How to Advertise on Instagram in 2017

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Boasting 700 million monthly active users, Instagram has become a viable marketing channel for brands to boost awareness, grow their following, and promote their products and services.

Since more users are leveraging social media as a way to discover, connect and engage with brands, advertising on Instagram is a must if you desire to reach today’s consumer.

Honing Instagram as part of your social media marketing has many advantages for your business.

From fostering relationships with your current and existing customers to the ability to express your creativity and brand culture, Instagram offers another way for people to get to know your company…building trust and credibility.

In this guide, we’ll share how you can begin an operable Instagram marketing strategy to yield favorable results in 2017.

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What is Instagram?

Instagram is unique from other social media networks in that every post is visual; either a photo image or video.

People enjoy this mobile photo-sharing app because it allows for creativity and individuality. Users are able to “tell their story” through a series of images that bring followers into their culture.

Consequently, brands are using Instagram to target ideal customers and increase brand exposure.

In fact, here are a few interesting stats and facts from Social Media Today proving why your business should advertise on Instagram:

  • 33% of Internet users are on Instagram
  • More than 60% of users log in daily
  • Instagram is growing 5 times faster than any other social network in the U.S.
  • 90% of users are under 35
  • Instagram is made up of 51% male users and 49% female users
  • Instagram engagement with brands is 10 times higher than Facebook
  • People remember 80% of what they see versus 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear
  • 50% of most major brands use Instagram

These numbers reveal that Instagram users are incredibly active and, when remarkable content is shared, are likely to engage in your content and become a loyal follower.

How to Advertise on Instagram

You can accelerate your presence and following on Instagram by staying consistent in your marketing.

The following outlines five steps to creating your Instagram strategy that successfully promotes your business.

#1 Be Clear on Your Audience and Marketing Goals

The first step to a strong social media marketing plan is having clarity of your audience and goals.

Who do you aim to reach in your marketing?

What specific outcomes are you seeking from your Instagram efforts?

Your answers will serve as a guide to creating content that aligns with your customer’s interests and supports your ultimate business objectives.

Developing buyer personas is the best way to understanding your ideal customer to reach them in your marketing.

Through this process, you’ll know details such as their pains and challenges, job responsibility, role in the buying process, their unique goals, demographics, and more.

It’s precious data that will aid in your content creation.

#2 Hashtags Are a Must!

Hashtags are extremely relevant on Instagram as they allow new followers to find your content, particularly those who may not know of your brand.

By including a mix of popular, industry- and brand-related hashtags, you increase your chances of being found by your target audience.

Hashtags help bring more awareness to your content and brand.

Consider these best practices for using hashtags for your posts:

  • Visit your competitors’ and influencers’ pages to discover which hashtags are generating engagement. Document and test these in your own content
  • Always include your own brand hashtag
  • Tools like Hashtagify.me or Top Hashtags show popular and trending hashtags in your industry
  • According to study from CoSchedule, it’s recommended to post 1-2 times per day with the best times being 8am-9am and 2 am.

    The key, however, is to focus on consistency. If you decide to post once a day or 10 times per day, be sure to maintain the same cadence

#3 Quality & Creativity Performs Best

Quality content drives better engagement than mediocre ones.

Many brands will attest that some of their most responsive posts were high-quality images.

In a digital era where 95 million photos and videos are being shared daily, it’s important that your content stands out in a sea of visuals being shared daily.

With that said, when people see your content on Instagram, they should be able to recognize it’s from your brand… meaning you have a unique style and look to your visuals that exude your brand’s essence.

You’ll separate yourself from the masses by keeping your look consistent.

When choosing a filter for your images, decide between 1-2 that you will use for all your visuals.

There are a plethora of filter apps available to bring individuality to your images and videos.

#4 Content Creation Ideas

Advertising on Instagram increases awareness and brand visibility.

You offer another channel for potential customers to connect with you, giving you the chance to hone these relationships with remarkable content.

By publishing posts that resonate with your buyer persona, you’ll notice better engagement and followership.

During your content creation, incorporate a variety of the following that tends to perform best on Instagram:

Product-driven images are excellent content pieces that highlight how you help people solve problems. Share the benefits users gain or experience when using your product or service

Reposting user-generated content is a killer way to build trust with your followers. Your customers are literally selling your brand for you. Share it on your pages and mention the customer to give appreciation

Inspiring content such as motivational quotes are huge on social media. There are hundreds of inspiration-related hashtags that seek to encourage, inspire, and move viewers to action. It simply makes people feel good reading a positive message that can add value to their day

How-to videos are incredibly valuable as you’re helping followers achieve a specific result. They also position you as an expert and reliable source in your industry

Live-streaming videos with Instagram Stories generate massive engagement. It allows people to intimately connect with your brand, creating authentic and memorable experiences. Use Stories to report breaking news, host live Q&A sessions, or simply share advice that your customers can use

#5 Better Your ROI

The key to advertising successfully on Instagram is maintaining a consistent schedule of publishing high-quality content that resonates with your audience.

It’s also important to test your efforts to discover what’s working, and what isn’t.

Through measuring and analyzing, you’ll soon create the ideal formula that produces steady results.

Here are a few questions you can ask to determine what content is most effective so you can share more of what’s working:

  • What hashtags are people using to find my content?
  • Which content generates the most comments?
  • How many new followers did I gain as a result from posting?
  • Which content type produced the most social engagement (combination of likes, reposts, and comments)?
  • How many clicks did my website link receive?

Instagram Insights is the native analytic tool providing details that help you measure results and gauge how people are viewing and interacting with your content.

Conclusion

Instagram is the perfect platform to creatively promote your brand.

Use this guide as a blueprint for developing a strong Instagram marketing strategy that gets in front of your audience, grows your following, and compels users to stop, look, and interact with your posts.

Which of the tips shared above will you start using in your Instagram marketing strategy?

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