By Morgan C,
Jan 4, 2019

Guide to Successful Instagram Marketing

Guide to Successful Instagram Marketing

Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users, and that number is projected to rise. The social media platform has grown tremendously since its launch in 2010, and if your business isn’t taking advantage of the 60% of Instagram users who log in daily, you’re missing a major revenue stream.

Instagram is a photo- and video-sharing social media platform accessible on both mobile and desktop. Users upload vivid imagery and use hashtags and geotags to help their targeted audience find their content. Users can alter their photos with graphical stickers and several photo filter options as well.

Why Market On Instagram?

If you’ve been holding out on putting your brand on Instagram, now is the time to jump on the popular outlet. Unlike Facebook, where the majority of users who talk about a brand don’t actually follow that brand on the social platform, 62% of Instagram users follow brands on the platform, and 70% of users admit to having searched for a particular brand on the app.

Instagram success relies on more than an occasional post. If you want to become Instagram famous, you must commit to a plan. The four must-have elements of an Instagram marketing plan include:

      • Big-picture vision
      • Consistency
      • Clear brand voice
      • Knowledge of your target audience

Kith is a great example of creative Instagram marketing. With more than 1.6 million followers and posts that average between 8K to 12K likes, the streetwear fashion powerhouse understands how to use Instagram to connect directly with brand loyalist and prospective customers.

So, what makes a brand like Kith stand out on Instagram? Why do some posts get thousands of likes while others flail into eternal digital nothingness? If you’re looking for the secret sauce to make your brand stand out from the Insta crowd, we have the recipe. Follow our steps to improve your Instagram marketing.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Creating an Instagram Marketing Strategy

Before your Instagram marketing plan can be successful, it must be defined. Consider your goals. What do you want to achieve with Instagram engagement? If you’re not sure where to start with setting your Instagram vision, try some of these common goals:

      • Advertise
      • Build brand loyalty
      • Build (or grow) your online community
      • Create buzz around product launches
      • Increase brand awareness
      • Spotlight your team
      • Reveal company values and culture

To decide on the best goals for your Instagram account, consider how much time and money you have to invest in the platform. How will your Instagram content be different than your other social media platforms? While you should have one brand voice across all platforms, the content you post should be unique.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

How to Produce Great Instagram Content

The brands that have millions of followers and consistently get tens of thousands of likes on their posts aren’t just lucky. There is a method for discovering what type of Instagram content works best for your brand. Let’s start the thousand-step social media strategy with step one: understand your audience.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Know Your Audience

Knowing your target audience will guide your content creation. It’s likely you have an ideal customer in mind, but to hone in on who connects with your brand, look into:

      • Current customer base: What are the common interests and characteristics of those who already buy your brand?
      • Scout the competition: Look at the content created by your biggest competitors or market leaders. It’s likely their target audience is similar to yours.
      • Consider personality: Your brand voice must speak to the personality of your customers. Are they laid back millennials who are comfortable with slang or corporate-minded Baby Boomers looking for direct talk?
      • Build the benefits: What problem does your brand solve? List the benefits of your product. Then list prospective buyers who need those benefits.

Consider how your target audience will use and benefit from your product or services. When you understand the benefit offered to the user, you can originate content that showcases those benefits.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Construct Content Themes

Build content that tells a story. By choosing a theme — a color, season, product line — you tell a story with similar visual elements. Begin with content themes based on what you know works with your audience. Use an Instagram analytics tool to study posts that gain the most attention from your target audience. Use the information to develop themes focused on elements from those posts.

Whether it’s videos, photos of exotic places, or portraits of people (which, consequently, get 38% more likes) building a theme will help you stay true to your brand story.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Build an Instagram Calendar

If you already have a social media calendar, incorporate Instagram into the mix. To get the most out of building your Instagram posting calendar, consider your content ratio. Decide which portion of your posts will be videos, still images, and graphics. This decision should be based on which type of content gets the most engagement from your audience. Bring other Instagram suite apps into the mix to make creating unique content easier.

      • Boomerang: Create a nonstop motion image, similar to a GIF, with the Boomerang app. The app plays a short form video forward then backwards to create the effect.
      • Layout: Merge videos and photos with custom layouts, borders, and effects and make a single Instagram post with multiple pieces of content.
      • Hyperlapse: Create time lapse videos that are smooth and stabilized without having professional photography experience.

Create custom Instagram-specific content that your audience will connect with and do it all without blowing up your marketing budget.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Be Consistent

You know how you feel when you visit a website in June and the brand still has Christmas trees as the backdrop? The is-this-brand-still-in-business feeling is what customers get when they see your last Instagram post is from 2017.

To win the Instagram game, post regularly. If you’re new to this Instagram thing or just want to make sure you’re on track, here are the best times to post to Instagram:

      • Best day of the week: Wednesday
      • Best times: 5 p.m. and 2 a.m.
      • Worst times: Midmorning
      • Worst day of the week: Monday

Why 5 p.m. and 2 a.m.? ExpertVoice Content Strategist Jen Robinson says 5 p.m. “seems to make sense because it’s the time most people are wrapping up at work and possibly procrastinating on social media before they go home for the day.” And at 2 a.m., fewer people are posting but more people are engaged.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Showcase User Generated Content (UGC)

One of the most beneficial ways to engage with your customers is to use their images or videos that highlight your brand. UGC is a digital marketing goldmine. You have customers who are helping build your brand reach and providing beautiful content you can use without deducting from your marketing budget.

It’s exciting for customers when brands use or share their content, making them more likely to post to Instagram about your brand in the future. Away is a brand that regularly features beautiful, real-life photos from Instagram users. To build your library of UGC, try these ideas:

      • Ask for it. Tell Instagram followers what you want from them. Want a video, image, or some feedback? Be clear about what you want so you aren’t bombarded with the wrong content.
      • Build a campaign. Launch an Instagram campaign with a unique hashtag and invite followers to post their own image and use the hashtag. The content will be easier for you to find and give guidance to followers.
      • Launch a giveaway. If you want followers to get engaged with your brand, ask for specific UGC that revolves around a contest or giveaway.

If you use a customer’s content, be sure to let them know. They’ll likely share the post you create (more eyes on your brand) and will likely post more brand content in the future.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Carry a Uniform Brand Voice

The words and imagery you use on Instagram should mirror the style and content used on your website, other social media channels, and print marketing materials. Your brand voice is what sets you apart from the competition, and if you aren’t purposeful about defining that voice, your brand will get lost in the shuffle of online consumers.

The brand voice encompasses a number of elements: language, colors, photos, audience engagement, customer service, and the list goes on. Your brand voice should be uniform across all contact points of your business.

Take the healthy ice cream brand Enlightened for example.

      • Colors: The company uses fun, bold colors across its website, product packaging, and Instagram content.
      • Language: The brand’s language is simple and straightforward with a touch of humor across all digital platforms. To throw in a 16-letter corporate word would be way off base from the brand’s voice and audience.
      • Photos: Imagery on any Enlightened platform is high-quality and filled with vivid color. The photos are so lifelike, it’s as if you could scoop the ice-cream off the screen.
      • Audience engagement: A recent contest from Enlightened gained a lot of attention. When the brand chose the ice-cream-for-a-year winner, they used the same language, colors, and imagery used across all platforms. And if you need a prime example of great UGC, checkout the Enlightened homepage.

Customers should easily recognize your brand through the many elements used to create your brand voice.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Use Hashtags on Instagram

Once you’ve developed your content style and Instagram posting schedule, it’s time to research hashtags that best represent your brand and products. There are times when a custom hashtag is desirable, as with a specific UGC campaign, but you should also include commonly used hashtags to expand your brand reach.

Some of the most popular hashtags on Instagram, according to web.stagram.com, include:

      • #love
      • #instagood
      • #photooftheday
      • #fashion
      • #beautiful
      • #happy
      • #cute
      • #tbt
      • #like4like
      • #followme

To connect with your audience and turn your hashtag use into engagement and revenue, use hashtags strategically. They should be applied to content that’s representative of the hashtag. Don’t just slap it onto a post because it’s popular. Instagram allows for 30 hashtags. Use ones that make sense — typically five to nine per post — and change up your hashtag use for fresh content. If you are unsure which hashtags are relevant to your posts, there are numerous websites to help you out.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Create Custom Captions

The Instagram battle isn’t over with the posting of an awesome photo. The caption beneath your image or video must be equally as engaging. Be descriptive and use fitting hashtags and tags.

The Instagram caption is limited to 2,200 characters and after three lines of text, the caption is cut off with an ellipsis, but it’s likely you won’t need nearly that much space to write your content. Instagram captions with 135 to 150 character perform well, but there is room for a longer form post when appropriate. Offering a great image is compelling, but telling the story behind it will get more engagement.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Connect Through Geolocations

If your brand is hosting or is part of an event, use geo-tagging or location tagging to connect with event-goers or those interested in following the happenings. New users can use the geolocation to find your brand. Posts with location tagging receive 79 percent higher engagement than those without it.

Geo-tagging is also a great way to curate UGC. When you follow the event’s hashtag, you’ll find images and videos shared by those at the event and can use them for future UGC campaigns.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Optimize Your Instagram Bio

Focus on the most important aspect of your brand when using the allotted 150 characters. It’s your opportunity to educate customers, display your brand voice, and connect customers to your website.

You can include one link in your Instagram bio. When deciding what that link should be, consider the Instagram goal you set for your business. Are you trying to drive traffic, launch a product line, or showcase your brand’s community involvement? When you post to your Instagram account, tell followers where to find the link. Use “link in bio” or something similar within your content caption.

guide to Instagram marketing

guide to Instagram marketing

Wrapping It Up

Establishing and building your brand’s reach on Instagram is a must-have in your digital marketing repertoire. Your brand is unique, so your content and posting strategy should follow suit. Follow our tips to create your Instagram marketing strategy and create an engaging way to tell your brand’s story and interact with your customers.