Instagram was launched as a tiny mobile app with a dozen users posting pictures of cats and dogs. Six years later, with over 400 million users actively posting pictures and taking part in discussions, the app stands as one of the leading social media platforms for business.
According to eMarketer, Instagram’s global ad revenue is expected to cross 2.5 billion dollars by the end of 2017 – and that’s roughly 10% of Facebook’s revenue itself. That’s big!
Now that brands and businesses are using Instagram to promote their products and services, it makes sense to utilize every opportunity and reach out to tons of potential customers on the network.
Here are 10 awesome tips for instagram marketing success on Instagram.
Let’s take a quick at the different formats we will look to tap into for our marketing campaign:
Image Ads – A picture speaks a thousand words. What better place than Instagram to tell your story to thousands of audience? Whether it’s a beautiful product image or behind-the-scene images of your support team, make sure to show them to the audience to get a wider reach for your brand.
Video Ads – If a picture can speak thousand words, video can add more. Given the limitations of the texts in pictures, it makes sense to tap into video marketing to add to the interest and curiosity of the audience. Whether you wish to show the real making of your product or post teasers of an upcoming service, videos are a great tool to spark interest among the audience.
Carousel Ads – Choose carousel ads to add an extra layer of depth to your image ads. These ads allow people to effortlessly swipe through the images and take action to visit your website.
When it comes to Instagram marketing success, there is no ‘holy-grail’ for businesses. However, here are some tips to increase your odds of building credibility and reputation on the platform.
Instagram itself is built around the idea of sharing awesome photos and videos. Since photos are more popular than videos, let’s get started by posting some fantastic pictures.
One of the best ways to make your Instagram ads an instant hit among the audience is to post high quality images. Great photos leads to more action, brand recall, reputation, inquiry and increased sales for your brand. No prospect will remember a photo ad that is blurry and unattractive.
Take a look at the image below using which Philadelphia saw its sales go up by 41% with an amazing photo and an appropriate caption.
When people are scrolling at lightning speed on their Instagram feeds, photos that make them take notice are the ones that have great colors, effects, quality and of course a catchy caption.
As mentioned earlier, it’s important your photos belong to the noticeable elements in your audience’s feed. But, also remember that they be like direct recommendation from a friend and not a direct sales pitch.
Make a few alterations like using smaller logo size and more creative elements that resonate with the interest of the audience in your target industry.
Here’s is an ad from Sony with a soft branding tone. It went on to handover the brand a 43 point rise in ad recall, 6 point rise in message association, and a 6 point rise in brand awareness too.
If you’ve noticed the American marketing styles, you will be able to recall that native speakers talk less but express more. They use less words in their images and sound interesting to the audience.
The 80:20 rule seems to be a great fit in image promotions on Instagram. Try posting images with 80% focus on the image and 20% space for text. If you analyze the most popular non-celebrity accounts on Instagram in 2015, you’ll be surprised to see how images with few or no words were liked by tens of thousands of people.
Here’s an example from Easy Canvas Prints, which turned photos into custom prints and garnered crazy response from the audience. The ad went on to generate over 300% ROI and a 55% lower CPA for the fast-growing eCommerce company.
The online users of today have a less attention span, so they want to read less and know more about a product or service that they’re interested in. Instagram is no exception to the rule. Make sure that the wordings that go with your image are really, really short and simple to understand.
The ideal character for texts in an image ad is 40 for Facebook and even Instagram captions have got great response when they are 40 characters or less. Take a look at Instagram case studies for some interesting information on this.
It’s a no-brainer that Facebook took the right decision to get more visibility for Instagram by allowing users to put their Instagram posts on their Facebook timeline. That’s almost double visibility for Instagram business users.
You will find the technique of integrating your Instagram ads with your Facebook promotions more useful especially when you are running targeted ad campaigns. Targeted ads work wonders for business promotions because they help eliminate uncertainties and in turn increase your chances of being seen by the right audience i.e. people that are actually interesting in buying your products or services.
A lot of businesses just copy-paste their Instagram ads on their FB timeline, but if you wish to go a step further, then try A/B testing by going for different variations for the same ad.
Before that, take some time to look around for ways to find your target audience on Facebook. What posts of your competitors have they liked, shared, and commented on? Find out what type of posts are easily getting ignored so that you can learn from your competitor’s mistake. Run a few mini Instagram-Facebook campaigns to understand people’s response better.
Okay, Facebook and Instagram are united by the owner; they’re united by the ‘integration’ feature. But, when it comes to advertising, Facebook and Instagram are divided. They are separated on the basis on two main factors: user-behavior and demographics.
Instagram is a platform for photos and videos whereas Facebook focuses on texts, images, and videos. Shared content is more popular on Facebook than on Instagram.
Based on our research of user behavior of the two platforms, we found that:
Despite the huge difference in their user base, Instagram has more users under the age of 30 than Facebook. The table below shows that 28% of Internet users are active on Instagram – that’s huge! What’s even more surprising is that, the majority of instagram users are women.
Source: Pew Research Center
Even with Facebook, women users outnumber their counterparts. But, most of the women on Facebook are in the age group of 50-65+. So, if your target audience is young women, then Instagram is the best place to promote your stuff. Use Facebook to get noticed by the older generation if at all you feel it adds value to your promotion.
Takeaway: If you have a small marketing budget, then make sure to try Facebook ads for greater visibility.
Instagram allows only one clickable link and that’s in your bio. No other post in your timeline will have clickable links to drive traffic to your site.
Probably the only reason why you do not need brand awareness is when you are a Fortune 500 company that does not need clickable links to drive traffic to their site. If not, you need serious brand awareness. Now, that’s a challenge.
But fortunately for upcoming brands like you, the owners allow paid Instagram ads with CTAs to get higher response for their ads.
Think of simple, short CTA’s like Watch Now, Learn More, Contact Us, Sign Up, Shop Now, Download, and Apply Now and choose different variations in your advertisements.
When visitors are coming to your website through Instagram ads, the next step of your success is largely determined by the appeal of your landing page.
Imagine you’ve posted an awesome ad that gets high engagement and clicks, but you have a bad non-mobile optimized landing page for your website. What happens when people check in? They check out in no time. You missed a potential sale.
Bringing visitors to a bad landing page is like inviting them to a shopping mall and telling them that they’re not getting the latest mobile model. That’s giving your customers a bad experience. Make sure you do not disappoint potential customers. Create awesome landing pages that are well-optimized for the mobile version to increase your conversion.
There is one more way how Instagram differs from Facebook – hashtags. Though people have started using hashtags on Facebook, they aren’t that popular yet. On the other hand, hashtags are widely popular on Instagram. People use hashtags to find their preferred category of posts under one roof.
Make sure you tag your posts with hashtags related to your industry and, wherever appropriate, come up with your own variations too. This will help improve the search-friendliness of your posts and get more visibility on the platform.
Above all, keep in mind that hashtag marketing isn’t just about including 20+ hashtags in your posts. Even here, quality comes over quantity. Use these tools to find the right hashtags for your photos and videos:
Here’s an ad from @Scotiabank that uses hashtags smartly. The ad campaign was aggressively using #ThingsOrganizedNeatly to promote its list of items from a movie.
Through the campaign, @Scotiabank witnessed a 20-point rise in ad recall and a 6-point rise in brand awareness.
Trust is the factor that stands between promotion and conversion. If you wish to see long-term results for your ad campaign, then you need to focus on earning people’s trust.
How to earn the trust of people with advertisements? Well, this is where user-generated content comes into the picture.
As you see from the data given above, there are two forms of advertisements that buyers take seriously. They are “recommendations from known people” and “online user reviews”. These two factors are the top priority for potential buyers because they come from people that have tried the product or service that is being advertised.
In addition to developing trust, user-generated content also help to generate more social signals for your promotions, which is again very crucial for the success of your campaign.
If you were depending only on Facebook for your business promotions, then after reading this post, you should probably know what kind of marketing potential Instagram offers for business. Even if you’re a new user, don’t be afraid to give a shot at Instagram marketing. A lot of businesses that thought Instagram was just for selfies and food picture are now running mighty big campaigns and getting six digit revenues per year.
May be, now it’s your turn to jump on the board and make things better for your business.
Nancy Grace is a social media writer at iDigic.net who also contributes for hundreds of other blogs. Her articles predominantly focus on social media and are widely followed by readers from all over the world