8 Instagram (& FB) Hacks for Consistent Growth
If your business isn’t on Instagram these days, you’d better have a good reason. The social network habits nowadays are too prominent to ignore. It’s in the hands of your buyers – via their phones – wherever they go.
There’s also a large number of influencers on the site with a massive amount of followers. And with the right plan, you can become an influential brand, too. You need to post the right kind of content to stay relevant to current followers while also bringing in new ones. But it can be hard to know which kinds of posts work best for growing your audience.
Here are 8 powerful marketing tips (that work) that you can use whether you’re brand new or have been using these platforms for years, you’ll find a lot of valuable information.
1. Understand your audience
This is critical no matter what marketing you produce. You might create the most beautiful Instagram & Facebook content in the world, but if it doesn’t appeal to your target buyer, what’s the point?
Take the time to find out who your existing audience is, and think about who you’d like them to be. Since you’re using Instagram & Facebook for marketing, you need to consider whether they are potential buyers, or can help you build your brand in some way.
So how can you learn more about your audience?
Try Instagram Insights
Facebook owns Instagram, and they’ve introduced a similar tool to help users of the image network.
The tool offers some interesting insights (hence the name) into the people following and interacting with your account. These includes:
Impressions: How many times your content was viewed
Reach: Total number of unique accounts that viewed a piece of content
Website clicks: How many clicks the link in your business profile has received
Follower activity: How often your followers are on Instagram daily
Video views: How often your video content has been viewed
Saves: How many people have saved your posts
Insights also include demographic information, so you can see where your followers come from, their age, and their gender.
2. Talk with them, not at them
Social media marketing is not an excuse to spam your followers with nothing but sales material. It’s vital to try to engage with followers as much as possible.
For one, it makes your company feel more human and less corporate. Also, the more that users share and comment on your content, the easier it is for new users to find it. Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content with higher engagement, and you want to appear in as many feeds as possible.
Here are a few great ways to encourage interaction.
Share their images
You work hard to build your following, and you want to keep them around. That means showing appreciation when they post great content themselves. And when you prove that you listen to your audience and want their feedback, you build a better image for your brand.
Note: Don’t be afraid to repost your followers’ images, with credit. This shows that you’re listening, and helps to promote some of your audience to others. They’ll appreciate the help and may continue to share your product with their followers in the future.
The best way to get interaction from your audience is to ask for it. And one of the simplest ways to do this is with contests. People love the chance to respond, and a little healthy competition goes a long way.
Easy Instagram or Facebook contests include:
“Caption this image”
“Share a time when…”
“Tell us how this image makes you feel”
Ask your audience for their creativity and make sure you share the best responses.
To track responses easily, make sure you use a unique hashtag for each competition.
3. Use relevant hashtags
Hashtags help you “organize and categorize images and video content” to find content more easily. They’re a simple way to tag your content to make it easier to find for others. If you want people to find your content, you need to use hashtags.
Here are a few hashtag best practices:
Don’t overdo it: five targeted hashtags are better than 25 random ones.
Don’t spam: keep them relevant to the image.
From there, you have two main options when choosing hashtags for your posts:
These are hashtags that anyone might use, depending on the content of an image. “#Sunset” springs to mind, as do “#food” and “#wine.” But frankly, these examples are so broad that it may be hard to get noticed using them.
If you’re launching an Instagram campaign, a branded hashtag is a must. This applies to contests, influencer shoutouts (keep reading), or new product launches.
Branded hashtags are specific tags that only apply to your brand. They could be your brand name, the name of a product or person, or something special you’ve created for your campaign.
Branded hashtags are much easier to track because they’re almost always used to talk about your brand. Track the reach of your hashtags throughout a campaign to help judge whether the campaign was a success.
This also lets you compare several campaigns against one another, to see which strategy was more effective. If one hashtag received twice as many mentions as the other, that campaign was the winner!
Note: You can use the 70-20-10 rule here. 70% of them must come from content & competition research, 20% from the trends & 10% must be your own brand’s self-made unique hashtags.
4. Know when to post
A recent poll found that the best time to post on Instagram is between 7 to 9 pm. So that’s simple – just post all your photos then!
If that seems too simple, it’s because it is. You can’t just rely on a few polls – your audience isn’t necessarily engaged when those others are. Instead, try to find the best times to post for your target audience, when you know they’re paying attention. You need to do little research and should experiment for 10-15 posts and find the sweet-spot best when your target audience is highly likely to be active.
If you’re not ready for that, here are some Instagram & Facebook marketing tips from our side:
Aim for non-work hours (lunch and evenings)
Weekends if you’re a B2C company; probably not for B2B
Wednesdays and Thursdays seem to be best for engagement
Before 2 pm is generally the worst for engagement
In the end, it’ll surely take a little research to figure out what works best for you. Monitor your posts – and your competitors’ – to arrive at an optimum posting schedule for your account.
5. Create beautiful visuals
Posting great content is always vital for social media marketing. It’s what makes them engage with your brand, and keeps them coming back for more.
On other social networks, this can mean sharing links, posting interesting articles, and starting conversations. On Instagram & Facebook, it begins and ends with images. The whole network was created to let people share their photos.
Aside from taking excellent photos, how can you make your Instagram content more appealing?
The best Instagram accounts tend to have an underlying theme or tone. You need something that inspires or intrigues followers, beyond simply your products. Whatever your particular niche, try to find an overall theme for your Instagram account.
Change the style and subject
As we’ve discussed, you can’t just share photos of your products and hope that people will buy them. Your followers will quickly tune out, and you’re unlikely to attract new ones.
Instead, you want to vary the kinds of content you share, to keep your followers happy and interested.
To give you some ideas, here are 6 content types :
· User-generated content (UGC)
· Behind the scenes, sneak peeks
· DIY projects and creative solutions to problems (using your products)
· Influencer content (more on this soon)
· Motivational images
· Contests and giveaways
Quote images are always popular as well, and they don’t even require an original photo. Put an interesting quote on a nice background, and users will be happy to share.
6. There must be a Calls-to-action
Calls-to-action (CTAs) tell the user what you want them to do. Here’s an example:
Whether you want users to download content, visit your website, or buy, you need to be clear. A good CTA tells them what to do next.
Smart marketers have developed a few strategies:
“Link in bio”
We’re all probably a little sick of seeing this, but if you only have one link to spare, you have to get users to click on it. The simplest method is to tell them where they can find more info – the link in your bio:
Since you can’t put a link in the image, give users all the other information they need. What can they buy, where can they buy it, and why should they?
Promo codes are perfect because you can easily track them. Whenever someone buys with your Instagram code, you know the source of the sale. So while you can’t track the link as easily, you’ll still know where the buyer came from.
“Like vs comment”
This strategy also works well on Facebook. Conduct a quick poll with your followers, and let them vote by using either “like” or “comment.” It’s a simple way to increase engagements with your profile and doesn’t take much effort.
Alternatively, you can ask users to choose “A” or “B” in the comments section. If you sell shoes, have your followers choose their favorite color. If you’re a University, let them select their favorite uniform for the basketball team.
Make it fun, and generate some interest. But most of all, help your followers do what you need them to do. If you need them to share your content, show them how. If you want them to buy, make it clear and easy.
7. Tell Stories
If you’re an Instagram & Facebook user, you already know about the stories feature. It sits at the top of the follower’s feed and lets them see several posts in a row from the same user.
For marketers, this is a wonderful gift. You don’t need to try to convey your entire message in a single image, you can string several together to tell a narrative.
8. Work with influencers
Influencers are industry VIPs, and their word goes a long way with buyers. Whether you’re trying to build your Instagram presence or make sales, their endorsement is just what you need.
To do this, you first need to identify the right people.
Good influencers should:
Have a suitable audience (that might buy)
Be vocal and visible in your industry
Have a history of influencing their followers’ decisions
Once you’ve found the right ones, it’s time to reach out. So how can you get influencers to work with you?
You may need to pay
While it can cost you serious money to market your brand this way, it might just be the jumpstart you need.
Give them swag
Some influencers can be persuaded by the offer of a little free stuff. If you sell interesting, exciting products, many well-known users will gladly wear them in an Instagram photo, provided you let them keep the goods. Offer your target influencers your next season’s stock in exchange for a little publicity. Make sure their followers match your buyers, and your business is sure to grow.
“Share for share”
We don’t all have money to throw at influencers. Sometimes, it’s better to find other people and brands with a similar profile to yours. They can help you reach new audiences in exchange for shares, comments, or links.
If you want to work with these people – and you should – you need to figure out what you can offer them.
Subscribe to our weekly blog posts.