationships with the people around you in your field of work, as well as people who’re interested in what you have to offer. Instagram marketing tips are important for us to keep track of as well, as social media marketing is constantly evolving and changing. Making sure that we’re ahead of the curve instead of two steps behind is imperative for our success!
By making sure that you’ve got these Instagram marketing tips on lockdown, I can guarantee that you’ll find success with your marketing campaign and strategies. Social media can be a little tricky to navigate, but after learning the interface of Instagram and harness its power through quality images that represent you so clearly, I’m sure you’ll find that hidden success you didn’t even know you were missing out on!