Instagram Marketing: Cheat Sheet

Instagram marketing is one of the most overlooked marketing options there is when it comes to promoting a brand and helping it to thrive online. A lot of businesses fail to consider marketing on Instagram simply because they believe it to be a “small” social network—or because they don’t think it presents enough opportunities. You can’t insert links on Instagram…it’s all about pictures…What use could that possibly have for a business?

Surprisingly, it’s the “non-promotional” nature of Instagram that makes it so effective. And as for it being small…well, as of December 2014, it had 300 million users—which actually means that it’s bigger than Twitter. Time for a re-think!

So how do you “win” at Instagram? Simple: you follow this formula.

What Works on Instagram?

Instagram is centered around showcasing the beauty of everyday moments and activities. For your company, that means sharing the beauty of your products and presenting your services in a way that makes them look desirable.

What is the lifestyle you are promoting? What is the ethos? What do people receive by following or buying into your brand? Whether it’s astounding travel, mouthwatering food, health, fitness, or fashion—your images should portray the lifestyle you are attempting to promote!

Uploading Great Content

Content on Instagram should evoke the “feel” of your brand, as mentioned above. Also, try following these tips to ensure that you stay on the money:

  • Upload regularly
  • Stay “on point”
  • Use filters—but don’t overdo them
  • Tell a story with your pictures
  • Provide tips and value wherever possible
  • Think about depth and lighting
  • Use VSCO Cam (app) to get access to more effects
  • Use CloudFire (app) to help manage your account more effectively—find relevant users to follow and keep track of how your social media updates affect your follower/unfollower statistics
  • Look for stock images or create memes when you’re low on content

How to Grow Your Users

There are a few ways you can grow your users. For instance:

  • Link your social media accounts so that they each boost each other (and have a consistent brand identity across all of them)
  • Add your Instagram to your website with a sidebar widget
  • Use hashtags that people will search for—look local!
  • Run contests, caption competitions, and promotions
  • Find an automation software for realistic engagement with other users
  • Use influencer marketing—try to get big bloggers and webmasters to share your content with their own followers
  • Use location tags and local hashtags
  • Tag people you meet in the real world

If people come into your store, encourage them to engage on Instagram

Encourage people to take photos and tag you, or to take photos using your product/promotional items

Some Last Points to Remember

Remember, Instagram is not about instant conversions or links. It’s about the long-term benefits, so rate your success in terms of likes, follows, and comments—not solely profit.

Likewise, remember that this is a “young” and “hip” crowd. You need to get to know your actual audience, but you should also get to know the Instagram audience more generally. What you’ll find is that Instagram is a place where in-your-face marketing messages don’t go over well. So don’t do that!

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Let me know what’s worked for you below!

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