When people take a great photo and upload it to Instagram, they wait for the likes and comments to roll into their feed. It’s a nice pay-off sort of feeling when your photo or video does well on Instagram. The thing is, many businesses want that feeling to be consistent.
However, getting your audience to engage with you isn’t as easy as uploading a decent photo and calling it day. Instead, you have to learn how to promote your Instagram to get the more than 400 million users out there to look at your content. The good thing is there are ways to boost your audience through the right channels.
Why You Need to Promote Your Instagram
Instagram is quickly turning into the must-have social media network for marketers. A survey from the Global Web Index found 53% of consumers preferred to follow brands on Instagram, which was the highest rated social media platform in the study. Additionally, 44% of consumers said they prefer to use Instagram for brand research, which was also the highest among all other platforms.
Instagram is easily one of the largest social media networks in the world and currently ranks only behind Facebook and YouTube for the top spot. Visual content simply engages others like no other platform with its lengthy single-scroll system where the content takes up the majority of your smartphone or tablet screen.
Think about how much more engaged you’d be if you had to scroll through each Tweet one at a time—you would likely give more attention to each post. In fact, a report from Forrester discovered Instagram posts drive more engagement by up to 120 times that of a Tweet.
If you’re a business wanting to promote your Instagram, this is the perfect network to boost audience engagement. It doesn’t take a PR expert to make you successful on Instagram. Skip the pay-per-follower sites and use the methods below to organically grow and promote your Instagram.
Separate Business from Personal
If you truly want to promote your Instagram for your brand, the first thing you need to do is make a clear distinction between your business and personal accounts. For starters, you want to optimize your Instagram account so you’re focusing on the audience and not just the product.
This means you should keep the selfies, friend groups and travel photos out of your business’s Instagram account. This might seem completely obvious, but you’d be surprised how much personal content can make its way onto business accounts. Simply put, think of what your audience wants to see–not your friends.
John Deere does a wonderful job at promoting the beauty of its machines without seeming too sales-driven or personal. The brand has struck a good balance between business and personal and have seen success on Instagram.
Keep Your Username Analogous & Simple
The majority of your customers know they can probably find you by doing a quick search on the Instagram platform. Don’t make it harder for customers by having different usernames across all your platforms. Try to keep all of your social media handles consistent and simple. Make sure your Instagram username follows these best practices:
- Simple and easy to spell
- Same across social networks
- Will last forever
- True to your brand and company values
- No underscores, special characters or numbers
Photograph by @JohnStanmeyer Sacred Cenote ~ Cenotes were once sacred places, such as the majestic X'Keken Cenote in the town of Dzitnup just outside of Valladolid in the Yucatan of Mexico. Today, they are places of rest and at times, meditation. I photographed this poetic moment for the Nat Geo story, Sacred Water, spending three days in this amazing underground cave. You can find this image and the entire story in the April 2010 issue of the magazine. Pleased to announce my latest Visual Storytelling and Social Media workshop, a 9-day event happening in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, June 22-30, 2016. Visit my Instagram profile and click on the website link to www.stanmeyerworkshops.com for complete details before it fills. All my best, @JohnStanmeyer @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #cenote #sacredwater #mexico #yucatan #XKeken #Dzitnup #photoworkshop #socialmediaworkshop #stanmeyerworkshops
For example, National Geographic’s longer name is shortened to the more familiar NatGeo on Instagram. The shortened username makes it easier for users to find the organization and more importantly, get to content faster.
Don’t Forget Your Bio & Link
In the same vein as your username, your bio should be just as simple while matching true to your brand. Keep Instagram bios to a minimum, but at the same time, make sure you mention who you are and what you do.
Most importantly, you should always have a link in your bio to your website. If your site name is on the long side, try using a URL shortener like Bit.ly to keep your bio looking clean. When you’re promoting your Instagram, you definitely want a link to send customers to in your bio. Instagram only allows a link in your bio and you should consistently keep this link up to date depending on your current promotions, sales, news or updates.
Instagram Hashtags Are Your Best Friend
As a rule of thumb, hashtags are a great source of discovery on Instagram. Whether you want to increase your visibility or find exactly what you’re looking for, hashtags for Instagram are the best way to do so.
Always make sure you’re looking for the newest and latest hashtags that relate to your industry. The hashtag doesn’t have to exactly correlate with your brand, but it should still be relevant. Hashtags help you get that extra reach outside of your own follower base so you can increase your audience and be seen.
Nest’s hashtag #Nestinthewild is a creative way to see how people actually use the product. It’s always smart to find out what hashtags your competitors are using as well. Then you can see which hashtags provide the most engagement. While it may not be your intention to compete on those hashtags, you could still end up figuring out what your potential customers are talking about and which hashtags they’re using.
Show Users Where You Are
With geotagging features on Instagram, it’s easy to make yourself seen across the city or country. If your business has multiple locations, use geotags to promote your Instagram in various locations. This gives Instagram users a chance to see an assortment of photos that have been tagged at a specific location.
Geotags create a hub for photos to be stored. This is a great opportunity to see user-generated content that showcases your brand or business. You can easily engage with your customers and thank them for using your services.
For example, if you search geotags around The Eiffel Tower, you would find the tag “Tour Eiffel.” This is the official Eiffel Tower company where you can get tickets to go to the top. Thousands of people use this geotag when they’re around the tower and want to show their location.
If you’re a brick and mortar store, Instagram geotags can be critical to effectively promoting your Instagram. Make sure your business is geotagged so customers can post their photos. Additionally, Instagram uses Facebook’s API to locate business results on on the platform, Jenn’s Trends reported. Check your Facebook location settings to ensure you’re set up correctly.
Avoid Selling & Start Showcasing
Promoting your Instagram needs its subtleties–otherwise, you’ll end up creating a billboard of advertisements on your platform. It’s always best to mix up your Instagram feed by avoiding constant hard-sell posts.
When users come to your Instagram feed, you should engage instead of directly selling to them. There are so many other creative ways you can sell to your audience without seeming like a shady used-car salesman.
In this example, it’s easy to see why Converse’s image did so well with the amount of likes (compared to other posts). Converse shows a great looking photo that doesn’t even tell you what type of shoe or how to get it. Instead, the photo does all the talking for the brand.
You have to picture Instagram as a promotional tool that drives traffic to your product purchasing page, which is where you then can be hard-selling. You’ll go far on Instagram if you can produce amazing photos and videos. Focus on this and you won’t need a hard sales pitch to drive traffic to your site.
Stay True to Bright & Blue
If you’re following the appropriate steps to promote your Instagram, here’s a trick you might want to explore. According to Curalate, a visual analytics and marketing platform, images with high levels of blue can generate up to 24% more likes than those with red or orange colors.
Additionally, photos that are brighter-colored can increase engagement by 24% as well when compared to darker images. With nearly 65% of Instagram posts receiving between 0 and 10 likes, it’s important to find any way possible to get more people to like, engage and respond to your posts.
We’re definitely not recommending for every single Instagram photo to be blue, but when you put in the time and effort into a post, you’re more likely to see your audience participate.
It’s Not Just About Instagram
While it’s extremely important to focus on new ways to promote your Instagram, you can’t stay just in the platform. To truly build your audience and create brand exposure of your Instagram, post links to your feed on other social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
According to Social Media Examiner, each social channel has its own uniqueness when it comes to building an audience and promotion. On the other hand, you can’t put all your eggs in one Instagram basket. Try to promote across primary channels to boost Instagram traffic and followers.
Make Your Instagram Unique
It’s a good idea to use Instagram’s visual demand to your advantage. You want to show of your product, services or employees in the best light, so why would you ever take poor pictures of them? You can make Instagram special for your audience so they know this is where they can go to see the products or services in action.
The second you can amaze your audience with your photos, you’ll earn their trust to follow you and engage with your content. At the same time, don’t veer off the path too much. Some businesses use Instagram a little too freely to express their brand. Instead, try to stick to your brand voice and make sure each post resonates with that personality or vibe.
Don’t Be Afraid to Jump on a Popular Trend
Even though you want to be unique with your content, it’s never a bad idea to try something that you know is popular. Social media trends change with the weather, but if you strike gold, you’ll see the payoff.
For example, the newest craze in social media is with Buzzfeed’s Tasty meal preparation time-lapsed videos. These videos are short and to the point, and show you a delicious recipe at the same time.
In this example, Kraft Recipes made a similar time-lapse recipe video to Tasty. The company’s instructional videos typically have some of the highest engagement among other posts because people recognize the popular video structure.
Even Taco Bell made these videos uniquely its own by poking fun at Tasty by showing you how difficult it is to make the brand’s food on your own. It’s always good to be aware of all the social trends that drive traffic.
Track Your Growth
How will you know what to fix on your Instagram if you’re not tracking anything? This is an important question to ask yourself because so many businesses tend to pick and choose different ways to promote their Instagram but without tracking if their decisions did anything positive at all.
With Instagram analytics, you can successfully measure the performance of each post with presentation-ready reports to back up your claims. By monitoring your Instagram activity, you have better insights on engagement ratings and overall audience growth. Whether you have to manage one or multiple Instagram accounts, Sprout Social gives you the tools to measure the performance of each social profile.
If you try to blindly promote your Instagram, you’ll end up missing out on what changes worked well and not so well. There’s so much that can go into a successful post so make sure you have a better idea on your Instagram strategy.
Keep on Promoting
As Instagram continues to grow in popularity, your brand should take a slice of the pie and promote your network regularly. Visual content is dominating the social scene, so make you’re taking the right steps to make sure your Instagram is visible.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share on how to promote your Instagram? Comment and share your experiences below!