August 20, 2014

25 Tricks For Effective Instagram Marketing

instagram marketing tips for business

With Facebook declining in popularity among younger users, more and more businesses are turning to Instagram to reach younger demographics.

If you plan to adopt a similar strategy, you’ll want to take a look at the following Instagram marketing tips and tricks for getting the most out of your presence on the site.

Instagram Marketing Tips for Business

Fill Out Your “Bio” Section

Before you pass “Go” and collect $200, be sure to fill out the “Bio” section of your Instagram profile.  Doing so will ensure that people who want to connect with you elsewhere are able to make these connections.

Learn How to Take Better Pictures on Your Phone

You don’t need a fancy DSLR camera to succeed on Instagram. Chances are the smartphone in your pocket has all the power you need. PopPhoto and CIO have great tips to offer on how to use your smartphone’s camera to the best of its abilities.

Share Drop-Dead Gorgeous Images

As a general rule, the pictures that perform best on Instagram are stunningly beautiful scenery shots.  While not every photo you share will be this caliber, try to make it a priority to share gorgeous images once a week.

Get to Know Instagram’s Filters

Instagram offers more than a dozen automatic image filters, but they’re not all created equal.  Overall, my go-to favorites for general image editing include hefe, inkwell and rise.

Experiment with Other Image Editing Apps

If Instagram’s filters aren’t doing for you, there are plenty of other image editing apps out there to give your pictures the love they need.  In particular, check out LumiePicMonkeyPixlr and Color Splash.

Think About Story Arcs

The pictures you share on Instagram don’t need to be one-off photos that aren’t associated with each other.  Think in terms of story arcs and share series of pictures that show actions being taken, items that are associated with one another or progressions through time.

Try a Collage of Pictures

Similarly, collages of pictures combined into a single image allow you to share more content with each upload.  Use the image editing apps referenced above or one of a number of other programs designed to help you mash up pictures in this way.

Add Text to Your Pictures

Memes tend to get a lot of traction on Instagram, so take advantage of this type of viral-style image by creating your own graphic and text combinations.  Use the Meme Generator website to research current meme trends, as well as make your own to share.

Experiment With Video Clips

Last year Instagram introduced the ability to share video clips alongside the platform’s static photos.  To give it a try, use the movie camera icon within Instagram to record up to 15 seconds of footage and then apply a video-specific filter to improve its look.

Tell Your Brand Story Without Selling

Brand marketing on Instagram can be tricky, as younger demographic users tend to be sensitive to over-promotion.  Avoid irritating these users by identifying ways to share key components of your brand’s image without resorting to outright sales tactics.

Give a “Behind the Scenes” Look

The Ellen Show is one of the most popular accounts on Instagram, but the images her team shares aren’t the kinds of polished production photos you’d expect.  Instead, her candid “behind the scenes” shots help to personalize her brand and connect on a more personal basis with followers.

instagram ellen show

Showcase a Lifestyle

One way to tell your brand’s story without directly selling is to share lifestyle shots that reinforce your brand’s persona.  Sharing surfing photos, for example, gives off a casual, laid back vibe, while sharing pictures of races creates a more motivated, driven identity.

Show New Uses for Your Products

If you want to be more direct when marketing on Instagram, use your uploads to show off innovative new ways to use your products.  Followers tend to be quite forgiving of brand marketing efforts when they receive something of value in exchange for their attention.

Preview New Products

Similarly, one way to gain attention on this social platform is to preview new products on the site before they’re released to the general public or announced elsewhere.  Obviously, this strategy isn’t right for every brand, as those targeting older users could lose some media attention by announcing here.  But if Instagram’s user base represents the right fit for your company, there’s almost no better way to make a splash.

Introduce New Employees

Whenever you hire a new employee, take a photo of him or her and post it to Instagram.  Doing so helps your followers to build personal relationships with your team, while also filling your feed with content that isn’t directly self-promotional.

Use Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags are incredibly important on Instagram.  Before releasing any image, search around for similar content to see which hashtags are likely to lead to the most awareness and engagement.

Share your Instagram Pics on Other Social Networks

Don’t limit your Instagram pictures to Instagram.  Post your Instagram links to Facebook, Twitter and any other social media service your company uses in order to grow your user base and provide followers on other networks with valuable content.

Use Followgram to Manage Your Instagram Presence

Pro users of the popular Followgram service can use the program to enhance the site’s navigation capabilities, as well as manage photos in albums.  The less time you spend on account management, the more time you can invest into delivering great quality images.

Give Ink361 a Try to Engage With Other Users

Another great Instagram tool to check out is Ink361.  Use the system to discover new followers, connect with other people and analyze the social impact your photo-sharing activities have had.

Check Out Statigr.am for Instagram Statistics

One last Instagram tool to add to your arsenal is Statigr.am.  Once set up, you’ll be able to view account stats on everything from the number of likes each of your photos has received to the growth of your follower base.

Focus on Community – Not Influencers

Instagram tends to be a democratic space – there aren’t many individual influencers who shape the community.  So instead of trying to find and target these power users, focus your marketing efforts on reaching out to and connecting with members of your community.

Host an Instagram Contest

Instagram contests can be as involved or as hands-off as possible.  No matter what prize you decide to offer or how you’ll track and judge entries, site users tend to get excited about these promotions (and the brands that run them).

Post at Peak Times

As you post on Instagram, pay attention to the times during the day when your images receive the most likes and comments.  Use the trends you’ve identified to be sure you’re posting at peak times when you’ll be most likely to reach members of your audience.

Keep an Eye on Your “Feed Speed”

Don’t inundate your users with images.  See how frequently other brands in your industry are posting and mimic their feed speed, paying attention to the impact on your account’s metrics as you vary this rate.

Respond to All Comments you Receive

Recognize users that take the time to comment on your images by responding to their messages.  Clicking on users’ names first will add them to your response, tagging them and making it more likely that they’ll see you’ve taken the time to comment back.

Clearly, there’s more to marketing on Instagram than these 25 tricks alone.  If you’ve got any additional Instagram marketing tips for business, share them below in the comments.

Instagram Photo via Shutterstock

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Sujan Patel


Sujan Patel Sujan Patel has championed Internet marketing and entrepreneurship for over a decade. His experience, ideas, and strategies have helped hundreds of companies build and strengthen their businesses online. Sujan is the VP of Marketing at thisCLICKS, the makers of When I Work — an employee scheduling software solution for small businesses.

19 Reactions

  1. Great article! Hosting an Instagram contest is a great way to reach more people on Instagram.

  2. One of the things I love about Instagram is that it is a creative medium. Because of this, I am able to share my brand in a fun way and people appreciate it. It will also help to participate in other people’s accounts and they will reciprocate.

  3. Sujan: I have to check out Statigram again, it was some time ago I used it. Could you please mention some more companies and brands that have been good at using Instragram, especially in the clothing and fashion industry.

  4. Great article! Thanks for the tip about Ink361, super helpful in my marketing strategy.

  5. Thank you Patel about these tips. Ink361 is a great instagram tool to connect with other people and posting pictures in peak times is important to receive the most comments and likes.

  6. I’ve noticed businesses switching to Instagram to attract more customers and create brand awareness. Also, youngsters prefer updating Instagram more often compared to Facebook these days.

  7. Hey Sujan, it would be great to add a tip about ethical image sharing :) Under ‘Share Drop-Dead Gorgeous Images’ most people will obviously be using photos they’ve taken themselves, but for those that use other people’s photos crediting the photographer (or illustrator or artist etc) creates great kudos on the web. Not only are you promoting your business but you’re promoting someone else and in turn, they will probably share too. Great for SEO

  8. If you use Instagram on iPad, be sure to check out Retro (http://retroapp.net). It comes with multiple account support, which is super great if you manage both personal accounts and biz accounts :)

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