How To Market On Instagram And Grow Your Account

At the beginning of 2017, Instagram has more than 600 million monthly active users and 400 million daily active users. The growth that Instagram has made over the last few years is an indication that this is a channel that is filled with potential and marketing opportunities for brands.

If you’ve yet to jump onto Instagram, it’s possible that you’re wondering How To Market On Instagram & Grow Your Account. Over the last few years, thousands of marketers, photographers, bloggers, writers and brands have been experimenting and marketing their brands on Instagram. In this post, I’ve compiled some of these opinions and insights to help you better understand Instagram as a marketing channel and how you can use it to grow your account and market your brand.

How To Market On Instagram In 13 Easy Steps

1. Optimize Your Instagram Account. The best brand Instagram accounts have a compelling bio, memorable profile picture and a connected website that drives to their homepage. It’s one of the first things you have to set up for your account but it’s also one of the first things people look at before deciding to follow you or not. Make your bio descriptive, compelling and don’t be afraid to use emojis.

2. Follow Industry Relevant Accounts. Think about the types of brands, media companies or people in your industry that are already using Instagram and go find them. Follow their accounts and interact with their last few posts by pressing like or leaving a comment. These accounts might follow you back and help you get started with your initial audience.

3. Find Popular Hashtags  In Your Industry. “Many people on Instagram use hashtags as a way of finding new photos and new people to follow.” said Jason Quey in a recent piece on Instagram Marketing.

Each day, thousands of hashtags shared on Instagram. At first glance it might seem overwhelming but Jason offers some great advice on the topic: “Look through the pictures posted by influencers in your niche. What hashtags do they use? Write these down as potential hashtags to use.”

4. Get Shout Outs From Others. Nathan Chan who co-founded an online magazine for entrepreneurs called Foundr suggests that brands leverage the power of influencers to grow their account. Nathan was able to grow his account from 0 to 110k followers in five months by building relationships with bigger accounts and having them promote his page on theirs.

Chan suggests that you “research the popular accounts that are relevant in your field, reach out to them to see if they’ll be willing to do an Instagram shoutout for you, and how much that will cost.” As you conduct this outreach, build a spreadsheet that highlights the different accounts you’ve reached out to, their follower count and the price they’re looking to charge.

5. Share Your Posts On Instagram Regularly. Johnathan Long of Domination Media makes a great point when talking about Instagram on Entrepreneur stating  “you want to post often enough that your brand stays relevant” while also warning, “you don’t want to post so frequently that you overwhelm your followers and they unfollow your account.”

One of the most frequently asked questions about Instagram is how frequently a brand should post. While many brands try to put a number on it, the reality is that what works best for one brand doesn’t always work for the next. Run your own experiments and determine the best frequency for your audience.

6. Use Hashtags In The Comment Section. One of the most underrated tricks in the book for Instagram market is the usage of hashtags in the comments instead of main post. Rather than stuffing your posts caption with a handful of hashtags and giving the perception of reach desperation – comment with the hashtags after pressing share. The impact is the same except your caption doesn’t look as bad!

7. Run Instagram Contests. “A good contest can hands down be one of the best ways to drive new followers & activity on your Instagram account.” says Stuart McKeown one of the co-founders of Gleam.io. “Instagram has the flexibility to allow you to just run your contest on your feed, the advantage of this is that it’s easy to setup & encourages participation via Instagram.”

The downside to contests on Instagram is that it can be quite challenging to test. That’s why Stuart also suggests you use the link your bio as a place to send your followers and have them enter another contest. Sites like Gleam.io offer an easy to build contest form that will serve all your needs for a random draw with a social sharing component.

8. Tell Your Followers To Like Your Content. “Tell People to Double Tap If They Agree,” is the recommendation I gave when sharing a few Instagram Tips on Jay Baer‘s Convince & Convert blog. It’s a simple idea that asks your followers to tap a photo twice which results in a post like. That means the post will be shown to more people because of the Instagram Algorithm and show in the activity feed.

9. Build Relationships With Other Influential Accounts. The fastest way to grow an Instagram account is by engaging accounts with a larger following than you and having them promote your account. If you’re already creating great content, you might not have to pay them to give you a shout out. You might be able to get organic shout outs simply by building a quality relationship with an influencer.

10. Comment On Photos From Other Accounts. When talking about his own Instagram Experiment, Neil Patel shared an assumption proved false. “I thought it would be enough just to like other people’s pictures in order for them to follow me and like my photos. As it turned out, I got way more interaction when I commented on other users’ photos then when I merely liked them.”

As Instagram has grown in popularity, people have become less surprised and flattered by likes. As a result, brands who are looking to truly stand out will need to take it a step further by leaving comments.

[Related: Five Ways To Connect With Millennials On Instagram]

11. Use Instagram Stories On The Regular. There are plenty of great ways to promote your brand with Instagram Stories. If you’re not familiar with Instagram Stories, it’s a section on Instagram where you can share temporary video clips or images that all of your followers can see but the content disappears within 24 hours. The approach is a direct spin-off of Snapchat Stories.  

When using Instagram stories, consider mixing static content that you may find on your camera roll with content happening in the moment. Don’t forget to also use strategies like collaborating with other Instagram accounts and taking over their stories to reach an even broader audience.

12. Use Both Images & Video Content. Dara Fontein of Hootsuite suggests that both video and photos when sharing content on Instagram is an important content marketing mix. Dara shared that “Instagram videos see twice the engagement rate of photos” showing that video content is a great investment for brands looking to catch the attention of their audience.

When thinking about your Instagram video content, she also suggests that you “create clear, fun, and engaging videos that people are going to want to tag their friends in.” Creating images or videos that inspire people to tag their friends is a great way to drive virality for your account. As friends tag other friends, the content officially starts to spread like wildfire and take on a life of its own!

13. Run Instagram Ads. One of the best parts of Instagram is the fact that it shares data with Facebook. As a result, you have the ability to use the advanced psychographic & demographic targeting offered on Facebook with Instagram as well. If you want to target people who live in a specific country and follow a specific band, you can do exactly that using Facebook Ads Manager.

Instagram advertising offers photo based advertising in a square or vertical format and video ads in a square or landscape format. Most recently, Instagram also launched a carousel feature which offers an even more dynamic advertising experience on Instagram.

Conclusion

As Instagram continues to grow as a significant player in the marketing world, brands are beginning to take notice. If you have yet to begin leveraging Instagram, there’s never been a better time to start.

Take these 13 tips on How To Market On Instagram as a starting point and use them to stand out in your industry. If you’re still not sure how to get started, take a look at this presentation to gain a bit more insight into what goes into creating an Instagram account that stands out:

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