The Observation Deck

How to Improve Your Instagram Marketing Game

instagram marketing

The visual storytelling power of Instagram in today’s marketing game is undeniable. The platform currently has more active users than Twitter (300 million), not to mention the dual option of video or photo makes this made-for-mobile platform the ideal place for brands to curate their personal brand story.

Most marketers have an active Instagram profile for their brand already but there are a many more tricks out there to help marketers master the visual platform. Here are three core tips to help you upgrade your Instagram marketing prowess.

1. Understand the Culture

Instagram offers audiences a certain style of content that brands must adhere to if they want to succeed on the platform. For example, Pinterest, another hugely popular photo-based site, is known for its aspirational/instructional content, i.e., hairstyle tutorials, home decorating tips, cooking recipes, etc. The platform consists of mostly found content, with little-to-no contribution from Pinterest users. Instagram, however, consists of less aspirational and more “in action” content and Instagram’s users contribute the majority of the content to the platform. To better understand this distinction think of it this way. On Pinterest, you’ll find a tutorial on making a wallet, but on Instagram you’ll put up a photo of that wallet you made sitting on a café table with a nice sepia filter on top of it. In short, Instagram is where you put your product in a context so the customer can connect with it. Steve Madden’s Instagram gives a good example by uploading photos of their shoes on models simply walking down New York City streets. The aesthetic of the photo campaign makes it look spontaneous as if these models were merely pedestrians who had been asked to have their photo taken. This approach puts Steve Madden’s collection into context and helps an Instagram follower easily imagine themselves in the shoes.  

instagram marketing

If your product isn’t a tangible object, never fear, you can still utilize Instagram to market your service. Post before and after images, behind-the-scenes work, videos of key employees, or any process that might be of interest to an Instagram follower.

2. User-Generated Content

instagram marketingThanks to apps like Repost, including user-generated content on your Instagram account is now easier than ever. It used to be that if someone tagged you in a photo on Instagram it would merely pop up in a different section of photos apart from your contributed content. Now with repost apps you can upload a follower’s photo, that features your brand, to include in on your profile. Reposting apps give the original owner credit by keeping their name in the bottom left corner of the photo. You can also choose to keep the original post caption that came with the image and add to it if you like.

Incorporating user generated content is an obvious advantage to garnering more Instagram followers, especially if the follower who contributed the content is something of an influencer on Instagram. Contacting Instagram influencers who have amassed a huge following is a great way to broaden your brand’s reach on the platform. While not specifically user-generated, Steve Madden implemented a similar tactic in their strategy by specifically using models who have a large presence on Instagram. They made sure to tag the model’s Instagram account in the post to access to their large group of followers.

3. Links

There aren’t many places to put links on Instagram so when it comes to the post caption and your profile, you should utilize those areas as much as possible.

The post caption is the comment that gets uploaded with the image. Regardless of how many comments are added beneath the image, the post caption remains directly below the image. Because of its prime placement it is the ideal place to put a call to action of some sort. Make this call to action descriptive while keeping it reasonably short in length. About 300 characters is the perfect amount on Instagram, not including the link. You don’t want to get too wordy or else your post will look too cluttered with information. This is also the place to entice your followers towards your call to action by providing offers for discounts or membership deals, etc.

Your profile is another piece of prime real estate on Instagram where you can put a link to your website.  Posting a link here is a great way to get Instagram followers to explore your site. You can also change the URL whenever you like if you have multiple product pages that you’d like followers to explore.

Tip: Google Analytics can’t track referral mobile traffic from Instagram so you should use a trackable URL like Hubspot or Bitly in your profile, instead, to record the traffic you receive from Instagram. Instagram has also partnered with key social media analytics providers like Sprout Social to pull and present all of your analytics data.

These tips are just a few of the many that can be implemented into your Instagram marketing strategy but these are key first steps in the ascension of your brand’s instagram profile. Try these today and see a rise in your ROI.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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