With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is the third biggest social media platform after Facebook and YouTube. Over 13% of the people on earth are using Instagram today!
So, it comes as no surprise that brands are increasingly looking at Instagram as an important marketing channel.

There are about 25 million business profiles and about 2 million monthly advertisers on Instagram to this date and about 90% of the top 100 brands are already present on Instagram.

%

of the people on earth are using Instagram

Not only that, according to Forrester, engagement rate – which is measured by likes, comments and shares from the users – is off the charts for Instagram.

The average engagement rate is 4.21% on Instagram which is 10x higher than Facebook and 84x higher than Twitter.

Therefore, as a brand, it is not only logical but extremely important, that you have a strong presence on Instagram. We have curated a list of some Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram Marketing that can you use to get started.

1. Post Regularly

This is perhaps the most common advice brands get for any social media marketing. However, it can’t be stressed enough that brands need to be active on Instagram in order to attract the followers and keep them subscribed to their page.
Around 1-2 posts a day is good enough to keep your users hooked to the page. However, too many posts a day can lead to brand fatigue for users.

It is also important to know when to post on your page. Some of the studies suggest that posting between 2-5 pm is the best way to grab the attention of your users while other studies suggest time like 2 am is the best to increase the reach of your post.

However, it is best that you make use of your own Instagram analytics to understand the behaviour of your followers and observe the time when your followers are most active on Instagram and then post around that time.

2. Focus On Building a Community

Just increasing your number of followers is not good enough for your brand. You have to make sure that your followers are engaged with your Instagram page.

You can do that by multiple ways, for example, by actively replying to user comments on your posts, by asking your followers questions in the caption, hosting Instagram contests, provoking thoughtful conversations among the followers or by creating dedicated hashtags for your Instagram “family”.

Also, make sure that you post the content which is relatable for your audience. It is important for your users to feel a part of your Instagram community to keep them engaged and to participate more on your Instagram page.

Hosting Instagram contests is another way to achieve this. Contests are a powerful engagement tool on Instagram generating 3.5x more likes and 64x more comments than the regular posts. Despite this, brands sometimes overlook the contests.

There are only 2% of the Instagram accounts that host contests and only 0.6% of the posts are contest based. This means that there is huge untapped potential here which you can leverage to boost the engagement on your page.

3. Get Your Users Involved in Content Creation

Getting your users involved in creating content for you is a great way to keep them hooked to your page as well as to generate unique, original content.

User-generated content is authentic and shows the loyalty of users towards your brand, therefore, you should capitalise on it and use it to create a buzz in the market as well as to increase the engagement of users on your Instagram page.

You can start by asking your users an idea for a campaign for instance, and tell them to post photos on their account and tag your brand on their page.
This will not only increase the visibility of your page to their friends and followers but also help you with the next idea for your campaign. This way, users will also feel more connected with the brand.

Virgin Holidays is a great example in this context. They invited their followers to share their vacation photos on social media using the hashtag #SeizeTheHoliday.

By collating the best images from the user submissions, Virgin was able to create a portfolio of photos for its billboard and TV ad campaigns and subsequently experienced a 260% increase in their online bookings as well as 64% increase in a number of passengers, over the previous year.

4. Use High-Quality Images to Tell the Stories

Instagram is a highly visual platform which means that it is important for you to use high-quality, aesthetically pleasing, authentic and beautiful images on Instagram.

To make your brand stand out from the crowd, make sure that you avoid posting generic or stock photos on Instagram and instead post creative and unique content on your page regularly. You can also use filters and additional apps to make your photos more visually appealing before posting them on Instagram.

Another way to grab the attention of users from your competition is to tell stories through your posts. You can share the stories about your life, your brand, your products or services, your employees or even about your customers. Stories keep the account more real and relatable for the users.

You can make use of the multiple formats available on Instagram such as captions, videos, Instagram stories and profile to share your “micro-experiences” with your followers. Through these stories, users would get to know more about you and therefore, would be able to relate more with your brand. Airbnb, RedBull, Lego and Nike are some of the brands that tell great stories through their account.

5. Don’t Ignore Captions

While it is true that Instagram is largely a visual platform and posting good visual content is important on Instagram. However, at the same time, make sure that you don’t ignore the text part i.e. the captions.

Keep your captions creative, interesting and relatable for the audience. Come up with creative tag-lines, informational and fun content. Captions are a great way to make users know more about you. You can use the caption to tell stories about your products, customers, employees or yourself.

Marketers observe that posts with interesting and quirky captions not only attract more users but they also increase the engagement of users with the posts and lead to more likes and comments on the posts.

6. Unlock the Potential of Various Formats

Images and regular posts are not the only way you can tell about your brand on Instagram. You can extend your storytelling experience to other formats available on Instagram such as videos, carousels and Instagram stories.

You can show fun and informational content to your viewers through 60-second single videos. Carousels allow more message real estate by letting followers swipe across for additional images or videos.

Instagram stories are a great way to create visually-arresting content through their vertical screen format where images and videos can be spliced together. In fact, Instagram stories are used extensively by the business accounts.
With over 300 million people using Instagram stories every day, it is rather expected that about one-third of these stories come from business accounts. Use of stories increases your chances of appearing in the Explore section and therefore, increases your visibility to the new users.

Using multiple formats on your page will keep things more interesting for your users and pique their interest. It is important here to make sure that you use each format in a way that gives the best results. For example, while live stories are ideal for drawing people in since they are happening in the moment, pre-recorded stories are more useful for posting in-depth information about your products or services or brand.

Stories are also great way to share quick announcements, fire promotions, or short narratives. You can also post links in the stories which you can’t do in the comments or captions, therefore, that is additional advantage which you can leverage to bring additional traffic to your website.

7. Use Hashtags but Don’t Abuse Them

While hashtags are the best way to find new users, make sure that you are not spamming the internet with your hashtag game. Instagram allows 30 hashtags under each picture, that means that you have 30 opportunities to increase the visibility of your page, but that doesn’t mean that you have to use each one of those opportunities.

In fact, research says that 91% of the posts from top brands use only seven or lesser number of hashtags to get many likes.

Putting a lot of hashtags under the images looks unprofessional and un-targeted. Make sure that you use hashtags that are relevant to your industry, brand and the image that you are posting.

Using popular hashtags that are not related with your brand might fetch you a visitor, but it won’t earn you a follower.

Moreover, using a generic hashtag like #clothing or #fashion will lead you to compete with millions of other posts. Therefore, keep your hashtags unique and creative.

8. Give a Strong Call to Action

The purpose of your Instagram marketing is not just to create content for your users, but it is also to bring them to your website and make them use your products or services.

Therefore, make sure that your content has a strong call to action for the viewers. You can put the calls to action in your posts, stories, videos, the office CTA buttons provided by Instagram, or even in your bio.

In fact, your bio is the first thing your new users would see. Therefore, make use of this space to get the attention of your viewers to your website or your primary work. Make your bio interesting and have a strong call to action for your users in your bio to visit your website or to buy your products.

Also make sure that you keep directing your existing followers to your website as well through your regular posts, and Instagram stories where you can directly put the link to your website.

9. Don’t Use Instagram Solely For Promotions

Don’t overdo the brand advertisements and sales promotions on Instagram. Users are there to see the striking images of the content they like and not to hear excessively about the sales pitches.
Therefore, keep the number of sales promotions limited. Also, if you are doing the sponsored ads for your page, make sure that the content of the ads also looks natural and real, and not forced.

Moreover, make sure that the content of the advertisements is relevant for the target audience for maximum conversion.

10. Promote Your Instagram Page

This point may look counter-intuitive to the above point. But here, we are talking about marketing and promoting your page and not about promotions ON your Instagram page. Below are some of the ways which we can use to promote your Instagram account to increase the number of followers on your page
Promote it on your other social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
Collaborate with other influencers in your industry or space.
Make wise use of hashtags and Instagram stories to appear in the explore section.
Use Instagram sponsor ads. But, make sure that these look natural and there is also a call to action with it.
But most importantly, be patient. It may take you months or even years to increase your followers from a few hundreds and thousands to millions and millions of users. Don’t lose patience in the process and keep posting good content regularly. Don’t use bots at any cost. Even if you are able to get the followers using the bots, the engagement on your page would still not be there.

Conclusion

Instagram is a great tool for marketers which they can use for the targeted marketing of their products and services. However, it is largely a visual platform, and therefore, aesthetics of the posts is an important factor here.

Creativity and consistency are other things to keep in mind while posting any content on Instagram. Also make sure that you closely track your Instagram page and identify the most effective hashtags and visual styles that work for you to hone your Instagram marketing strategy and to get the best out of your Instagram page.

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