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January 29, 2016
Marketing  |  9 min read

5 Easy Instagram Marketing Ideas

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Ann Smarty

Instagram is the social media platform that has the most unused potential. Plenty of models and foodies have taken over the site and established pretty solid online careers there. But, the marketing applications are still iffy for many that haven’t quite figured out how to best utilize its unique features.

We could get into the more complex marketing ideas using Instagram. But the truth is, without an already established plan, you won’t know which direction to take your efforts. Advanced marketing tactics are useless on this particular social network without some kind of foundation to build from.

Instead, let’s focus on these easier marketing ideas. You can implement them today, and begin building a solid plan that will let you put more intensive measures in place.

Easy Instagram marketing idea No. 1—Commit to daily updates

The first is the most basic: Consistency is the biggest rule of any marketing campaign. But when dealing with Instagram, you may feel that daily updates are overkill. That isn’t true for this particular social network. Its community is highly dedicated and active, so daily updates are what they expect from the people they follow.

Even if they are off-the-cuff, silly shots, post them. The filters give you some artistic license, making even simple subject look more fancy than they really are. This is a saving grace for you, as you can make a cup of coffee look much more interesting than it otherwise would.

Remaining consistent will let you rise above the crowd and become a recognizable account for your followers, which promises regular growth with very little effort.

Featured tool: Cyfe is a great way to keep an eye on your team to make sure your Instagram are consistent and how they correlate with your following counts. Here are all the social media metrics you can monitor using Cyfe.

Cyfe Instagram tracking

Easy Instagram marketing idea No. 2—Do some hashtag digging

Instagram is ruled by hashtags. It is the easiest way for people to find images they like, in niches they are interested in. So you need to use them, and use them well. The process is different than on other networks, however.

For one thing, the rules of two to three hashtags per post really doesn’t apply. Your character space is not that limited, and people are much more forgiving of hashtag stuffing. The trick is to only stuff with relevant hashtags.

But you should go a step further and cultivate your hashtags to appeal to your target audience.

Featured tools: Tools like Keyhole and Hashtag Sleuth let you create an active list to draw from. Following trends will be a better tactic than random niche spamming.

Easy Instagram marketing idea No. 3—Engage, engage, engage!

It is easy to think of Instagram as place to share images like a gallery, but it isn’t. It is a place to share your images like an interactive gallery. Engagement is important on this network because it is a community, not just a social media tool. One that is open, making it different than, say, Facebook, which is often more closed.

Featured tool: Communicate with your followers. Use apps like Repost to target influencers. Respond to people who comment on your pics. This will make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your Instagram use, and create a kind of hub around the network that can pay you back in droves.

You should also be regularly seeking out content, and commenting yourself. It is faster to go through and like a lot of pictures, but this isn’t going to put you on someone’s radar. A follow is better, and a comment is best. The first will usually lead to a follow back, and a comment will urge them to respond. Giving you a chance at a relationship, while starting a conversation that might attract others.

Easy Instagram marketing idea No. 4—Know how to post a proper CTA

Calls-to-action are a must for any social strategy, but they are hard on Instagram. Linking isn’t allowed in image descriptions, a harsh weapon against spamming and link building that became a huge issue on the open platform of Twitter. So you don’t have the usual avenues for CTAs that you do on other sites, not even the link back like you have on Pinterest.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have a CTA. You just have to be a bit more roundabout, and know where to direct them. At the end of your posts, ask them to follow, favorite, and comment. But go a step further and tell them to check out the link in your About Me. Then put a link that directs to any page in your website that is most actionable. Maybe this is a main page, or it could be a service/product page.

You can also place a CTA in your bio. Models do this all the time, asking people on their bio to follow and share them. It is a direct approach that gets people the second they check out your profile.

Featured tools: Here are lots of free tools to use to create and test best-working CTA

Easy Instagram marketing idea No. 5—Build a core audience, and cater to it

Your audience is the life blood of your account. Too many people forget this and instead cast their net to anyone they can catch, operating within very general niche boundaries that are still far too wide. You should instead be targeting a specific audience, building it over time based on common interests.

Once you have established this core audience, you can cater to them. This builds a relationship, and makes them loyal followers. They will pay off much more than occasionally catching random fish, and hoping they share you out.

To target this audience, start looking for patterns in favorites, comments, and the feeds of those who engage with you the most. Check out the circles you have wriggled into. Then begin adapting your photo subjects and style to match those emerging patterns.

Bonus: Link to Twitter

This is still a new tactic that hasn’t had a whole lot of time to show the return. But it is a simple and interesting way to both utilize visual content, and get past the character limit. We have all faced that dilemma of being unable to add proper context to a piece of media we post.

Some people will claim you should never cross-post with Instagram. But they never seem to have a really solid reason, other than it “dilutes” results from either platform.

I have not personally found that to be true. Many of the users on Twitter are also avid users of Instagram. So when I cross post images between the two, I find my engagement goes up on both, not down on either. People will retweet on Twitter, then follow and like on Instagram. Plus, it stretches you content further. We all know how important that is.

Examples of creative Instagram campaigns

Instagram marketing examples

Here are some Instagram marketing examples to get you inspired:

  • American Apparel has had a great success with their Instagram selfie testimonial contest growing their user base as well as engaging their community.
  • PrintMePoster has launched “Print your Instagram stream as a poster” feature letting their users to easily turn their Instagram moments into cool custom prints
  • CLIF Bar created their #MeetTheMoment campaign choosing a new environmentally centered nonprofit monthly to donate $1 to from each Instagram update with the hashtag. What a great way to engage each nonprofit employee in sharing the campaign!

Tip: Whenever you are planning an Instagram contest or a creative campaign, make sure to register a domain for it. If your campaign goes viral, owning the exact-match domain is one of the most important ways to avoid the hashtag hijacking. Sitegeek is a great tool to choose a hosting package that candle multiple micro-sites in a best possible ways. I love their comparison category which you can use to see the benefits or drawbacks of your current hosting provider.

Instagram is still a difficult platform for marketing because it is so unique. But establishing a solid plan starts with simple, easy steps. These five tactics are so basic anyone can implement them right away, and they are more effective than obscure, advanced methods for lead generation.

This article was written by Ann Smarty from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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