1 billion people use Instagram every month. To be or not to be in there? Is it too late? That’s the question we’re answering for you today.
These days, everything is in the Gram.
Good content, bad content, photoshopped models, your over-filtered colleague’s boomerang, your neighbor’s dog’s story (yep, Charley has an IG account), the new resto around the block, flashy brands, startup companies, small cupcake stalls, your prospects…
Yep, they’re all posted on IG.
Now you’re feeling overwhelmed (did it on purpose to keep you reading).
It feels like everybody is up in the center stage enjoying the Insta-spotlight while you’re still queueing at the ticket stall. And it’s tempting to stick to your Facebook store.
“Should I still market on Instagram?”, you ask.
Well, yes. 130 million people are tapping on shopping posts every month.
And if you don’t have an idea on how to do Instagram Marketing, today is your lucky day–you’ve earned a backstage pass.
It’s the perfect time to break in amid all the buzz. And mind you, it’s never too late when the star of the show is you. All the others just came waaaay too early.
Buckle up and let your IG journey begin. Actually, there’s no choice since your target market is already out there…waiting for you.
Have you been motivated enough yet? Okay fine, let’s just go…🙄
Feeling “I missed the bus” already? Here are 10 ways to catch up with Instagram Marketing.
The truth is, everybody is keeping up with the bus. Why?
Because social media is ever-changing. They update their interface, features, and all that jazz from time to time.
Everyone is edging along but we have listed steps that’ll serve as your express ticket and that’ll save you a VIP seat on the bandwagon. Read on!
1. Optimization is the key
Instagram may look like a virtual photo album where you can just post a picture and leave–but obviously, it’s more than that. It wouldn’t have over 1 billion sign-ups for nothing.
Your IG account must be tended to and tweaked a little so that users engage with it. You don’t just open an account, abandon it, and let nature take it back.
Put in the work and start with optimizing your profile. Like this one.
Here are some tips that will skyrocket your discovery on the gram:
Choose a simple username
You might want to add uniqueness to your business name. Feel free to do so, but don’t make it too hard or complicated with alphanumerics or hard to pronounce words.
It’s bad for marketing.
If people can’t read your brand name, then how can they remember you? So choose an IG handle that’s simple to read, recognizable, and easy to find. This makes it easier for them to find you and tag you on their posts.
Use a branded profile picture
The image inside that little circle is your representation. It’s present on every post, story, and comment that you’ll make so make sure it stands out.
Use a clear profile picture that draws the attention of every person who sees your post. Make sure that it’s the same picture that you use on Facebook, website, and any other social media platform for easier brand recognition.
Write catchy bios
Next to your logo and username, the next thing that visitors will read the most is your bio.
You can keep it simple like us.
But if you’re a newbie seller, it helps to be a more descriptive as possible so visitors instantly know what you’re selling.
Here’s a good example from @theantiqueloft. It’s clear that they’re selling handcrafted furniture and decor, but they even went more specific and add “Taekwood”.
Include a compelling call-to-action
A call-to-action (CTA) is the “ask”. What do you want your visitors to do the moment they land on your website?
Ultimately, you want them to buy from you, right? Going back to @theantiqueloft, they want prospects to talk to them for inquiries. They added their contact address in the bio. Check the previous screenshot.
You might have a different CTA and it could be:
- Download a lead magnet
- Open up more links
- Visit your webstore
- Browse your current promos
- Get free vouchers
Whatever that is, put that towards the end of your bio.
Add stories about: your story, reviews, reels, top products, freebies, etc.
Stories are vertical photos or videos, usually up to 15 seconds, that disappear after 24 hours after posting. Here’s one.
However, featured stories can appear under your bio. Think of them as different categories about your business.
You can compile stories about your pricing, your available products right now, promos, reviews of your store, mentions of your customers (can be reposted as stories), and FAQs.
Here’s an example.
For the @theantiqueloft, they have categorized their stories according to the different furniture that they sell—seating, beds, dining, and study tables.
They also have stories about happy clients and reviews. If you scroll to the right, you can even see more categories.
The little circular icons can be customized to match your brand too. Here’s a guide.
It also pays to use a business profile. Follow the steps below:
Switch to a business profile
Unlock this action and, for sure, it’ll be easier for you to track your audience.
Did that make you shiver and sweat already? Keep calm and follow these step by step process:
- If you’re on mobile, head to your account page.
- Press the three lines that look like a burger with a thin patty on the upper right-hand corner.
- Click Settings ( the icon looks like a sunflower with premature petals )
- Tap on Account
- Now, scroll down and hit “Switch to Professional Account” at the bottom.
Switching to a business profile allows you to highlight the nature of your biz, physical address, and other contact info.
2. Know your algorithm
Choosing a platform to enhance your online presence is vital to your business. Find a platform that’ll back you up and help you push your company onwards. If you choose IG, it’s most significant to get to know your Instagram algorithm.
Here are tidbits of what the IG algorithm does for you:
- Adjusts the type of posts shown to a user, squeezing the skulls of unnecessary posts to the bottom
- Attaches the right hashtags to increase user discoverability
- Attracts more people and engagement to your brand if you do it right
You get all these and more when you choose IG as your online presence tool.
But here’s an idea: the ones who are running the algorithms are the users, so interact wisely.
Now is the perfect chance to exercise your manipulating skills.
3. Engage with your followers
Keeping in touch with your followers is easy, you say.
You can just give out a fake laugh on your rival’s page. Or comment an ode to a product you’ve never even gotten a hold of.
Yep, it can be easy when sprinkled with a mound of effort. And being in the right place at the right time.
You might also want to try these proven tactics:
3.1. Reach active users through IG stories
The dynamic nature of IG stories sits perfectly well with the most active users.
Posting stories literally earn you the top spot. It entices your followers to take a curious look at what’s up with you for the day. Active followers would always, always like to be in the know of current events because of FOMO.
IG stories are quick and are able to keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle. It wouldn’t be a prefixed Insta for nothing.
3.2 Save top targets (a.k.a. prospects) and visit their profile often
Starting a company would require you to practice eavesdropping ( or maybe you’re already one, no need to “practice” ).
Whoever thought that snooping in on other people’s lives would reap you good rewards in the future.
Get to know your targets, especially top ones, and take note of the crucial details you’ll need to pull them closer.
Or maybe you can use an insta-snooper through this note-taking app, Evernote. Doing your research couldn’t be any more sophisticated as you type, drag, and drop the essentials into your handy-dandy notebook.
4. Keep your branding game strong
Nope, you’re not gonna participate in an inter-brand Olympics of some sort. Enough with the push-ups.
Keeping your brand strong means playing at your best.
But how do you do this through IG?
4.1 Rule of 9
Make your visual gaming excellent. After all, that’s what Instagram is all about.
The first three rows matter. It creates a block of story. Since that’s what your audience sees first when they check out your page, your feels, your vibe…make it good.
For example, you can pick a palette like _shopminimalist’s page:
Nothing can go wrong with warm earth tones. It definitely works for a home decor page as it gives out a cozy ambiance. It looks like a furniture buffet that tempts you to “add to cart” away.
Google more of these IG-worthy grid styles and millions of results will stare back at you.
4.2. Use IG tools (to make your life easier)
In this era, there are already numerous tools that can help you with your marketing strategies. Make use of these tools to make your life on social media easier, or just your life in general.
For instance, Instagram has its own image-enhancing tool called Boomerang. It makes the image of your product or model come alive by creating a short video loop. Go, try it yourself.
Make sure you do big moves for the cam. Otherwise, you’ll look like a blinking statue.
More than video and photo editing, other tools lend a hand specifically to stories, hashtags, analytics, campaigns, and ads…just like Adspresso by Hootsuite.
It promises to “analyze how your campaigns are performing even before you finish the first coffee of the day.” Major plus points since the app helps you work around your finances. There’s no need to worry, you frugal thing.
5. Hack the hashtags
Funny how a hashtag looks like a macro lens photo of a net and does the same purpose– to bring in followers.
The hash is known by different names, such as a number sign, a pound, or a musical sharp. With the rise of social media, it has been promoted a new role, the hashtag.
Since then, it’s been lurking in social media platforms like Instagram.
Hashtags lure people into brand pages to increase brand awareness, bait them to perform a CTA, and act as an assassin—quietly spying on and targeting prospects.
If you go hashtagging, include both specific and general terms, and be wise in choosing your keywords. Or, better yet, just copy a big brand’s tags to benefit your page and to save your precious energy.
Hashtagging is fun but not until you obnoxiously use it and look like spam (not the canned meat).
6. Leverage User Generated Content (UGC)
You know how Starbucks baristas misspell your name on Ventis? Turns out they do it on purpose.
Most customers find it hilarious when their common names like Pauline would get murdered into Pollen or Enola into Ebola. And, you’re right, they’ll immediately take it to social media: the cup with the visible logo, the SB branch, and the intentional blunder.
What a win-win.
Good or slightly bad exposure is still exposure. Just embrace the heck out of it.
Getting your brand mentioned, tagged in posts, and having customers write testimonials with your brand on it brings a surge of User Generated Content or simply, UGC.
UGC is “any form of content that is created and shared by the users based on their experiences, opinions, ideas, or feedback.” And these days, digital platforms, especially Instagram, are the hubs of user-generated content.
It’s all about real people interacting with your product and that’s what makes the experience authentic. It’s one of the most reliable forms of marketing—can be more reliable than a micro influencer screaming your brand name.
It can be compared to a more modern form of word of mouth. Nowadays, the fingertips do the talking…😳
Okay, sounds creepy. Forget it.
7. Try IG reels
The situation: Your Instagram following already seems okay but you wanna rummage around for more.
The solution: IG reels.
Reels are 10-to-60-second videos that are in vertical format. They can be published to your feed. What’s great about them is that they have the chance to show up on the Explore page, where they can be seen by thousands of potential new followers.
Amazing, isn’t it? It’ll give you the chance to introduce your products to a wider community.
And it’s not too long, nor too short–absolutely perfect for this generation’s attention span.
Check out this blog to get into the reel thing.
8. Copy from your competition
It’s all about a healthy competition unless you go straight to copy and pasting their logo which will earn you lawsuits.
But yes, you can downright steal from your competitors…ethically. Sounds neutral evil, yea?
There’s no such thing as minding your own business in a business setting.
So, I suggest you head right into your rival’s IG page right now and look out for:
What they post
Sure, you can try IG analytic tools to know when it’s the right time to post and all that. But to save yourself some time and effort, you can just post slightly before your rivals’ post too. 😉
If they’ve got more likes than you, maybe they have better storytelling in their rule of 9s.
Who follows them
Here’s a shortcut: follow their followers. If they check you out and follow your page, too, that’ll be instant subscribers for you…hot off your competitors’ lists.
Their SEO keywords
You have to see to it that your posts have all the words that feed the algorithm. The goal is to increase your reach and discoverability.
For example, if you’re an artist selling your crafts, you may want to add “art” to your display name. The artsy-fartsy peeps use this keyword most of the time.
How they present their brand
Stalk them, do your research, reverse engineer their execution …and, of course, do better!
9. Do influencer marketing
You might skip this post thinking that you can’t afford influencer marketing for your business since yours is just growing.
But chin up, this kind of marketing works for brands of all sizes.
Instagram influencers belong to different tiers:
Nano influencers are usually paid $10-$100 per post. You may think, “What difference could a Nano make when the Mega ones are top-tier celebrities who magnet followers within a split-second mention of the brand, a hair flip, and a semi-wink?”
Nano influencers are generally paid lesser, but they have niche content and a highly-engaged audience. Yep, even higher than the celebs.
Well, the heavens heard you:
Aren’t you glad you didn’t skip this post?
10. Use IG ads
Know your facts:
Most of the time, growing businesses on IG don’t get that many likes or responses, unlike established brands. It feels like it doesn’t matter if you have the wittiest captions in the world or if your neighbor-model has the most perfect contour in your glam shots…nothing seems to work.
Well, for sure your competitors’ have already been using IG ads and you haven’t.
Okay, stop freaking out because it’s never too late to start! Money is not a hindrance, too, since IG ads practice tier pricing. Meaning, they offer tailor-fit payment schemes that accommodate your budget.
Get started with Instagram Marketing
Reading this article may feel like missing the bus again and again and again.
Technology does have sadistic tendencies. It loves the chase.
It’s not entirely your fault…ok, maybe just 5% for being too obsolete. But developers are to blame (in a good way) for making the world too freaking progressive.
It’s a smart choice to pick platforms, apps, and tools that’ll help you keep up. Also, as you’ve just seen, there are many doable steps listed for you to keep your brand on top of the game.
These days, choosing a platform for your business plays a big role in your success and failure ( hope not 🤞). Not only does it act as a virtual stall, but it also helps you optimize your reach, helps you monitor analytics, and boost sales.
You can use platforms like Instagram because they are equipped with plenty of features and resources you can leverage for your marketing campaigns. Or, if you want something faster and simpler, you can also create your own eCommerce store in Dukaan.
With Dukaan, you can launch your dream business’ online store in seconds.
Simply speaking, it’s eCommerce made incredibly easy, especially for small and start-up businesses.
No matter which platform you choose, remember that there are always possible actionable strategies that you can do in order to attain success, one step at a time.