5 Instagram Tips You Can Glean From the Pros

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5 Instagram Tips You Can Glean From the Pros

With over 500 million active users per month, it’s clear that Instagram is no small player in the world of social media. There is plenty of potential for brands to leverage and broaden their outreach. But how do you cut through the noise and navigate a platform with such vast scope? You learn from the pros, of course. Here are seven Instagram tips that your competitors are already following right now. By taking these on board, you will be well on your way to mastering Instagram for your own brand.

5 Instagram Tips You Can Glean From the Pros

Are you on the lookout for content marketing advice to improve your overall strategy? Check out our previous post.

Show what your online business does in a creative way

Show what your online business does in a creative way

credit: fedex

Instagram is the perfect social channel for you to showcase the visual element of your brand. No matter what you do, there will be a creative way for you to document and showcase it. Consistent, visual storytelling cuts through the mediocre noise on Instagram. To grab people’s attention and build an audience that anticipates your next post, you need to get creative with how you share your ideas and tell your brand’s story.

Take FedEx, for example. This brand successfully uses images of their delivery service and combines it with posts of happy customers receiving parcels and flowers. This tactic not only makes an otherwise rather functional and unglamorous service look attractive, but it also serves to tell the brand’s story by giving it a human face.

Brainstorm the different processes your business is involved in, and how they affect your customers. With this information, you can create stories and come up with ways to creatively show how your brand’s day-to-day operations work.

The most successful brand storytelling involves bitesize micro-stories that tie into your brand’s values, mission and customer experience. You want to develop a strong brand presence on your Instagram feed that represents your overall brand image. Check out this post for more examples of visual storytelling.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with Instagram stories

Instagram Stories are a new function, recently rolled out across the social network, which allow you to use a slideshow of videos and images that remain accessible for 24 hours. This feature is in direct competition with Snapchat’s stories, but has the additional benefit of being linked to Instagram profiles. This means that with an Instagram profile for your brand, you have the opportunity to not only bedeck your feed with visual marketing, but to get creative with film and a story to really engage your audience.

Here are some things that you should know about Instagram stories:

  • Stories are displayed at the very top of your follower’s timelines
  • They can be used to display your behind-the-scenes content. This is often less staged and lower quality than the permanent posts on your profile
  • The story function really enables you to experiment with different types of content and see which gets the most engagement. Photos, short videos, Boomerangs, Rewind videos, and live videos are all available for you to get creative
  • The additional functionality of face filters, text and stickers allow you to really customize your posts and make your mark. It’s very easy to edit your posts on the go

Your posts will autoplay in the chronological sequence they were added, and you can post an unlimited number of times. This feature only works on the mobile app. Check out these unique brands to see how other people are making innovative use of Instagram Stories.

Take your audience behind the scenes of your business

As mentioned, brand storytelling is a really great way to interest your audience and add an extra dimension to your image. The more story you can provide, the more you open your brand up to engagement and conversation.

Some customers are naturally curious about where their products come from, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to answer their questions with your Instagram feed. For example, if you are a Fairtrade company, you could show your customers where you source your raw materials from.

Take your audience behind the scenes of your business

credit: fairtrade USA

The Fair Trade USA instagram does this to great effect. This non-profit organization shows exactly who crafts or handpicks the raw materials that go into fairtrade certified products. By doing this, their target audience can buy these products, safe in the knowledge that they are cruelty free. This kind of story is what evokes empathy from audiences and encourages them to buy products.

If you have an interesting brand story, don’t be afraid to show it off. Perhaps you started off as a hobby crafting jeweler to help keep food on the table? Let your audience know about your story and why you started your brand. Any kind of shareable information that connects you to your audience is very useful for social media. 

The power of micro-influencer collaboration

The power of micro-influencer collaboration

credit: mary orton

Another really great way to broaden your outreach on instagram is to harness the power of collaboration and employ an influencer. Micro-influencer collaboration aligns your brand with their values and mission. This often works more effectively than using hashtags, as the act of following hashtags is often more manual for the user. Banana Republic promoted its clothes to audiences that are defined by their sense of style and interest in fashion. The micro-influencers selected were fashion and lifestyle focused, and this helped Banana Republic to reach a large, but targeted, audience of consumers.

Micro-influencer marketing might be the biggest thing this side of 2017, but don’t worry – you don’t necessarily have to part with a large sum of money to hire their services. Consider offering them some free products to sample, and perhaps they will post to their Instagram feed or story without payment.

If you want to integrate micro-influencers into your marketing strategy, there are a few things you should know first:

  • You should consider whether your chosen micro-influencers fit in with your brand and values. Ultimately, you want to piggyback from their established presence and gain access to their following. You need to be sure that their demographic is the right one for you to gain maximum ROI
  • If you are a local or smaller business, consider finding micro-influencers from your local area, with a local audience. This would allow you to be hyper-targeted with your outreach
  • When searching for the right micro-influencers to work with, you should aim for followers with a similar amount of followers to you, otherwise, you may risk not being taken seriously

 For more tips on how to collaborate on Instagram, this article is for you. Once you’ve decided which influencers to target, it’s time to make contact. Consider emailing them directly, rather than direct messaging them on Instagram. Emails tend to get higher response rates, as direct messages are often overlooked.

Analyze the performance of your posts and build on them

As with any marketing strategy, it’s really important for you to analyze the performance of your Instagram posts to make sure that you’re barking up the right tree. You need to make sure that you are spending your money in the right way, broadcasting the right kind of content, and targeting the right audience.

There are many apps and subscription services that allow you to track hashtags, engagement levels and mentions of your brand on social media. Keyhole tracks all of these, and even integrates seamlessly with online store creators like Shopify. This means that Keyhole can access all of your ecommerce business’ data in real-time, and give you the most up-to-date reports. Trackmaven is another great product that puts you in the driver’s seat of your social feeds.

Whether you choose to go down the micro-influencer route, or have a go with Instagram’s new story function (or perhaps all of these ideas!) – don’t forget to consistently analyze your engagement levels. The truth will be in your metrics, and data is essential to constantly improve on your marketing strategy and make sure you’re investing your budget in the right areas.

Which of these tips will you take onboard? Let us know in the comments.

Guest Blogger: Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer.

Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer. Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing consultant and freelance writer, working with large brands to grow their reach. She loves sharing her expertise with other entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them reach success.


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If you like Instagram, you’ll love the related Apps

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins likes the Instragram AppNancy Messieh of “The Next Web” did a great job of compiling a list of related Apps for Instagram, the photo sharing and filtering App for iPhone.

“You know an app is on its way to going mainstream when a major brand like Starbucks has its own account. There’s simply no denying Instagram‘s popularity. In fact, it looks like the app just got a little bit more popular when Justin Bieber shared an image of LA traffic using Instagram.”

The List:

Inkstagram gives you the missing web interface that Instagram so desperately needs.

Pictarine gives you a unique way to browse your own Instagram photos, along with photos from other online services including Flickr, Facebook, Picasa and Twitter.

ExtraGram is another site which gives you the means to keep up with your feed, with popular photos and to interact with other users in a browser.

Webstagram lets you keep up with your feed as well as see the latest popular photos on Instagram.

Gramfeed gives you a web interface making it easy to get to all of Instagram’s features in your browser.

Mac users can bring the Instagram experience to their desktop with Carousel, an app that allows you to interact with other users, comment and like photos, as well as follow and unfollow other users.

Flipboard makes it easy to keep up with your Instagram stream, and like Instagallery, takes advantage of the iPad’s larger screen.

InstaFB is an easy way to connect Instagram and Facebook in a much more efficient way than what Instagram provides.

Gramjunction gives you a visually appealing way to display the images that you’ve shared on both Instagram and Flickr.

Instadrop allows you to backup all of your Instagram photos using Dropbox. After connecting the two services, any photos you share on Instagram will be automatically saved to your Dropbox folder in real time.

Since there’s no easy or direct way to do this just yet, Edward Boches came up with a workaround to share your Instagram images with your Google+ followers in real time.

Insta-Great displays a slideshow of popular photos on Instagram.

Heroku allows you to to search Instagram photos, and you can also narrow down your results to photos taken using a specific filter.

Instagallery is a $1.99 iPhone, iPad and iPodTouch app which lets you keep up with your friends’ photos, view your own photos and your favourites.

Cartagr.am lets you browse Instagram photos based on location.

InstaCat has to be one of the most niche Instagram websites available and it displays photos of only one thing – Cats.

If you’re more of a dog person, InstaPuppy will bring you all the puppy-goodness found on Instagram to your browser. InstaPuppy does also have it’s own kitty sister site, InstaKitty, if the constant scrolling in InstaCat proves to be too much for you.

Instarium is a flash-based screensaver which you can download for your Mac or Windows computer.

Screenstragram is another screensaver which displays the latest popular Instagram photos, but it is currently a Mac only download, compatible with Snow Leopard and up.

Instagrid allows you to create a pretty slick online gallery of your Instagram photos.

Instawar pits Instagram photos against each other in a little game where two random images are displayed side by side.

Pic-a-Fight is similar to Instawar, minus the ability to create a diptych. You can add your own photos into the mix by connecting your Instagram photos.

Instaprint is one of the coolest ideas we’ve seen emerge as a result of Instagram’s popularity. If you have a special event or party, rent Instaprint’s special Instaprint Box. Each box is associated with a specific location or hashtag, so any photo tagged with either will be automatically printed. Instaprint is kind of like a photobooth and Polaroid camera all rolled into one

Instagoodies will provide you with a book of 1 inch stickers created using your Instagram photos.

Instamaker will turn your Instagram photos into t-shirts, mugs and postcards.

Stickygram turns your Instagram photos into fridge magnets.

If you’re looking for a way to print Instagram photos, Printstagram gives you a ton of cool options.

TeenyTile gives you a way to turn your Instagram photos into a cute little 2 inch ceramic tiles.

Postagram is an iPhone, Android and web-based app which allows you to send your Instagram photos as postcards.

If the smaller sticker size available from Prinstagram and Instagoodies doesn’t suit your taste, you can use ArtFlakes to order large 4 inch stickers using your Instagram photos.

With Keepsy, you can create a gorgeous book of your Instagram photos. In addition to Instagram, the site also supports Picasa, Flickr, PicPlz and Facebook, as well as the ability to upload photos from your computer.

For $19, HatchCraft will let you create a Boo Box simply by entering the url of your Instagram photo. A 4 inch print of your photo will be placed in a gorgeous bamboo shadow box to frame your photo.

Instaport makes it easy to download your Instagram images to a zip file, and a direct export service to Facbook, Flickr and RSS is in the works.

CopyGram works in the same way as Instaport, allowing you to download all of your Instagram images as a zip file, in addition to providing you with an easy-to-remember vanity url with your username.

 

 

 

 


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