Instagram now has more than 800 million monthly users and ever increasing user engagement levels. If used correctly, Instagram can be a highly-targeted, visual advertising channel for your brand. It cab become a prime channel to build your brand for your e-commerce business.
Like any social network out there, there are right ways to use it, wrong ways to use it, and clever ways to use it. Read on to find five tactics to use to grow a bigger, and more interested audience on Instagram.
1. USE THE RIGHT HASHTAGS
Your two goals on Instagram is to firstly keep your current audience engaged and secondly grow your audience. Posting new, interesting and engaging photos will satisfy the first requirement but to begin growing you'll need to start using hashtags on you photos. Hashtagging your photos makes it easy for people to find your photos that are searching for those specific terms.
So which hashtags should you use?
Using the right hashtags within your photos, you're much more likely to reach new users and be discovered.
Sites like Websta, show the current top hashtags according to posts. Some people assume that the best thing to do is use the popular hashtags on your posts but more importantly is using relevant hashtags. Popular tags will likely net you additional engagement and likes, however, they will not lead to increased long-term engagement, new interested followers and most importantly, sales.
If you want to tag your photos properly, you'll need to find and use the most relevant hashtags. This means doing the right research to make sure you're using the most relevant hashtags that not only describes your brand, but is also being searched for by a lot of users on Instagram.
To find relevant hashtags, you’ll want to use a free online program like Websta.
For example, when running a womens only printed T-shirt business, You can search the hashtag #Printedtshirt, #printedtees and #womensfashion and similar to get most searched hashtags related to the items you sell. I was able to pull the following list of additional keyword hashtags along with the number of times they have been used (popularity) for the women's printed t-shirt business.
#fashion (482,549,270), #womensfashion (9,103,983), #womenswear (4,510,408), #womenstyle (2,399,724), #printedtshirt (22,935), #printedtees (21,684), #fashiontshirt (20,958), #womenstshirts (10,790) , #slogantshirt (8,691), #printedtshirts (8,185)
You’ll want to go through this exercise trying different keywords that describe your brand, yourproducts, your customer base and the location of your business building out your hashtag keyword list as you go.
Doing the research upfront and saving the most applicable and popular hashtags will save you a ton when posting and increase your engagement and help getting new followers.
If you’ve been posting to Instagram for a while and feel like you’ve missed out on all these opportunities to build your audience by using keyword hashtags, Do not fret. You can still go back and post a comment with your new hashtag keyword lists and watch the likes and followers roll in
2. POST AT THE RIGHT TIME
Beyond using the right hashtags, you should also be considering the time at which you post your content
A targeted approach is to analyse what has and has not worked for you in the past by visiting your Instagram page's insights section, the followers section shows you your followers most active times. The image below shows the best times for one of the brands we manage. Apps like Websta mentioned above also show the best times for post for specific hashtags.
3. STEAL YOUR COMPETITORS FOLLOWING
One of the best ways to find and attract new following is by seeking out your closest competitors' Instagram accounts and engaging with their audience. These people have already shown some level of interest in the products you sell simply by following your competitors' account.
So how do you effectively steal your competitors' followers?
You can steal your closest competitors' followers by engaging with them. There are several ways to engage with Instagram users, and predictably, the more work you put in, the more followers and return engagement you’ll get out of it.
The three types of engagement on Instagram are:
- Follow a user
- Like a photo
- Comment on a photo
You are more likely to get action from a user if you like, and comment on a few of their pictures than if you just like their picture, so it will be worthwhile to put in the time to engage.
One thing to be careful of with this tactic is to keep all of this away from the competitors page. DO NOT comment or engage with a user directly on the competitors page for example commenting on the competitors page.
4. Sponsored Posts and Product Reviews
Posting content to your account is great but if you really want to make an impact, you need to take advantage of influencer marketing on instagram which will expose your brand to a wider audience.
So how do you do that?
First, unlike the three methods described above to grow your account this one isn’t free. However, if done correctly it can give great ROI.
To get started, you’ll need to make a list of large accounts in your niche. For example, for our women's printed t-shirt business we would have to find fashion bloggers who particularly love their t-shirts
One of the best ways to find these accounts is to use Websta that we used above and search for some of the closest hashtag keywords you uncovered in the beginning of this post. When you do a search for your keywords, not only will it show you the related keywords, but it also shows you the top Instagram accounts that feature those keywords. The winning account should have minimally larger than 20k followers and if you are only selling in a specific country should live or have followers in that country. Once you have found the accounts look for emails in their account info or just try hitting them up in the dm if no email is given.
You’ll want to contact the user and ask them their sponsored post pricing and decide whether it makes sense for your advertisin budget. You may also want to consider sending them your product to review and post instead of paying for the post. The more natural and less advertisement like the post, the greater the engagement and response usually.
This post looks at the most effective ways to use Instagram to build a targeted following, but it's not always a numbers game. As with any social network, the most successful strategy overall is to be authentic and social. A great number of followers does not always make a better brand or translate to sales.
ADAPTED FROM A SHOPIFY POST