Digital marketing is progressing faster than anything else these days. When it comes to digital marketing, you must make proper use of social media platforms. Which social media platforms to use, you may ask; it is wise to start with Facebook and Instagram as they have the most number of users, therefore giving you a larger audience and more potential customers.
Why should you take Instagram seriously? That is because Instagram lets you express your personality. Consider the personality profile of your company. It helps you make a brand out of a company or a product line. It speaks in your favor. So, why not Instagram? You should try to maximize your reach in every way possible and Instagram is a great way to do that.
Considering it is a free social media network, you do not have anything to lose! Do use Instagram for your business and take it seriously. Here are all the ways and tricks for you to use Instagram in digital marketing properly.
Creating a ‘Professional Account’
The first and foremost step is to open a separate account for your business. Even if you have many followers on Instagram, do not do business using your personal account. Yes, you may promote your business profile from your personal one, you may share stories and posts. But make sure to keep the two entities separate.
When you open a separate account for your business, make the account a ‘professional’ profile.
Go to Edit Profile> Switch to Professional Account. There, you will get to choose “Creator” or “Business”, select the most suitable option for you and you can easily get yourself a professional account in seconds.
Business accounts provide free tools and insight options for you which are missing in general profiles. This also gives the profile a professional look and builds a better brand image.
Free Analytics Tools
Just when you turn the Instagram profile into a professional/business profile, you will notice some changes. In your “options”, you will see the option of “Insight”. This is a free tool that is accessible after turning your profile into a professional one.
In this segment, you can see your audience’s age range, gender, location and all, giving you a great insight into data. This also numerates the engagement rate. Make sure to keep an eye on these free analytics tools. Analyze the data and then strategize your Instagram business profile shaping it by the insights gathered.
Writing a Proper Bio
Bios are very important for Instagram branding. The few lines of a bio describe your company.
Writing an Instagram bio is pretty easy but will not be fruitful if you do not know the basics. Here are 6 steps for you to follow:
- Concisely mention what your business stands for and keep it short.
- Add hashtags affiliated with your business in your bio and tell people to use it, like “Share your saree looks with us, use #Almeerah”.
- Provide your location and other essential information so that profile viewers understand your validity.
- Showcase new offers in the bio, “Click here to get a 50% discount on the new items! * insert link * ”
- Use appropriate emojis to express brand personality.
- Make sure to add CTAs to your bio. Such as: “Call 007 to book the last piece of a necklace!”
Posting at Peak Time
At every social media platform, there is a certain “peak time”. This means, there are some hours when the rate of using the platform is higher than average. If you post at the peak time, your post will be circulated in more people’s Instagram Explore page and the chance of clicks on hashtags will be higher. All this leads to more views and engagement.
To find not just the usual peak time, but the custom peak time for your particular company, go to your business profile’s Options>Insights> Activity. You will find the data in the “Interactions” and “Discovery” sections there. Analyze the engagement rate and compare them. Thus fix the routine of posting at peak times.
Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform, and how exactly do you make your photos interactive? How do you give details about your photos? Through the captions, obviously!
It is through your captions that your followers are going to interact with you, engage with you. If you upload a photo of your product, do not only give the description. Make the captions catchy and interesting. Throw some questions to the audience. For instance, “Do you like this pair of newly designed shoes? 😍 Let us know in the comments! 💕” Add emojis, they give you higher engagement.
Tell a story through your captions, ask questions, play fun games. Use another powerful tool to express your brand- ‘words’.
Using the Right Hashtags
Hashtags categorize your content and make them more discoverable. They also give you a higher rate of engagement. There is no reason not to use them!
Hashtags are combinations of letters, numbers, and emojis preceded by the “ # ” symbol. Suppose you run a coffee shop at Abbey Road. If you use the hashtag: #CoffeeShopAbbeyRoad , there is a higher chance of people around Abbey Road seeing your post on their Instagram Explore Page.
Selecting and placing hashtags
- Do your research and find out the popular local hashtags. They give you better results than globally popular hashtags.
- Try to use hashtags that have a count between 1K-100K. If you have a new account, do not use hashtags that have more than 100K results, they are less likely to pop on your target market’s feed.
- Place the hashtags in your caption. You can use a couple of dots vertically and then use the hashtags so that the caption does not look overwhelmed.
- Another great choice is placing them in the first comment. This is not visible to the viewers’ feed, the post looks polished and works the same as putting them in the caption.
The limit is 30 hashtags per post. Put the appropriate hashtags in your caption or in the first comment, they will work fine. But remember, do not use the hashtags repetitively. This lets Instagram “shadow-ban” you!
Uploading Stories Regularly
Do you need to post every day on Instagram? Not really. You can make a fixed routine of posting based on your peak time and engagement rate. But one thing you need to do regularly is uploading Instagram Stories!
Uploading stories regularly gives your followers a feeling that you are alive and you are running on full throttle. You need to gain your customers’ trust, and being active conveys them that message. It is also an opportunity for you to reach your customers more personally if they reply to your stories.
Now, what is a good story? A good story is one that makes your viewers interact with you. Use polls, stickers, votes, etc fun engaging options in your stories. For example, for a clothing store, a good story would be showing two dresses and asking, “Which dress do you like more? Right one or left one?” Viewers would easily be interested in showing their opinion. This reflects that you care about their feedback and also makes the story entertaining and engaging.
Be it a sale or discount, an offer, an event, or simply some ‘behind the scenes’ shots- story it!
Making Relevant Comments
Search for your target customers on Instagram. Explore. You are encouraged to comment appropriately by abiding your limit. Be appreciative and make engaging comments.
By making a relevant comment, you can build a strong relationship with your potential customers. For instance, you are a suit tailoring brand. When you see someone from your target market posting a photo in a suit, you can comment about the suit, its cut and drape. Make sure your comments are sophisticated in every case.
Remember, comments can be seen by everyone. And through your language in commenting, other people are going to paint a picture of your brand.
Direct Messaging Potential Buyers
If potential buyer messages you on Instagram, be sure to make quick replies. Similarly, if they respond to your stories, be sure to react in a polite manner no matter if the message is positive or negative.
If someone wants to know your product’s price in the comment section, do not comment “Inbox us to know the price.” This manner creates a negative impression and questions your transparency.
They are your potential buyers. Tell them the price on the comment section but you can inbox them providing details about the product. In this way, they will feel appreciated and important. And your task is to make them feel that way.
Associate a Hashtag to Create the Brand
What is associated with your brand? Your logo and tagline are the basics. Along with these, you might come up with a catchphrase or some words to represent you in a hashtag.
Let’s see this. You run a jewelry page called “Noorani” and your tagline is “Jewellery for everyone.” You can simply establish a hashtag ‘ #JewelleryForEveryone ’ or can come up with another line associated with your brand image, ‘ #NooraniJewelleryforEveryAge ’. It works either way.
Run a campaign and use the slogan of the campaign, which works well too. You can establish a hashtag associating it with your brand. People can simply click on that hashtag and find more about you, see your products and know about the social campaigns which you run using the same hashtag. The Instagram algorithm recognizes this and gives it great value.
Collecting User Submitted Photos
When your customers use your products, request them to upload them on Instagram using the hashtag associated with your company. Or it can simply be the name of the company as a hashtag. They can tag your business profile too.
Collect the photos that use hashtags associated with you and the ones in which you are tagged. Post them in your stories as a token of gratitude. These photos can also be used as user-generated content. Use these photos to promote your brand, not only on Instagram but also on other social media platforms.
Lastly, do not forget to react and comment on the photos! This encourages your customers to stay loyal to your brand.
Following Accounts from Similar Industry
What do you do from your personal Instagram account? You follow the people you know, you follow your friends and make friends, right? Do the same with your business account!
Make friends with other business entities. It will take time, but you will gradually be successful. Follow accounts from similar industries. For example, if you own the second-best shoe company in the locality, follow the best shoe company and the ones who are behind you too!
Give shoutouts to them on stories and comment on their posts. Are you bringing your competitors up? Sure, but you are bringing your company up too! The more engagement you make, the better the chance of people finding you. As you share a similar industry, the chance of catching the eyes of potential customers organically is even higher! Moreover, you can learn from your competitors’ posts and keep up to date with them through trends.
Collaborating with Other Companies
On social media platforms, rants and bringing other companies down might seem very “cool” to the young generation. But one thing that works better than putting your competitors or other companies down is raising them up. (off-topic: this works the best in life too. ✌ )
When you collaborate with other companies, it makes you a more amiable brand overall. On Instagram, if you are a jewelry shop, collaborate with a clothing line. When the beautiful photos come on the feed, people will enjoy both the products. It is an absolute win-win situation!
Reaching Out to Instagram Influencers
These days, there is quite a number of Instagram “influencers” around. There are influencers for every category- food, lifestyle, modeling and many more. Work with them.
Let’s say you are a wristwatch brand, trying to establish a stand on social media and also want more people to find you. Pay an Instagram influencer in the ‘lifestyle’ category to showcase your product. He/she can post a few photos wearing your wristwatch on their Instagram profile which has thousands of followers. Mentioning it is a paid ad in the caption works the same.
This way, your product reaches thousands of Instagram users, who might be your potential customers too as they follow the lifestyle influencer. They might visit your Instagram profile, might press the ‘follow’ button and gradually can become your customers too!
Reposting Others’ Photos
Instagram’s Terms of Service (TOS) or Copyright Law states that you can repost someone else’s photo but you must grant permission to do so. Otherwise, the person has the legal right to sue you.
Fear not. Here are ways to safely repost others’ photos. Here are the ways to get permission:
- DM the person and ask if you can use his/her photo.
- Simply comment on the photo asking if you can use it.
The original uploader holds the decision of permitting you.
If you want to use a public figure’s or Instagram influencer’s photo, go on. However, you are bound to take it down if they tell you to.
When you repost someone’s photos, do not forget to give them proper credit!
Nonetheless, if someone uses your hashtag, you can feature their photos without any issue by reposting on your business’ Instagram profile.
Run Sponsored Ads
You need to try your best to make sure your target market sees your posts. The way to do this is through sponsored advertisements. This lets your posts pop up on the people’s homepage who do not follow you yet.
If you run sponsored ads on Instagram, your posts will reach the homepage of the target market. You can select the age, gender, distance, and other scales to set your target audience. Then sponsor the ad and run it!
This gives you better engagement and chance of getting more customers, and that is what serves the sole purpose of digital marketing, right?
The Infamous “Follow-Unfollow” Hack
Hold on. The “follow-unfollow” hack may not sound that professional but surely results greatly. This is not recommended to well-established companies but is a great hack for the startup companies to start off with.
Follow the followers of a company similar to yours. When you follow them, a portion would view your profile and might follow back. They might follow back because they are interested in your company’s idea, your posts or your products. In this way, you can attract a large number of interested people and bring them to your profile.
Companies and businesses tend to follow fewer people than their followers. This is because of the authoritarian value and brand image. Because of this, you can unfollow the people you followed beforehand. To unfollow in a large volume, you can install an ‘unfollow on Instagram’ app, many of which are available on the internet and on several app stores.
Connect Instagram DMs to Facebook Messages
In case you did not know, Facebook allows you to manage Instagram’s comments and messages in a single location!
Simply connect your Instagram Business Profile to your Facebook page. When you go to the Facebook page’s inbox, you will be able to access your Instagram inbox as well. Do notice that there is an option to read and reply to your comments as well.
On mobile, click the “All tab” to see all of your notifications from Messenger, your Facebook page, and your connected Instagram account.
Showcasing and Selling Products
Instagram has recently added a feature that lets you post photos of your products and add price tags on them. In this way, the viewers can click on your photos, see the products and decide if they want to buy them or not. Clicking on the photos lead the buyer to the website where they can proceed to buy them. This works exactly like viewing products on websites and e-commerce sites.
Additionally, you can add photos of your products in your Instagram story. But this can be enabled if your account is verified or if you have at least 10,000 followers.
Content Management Tools
Too much content? Can you not keep track of your content calendar? Losing your track? Well, technology has a solution for that too!
Use tools like Onlypult and Facebook Creator Studio (which is free!). These tools let you organize your future Instagram posts and manage your Instagram content for you. You can upload your photos in bulk on Onlypult and Creator Studio, add captions to them, select date and time. These tools will upload those photos on Instagram at your selected time.
Tools like these help you run your business profile on Instagram in a more organized way and helps you avoid all the stress and mess.
Never Forget to Upload
Last but not least, as aforementioned, you have to upload your photos on peak time on a routine basis. You do not necessarily have to upload every day. But make sure to upload following your routine. If you think maintaining a specific day of the week and a specific time is difficult, hey, use tools like Onlypult that has already been mentioned here as well!
Uploading photos consistently makes Instagram recognize you and gives your profile a massive boost. You will gain more followers in no time and will have a higher chance of appearing on the explore page. So, never, never, never forget to upload.
Instagram is accessible through both personal computers and mobile devices. It stands in one of the top 10 most popular social media sites. And is the most used photo-sharing platform. The greatest catch is, it is absolutely free to use! So go out there and make the best out of it!