Instagram is the best social media platform when you want to build a following, fast. It’s all about putting your brand in front of as many interested pairs of eyes as possible and then adding the discount codes and clever hashtags that turn followers and browsers into customers and buyers. Struggling to figure out how to do it? Here’re a dozen ways you can make it happen with the click of a button.
Get to know your target audience
First things first, you need to know who you’re actually speaking to. It’s no use talking about how uniquely artisan and creative you are if there’s no one out there who cares. Take the time to build avatars and profiles of your ideal customer(s) and then figure out who they follow and engage with on social media. The chances are there are thousands of people out there who fit your profile, but if you don’t have one, you’ll never know when you’ve found them.
Find a relevant influencer
Influencers are what Instagram is known for, and plenty of brands use them to their advantage. The problem is that finding an influencer is easy, but finding someone who will actually make a useful contribution to your strategy is a different proposition. Plenty of people will accept money and discount codes in exchange for posting about you, but is it worth the money? To assess whether you’ve found the right influencer, ask yourself these 3 key questions:
- Are they someone who would actually buy my products and services?
- Do they have a portfolio of work I can take a look at?
- What are their engagement stats like, and are they better than mine?
Network with other Instagram marketers
Networking is what social media is all about, so you’d be foolish to invest all your effort in customers, and never look for other businesses to connect with. You’re all marketing your offerings for the same reasons, so reach out to people whose businesses could tie in with yours. You’re not going to get a reply most of the time but the few times you do it could be the start of an exciting new collaboration that lasts for years to come.
If your links are dead, so is your promotion
Updating your links and ensuring the content you’re redirecting people to is always live is the name of the game here. If it’s not, no one is going to flag it up for you — they’ll just click off someplace else. Be proactive, be professional, and focus on getting all the basics and fine details right. It will make more of a difference than stumbling across a viral hashtag.
Free broken link checker: BrokenLink
Add discount rewards for micro-influencers
People love to feel valued by the accounts they follow, so show them what they mean to you. If you want to be able to reward micro-influencers — the people who enthusiastically follow you no matter what — drop them a discount code every now and then. It only takes a couple of clicks, and it will mean you have an essentially free marketer who’s happy for another few months at least.
Develop a style of writing that brings your captions to life
No one likes to check out stunning images only to find that the captions leave a lot to the imagination. If they’re bland, dull, and just plain old generic, you need to do something about it. Take the time to create a playful style of writing that will do your images justice and then add in a healthy sprinkling of emojis for good measure. It’s all about giving your captions some pop, so think about what the posts you read do well and then use them for your spark of inspiration.
Use the right hashtags and constantly update them
No list of common Instagram mistakes would be complete without using hashtags that have died a slow and painful death. They’re the ultimate in viral trends, and if you’re using one from 18 months ago without a second’s thought, you’re doing your marketing efforts a serious disservice.
Branded images are the way to go
If you want people to instantly identify with you, branded images are the way to go. A border and a logo in the corner are great ideas, and if you keep them subtle and simple you won’t overpower the rest of the image. You could even lay your pictures out so they create a larger pattern or theme when someone is taking a look at your profile. It’s all about the visuals, so give some thought to what your followers and customers are likely to want to see.
(See also: Instagram SEO – Dos and Don’ts)
Leverage Instagram stories to diversify your content
If you’re not using Instagram stories, you’re missing out. It’s a great way to give followers an insight into your brand, how you create content, and generally, just keep them engaged. Think up new ways you can show different sides to what you’re doing and you’ll be able to reap the rewards as your following grows organically, week after week.
Videos are more powerful than images
Video content is the most engaging format there is, so make sure you’re adding plenty of it to your account. It’s all about giving away something for nothing, so a how-to, a behind-the-scenes, or an exclusive preview would all make excellent ideas.
Interact with your followers
Ask any of the best writing companies what builds a loyal customer, and they’ll tell you it’s about how you interact with them. When someone comments on a post, reply to them. When someone tags you, like it and send them a message. It really is that simple, and you only have to do it a little bit for everyone else to see that you’re someone who loves it when people reach out.
Comment on posts to humanize your brand
If you want to really take your marketing to the next level, you need to think about how to humanize your content. Playful posts and tags will distract people from the fact that you’re trying to sell something, and they’ll make your content a lot more engaging. It’s all about making sure your brand comes across as the work of a human being, rather than an autoresponder who’s out to clinch the sale.
Building a successful content marketing strategy is all about getting to know your audience and then finding the words and visuals that they want to see. It’s about getting inside their heads, putting yourself in their shoes, and figuring out what makes them tick. Once you can do that, you’ll really be onto something.