The Rise of Instagram in Business Marketing

It’s no surprise that Instagram has become a powerful tool for brand management agencies and digital marketers. There are millions of influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers taking advantage of Instagram’s unique platform. Engagement on Instagram is gained by sharing the most visually appealing content– think aesthetics. Users oftentimes spend much more time designing their photoshoots than they do on the actual app.

Can Instagram really be used to market your business? Absolutely! But make sure you know how it's different than other social media platforms and what kinds of posts will drive success. Click To Tweet

How to Use Instagram in Marketing

Engaging content interests Instagram users; the type of Instagram posts that are worth their likes and comments. On some social networks, you can post content and get a high engagement rate without actively liking and commenting on your followers’ posts. Instagram is different because people will unfollow you if you stop engaging with them or posting regular relevant content.

Instagram also gives brands an opportunity to work with influencers by creating a branded hashtag.  Highly popular Instagram accounts are influencing millions of purchases. The platform gives brands an easy way to promote a product or service to their target audience. Here are five ways to connect and influence potential customers through Instagram:

  1. Creativity Drives Instagram Engagement
  2. #Hashtag Placement
  3. Instagram Stories
  4. @Mention Influencers & Brands
  5. Track Your Progress

1) Creativity Drives Instagram Engagement

Instagram is designed to display creative scenes displayed through interesting filters. On this platform, it’s better to post your best photos twice a week than it is to post mediocre photos daily. Users are quick to unfollow accounts when they feel like the content has become boring or repetitive. Incorporating different textures and bright colors in your photos will draw Instagram users in. Many bloggers share their blog posts on Instagram, but since clickable links only work when you have 10,000+ followers or a verified account, links are pretty useless in your photo captions. Instead, give a snippet of the blog to draw users in and say “Link in bio” to direct users to the post. Make sure your account has been switched to a business account and include your site URL in your Instagram bio under ‘Website’.

2) #Hashtag Placement

Another important consideration is where and how you use Instagram hashtags. You can use hashtags in a caption or comment. Many influencers place space between the photo caption and the hashtags to keep their posts looking clean. You can also place all of your hashtags in the first comment of your post. Be wary of this method, because while some users claim that engagement remains the same whether their hashtags are in the caption or comment; others have become shadowbanned for putting hashtags in a comment.

Not only do hashtags help you organize your content, they give your brand the opportunity to directly connect with customers looking for your products. For example, if you sell natural and organic beauty products, you can use hashtags such as #OrganicBeautyProducts, #OrganicBeautyBlog, or #GreenBeautyBlog. While you may not be sharing a blog post, you will create a buzz around your products– attracting industry influencers and popular bloggers.

A digital marketing secret is to use a combination of hashtag types. You can alternate between broad hashtags that reach millions of people and niche hashtags that reach hundreds or thousands of people. It’s all about trial and error when it comes to your hashtag strategy. Instagram is awesome for using hashtags because not only can you use more hashtags than other platforms (The experts suggest using 9-12 hashtags), but you can see how many people are using that hashtag without a third-party marketing app. Simply type your keyphrase or desired hashtag into the search bar and you’ll see how many posts have been shared under that hashtag.

If you’re having a hard time deciding which hashtags to use, start with your targeted keywords. You can also follow brand influencers to see which hashtags they’re using. There’s nothing wrong with copying their hashtags if they’re relevant to your posts. Consider creating a spreadsheet with possible hashtags, their reach, and impressions, so that you can reference it quickly in the future.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to follow hashtags on Instagram! Just like you can follow users, you can follow hashtags so that trending, industry-specific posts appear in your feed.

3) Instagram Stories

Stories have blown up in the world of Instagram advertising in the past few years. If you’re not utilizing Instagram stories in your marketing strategy, you could be missing out on an entire demographic. You can create the type of content that significantly increases engagement. From polls and questions to music and GIFs, users are inclined to interact with the content that’s shared on stories. You can also utilize hashtags, locations, and call to actions in your stories. To get some ideas on how to create user-focused Instagram stories, take a look at these influencer’s Instagram stories below:

4) @Mention Influencers & Brands

Have you heard of regramming? It’s the process of sharing influencer posts and giving them credit. Try regramming a leader in your industry (Not a competitor, of course). You can even download apps that make this process really easy! You might benefit from encouraging your customers to tag your brand in their posts for a chance to be featured in your feed. It’s fun and drives engagement when you share customer photos to your Instagram feed or stories, but make sure that you receive permission from the user before publishing their content.

5) Track Your Progress

Another useful tool included in the Instagram app is Insights. To access Instagram analytics, follow these steps:

  1. Login to your business Instagram account
  2. Tap your profile in the bottom right
  3. Tap the three horizontal lines on the top right
  4. Tap Insights

When you reach the Insights page, you’ll see your followers’ activity. You can track interactions, profile visits, reach, and impressions from the Activity page under Insights. Tap Content to access data about your posts and stories. To track the demographics of your followers, tap Audience. These insights can help you understand your audience so that you can drive engagement. It’s important to consistently keep track of your insights so that you can improve your Instagram strategy to gain an advantage on the competition while acquiring new leads.

Conclusion

If you haven’t already taken advantage of Instagram for digital marketing campaigns, start today! The platform has been formatted to cater to a wide variety of B2B and B2C businesses. Instagram makes it easy to target your niche, increase engagement, attract new leads, and improve conversion rates.

Do you want to learn more about the power of Instagram in business marketing? Follow us for the best social media marketing tips and tricks.

Amanda King

Amanda King is a Content & SEO Manager at ITVibes in The Woodlands, TX. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in mass communication and electronic media. She’s always had a passion for writing, but her education at Texas State helped turn that passion into a career. She enjoys photography, fashion and spending cozy evenings with her Teacup Chihuahua.