Tag Archive | "Instagram"

How to get real followers for Instagram in 2018

With 25 million business profiles on Instagram, we’re living in a time where it is not enough to simply have a social media presence to get real followers on Instagram. You have to attract the right kind of Instagram users to gain that crucial social proof to help your brand stand out.

This is a sponsored post

Whether we like to admit it or not, you could have the best product in the world, but if you only have a few followers on Instagram people will immediately begin to discredit it.

At the same time, your competitor could have a mediocre product, but be driving more sales than you because of the social validation they’ve gotten from their followers on Instagram.

Don’t worry, we get it 💪

Growing your account can feel like a tedious and time-consuming task. But with 60% of users finding products via Instagram, your brand simply CANNOT afford to ignore Instagram as a marketing channel. You need to attract the right Instagram users that are going to convert into more likes, comments, clicks, and most importantly, fans of your brand.

Today, we’re breaking down the 7 crucial categories you need to focus on to simplify using Instagram for business and get real followers on Instagram in 2018. Here’s what we’ll cover:

 

  1. Optimizing Your Instagram Bio
  2. Creating Quality Instagram Content
  3. Crafting Instagram Captions
  4. How to Hashtag on Instagram
  5. Using Instagram Stories
  6. Instagram Giveaways
  7. Instagram Influencer Marketing

 

1. Optimizing Your Instagram Bio

First impressions are everything. When it comes to Instagram, impressions are made in two-tenths of a second. To grow your Instagram organically and gain the right kind of followers, your potential followers need to know exactly who you are, what you do, and why they should care.

Your Instagram bio is the first thing people see when they land on your page, so make sure your bio section captures your visitors’ attention from the get-go. Do this right and you’ll be ahead of 95% of brands out there on IG.

Here’s what you’ll want to include in your Instagram bio:

Headline & Keyword

Clearly state your brand name and then add a keyword that describes who you are. Adding a particular niche, job title, or interest to your headline helps your users get to know you and understand what you do.

@Planoly uses the keywords “Planner for Insta” to clearly showcase their scheduler tool and drive traffic from anyone that might be searching for their type of service via the Instagram app.

 

The headline is also searchable, so make sure you choose a keyword that your followers would associate with your page to increase organic traffic.

Body section

The body section is the bulk of your Instagram bio and should contain the majority of your description. Keep it clean and organized with a bullet point format, while clearly describing who you are in your brand’s voice.

About you

First, include a condensed version of your mission statement or company slogan to let people know what you’re all about. Remember, you’re limited to 150 characters here, so be short & precise.

You can also add anything that gives your page some personality – like your location or a branded hashtag. (Don’t forget to throw in some 🔥🤩🌹)

Call to action 📢

Most importantly, include a call-to-action statement that entices your followers to click on the URL provided. Adding phrases like “Click below for 10% off” or “Check out our new arrivals” can help convert your followers into real customers.

 

Entice the click

Try adding some emojis like @Puravidabraceltets to really catch the eye of your followers and drive them to your link!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social proof

Be sure to include a line that gives your page credibility. This can be a feature in a publication, a certification you’ve achieved, or a social cause your brand gives back to.

The body section of @Sugarbearhair’s bio clearly states exactly what their product is, while speaking to their audience and showing social proof.

 

 

URL

This is the only section you have to place a link on Instagram, so use it wisely. Typically, you’ll want to provide a direct link to your website, blog, or specific landing page that coordinates with your call-to-action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Creating Quality Instagram Content

 

 

With now over one billion users, Instagram is THE visual platform. Every post you share on Instagram should be high-quality and complement your brand image. Never sacrifice quality for quantity (just save those for Instagram stories 😉).

Nowadays however, it isn’t as simple as posting an “Insta-worthy” photo. Because new potential followers are going to get their first impression of your brand from your Instagram’s aesthetic, the quality of your individual posts have to reflect throughout your entire grid consistently.

To get real followers on Instagram, keep these two key concepts in mind:

 

Signature style

First and foremost, your brand should be the focus of your page. Whether you are a business or an influencer, you’ll want to make sure that each and every image you post reflects the purpose of your page. Even one random image can ruin a grid.

Once you pinpoint your focus, take your page to the next level by centralizing around a theme with at least one consistent element that links all of your photos together.

“Engaging photos and video is absolutely essential on Instagram. Not only should your content be high quality but it should also communicate something interesting and important to you. When you create content that you are excited about you will naturally find an audience that is excited about it too.”

Emma Chapman, Color Story Co-Founder

Digital design kit and mobile application

 

 

 

Filters

Apply the same filter to all of your photos for a quick and easy way to create flow and cohesion. We love the apps A Color Story and VSCO.

Color scheme

Find a distinct color scheme that works for you and sprinkle it in throughout your grid.

Is your brand bright and colorful? Minimalistic with lots of negative space? Outdoorsy with beautiful sceneries? Pick a style and consistently stick to it in every post.

 

 

 

 

Variety of content

With Instagram, you want to create a sense of community and lifestyle around your brand so that new followers can easily identify and picture themselves using what you have to offer. No one wants to look at a product catalog, so be sure to mix it up with both lifestyle and product photos!

 

Creating Your Content

Variety is KEY! You’ll want to create different types of photos like detail shots, flatlays, and lifestyle images to keep each post feeling new and exciting. Any opportunity you get to show your product on a model or in action, take it!

Adding to Your Mix

Once you have gathered all of your own original content, enhance your grid by cycling in stock photos, relatable quotes, and user-generated content. These can be a lifesaver for making your content last much longer, especially if you have a non-visual brand or service.

 

 

 

 

Instagram is a platform for visual storytelling. Instead of trying to stand out, just be authentic. We shoot the photography in-house and hand-curate what we post; we don’t recycle content from our Facebook or Twitter feeds. Instagram should be its own, unique channel.

Laura Casanova, VP, Creative at ONTRAPORT

Business automation software

 

 

Organizing Your Grid

Ensure that all of your high-quality images will look #flawless together on your feed by using a scheduling app like Planoly or Later. These apps give you a preview of how all your photos will look before you post them! Mix and match until you get a well-balanced grid.

 

Creating a cohesive Instagram brand is one of the best ways to attract your target audience and get more followers. Pre-planning your Instagram aesthetic with a visual Instagram planner like Later is key, it helps you make sure your feed flows by allowing you to see all of your upcoming content at-a-glance.

Taylor Loren, Head of Marketing at Later

A far-famed Instagram Posts Scheduler

 

 

 

60 / 40 rule

At least 60% of your grid should include your product or service directly. The other 40% can be lifestyle shots, stock images, or quotes that all speak to your community.

@originalgrain built their community of “the travel seaking gentleman” by complimenting their product shots with scenic stock images and user generated content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Crafting Instagram Captions

 

 

The money is made in the captions.

Your Instagram captions should enhance your post by giving more context, value, and insight into what is happening beyond the image. Let your audience get to know your brand on a higher level.

Rather than describing what is in the picture, try telling the story behind it, why is it you do what you do, or news regarding your brand.

 

Brand Personality

Show some personality behind those captions! The more your brand’s voice shines through, the easier it will be for your followers to connect with your post.

Call-to-action

Include some type of call-to-action to entice users to comment and get the conversation started! Comments are weighed heavily in the new Instagram algorithm, so the more comments the better.

Try asking a question or having users tag a friend to get even more traffic and engagement back to your page.

@Toneitup has the right idea! They speak to their fitness community in a laid-back, yet personal tone and ask users to tag a friend to join their workout.

 

 

4. How to Hashtag on Instagram

Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without.

The best way to expand your reach on Instagram: HASHTAGS. We know hashtag research can seem a little daunting, but stick to these easy steps and you’ll have a perfect set of hashtags in no time!

Brainstorm

Think of words your customers would use to describe your product or service. Since they are the ones that will be searching these hashtags, it is important to get into the mind of your audience.

Is there a certain community you are trying to tap into?

Using hashtags like #brooklynlife or #mommystyle are great niche specific hashtags that will link you directly to your ideal target audience.

If you’re really stuck, check out what your direct competitors are using to generate some ideas.

Qualify

The biggest mistake with hashtags is using ones that have way too much or far too little traffic. You’ll want to find hashtags that have about 4K-800K posts associated with them to get the optimal amount of exposure.

The more specific a hashtag is to your industry the better. You want the hashtags to be big enough that people are actually searching for it, but not so big that your post will be lost in the clutter.

 

Keep in mind that users can now follow a hashtags, similar to following a brand’s Instagram account, making hashtags even more essential to get real followers on Instagram.

 

Store & Save

Once you start compiling your qualified hashtags, break them up into 5-7 sets of about 10-20 niche specific tags. Store them in the note section of your phone for easy access and be sure to switch them out every so often.

Post

When it comes time to post, copy and paste your list of hashtags into the first comment of your image. This helps to keep your post looking clean while still tagging the picture and getting you more exposure. Although we recommend around 10-20, you can include up to 30 hashtags per post, so add a few more hashtags specific to this image and hit share. And that’s it! Easy enough, right?

 

5. Using Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are quickly becoming one of the best marketing tools for brands. From behind the scenes check-ins to exclusive sales, you can use this feature to build brand identity and connect in real-time with updates beyond the scope of your IG Grid.

 

Features

Just like your Instagram grid, your IG stories should be cohesive with your brand imagery and voice, but with a “live view” feel. This is your chance to be sporadic and authentic with your followers. Since stories only stay up on your page for 24-hours, you have a little more wiggle room to play around with.

Exposure

Using the Stickers Feature, tag your story at a certain location or include a relevant hashtag. This allows your story to pop up on the corresponding explore page, giving you another opportunity to increase your story’s reach!

 

 

 

 

@Socialstatic interacts with their followers by utilizing the question feature and maximizes exposure using the location sticker. Win-win!

 

Highlights

Instagram Highlights are collections of Stories that give new potential followers an idea of what your page is all about. Rather than disappearing after 24-hours, Highlights are saved right under your bio and act as a more interactive “about you” description.

The possibilities for Instagram Highlights are truly endless, but some commonly used categories include: how it works, new products, and behind-the-scenes.

 

Take it up a level by adding matching covers to all of your Instagram Highlights to ensure your page stays organized and on brand!

 

Not much of a designer? Go to Fiverr.com and pay $ 5 for a professional designer to get your Instagram Highlights looking fresh.

 

6. Instagram Giveaways

Instagram accounts that hold contests can achieve 70% faster follower growth compared to those that don’t hold contests.

Hosting an Instagram contest is a tried and true method to not only reward your loyal followers, but also gain exposure and get new real followers on Instagram.

There is a lot of planning that goes into running a successful Instagram giveaway. You’ll want to consider things like budget, picking the right incentive, and most importantly the goal of your Instagram contest.

If your goal is to grow your following with an Instagram giveaway, these are the four best entry methods.

Comment-to-Win

These contests require your followers to comment on your contest photo. Then, winners are chosen from the pool of commenters.

To increase exposure, have the requirement be to tag a friend (or two) in their comment. Voila: double the Instagram exposure. You can even go as far as counting each tag as an entry, further incentivizing your followers to tag more friends for a better chance to win.

Follow-to-Win

For this type of contest, consider collaborating with another complimentary brand (or group of brands) in your niche. Contest participants can enter by following all of the accounts involved in the giveaway.

Because your page will be exposed to the followers of the brands you are collaborating with, you’ll want to make sure you pick a brand that has your ideal target audience. This will help ensure that these new followers will have a genuine connection to your page and stick around long after your contest is over.

 

Double up on a couple of tactics like @nenaandco to maximize engagement.

 

Post to win

Participants re-post a picture that you provide or share their own original content showcasing your brand to their feed. By sharing these pictures, your fans are grabbing the attention of their own followers to give you a mini-shoutout.

This gives your followers a chance to get creative and gives you lots of free user-generated content.

However, you’ll want to make sure you already receive high engagement on your page to confirm there is enough brand loyalty to ensure participation.

 

“When you collect media via a contest you shouldn’t leave it sitting on Instagram for no-one to see. You can build a Gallery and embed it on your site so users can see the content and engage with it. This is more likely to drive sales of your products. Gleam offers a beautiful UGC Gallery app to allow you to do just this.”

Stuart Mackeown, Gleam Co-Founder

Business Growth Platform

 

Remember this? In 2017, Sunny Clothing Co hosted a post-to-win contest where users had to repost this now infamous red bikini picture to receive a free swimsuit. Soon enough, everyone’s feed was flooded with this picture, which exponentially increased their brand awareness.

Unfortunately, the brand received far more entries than expected and did not have enough inventory to handle the high volume of participants.

Take Away: Post-to-win giveaways can do tremendous things for your brand awareness, but make sure you have the right requirements and are prepared to live up to your promise.

 

Hashtag-to-Win

Similar to post-to-win, participants post their own image or an image you provide on their feed, but also include a certain branded hashtag.

While this can be the toughest type of giveaway to pull off, if the hashtag trends, the exposure can be pretty substantial. You’ll want to make sure you pick a unique hashtag specific to your contest, ideally centralized around your contest theme.

Tracking the success of your giveaway is almost as important as the giveaway itself. Save yourself some time and get clear insights from Gleam’s Instagram contest tool that simplifies the entry process and make tracking participant an breeze.

 

7. Instagram Influencer Marketing

More than 90% of marketers who use an influencer marketing strategy today believe it’s effective for increasing customer engagement.

Here’s our go-to-guide for how to find influencers:

Set your budget

Determine your budget and what level influencer you want to target. A general rate is $ 1,000 per 100,000 followers, but can vary depending on industry. If you have a lower budget, you may consider going after a micro-influencer who may have a bit of a smaller following, but who’s audience is very niche specific and value said influencer’s opinion highly.

Define your niche

Figure out who has a voice in the community. When in doubt, a simple Google search of the top Instagram accounts in your field can be a great place to start. Platforms like Famebit and Tribe Group help you discover and connect with influencers by interest or category.

Qualify your list

Once you have your list of prospective influencers, make sure they are going to be a good fit. Note how many followers they have, their average likes & comments, and what social platforms they are on to pick the best influencer to collaborate with.

 

Build your community

Engage with their content so they are familiar with your name. Once a bit of a relationship is established, reach out with a genuine message that states why you both would work well together.

And that’s it! Seven easy steps to optimize your business’ Instagram account for growth. Implement even just a few of these tips and you’ll be well on your way to getting more real followers on Instagram and becoming an Instagram marketing expert.

For more daily marketing tips, be sure to follow us on Instagram @Kicksta.co.

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Digital Marketing News: Instagram Adds Hour-Long Videos With IGTV, Weeding Out Influencers Who Buy Followers, & Mobile’s Vast Growth

Instagram IGTV Announcement
With IGTV, Instagram Takes Aim at YouTube
Instagram has added the ability to upload videos up to an hour long, with the launch of its new IGTV feature, offering digital marketers a much bigger video canvas. Instagram also announced that it has broken through the one billion user barrier. Wired

Unilever stops working with digital media influencers who buy followers
Unilever has ceased working with social media influencers who buy followers, a first-of-its-kind effort to increase influencer transparency, the mega-brand recently announced. Marketing Land

Marketing-driven revenue from mobile apps has grown 80% since 2016
Marketers focusing on mobile may be on the right track, as mobile apps have driven a vast 80 percent marketing revenue expansion since 2016, according to voluminous new report data from Facebook and marketing analytics firm AppsFlyer, detailing major differences among the gaming, shopping, and travel markets. Venture Beat

For $ 150, Most Users Will Sell Personal Information to Brands
$ 150 would persuade most consumers to sell certain portions of their personal data to their favorite brands, according to recent survey data of U.S., U.K., and German Internet users. eMarketer

Reddit brings autoplay native video ads to desktop and mobile
Reddit’s traditionally sparse advertising will make way for new auto-play video ads on both its mobile and desktop sites, the increasingly popular social news aggregation, content rating, and discussion website announced recently. Tech Crunch

Instagram’s new shopping bag icon adds e-commerce element to advertisers’ Stories
Instagram has given certain advertisers new e-commerce features that will add a shopping bag icon to Instagram Stories, a move that could eventually be rolled out to all advertisers. Marketing Land

Google replacing video boxes with video carousel on desktop search
Google has moved almost completely to the carousel format for videos among desktop search results, providing new opportunities for digital marketers. Search Engine Land

Friday, June 22, 2018 News Statistics Image

Twitter Launches New Site to Provide Insights into How to Make Best Use of the Platform
Twitter launched its Twitter Media site to help digital marketers best make use of the platform’s latest features, including case studies and other best-practice-oriented content. Social Media Today

Bing Ads With Enhanced Targeting Settings & Dimensions Tab
Bing rolled out new advertising features including more precise location and device targeting, along with upgraded analytics information with a new Bing Ads Dimensions feature. SEO Roundtable

YouTube Like & Dislike Counts Are Now More Accurate
YouTube updated the way it tabulates video likes and dislikes, in an effort to combat spam, a move than should prove beneficial to digital marketers. Search Engine Journal

Want to Win Over Millennials and Gen Z? Vice’s New Study Says Brands Should Get Spiritual
The key elements marketers most need to tap into when targeting millennials and Gen-Z include surprises such as spirituality, according to new study data by Vice. Vice

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Marketoonist Personalization Gap Cartoon

A lighthearted look at the personalization gap in marketing, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

The EU’s bizarre war on memes is totally unwinnable — Wired

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Flying Orange Man With Wieners on His Belt! — AdWeek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Ashley Zeckman — What’s Trending: Ride the Marketing Merry-Go-Round — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lee Odden — The Keys to Successful B2B Content and Influence Programs — WriterAccess

What are your top content marketing news stories this week?

Thanks for stopping by, and please join us next week for another lineup of the latest digital marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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Digital Marketing News: Instagram Adds Hour-Long Videos With IGTV, Weeding Out Influencers Who Buy Followers, & Mobile’s Vast Growth | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Instagram Now has 1 Billion Monthly Users, Launches IGTV for Content Creators

Instagram has just hit one of its most crucial milestone – one billion users. The news came on the heels of the company’s launch of IGTV or Instagram Television, a long-form video format that takes aim at rival YouTube.

It seemed inevitable that Instagram would hit the 1 billion monthly users mark. But what probably surprised people was how quickly the company achieved this. After all, it was just in September of last year that the photo-sharing app reached 800 million users.

Instagram now joins WhatsApp and Messenger in the 1 billion club. The two Facebook-owned apps have 1.5 billion and 1.3 billion monthly users respectively. And despite recent controversies, Facebook is still holding strong with 2.2 billion users.

IGTV Goes Up Against YouTube

Instagram announced its latest achievement at its San Francisco event launching IGTV, the company’s latest app for long-form video. While IGTV is designed as a standalone app, it will also be found as a tab in Instagram

Instagram videos are usually limited to 60 seconds but with IGTV, videos can run as long as 10 minutes. Meanwhile, creators with a huge following can post videos that are up to an hour long. At the moment, IGTV videos will have to be pre-recorded, although live videos might be something Instagram will offer in the future.

IGTV videos will show up as thumbnails at the lower half of the creator’s page. Tapping on a thumbnail will cause the video to go full screen. Each video will show the same icons that users also see on Instagram – a heart, share tool, and the comment bubble.

It would appear that IGTV is going up against YouTube in terms of content creation and consumption. However, IGTV still has a long way to go before it can match YouTube’s number of monthly logged-in users and content creators.

Zuckerberg’s Big Instagram Win

Instagram’s latest milestone can be considered a big win for the embattled Mark Zuckerberg. The rollout of IGTV had Facebook’s stock rising by 2.3%, making Zuckerberg richer by $ 1.7 billion. The boost could be due to the fact that the new feature can provide Facebook with a new avenue to run advertisements. Even though Instagram isn’t selling ads on IGTV yet, there’s a big possibility it will in the near future.

Facebook has faced its fair share of controversies recently, with the latest one being the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Despite that, the company still enjoys robust ad sales and continues to grow its user base.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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Digital Marketing News: Preferred Platform Study, B2B Influencers & Blockchain For Marketers, & Travelers Turn To Instagram

Marketing Charts Platform Usage Graph

Social Media Marketing Update: Preferred Platforms and Content Types in 2018
A multitude of the latest trends in social media marketing have been detailed in a new report from Social Media Examiner, revealing that Instagram has surpassed a declining Twitter in overall popularity, while B2B marketers continue to prefer LinkedIn. MarketingCharts

Study: Millennial travelers’ Instagram use has grown 375% since 2013
U.S. millennial travelers have turned to Instagram 375 percent more than they did in 2013, according to new research on social media usage among travelers, while Google stayed the top overall travel site. Marketing Dive

Facebook Releases Latest ‘Topics to Watch’ Report, Highlighting Key Trends
U.S. marketers now have access to Facebook’s latest list of topics to watch, as the social media giant released its “Topics to Watch” list for April, 2018, including the fastest-growing conversation topics on the platform. Social Media Today

A leaked look at Facebook’s search engine for influencer marketing
A glimpse inside Facebook’s possible future influencer marketing search engine plans has been published, including a branded content marketing tool. TechCrunch

The Best Days and Times to Post on Social Media [Infographic]
The most successful times and days for posting social media content have been examined in new study data from Unmetric, showing differing posting sweet spots for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. MarketingProfs

Instagram Officially Launches Ability to Re-Share User Posts in Stories
All Instagram accounts have been given the ability to re-share public user posts to Instagram Stories, with a new “Create a story with this post” feature, the company recently announced. Social Media Today

May 25, 2018 Instagram Statistic

2018: The year of influencer marketing for B2B brands
B2B influencer marketing has come into its own so far in 2018, and is expected to play significantly in predicted total brand spending of $ 101 billion by 2020, which Michael Brito explores. Marketing Land

What Blockchain Could Mean for Marketing
Digital marketers could benefit from learning how blockchain technology is making waves in the marketing world, and Harvard Business Review has examined the expected forthcoming data-driven boom. Harvard Business Review

Facebook updates Ads Reporting & introduces new ‘creative reporting’
Facebook has introduced expanded ad and creative reporting options, rolling out to all advertisers over the next month. Marketing Land

Adobe Buys Magento for $ 1.68 Billion to Target E-Commerce
Adobe has agreed to purchase Magento in a $ 1.68 billion deal aimed at boosting Adobe’s e-commerce market share, the firm announced Monday. Bloomberg

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Being Agile Marketoonist Cartoon

A lighthearted look at being agile, by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Try Not to Laugh: 7 Hilarious Ways to Use Humor in Your Emails — Sleeknote

MoonPie’s Social Media Strategy Has a Secret Ingredient: Character — Skyword

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Ashley Zeckman — 20 Experts Give Their Best Advice for Engaging Email Copy That Converts — Delivra
  • Lee Odden — 33 Marketing Quotes to Keep You Motivated — Depositphotos
  • Lee Odden — Conférence Marketing de contenu: créativité et engagement au cœur des stratégies (In French) — Infopresse
  • Caitlin Burgess — 10 Tips for Saving Time and Getting Better Results with Your Content Marketing — Small Business Trends

Please join us once again next week, when we’ll have a new array of the latest digital marketing news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
Digital Marketing News: Preferred Platform Study, B2B Influencers & Blockchain For Marketers, & Travelers Turn To Instagram | http://www.toprankblog.com

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7 Tips for Growing Your Following on Instagram With Hashtags

With about 500 million daily active users on its platform, Instagram has become one of the indispensable marketing tools for small business owners. However, organic reach is increasingly difficult to achieve with the platform’s algorithmic-based feed. So, how do you compete against louder, bigger brands and deliver content to your target audience? The answer:  use effective hashtags.  

Aside from photos, hashtags are another key element to using Instagram. They organize content to make it more discoverable and spur engagement from a target audience. Instagram even launched a feature that allows users to follow hashtags in keeping up with the latest posts. By using the right tactics, hashtags can grow your following and expand your reach within the platform.

1. Search for the Right Hashtags

Begin with a quick search for niche-specific keywords on Instagram. Similar or related phrases often crop up as you type in the search box, so consider these as your potential hashtags. Find relevant tags that your target audience will likely search for. You can also use third-party tools to extract popular hashtags that competitors and social media influencers use frequently.  

2. Use Location Tags to Build Local Awareness

This strategy is a good way to connect with other community members and gain exposure. Users often enjoy supporting local businesses, so using community-oriented tags can drive engagement with your brand. Moreover, they are likely to discover upcoming events within the vicinity through Instagram.

3. Match Hashtags With Relevant Photos

Good images will reel in an audience, so make sure your photo goes well with your caption and hashtags. Search results on Instagram are displayed in a grid. Pay attention to the photos and their similarities to each other. Study how your image can stand out while remaining relevant to the keywords.

4. Jump on the Bandwagon

Another way can grow your audience is by using trending hashtags. Aligning your content with a trending topic or event, say a holiday, can improve discoverability and reach. Mark your calendar for upcoming events to prepare relevant content in advance.

5. Change Up Your Hashtags

You may feel satisfied with using the same hashtags in every post, especially if you discovered ones that users consistently engage with. There’s a chance, however, that they have already seen and ignored your content. Using other keywords, on the other hand, lets you reach other users who might’ve never heard of you before.

6. Focus on Less Popular Tags

Using hashtags with fewer posts can mean that there is less competition in capturing the users’ attention for your content. With specific, targeted keywords, you’re more likely to tap into your intended audience and improve visibility.

7. Come Up With Creative Hashtags

Having creative hashtags is another way to add personality and voice to your brand. People often notice cheeky and witty catchphrases that can spark lively discussions about the message. That’s why companies often concoct hashtags that contain brand names to give them a distinct edge and identity over competitors. Sometimes, it encourages sharing and engagement from your followers.

Growing your Instagram following with hashtags shouldn’t stop there. To keep audience engagement and maintain your online presence, track and analyze the performance of your posts and take time to identify the most engaged hashtags. Follow the seven tips listed above, and watch your Instagram following grow.

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How to Use Instagram Like a Beauty Brand

Posted by zeehj

Does your brand’s activity on its social accounts impact its search rankings? Maybe. Maybe not. But does it matter anyway?

I shouldn’t have to convince you that investing in a social media for your company is worth it; even in light of Facebook’s recent data breach, we are so reliant upon our social profiles for real human interaction that leaving them is not a real option. In fact, the below statistics from Pew Research Center’s 2018 Social Media Use Survey indicate that we’re not going to give up our social media profiles any time soon.

Humans are social creatures. It makes sense that we love being on social networking sites. We crave interaction with fellow humans. We’re also highly likely to trust the recommendations of our friends and family (Nielsen) and those recommendations often influence our purchasing decisions. We ask our loved ones for advice on where to put our dollars in myriad ways, all at different price points:

  • What coffee shop do you like to go to?
  • Which mascara is that?
  • What are you reading right now?
  • Where’d you get that tie?
  • What neighborhoods are you looking to move to?
  • What schools are you looking to send Anna to?

Yes, those same searches occur online. They also frequently occur in tandem with testimonials from the people in our lives (depending on how thorough we want or need to be).

So if you have a thing that you want to sell to a group of people and you’re still not pursuing a social strategy, I don’t understand what you’re doing. Yes, it’s 2018 and I still find myself trying to persuade clients to proactively use (the right) social networks to promote their brand.

For the sake of this piece, we’re going to focus on organic usage (read: free, not paid advertising) of Instagram. Why just Instagram? 35% of US adults say they use Instagram as of 2018, up from 28% in 2016. This was the greatest growth across top social networking sites reported by Pew Research Center. Additionally, its 35% usage puts it at the third most popular social networking platform, behind only Facebook and YouTube.

Other good news? It may be easier for brands’ posts to appear in users’ Instagram feeds than on their Facebook feeds: Facebook still wants to prioritize your family, friends and groups, while The New York Times reports that Instagram is updating its algorithm to favor newer posts rather than limit the accounts in your feed.

So should every brand have an Instagram? Maybe? But notice I’ve been primarily using the word “brand,” not “company” or “business.” That’s deliberate. Companies (only) provide customers with a service or sell a product. Brands provide customers (followers) with an identity. (If you want to dive further into this, I highly recommend this presentation by former Distiller Hannah Smith.)

The best companies are brands: they’ve got identities with which consumers align themselves. We become loyal to them. We may even use the brands we purchase from and follow as self identifiers to other people (“I’m a Joe & the Juice kind of guy, but not Starbucks,” “I never use MAC, only NARS,” “Me, shop at Banana Republic?! I only go to Everlane!”). Not every company should be on Instagram — it doesn’t make much sense for B2Bs to invest time and energy into building their company’s presence on Instagram.

Instagram is not for your consulting firm. And probably not for your SaaS company, either (but prove me wrong)!

It’s for celebrities. It’s to show off your enviable trip. It’s for fashion blogs. Sneakerheads. Memes. Art. Beauty brands. It’s really great for beauty brands. Why? Instagram is obviously great for sharing pretty photos — and if you’re a beauty company, well, it’s a no-brainer that you should have an active account. And it also has incredible built-in features to organically promote your posts, engage customers, and sell products with actual links to those products on your photos.

So, if you’re going to use Instagram, do it right. If you want to do it right, do it like a beauty brand.

First things first: Why do beauty companies’ IG posts look better?

Glossier

Onomie

Milk

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: each account features beautiful models, pretty sceneries, and cosmetics in clean packaging. That said, it’s not just the subject of the IG photos that matters: each of these IG accounts’ photos have been curated and edited together, so that their photos look cohesive when you view them in IG’s grid format. How do they do that? Let’s look at three posts from these accounts.

Glossier

Onomie

Milk

It’s hard (for me) to pick apart precisely why these photos are aesthetically pleasing — and it doesn’t help that I’m neither a photographer, nor a designer. That said, here is my rudimentary, non-designer take on why these photos look great together:

#1: Their subjects are beautiful (duh)

#2: There are limited primary focal points, and tons of negative space (though the medicine cabinet and floral arrangement photos are arguably “busy”)

#3: Their hues are complementary (pinky-pearlescent-pastels, anyone?)

There’s a lot of pink. And white. And pastels. And more pink. And then, occasionally, pops of color (think: a new violet lipstick shade).

Color schemes remain consistent across Onomie’s, Milk’s, and Glossier’s photos — these beauty brands don’t suddenly change their color palettes from one photo to the next. In fact, they are most likely implementing the same Instagram filters for each photo, or at least editing the color balances so that the photos complement each other. They are deliberately catering to Instagram’s 3×3 grid photo format (or 3×4, or 3×5, depending on your screen size). While many users do see IG posts in their “feeds” when they open the app, users are still motivated to look at IG accounts’ for a number of reasons: IG profiles are the only place where you can add hyperlinks on Instagram, and is also where accounts can pin stories for users to revisit.

But how on earth do they do it? They may have professional photographers, or graphic designers they can beg to normalize their color balances across photos. However, I don’t think that most companies necessarily need this mastery in-house in order to have an Instagram profile that looks good to mere mortals.

What I can assure you is that they plan, plan, plan out their posts in advance. In order to do this effectively, of course, you need the right tools. Here’s your starter pack of IG apps:

  • VSCO
    • Freemium phone app
    • Enables you to edit photos like a master — VSCO goes way beyond a small set of filters
    • Has its own community and image feed within the app, separate from IG
    • VSCO can’t post directly to IG (yet), but you can easily download any edited photo
  • Planoly
    • Freemium desktop tool and phone app
    • Can visualize your photos in a grid format with your other IG photos
    • Built-in analytics
    • Can schedule and post directly to IG, with captions and hashtags
  • Unum
    • Free
    • Offers some photo editing tools
    • Can drag and drop photos to plan out how they will appear alongside your other uploads, in grid format
    • Can post to IG, but no scheduling features

This may sound like a lot of work, and for non-designers in particular it’s pretty challenging. That said, the fruits of your labor can be used again and again. In fact, that’s precisely what these beauty brands do on IG: if they’re featuring a product (again, hello lipstick shades), they show off that product’s different colors, on different skintones. Basically, rinse and repeat with your IG photos: this repetition is great for those with sparse content calendars, and still looks great.

Okay, but they’re not popular just because of their looks, right? Why are beauty brands on IG so damn popular?

Yes, looks matter. IG is a visual platform. Sorry not sorry. And yes, we’re talking about beauty brands that have budgets to advertise their accounts and products on IG, which also contributes to their popularity. However, that’s not the whole story.

They use hashtags and photo tags.

Hashtags

Just like on Twitter (and Facebook, to a degree), hashtags are a natural way to boost exposure and get “discovered.” That’s largely because IG users can also follow hashtags, in the same manner as following a handle. And, just like on Twitter, it matters which hashtags you use. IG also allows users to add up to 30 hashtags per post — and yes, this can look spammy, but if you’re using IG like a beauty brand, you’ll separate your caption from your hashtags with periods-used-as-line-breaks or as a separate comment after you post.

So, where should you begin hunting for hashtags? Unfortunately, the Cambridge Analytica debacle has extended to Facebook’s other properties, including Instagram. It seems like one direct response to this is to limit the number of API calls we can make of IG. This means awesome services like websta.me can’t serve up the same amount of information around hashtags as they once did.

That said, Tagboard is one option for content and social media marketers to use. I like to use it to suss out hashtag intent (in answering whether this the right hashtag to use for this post). *Readers: if you’ve got tools you love to find hashtags on IG, add them in the comments below for us, please!

Otherwise, your best bet (as far as I know) is to search for hashtags directly in Instagram’s Discover area, under Tags. There, you can see how many times those hashtags have been used (what’s popular?) and then click through to see what photos have been tagged.

Photo tags

Beauty brands also take advantage of photo tagging on their posts when they can: if they are featuring a celebrity (like the magnificent Tracee Ellis Ross), they can tag her IG directly onto this post. Not only does this let Tracee (or, more likely, her social media manager) know, but depending on her settings this photo now shows up under her tagged photos on her profile — for her fans to discover.

Similarly, if you’re a business selling products and you’ve been approved for shopping on IG, you can also tag your products in your photos so that users can click through directly to their product pages. This is a no-brainer. Just do it.

They talk to their followers.

We already know that it’s best practice to engage and respond to followers on social media (within reason), and IG is no different. Onomie, Milk and Glossier all have downright spirited conversations in their photos’ comments sections by prompt fellow ‘grammers to participate in a few ways. They:

They add stories.

IG’s “Stories” feature is another great tool that Onomie, Milk, and Glossier all use. They’re like IG posts, but ephemeral (they only last 24 hours) and do not live in your main feed: users can access these stories from the top of their IG feeds, and from the account’s main icon. In some cases — especially brands selling products — these accounts may choose to “pin” evergreen stories to their IG profiles, so that users can access them beyond the 24-hour lifespan.

Stories are an excellent way to gather additional insights from followers (outside of comments) because you can run polls (with clickable elements) to collect simple data (“Should our next product help alleviate dry or oily skin?”). What’s more is that, depending on users’ notification preferences, stories automatically push notifications to followers’ phone screens. This means that even if a user is not using the app, they will be notified of new, temporary content.

If your brand (or your client) isn’t taking advantage of IG’s great marketing tools, it’s time to stop waiting and get ‘gramming. Especially if your target audiences are using the platform, there is no reason not to test out all the ways it allows you to engage its community.

Share your favorite IG tools, tips, and accounts below, so that other Moz readers can get inspired. And if you’re passionate about marketing, come join our team, and help me convince more awesome brands to take over Instagram. (JK. Kinda.)

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Instagram Wants to Improve Your Mental Health, Creates New Wellbeing Team

Instagram is taking steps to help improve their users’ mental health with the creation of its new Wellbeing Team.

Millions of people around the world use Instagram to visually share and document their lives. However, the unrealistic portrayal of how other people live has been proven to negatively affect how some users view their own life. This has led to anxiety, bullying, depression, a negative body image and other mental health problems.

A survey released by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) of Britain rated Instagram as the worst social media platform for a person’s wellbeing and mental health. The result of the survey seems to have an impact on the company and Instagram has created a Wellbeing Team tasked to combat the negative feelings and insecurity using the app engenders.

According to Instagram’s head of fashion partnerships Eva Chen, the company is focusing wholly on the community’s wellbeing.

“Making the community a safer place, a place where people feel good, is a huge priority for Instagram,” Chen said. She also emphasized that its users’ wellbeing is one of the company’s top priorities.

The company is said to have “reassessed priorities” last year and has started rolling out new features that help make the platform a more positive space. The company has introduced content moderation tools that automatically hide inappropriate comments. The feature also gives users the capability to personalize filters so that any comments they might be offended by are deleted.

Facebook’s sister company has also created teams that check reports sent in by people who believe that a particular user might require mental health assistance. Instagram would then give the user access to groups that can help with their situation.

However, there’s no concrete detail on the exact tasks of the Wellbeing Team and how it will operate. What is certain though is that Ameet Ranadive, former VP of Twitter’s revenue product, is part of the team. He has been tapped to be the group’s director of product and is tasked to “prevent spam, abuse and harassment” on the platform.

The post Instagram Wants to Improve Your Mental Health, Creates New Wellbeing Team appeared first on WebProNews.


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Number of Active Business Profiles on Instagram Reaches 25 Million

Instagram’s business profiles are proving to be good for businesses.

The social media network recently announced that 25 million merchants have changed their personal Instagram accounts into business profiles. That’s a huge leap from the 15 million business accounts that were active on the app as of July of this year. What’s more, most of these accounts are from small businesses.

The Facebook-owned app introduced business profiles in May 2016 in order to give businesses better commercial representation on its video and photo network. By changing one’s account to a business profile – which is similar to a Facebook page – companies can add a “contact us” button and examine detailed analytics about Stories and organic posts that they have published, like the number of impressions and the reach the posts accumulated.

Highlighting the main differences between an Instagram personal account and an Instagram business account.

Graphic via modernsoapmaking.com

Instagram is hoping that the more tools they provide merchants, the more they’ll use the app to expand their business, first organically and then through ads. And it seems Instagram’s strategy is working. Since business profiles were introduced, Instagram’s advertiser base has grown from 200,000 in February 2016 to 2 million by September 2017.

Those numbers clearly show that Instagram’s ratio of business accounts to advertisers is almost the same as its parent company. Facebook boasts of more than 6 million advertisers and 70 million companies using Pages.

About 80% of Instagram’s roughly 800 million users per month follow a business, and about 40% of 500 million daily users check out at least one business profile. Interestingly, two-thirds of the 200 million people who check out a company’s business profile on any day do not follow the brand or company. That is something businesses should consider closely.

Merchants might want Instagram users to tap on the follow button, but they would probably be just as happy if people tap the button to contact the company. After all, this would allow them to develop a customer base that goes beyond Instagram.

[Featured image via Pixabay.com]

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Shopify’s Instagram Integration to Open Doors for Millions of Vendors

Christmas comes early for Shopify and Instagram users, with the former now providing Instagram integration to most of its vendors.

The eCommerce company and Instagram had been collaborating on the new shopping service the whole year. Now the integration appears to be ready and Shopify is offering it to its millions of sellers.

Shopify has already established integration tools with Buzzfeed, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and other sites. With this new tool, vendors on Instagram can now tag photos of their products. This will include links to a page that includes more information about the product and its price. Users can buy the product straight from the mobile app using a “Shop Now” button that takes the buyer to the merchant’s page. And this feature is easier to set up with the Shopify integration, especially for users that already sell products on the site.

The company has admitted that Instagram is one of the major drivers of traffic to merchant stores and this collaboration can boost eCommerce sales. In fact, 72% of Instagram users revealed that they bought products they saw on the site. And last July, Shopify closed a deal with eBay that allowed vendors to sell their goods directly through the website, opening it to around 400,000 users. The company also made a similar deal with Amazon in 2015.

It has been Shopify’s game plan to integrate with various eCommerce channels to make it possible for its clients to branch out from their own sites. It also provides its sellers with small loans, shipping services, and payment tools. Shopify even offers tools for vendors to sell their products offline and provides point-of-sale hardware and software for those with physical shops.

The Instagram integration is currently being offered to select vendors but will ultimately be made available to all the stores and vendors that have accounts on Shopify.

[Featured image via Shopify]

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Instagram Beginning To Look A Lot Like Snapchat

Instagram announced today the ability to add stickers to your posts, just like Snapchat. The stickers will be both for the consumer like Snapchat, but more importantly will also be targeted at businesses which are looking for creative ways to promote their products and services.

“Now you have new ways to turn any business moment into something you want to share with your followers,” posted the Instagram blog team. “No matter where your business is or what you’re up to, you can add context to your story with stickers.”

Instagram also announced that on iOS you can now save your entire business story from the past 24 hours to your camera roll as a single video.

How to Use Stickers on Instagram

Simply take a photo and video and then click the new stickers button which is right next to the text and drawing buttons. They say you can “tap the smiley face to find customizable stickers for weather, the current time and even your location.”

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