A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing: Get the Playbook That Drives Results for Instagram’s Top Profiles

Across the globe, there are over 1 billion Instagrammers — more than 500 million of whom use Instagram every single day, sharing an average of 95 million photos and videos per day.

Those are huge numbers. And no matter who your audience is — age, gender, occupation, anything — you’ll be sure to reach them through Instagram. So the question becomes …

How to promote your business on Instagram?

How can you stand out among the other 95 million photos posted each day? How can non-designers and amateur photographers create beautiful content for Instagram?

These are all questions we’d love to help you answer in this guide.

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We recently launched one of our biggest product enhancements, Buffer for Instagram, to help you plan, track and amplify your Instagram marketing.

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The Complete Guide to Instagram marketing

Everything you need to know to create a killer Instagram marketing strategy for your business.

Contents:

Why Instagram?

Keys to a successful profile

How to create a content strategy

The 7 elements of high-performing Instagram content

How to increase growth and engagement

How to measure results

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First things first: Why use Instagram for business?

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Boasting over 500 million daily active users, Instagram has huge potential for marketers. But the potential in Instagram lies more in the user behavior than the numbers.

Instagrammers like to connect with brands.

Research shows that brands enjoy a number of distinct benefits and advantages on the network:

  • Instagram, brands enjoy regular engagement with 4 percent of their total followers. On networks like Facebook and Twitter, engagement is less than 0.1 percent. (source: Forrester)
  • 70% of Instagram users report having looked up a brand on the platform (source: Iconosquare)
  • 62% of users follow a brand on Instagram (source: Iconosquare)
  • Only 36 percent of marketers use Instagram, compared to 93% of marketers who use Facebook (source: Selfstartr)

Social media has been proven to influence purchase decisions. And if you can find the right mix of content, your audience will soak it up – and even buy from you – without the need for a hard push or sales pitch. It’s the marketers dream.

Still need convincing? Let’s take a look at what marketers have to say about the platform.

What marketers are saying about Instagram

The numbers and research above all sound great, but what are marketers  – the people who use Instagram to drive business results – actually saying about the platform? Here’s what marketers from brand like Birchbox, and Ben & Jerry’s have to say about the platform:

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Mike Hayes, Digital Marketing Manager of Ben & Jerry’s“Since its launch, Instagram has provided us with an amazing platform to connect with our fans and tell our story visually.”

Jessica Lauria, Director of Brand Communications Chobani: “Instagram is a great platform for Chobani. It allows us to show how people actually use our product and inspires new ways to savor.”

Rachel Jo Silver, Director, Social Marketing & Content Strategy, Birchbox: “Instagram has been an incredibly effective engagement-driver among our current customers.”

The formula for Instagram success

Success for businesses on Instagram relies on more than simply publishing a few nice-looking images. You need to also have these elements:

  • Clear vision and strategy
  • Consistent frequency
  • Familiarity with your audience
  • Clear visual style

When you combine together these ingredients, Instagram can deliver huge results for your business.

Madewell is a great example of creative Instagram marketing. The fashion brand has amassed a hugely engaged audience on Instagram (over 700,000 followers and 7,000 to 10,000 likes per post). The platform has become a key marketing channel for them, enabling them to connect with thousands of potential customers on a daily basis.

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So, how do Madewell and other successful brands stand out on Instagram? We put together this guide to help you craft your own Instagram marketing strategy that’s based on a clear vision and results that you can measure.

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How to Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy

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Why are you on Instagram? Choose 1-to-2 main goals

Whether you’re completely new to Instagram and preparing to share your first post or are already established and looking to boost your presence on the platform, it’s important to start with clear goals in mind.

Setting goals will help you to define your strategy on Instagram and create content that will help you to achieve your targets.

Here are some common ones that brands, teams, and individuals tend to choose:

  1. Showcase your products or services
  2. Build your community
  3. Increase awareness of your brand
  4. Showcase your company culture and values
  5. Advertise to potential customers
  6. Increase brand loyalty
  7. Share company news and updates

It’s best to choose one or two goals for your Instagram profile, either from the above list or a custom goal of your choosing. To help decide which goals make sense for you, it can be good to consider the following questions:

  • Why are you using Instagram?
  • How can Instagram assist you in achieving your overall marketing goals?
  • How much time or budget can you commit to Instagram?
  • How does Instagram offer you something different to other platforms?

Here at Buffer we have two main goals for our Instagram marketing strategy.

Our top goal is to build and nurture an engaged community of Buffer users and supporters.

To ensure we reach that goal we have a set target of reaching out to and featuring the work of four-to-six Buffer community members per week. If we do that 52 weeks per year that’s between 208-to-312 people that we’ve connected with one-on-one.

The second goal for our Instagram marketing strategy is to continually increase engagement on every one of our posts.

Currently, our engagement rate (avg. engagement per post/number of followers) is about 1.75% which is a bit higher than industry standard. We’re focusing on producing the highest quality Instagram content so that our engagement rate stays at or above this benchmark.

Which members of your audience are on Instagram? Search the demographics

Marketing is all about delivering the right message, to the right people, at the right time.

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And understanding the demographics of a platform is an important part of ensuring you’re hitting your target audience.

Pew Research released a breakdown of Instagram demographics and I’d love to share the key findings with you here.

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Age and gender of internet users on Instagram

Roughly half of internet-using young adults ages 18-29 (53%) use Instagram. Here the full breakdown of age groups:

  • 53% of 18–29 year olds use Instagram.
  • 25% of 30–49 year olds use Instagram.
  • 11% of 50–64 year olds use Instagram.
  • 6% of people 65+ use Instagram.

Also, slightly more of Instagram’s users are female:

  • 29% of online females use Instagram.
    22% of online males use Instagram.

Location of Instagram users

  • 28% of Instagram users live in urban areas.
  • 26% of Instagram users live in suburban areas.
  • 19% of Instagram users live in rural areas.

Instagram education demographics

  • 31% of Instagram users have some college experience.
  • 24% of Instagram users are college graduates.
  • 23% of Instagram users are high school grads or less.

Instagram income demographics

  • 28% of adults making less than $30,000
  • 26% of adults making over $75,000
  • 26% of adults making $50,000–$74,999
  • 23% of adults making $30,000–$49,999

Now that you have your goals in mind and know which members of your audience are active on Instagram, you can get started on building out your presence on Instagram. First step: optimizing your profile.

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How to optimize your Instagram profile

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Your Instagram profile is essentially your homepage on the platform. It provides you with space to share a little information about your business and also gives you the chance to drive some traffic back to your website. In this section, we’ll guide you through how to maximize your Instagram profile and drive as much value as possible from it.

Your bio/description

Your description is very personal to your brand, what you choose to share here should be representative of your business and show your followers what you do as a company. Most businesses tend to include either (or both) of the below:

  • Brand slogan or tagline (e.g. Nike’s “Just Do It”)
  • An outline of who you are and what you do

Some large brands also choose to include a brand hashtag within their bio (for example, Nike Basketball below).

Here are a few examples:

Unbounce:

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Nike Basketball:

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Sheraton Hotels:

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Profile picture

Your profile picture is one of the most important parts of your Instagram profile and the best way to showcase your branding on Instagram. When someone views one of your posts or clicks on your profile, it’s great if your brand is instantly recognizable.

For many brands this tends to mean using one of three options:

  • Logo
  • Logomark (the logo, minus any words)
  • Mascot

At Buffer, we keep it simple and use our logomark over a plain white background on Instagram and all other networks:

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Unlike many other social networks, Instagram doesn’t allow you to add links to every post. Instead, you only get one link, and that’s the one in your profile. Though accounts with more than 10,000 followers can also share links within Instagram Stories.

Most businesses tend to use this link to drive traffic back to their homepage, and this link can also be a key way to drive traffic from Instagram to campaign-specific landing pages or individual pieces of content.

Gary Vaynerchuk does this to great effect on his Instagram feed. Whenever he publishes a new piece of content online, he’ll share a relevant image or video to Instagram and update the link in his bio to reflect it.

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Creating a content strategy for Instagram

How to build content pillars for the type of content you share to Instagram

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Content is the heart of Instagram. The 95 million photos and videos shared daily to the platform are the reason more than 500 million people open the app every day. And content should be at the core of your strategy, too.

But what should you post about?

Before you get into thinking about your visual style, it’s good to have a clear vision for the type of content you’re putting out.

Some brands focus on their products. For example, Nike Running often make their trainers and running equipment the focal point of their content:

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Whereas other brands, such as WeWork, put more focus on their community and culture:

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At Buffer, our Instagram marketing strategy is to post consistently quality content that aims to build Buffer’s brand while also connecting on an individual basis with our community members. We believe strongly in the power of one-on-one interactions and connections.

In that spirit, we’ve created the hashtag #BufferStories which allows our community to tell a story about what they’re passionate about both personally and professionally. Instagram is a tremendous medium for short-form content, but there’s also the possibility for relevant, long-form content. Our audience has responded quite well to the passionate stories of others.

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There’s no hard and fast rule for the best angle to take when it comes to your strategy — it’ll vary from business to business. What’s important is to focus on creating content that aligns with both your audience and your goals. This starts with defining your content pillars.

Build your content pillars

The foundations of any strategy are built on solid content pillars or themes.

Every business, no matter its size, industry or location has a wealth of potentially brilliant content to share on Instagram. Whether it’s stories from your employees, culture-focused content, or product-led demos, there’s a whole host of opportunities and worthy subjects for your videos and photos.

Some example content pillars include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Behind the scenes content
  • User generated content
  • Product demos / showcase
  • Educational (e.g. the best social media tips)
  • Culture focused (showing the human side of your company)
  • Fun / lighthearted
  • Customer stories
  • Get to know the team
  • Team member takeovers

What I love to do when it comes to defining themes is to open up a notepad and throw around some ideas. Starting with some key company values, I then scribble down everything that comes to mind. From these notes, you can then start to formulate ideas for your key content pillars.

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For example at Buffer, here are the themes we work with:

  • User generated content
  • Digital nomad lifestyle
  • Productivity and motivation
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3 successful brands on Instagram and their content pillars

1. Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live’s Instagram feed focus on two key pillars: Taking fans behind the scenes of the show and sharing exclusive clips. When fans check Instagram they can expect to see a fun-filled photo or video of their favorite SNL stars or get a sneak peek at what goes on behind the cameras to get the show out there.

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2. FedEx

FedEx’s feed consists of photos based around the theme of FedEx’s delivery drivers, vans and planes out in the wild. they often feature images shared with them by followers, too – a great way to keep their fans on the lookout for FedEx vehicles to photograph. Their feed also gives off a vibe of high-end, artistic photography.

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3. Oreo

Oreo put their product at the heart of their Instagram content and manage to do so in a way that’s fun and highly engaging. They often use entertaining copy within the images themselves and use solid, vibrant backgrounds to make their posts stand out within the Instagram feed.

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How do Instagram Stories fit within your content strategy?

Instagram Stories is a feature that lets users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours.

More than 400m accounts use stories every day. Stories content is full-screen, and can be enhanced with playful creative tools such as stickers, emojis and GIFs.

Instagram research found that people turn to stories for two main reasons:

  1. When they want to see what friends are doing at the moment, which indicates that stories function as a way of bringing people closer together in real time.
  2. When they want to see unfiltered, authentic content – which could mean everyday moments or even “non-moments”.

For brands, this creates a ton of opportunity to connect with your audience in news ways. For example, you could use stories to share the day-to-day moments at your business like design agency, AJ&Smart:

Or you could use stories as a way to share more user-generated content with your audience like Kettlebell Kings:

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Further reading: The Complete Guide to Instagram Stories

Want to know how stories work and how your business can make stories a part of its social media strategy? Check out our Instagram Stories guide here.

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Creating a content plan

The 7 keys to cohesive content to drive exceptional results

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Once you have your content themes in place (you can always test and adapt themes to see what works best), it’s time to bring it all together into a content plan. A content plan should help you define the style and aesthetic feel of your posts, alongside how frequently you’re going to post to Instagram.

Let’s begin with a look at how to create your Instagram style guide.

1. Style guide

One of the most important parts of any social media strategy is the style guide. Why are they so important? They ensure consistency across all marketing channels and throughout every piece of content you produce.

Style guides contain all the necessary information for a piece of content from beginning to end — from the design and layout of post to the copy and hashtags that accompany it. When it comes to Instagram you should consider the following items:

  • Composition
  • Color palette
  • Fonts
  • Filters
  • Captions
  • Hashtags

2. Composition

Composition refers to the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject of a work. Not every marketer is an expert photographer, so it can be great to define a few quick composition rules.

These can include things like:

  • Solid background color
  • Main focus of the picture set to the Rule of Thirds
  • Extra space at top/bottom for text

Amy Tangerine, a company that shares “a slice of the sweet life” through an array of scrapbooking products and lifestyle services, is a great example of a clear visual style and composition. Its posts often feature a solid background color or texture allowing the focal point of the composition to stand out clearly.

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3. Color palette

Picking out a color palette will help keep your feed consistent and focused. Having a palette doesn’t mean that you can strictly only use these colors, but it will help your posts have a nice consistent, familiar feeling. It can feel great to keep your color palette in line with other areas of your brand, too.

Frooti, the largest-selling fruit drink brand in India, uses Instagram to showcase their distinct brand personality. A key part of this aesthetic is the vibrant color palette used by the brand:

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In contrast, Everlane uses a much softer color palette across Instagram, staying true to their brand’s signature grey/black/white look:

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4. Fonts

If you’re going to post quotes or text overlays on your Instagram images, you should try to keep the fonts consistent with your brand by choosing the same fonts you use on your website or other marketing materials.

Headspace is a great example of keeping fonts consistent across posts. The mindfulness app regularly shares text-based posts, and by keeping the font in-line with the rest of their brand, followers can instantly recognize Headspace’s content within their feed.

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5. Filters

Instagram filters can make amateur photographers feel like pros. And if you don’t have high-end photography equipment or editing software, they’re a great way to enhance photos with just a few taps. Filters can drastically change the look and feel of a photo or video, so it’s important to use only a few that you feel best represent your brand — and stick to the few you’ve chosen. Using a different filter for every post can quickly make an Instagram feed feel a little disjointed.

6. Captions

Instagram captions are limited to 2,200 characters, and after three lines of text they become truncated with an ellipsis.

Captions are a chance to enhance your content further and there are plenty of ways brands use them. Some choose to treat captions as a place for sharing stories and micro-blogging, others use them to add a short, snappy headline to a post and others use captions to ask questions and encourage replies. The possibilities are endless. What’s important is to ensure the copy is aligned with your brand.

Mailchimp is well known for its unique brand voice – they even had a website dedicated to it — and their fun-loving tone is carried through into their Instagram captions, too:

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Everlane is again a great example of how to use Instagram captions. The brand uses captions to convey a funny, familiar voice that their buyers can relate to. For example, the below post (shared in winter time) is captioned: “About how cold we feel right now.”

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7. Hashtags

Hashtags have become a uniform way to catagorize content on many social media platforms. Hashtags allow Instagrammers to discover content and accounts to follow. Research from Track Maven found that posts with over 11 hashtags tend to get more engagement.

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Top Tip: If you would like to avoid adding too many hashtags to your caption, you can also add hashtags as comments. For example, you can see below how Amy Tangerine adds additional hashtags to the photo in the comments:

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When it comes to choosing the right hashtags for your content, it’s best to do your research and see which hashtags people in your market are using and which are most active.

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How to get noticed on Instagram: Master design with these great tips for non-designers

If you’re looking to take your Instagram images to the next level and become a better marketer, check out this design dictionary for a crash course on how to better understand design.

Further reading:

How to Create Engaging Images for Social Media: A Simple Guide For Non-Designers
Images have never been more important in social. They’re the key to driving greater online engagement, much like a great headline in advertising. This post shares 3 key design principles that will help you create engaging social images every time:

Click here to read now >

47 Amazingly Talented Artists and Designers to Follow on Instagram
To help provide you with some creative inspiration, we’ve curated a group of 47 super-talented artists specializing in a range of disciplines. Follow these insanely accomplished artists and designers to stay ahead of the curve and inspired day-after-day.

Click here to read now >

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How to find your best frequency and timing on Instagram

Best practices and data tips for maximizing your chance for success

There’s a lot to be said for consistency on social media. Consistency and publishing frequency can help your audience learn when to expect new content from you, and keeping a consistent schedule makes sure you maximize engagement without hitting any lulls or stretches without updates.

study by Union Metrics found that most brands post to Instagram daily. In fact the average was 1.5 posts per day. The study also found — and this was really interesting — that there was no correlation between increased frequency and lower engagement, meaning brands that posted more than twice per day didn’t see any ill effects.

Our best advice here is to aim to post at least once per day on Instagram and experiment with additional posts to find what works best for you.

What time should you post to Instagram?

With Instagram’s recent change to an algorithmic timeline, timing is now one of many elements considered by the algorithm when it decides what content to show you. So it’s important to post at the times when your content is likely to pick up the most engagement. Our hunch here is Instagram’s algorithm may then determine this post should appear near the top of your follower’s feeds.

CoSchedule collected research from 16 social media studies to come up with these best practices for Instagram:

  • Mondays and Thursdays drive the most engagement
  • The time of day with the most engagement is 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern

It could be best to treat these best practices as guidelines and times to test out since the best time to post can rely on a bunch of factors and vary from profile to profile. For example, we’ve found that our best time at Buffer is 11:00 a.m. Pacific.

How to ensure consistent posting on Instagram

Once you’ve determined your content themes and the frequency at which you’d like to post to Instagram, one of the best ways to ensure you stick to your strategy is to create a content calendar that tracks which posts will be shared and when.

The Instagram API doesn’t quite allow scheduling just yet, which means you cannot schedule posts directly on Instagram. To post consistently with Instagram, we schedule Instagram reminders in Buffer (our Instagram marketing software). Here’s how it works:

  1. Find, edit, and upload a beautiful picture to Buffer. Add a caption with hashtags, mentions, and emoji. Schedule for the ideal time.
  2. Receive a push notification on our phone at the scheduled time.
  3. Open the notification, select Open in Instagram, and preview the post.
  4. Make any final edits (filters, geolocation) and share from the Instagram app.
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Buffer for Instagram works by adding a post through Buffer and having a reminder pop up on a user’s phone when it’s time to send it out.

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Dive deeper: How to Find the Most Timely, Consistent Instagram Schedule with Buffer

Researching the best ways to get your brand seen on Instagram, we discovered a pair of common themes: Share your post at the right time to gain traction in the feed, and share to Instagram at a consistent rhythm. Here’s more on how we’ve maximized these two elements (plus 6 more).

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3 tips to help increase your growth and engagement

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1. Embrace user generated content

Instagram users provide a wealth of potential content for your business. Curating content from your followers can help you to build a vibrant and engaged community and user generated content can also incentivize your audience to share their own creative ways of interacting with your products, services or company.

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Must read: Learn how we used user generated content to grow our Instagram audience by 60%

In under 3 months, we grew our Instagram account by 60%  – 5,850 to 9,400 followers. A large percentage of this growth was down to user generated content and in this post, Brian shares our exact strategy.

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2. Include some faces in your posts to boost engagement

study from Georgia Tech looked at 1.1 million random Instagram pictures and discovered these two really interesting bits of information. Pictures with faces get:

  • 38% more likes
  • 32% more comments

This is something HubSpot does very well in its feed to showcase the people behind the company:

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3. Try sharing your Instagram posts to Facebook

A Buzzsumo study of over 1 billion Facebook posts from 3 million brand pages found that images posted to Facebook via Instagram receive more engagement than natively published images:

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Must read: How to Gain a Massive Following on Instagram: 10 Proven Tactics To Grow Followers and Engagement

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Measuring your results

How to learn what’s working with your Instagram marketing

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Tracking your performance and results is essential to any social media strategy. This enables you to decipher which types of content your audience finds most engaging and allows you to optimize your strategy as you move forward.

Paying close attention to your audience growth, and the number of likes and comments your posts receive will give you clues as to what’s working and what could maybe be improved. If you’d like to dive even more in-depth, you can work out an engagement rate for each of your posts.

How to calculate engagement rate on Instagram

The engagement rate is calculated by taking the number of likes + comments and dividing that number by the number of followers your account had at the time of posting.

Here’s an example:

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The above post received 210 and 8 comments. At the time of posting, we had 12,343 followers. So the engagement rate would be worked out as follows:

  • 210 (likes) + 8 (comments) = 218
  • 218 / 12,343 (followers) = Engagement rate of 1.76%

Buffer for Instagram analytics

Buffer’s analytics enable you to check in on your key metrics for networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With Instagram analytics on Buffer paid plans, you can sort every post by the most popular, most likes, and most comments. You can also select any custom timeframe or from presets like 7, 30, or 90 days. This is a fantastic way to keep an eye on trends and what’s performing.

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Buffer’s Instagram analytics can also help you to find the perfect sharing frequency. Using the ‘Posts Per Day plus Likes’ function you can see how the number of posts per day affects your engagement. Here’s a quick snapshot from our account:

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In addition to these stats, you can also use Buffer for Instagram to:

  • Track post-performance
  • Monitor Instagram trends
  • Track comments and hashtag usage
  • Measure audience engagement
  • Report across multiple profiles

Analytics can help you judge the effect of your content, schedule, and frequency of posting on Instagram and measure how it affects important Instagram metrics such as likes and followers.

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As you progress with your Instagram marketing strategy, you’ll begin to notice some trends and what types of content help you to reach your goals. It’s never easy to build a loyal, engaged following on any channel, but with the right approach and enough experimenting, you’ll find a great fit for your brand.

 

Post credit:  https://buffer.com/library/instagram-marketing/

 

Instagram Marketing: 4 Ways to Level up Your Social Media strategies

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If you feel like you don’t quite “get” Instagram marketing, you’re not alone.

On the surface, it might seem like little more than a place for snapshots and selfies.

The reality, though? Instagram is an absolute goldmine for businesses of all shapes and sizes. From social selling to community-building and beyond, there’s a reason why instagram marketing services is booming right now among businesses and consumers alike.

Having that said, Instagram’s “simplicity” can be deceiving. Many brands struggle to grow or adopt Instagram as part of their social media strategy and we totally understand why.

Listen you need a clear-cut, actionable Instagram strategy if you want to grow a presence and attract customers.

And that’s why we put together this post for you. Below we’ve broken down an Instagram marketing consultant in mumbai to help you level up the game and understand the best practices for growth.

 

1. Your brand’s marketing purpose and goals on instagram.

Why do you want to be on Instagram in the first place?

Are you interested in generating leads? Building a community? Brand awareness?

Setting social media marketing strategy and identifying your brand goals isn’t fluff. Content strategy to how much time you spend on the platform is determined by your own personal goals

There is no “right” or single goal you have to commit to, either. That said, your ROI from Instagram really boils down to your goals.

For example, Crate and Barrel is a shining example of a retail brand whose Instagram marketing strategy is laser-focused on social selling. Their entire feed centers around showing off their products and encouraging followers to check ’em out as well.

Meanwhile, beauty brands are oftentimes focused on highlighting products while also building a community by constantly going back-and-forth with followers. For example, Glossier frequently features their followers in their feeds as well as inside jokes that only their customers will appreciate.

Local, brick-and-mortar businesses often focus on keeping customers in the loop on their latest instagram promotion strategies while also building relationships. Notice how Dixie Dharma takes the time to respond to their customer comments in addition to showing off their mouth-watering breakfast offerings.

And some brands simply use Instagram as a means to show off their team and go behind the scenes of their business. B2B brands like Zapier might not seem like they have much to gain from Instagram, but manage to use their platform to show off the brand’s human side.

The sheer amount of creative freedom available to you is the beauty of instagram growth and engagements . Either way, deciding on the Instagram tactics you’ll use starts with your goals.

Digging through Instagram helps yourself to inspire your business’ marketing solutions.

Go follow some of your favorite brands. Follow some competitors, too. the best way to understand how businesses and consumers interact with each other is by experiencing the platform as a user.

2. Enhance your Instagram profile for better engagement

Here’s some good news: in terms of setting up your profile, Instagram is relatively straightforward.

However, there are a few small details to watch out for as you put together your profile.

Before you worry about creating content for Instagram, make sure you’ve ticked the following boxes. This rings true for new profiles and brands looking to fine-tune their Instagram marketing in mumbai.

Convert to a business profile

For starters, make sure that you’ve switched your account to an Instagram business profile. Doing so allows you to highlight additional information such as your industry, location, phone number and email address as part of your Instagram bio.

Instagram business profile example

Additionally, Instagram business profiles have access to analytics to help you see how followers are interacting with your account. Design on your brand creatives (give them a call to action)

Although they’re easy to overlook, your brand creatives are integral to your Instagram marketing strategy.

Specifically, your instagram hashtags and bio.

The process of creating or  registering a hashtag on instagram can be daunting at first. But don’t worry we are here to help you. For example, most hashtags are either a brand name or slight variations on a brand name.

#Topshop #MyAnthropologie #SkechersStyle

See what we’re saying?

The purpose of having a hashtag is to encourage followers to tag your brand and enable you to do the same. Hashtags serve as a call-to-action to encourage customer photos and stories.

In turn, you and your followers can see who else used your tag and shared their snaps.

Skechers Instagram hashtag

For more ideas and inspiration, take a moment to review instagram search bar with popular hashtags.

Craft a compelling and direct Instagram bio

Your short bio for Instagram is as valuable as real estate. This is your brand’s first impression with customers and potential followers. It represents an opportunity to highlight what your brand is all about and encourage followers to take action.

The best way to increase Instagram traffic to website or  your promotions is through your instagram bio

As part of your Instagram strategy, make sure that your bio includes the following.

  • Hashtag(s) related to your business
  • Some sort of call-to-action (“check out the link below,” “tag your photos”)
  • A trackable link to monitor the behavior of your Instagram traffic (Bitly, Tap.bio or Linktree are all great options)

For example, Whole Foods’ Instagram manages to achieve all of the above.

Whole Foods Instagram bio

Again, you have tons of creative freedom on Instagram. For reference, you can check out dozens of examples on our guide to writing your instagram bio.

Choose a ‘gram-worthy profile picture

According to our guide to social media image sizes, your Instagram profile picture is confined to a measly 110×110 pixels.

Translation? Sleek, minimalist and high-res is the way to go.

For example, Casper includes only the first letter of their stylized brand font for a bold profile pic.

Casper Instagram logo

Meanwhile, BarkBox manages to include their entire name with clean, legible text.

Barkbox Instagram profile picture

 

Don’t try to fill too much into your profile picture. There are tons of social media editing tools to help you mock up a minimalist logo if you don’t have one handy.

3. Creating engaging content for your followers

Creating engaging instagram content strategy is the crux of Instagram marketing. Yet again the concept of creative freedom rears its head. With so many possibilities in terms of what you can post, where do you even start?
Here we’ve highlighted some specific Instagram marketing tips for you that showcase the types of content that crush it based on best practices. Consider these post types to be keystone of your social media marketing

Eye-popping imagery

Stylish snapshots.
That’s exactly what put Instagram on the map.

Photos featuring some sort of striking creative trademark, whether it be a stunning setting or bright color scheme, are the types of posts that reel in the “likes” and comments.

Of course, not all of us have the privilege of working in an industry that allows us to take exotic photos. Thankfully, most modern smartphones have features baked into them to take compelling photos of just about anything.

 Instagram apps which include filters and style options can help you step up your photos 

People-centric images

It might sound cliche, but social media is, well, social.

That means centering your content strategy around people. Specifically, highlighting the humans who support your business. For example, user-generated content and customer photos are staples of Instagram. Sharing such snapshots allows you to show off your satisfied customers and put your products in a real-world setting.

Don’t forget about showing your team some love, too. Going behind-the-scenes and celebrating your colleagues is a simple yet effective way to humanize your brand.

Videos

Video content is among the most popular and shared around social media, Instagram included.

If you’re not a professional videographer, don’t panic. Many brands share bite-sized promos in lieu of big productions. And yes, you can create video that sells with little more than a smartphone.Video content on Instagram doesn’t have to akin to a traditional commercial. Vine-style looping videos and timelapse videos are insanely popular and can be put together in a matter of seconds thanks to third-party apps. For example, the video below was created with LifeLapse.

Memes and image macros

Perfect for humor or inspiration, not everything on Instagram needs to come from your camera reel.

In fact, memes and image macros are a way to break up the monotony of your feed and engage your followers on a personal level.

Jokes? Tips? Inspirational quotes? If you’re strapped for ideas, such posts can do the trick. Oh, and you can whip ’em up in no time thanks to tools like Canva.

Instagram Stories

Brands are integrating Stories into their collection of Instagram marketing tactics like never before.

Stories should be integral to your Instagram marketing strategy

Why? For starters, Instagram Stories enable you to “skip the line” in your followers’ feeds by putting your account at the front of their Story queue. Furthermore, time-sensitive content taps into your customers’ sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).

Great for deals, company updates or just plain playful content, Stories are something you should strive to create on a daily basis.

 

4. Publishing your content to Increase engagement on Instagram 

Let’s say you have your content ready to publish. Now what?

Good question! Simply posting at random isn’t going to do you any good.

Related Articles

As part of your marketing strategy for Instagram, take note of the following before you put out your next post.

Impressive captions

Each post you publish should have a unique caption. Even the seemingly smallest details of those captions can impact your engagement rate and whether or not your post is discoverable.

With 2,000+ characters to work with, you certainly have creative freedom. However, you’ll notice that many businesses take a “less is more” approach to their Instagram captions.

No matter what you’re saying or selling, make sure that you include a combination of the following in your captions.

  • A call-to-action (a question, “check out our bio,” etc)
  • A touch of personality (use emojis, take up a conversational tone)
  • Hashtags (including your branded hashtags, between one and five is considered optimal)

Timing and frequency

When you publish your content and how often matters when it comes to engagement.

Most brands publish daily or on a near-daily basis. Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity.

Also, the timing of your posts impacts how likely your followers are to see them. For reference, here are the optimal times to publish to Instagram based on research regarding the best times to post on social media.

Best times to post on Instagram 2020

 For example, features such as ViralPost can clue you in on when your specific account scores the most engagement. Then, you can automatically schedule your content in advance to hit those times.

Cross-posting from other social networks

For many brands, it makes sense to cross-post your Instagram content across networks such as Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. Doing so saves you some serious time and keeps you from bouncing from network to network.

6. Promoting your Instagram for the long-term

Creating engagements depends on promoting your Instagram content no matter how many strategies you are experimenting with.

Followers and customers don’t show up by accident. As a result, you need to put your Instagram front-and-center across your other marketing channels.

For example, make a point to prominently feature your Instagram on-site. Whether it’s social buttons or a feed of your followers’ photos, customers should know that you’re active on the ‘gram.

 

Learn more about Instagram Marketing

https://priyasinghi.com/instagram-visual-design-how-to-tweak-up-your-branding-on-instagram/

https://priyasinghi.com/how-to-sell-on-instagram-a-instagram-stories-marketing-strategy-thats-generated-hundreds-of-thousands-in-sales-that-you-should-know/  

https://priyasinghi.com/10-robust-instagram-marketing-ways/

 

Post credit:https://sproutsocial.com/insights/instagram-marketing-strategy/

10 Robust Instagram Marketing Ways (that you should know)

Since Instagram has become the ultimate social media platform for sharing and creating aesthetic photos and videos.

Over 800 million monthly users are active on the site and  More than 95  million photos and videos are posted each day, and 1.6 billion daily “likes” are given.

There’s also a large number of influencers on the site with a massive amount of followers. And with the right instagram marketing strategies, you can become an influential brand, too.

All you need to post is the right kind of content to stay relevant to current followers while also attracting in new ones.

But it can be hard to know which kinds of posts work best for growing your target audience.

But we are over here to make things easy for you, here are the ten powerful Instagram marketing strategies (that actually work) that you can use to milk the popular platform for all that it’s worth

1. Make your stellar business profile

 Instagram Business Account is a must before thinking about your instagram marketing strategy.

It’s easy to switch your current profile to a business account.

 Just head to your settings and click on “Switch to Business Profile” to get started.

There are some clear benefits to having a business profile.

  1. Instagram business page  will help you connect with your potential customers by the contact details mentioned just like your website
  2. A business profile allows you to create and publish Instagram ads without the needing to use Facebook’s Advertising tools.
  3. A business page which enables you to Instagram analytics tools, called Insights, that provide stats about the impression and reach of your posts.

Once you’ve unlocked the free perks that come along with a business profile, you need to start using them to track metrics and understand your audience.

2. Use free Instagram tools

Business profiles on Instagram aren’t all that different from Facebook business profiles.Through Insights, you can view statistics like impressions, engagement data, and more.

You can even get a breakdown of the demographics of your followers, including information on their age, gender, location, and most active hours.

Instagram allows you to get specific insights on posts for the week that show you how many impressions you earned for that time period and what your top posts were. These free tools are priceless because you can use them to understand exactly how users are interacting with your content.

The more that you know about how users are interacting with your posts, the better you can adjust your content to boost engagement and serve your audience according to their preferences.

3. Post product teasers that will (gently) urge people to buy

What if I say Instagram marketing for higher reach and for increasing your annual sales is possible?

Yes, you heard me right.

Instagram is a great place to advertise your products. And if you play your cards right, you won’t annoy users or scare them off with advertisements, either.

If you’re too pushy, followers will drop like flies. But product teaser posts are a simple way to talk about your product and increase excitement without looking like you’re trying too hard.

Here are two posts from Gilt Man’s Instagram page that don’t directly try to sell a product, but offer a free app where users can shop all of the brand’s inventory.

The brand offers a 70% off discount (smart instagram promotion strategy) while showing you photos of some of the items that are available to purchase.

And the posts received thousands of likes each, which is huge in the advertising world.

The ads work because they aren’t pushy. They’re laid back. They tease users with the discount and product image to download the app and shop around.

This works for almost in any industry. Starbucks teases their audience by announcing seasonal drinks with sharp imagery and without trying to force people to buy them.

When you tease people about products they are interested in, and you don’t push them into buying anything, they’ll be more likely to pull the trigger and actually buy something.

Just remember , every product teaser would definitely have a positive impact unless and until pushed.

If not, they’ll at least engage with your post by liking it, commenting on it, or sharing it with a friend.So don’t be afraid to show off the goods by posting product photos. Just do it gently. 

4. Create Sponsored Ads

Instagram ads if used properly can help you grow. The best part? You can control exactly how much you want to spend on inorganic Instagram marketing services by setting an Ad Budget.

You can showcase just one sponsored ad or multiple ads with the carousel feature.

This gives brands the opportunity  to target their audience in a whole new way. Before sponsored posts, only users following your account could see your updates and photos.

Now, brands like you can promote their photos or content directly through Instagram or  to any influencer or Content creator that ideally  fits your target audience to increase your Brand reach. 

For sponsored ads, use content that is engaging while also appealing to the target demographic you want to put the ad in front of. You can turn existing posts into sponsored ads, too, so keep an eye on your top posts. Run multiple posts to different audiences simultaneously for even more engagement. Keep in mind that there are many different forms of sponsored ads that you can post, such as

 

5. Leverage Instagram Stories

 Utilizing instagram Stories can be the best instagram marketing strategy  which  helps you with generating more leads.

Instagram stories differ from regular Instagram posts because they come in a “slideshow” format.They’re only live for 24 hours, but Stories can be saved to any of your devices and reused at a later point.

The benefits of Instagram Stories for brands are truly endless. For starters, Stories are displayed at the top of follower timelines where users already look daily.

Brands like you can use stories to capture behind-the-scenes insider posts that may not be as “high-quality” as regular posts and you don’t have to worry as much about posting content that aligns with the “aesthetic” of your brand or your Instagram page when it comes to Stories.

This instagram marketing strategy allows to experiment with different types of content in the Stories feature, like photos, short video, rewind video, live video, or Boomerangs. You can use tools like Canva and InVideo to create amazing images and videos for your stories.

Boomerangs are GIF-like images that play on a loop.

You can also tag other accounts in Stories, which is great if you’re collaborating with another brand or influencer. Face filters, text, or stickers make it easy to edit images or create fun, eye-catching visuals.

The number of posts that you can add to Stories at any given time is unlimited, and the feature is available to all businesses globally.

Stories are only available on the mobile Instagram app, and it’s not currently possible to send Instagram Stories as direct messages.

But since most Instagram users access the site via the smartphone app rather than the website, this isn’t really something to worry about.

If you are new to instagram influencer marketing who are already making a killing on Instagram, find a few that you want to work with and reach out to them.

6. Try Instagram influencer marketing for your brand to target a wider reach

To reach potential customers on Instagram, the fastest way to do that is through promoting your products through influencers who have already built an audience with a large following.

Influencers can act as a trigger point to reach out to potential customers. And because of the trust they convey through their content people are more likely to buy the services or products they promote.If you partner with the right industry influencer, you can get your brand out in front of those users.

The first step is to try and identify a few influencers that have a target audience that is relevant to your product, service or niche.

Here’s an example of how Gravity Blankets used influencer Jessi Smiles to promote their product on her Instagram page.

The post has thousands of likes.

The brand sells weighted blankets for sleep and stress. Their Instagram page has under 10,000 followers.

But Jessi’s page has 493,000 followers that will likely trust her recommendations.

That means that the brand just exposed themselves to thousands of potential customers (and new followers) through one successful instagram marketing post by hitting the right target audience.

If you throw aside the short-term gains and direct sales that you can make from an instagram influencer marketing campaign, there are even more long term-benefits.

If you build a relationship with each influencer, you’ll build lasting brand awareness with a new audience.

And if you play your cards right, you could even work with a top influencer in the future to gain millions of likes, like Coca-Cola did with this post from Selena Gomez.

Your existing customers might not be influencers, but you can still use their posts to influence people to buy your products by collecting user-submitted photos.

7. Assemble user-submitted photos

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a way to create great content for your Instagram page without using any instagram management companies?

User-submitted photos is an effective way to do so

You already have an engaged audience. Whether it’s hundreds of people or thousands, you can leverage your audience to generate useful content for you.

And your followers will probably enjoy user-generated content even more than they enjoy yours because it’s more Authentic and resonating with them.

Cosmetics brand MAC uses tons of user-generated content that they promote on their Instagram page to show off products.

Here’s a photo one of their users posted that they then added to their Instagram page. Notice how they used the hashtag #regram and tagged the user in the image.

You might be wondering exactly how you can get your users to create engaging content without being pushy.

It’s actually fairly simple. Your audience probably wants to grow their own following, just like you do.

Just let them know that you’ll tag them in your post if you choose their photo to regram, then they’ll have an incentive to post user-generated content on a consistent basis.

It’s a win-win for you and your customers.

GoPro is notorious for this. The brand chooses a #FeaturedPhotographer every week.

The brand (and their followers) treat this like a weekly competition.

If you try something similar, you’ll probably be surprised at just how eager your followers will be to participate in your organic instagram marketing campaign.

Remember to choose the photos you want to post wisely. This can be difficult, but try to remember these things when considering a winner:

  1. Does the photo fits the brand image you’ve already created or are trying to create? Or does it go against it?
  2. How big of a following does the person whose photo you want to share have?
  3. Is the photo appropriate for your current audience and following?

When you’re running a business, you have to be sure that everything you post is in tune with your brand’s message (and audience). Even on Instagram.

If someone shares a user-generated image with a large following, those followers will probably be interested in checking your page out, too.

Look at how this user-submitted photo from Boosted Boards aligns with the brand’s aesthetic. It’s high-quality, intriguing, and unique.

Choose images that successfully mimic your brand’s tone, like this one.

That being said, try not to be too biased about the content you want to post. Mix it up and watch your follower count and engagement grow.

8. Design interactive branded hashtag

Do you want instant engagement? Then interactive  instagram hashtags are a great way to get it.

Red Bull has racked up over 299,612 posts featuring their tag, #itgivesyouwings.

Customers can then use the tag to post user-generated content. This allows users to search through all posts relating to your brand.

It also lets you easily search through images that you might want to consider re-posting on your own page.

Creating a hashtag that your company (and other users) can search for is basically free social media promotion strategy.

Every time someone posts a photo using the tag, they’re exposing your company to their followers.

If you already have a popular brand slogan or phrase, consider making that your branded hashtag. Coca-Cola successfully accomplished this with their hashtag, #ShareACoke.

But no matter what you’re posting, you need to post at the right times and refrain from over-posting.

 

9. Post at the right times (and don’t overpost)

Over-posting on Instagram is a foolproof way to turn off your existing followers.

If all they see is your brand on their news feed, they’re probably going to unfollow you as fast as possible.But you want to post on a consistent basis so that you stay in their news feed regularly.One of the best ways to do this is to only post during peak days and hours when your followers are online.

According to SimplyMeasured, the worst days to post on Instagram are Wednesdays and Sundays, while Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post.

pasted image 0 123

And according to research from CoSchedule, the best times of day to post are between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM, as well as 2:00 AM.

The hour between of 8:00 and 9:00 AM correlates with the time of day when people are getting ready for work or commuting to their jobs (and checking social media for the day).

And 2:00 AM is the time of day when most folks are up scrolling through Instagram when they should be sleeping, so this makes sense as a second most popular time to post.

You can find when your followers are most active in Instagram Insights, so your best days and times to post might be a bit different depending on your specific audience.

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Schedule your posts to go live during these days and times with a tool like Hootsuite, CoSchedule, or Sprout Social.

The research also shows that you should post between one and two times per day, but no more or less.

If you’re tempted to post more, then use Instagram’s carousel album feature to post multiple images in a slideshow format.

That way, you won’t overwhelm your followers’ feeds.

After you’ve made these changes, track your metrics to keep an eye on areas where you can improve.

10. Make sure you track the right  metrics

You can’t improve your Instagram performance and optimize it unless you know how well your page and posts are performing (or underperforming).

When you have measurable results, you’ll know exactly what works for your influencer marketing or brand marketing as per your niche and what doesn’t.

Begin by tracking your follower instagram marketing growth rate.

The total amount of followers you have is commonly seen as a vanity metric. And it is.

But your follower growth rate isn’t.

When you keep an eye on what the growth rate of your followers looks like, you can see how the kind of content your posting (or your posting frequency) is affecting things.

Track your follower growth rate with a tool like Influencer Dashboard.

pasted image 0 77

Next, measure engagement rates. This includes likes and comments.

You want to find out the average engagement percentage of your total followers as well as the average engagement rate of each post to get a clear picture of how your page is performing.

If you’ve got a smaller following, your engagement rate should be higher. Here’s what your rates should look like based on your follower count:

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Finally, you need to track your URL click-through rate.

If you don’t already have a link to your website in your Instagram bio, add one ASAP.

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Then, measure how many people are clicking through to your URL.

The average CTR on Instagram is 0.94%, according to Conversion XL.

pasted image 0 72

The more effective your Instagram marketing techniques on your audience, the higher your CTR will be. If it’s low, work on improving your approach.

A tool like Sprout Social will measure just how many clicks that your link is getting in comparison to impressions and engagements.

pasted image 0 131

Conclusion

Instagram has dominated the social media marketing strategy. It’s the go-to place for image and video sharing, with over 800 million monthly users.

Billions of likes are handed out each day, so you need to do your part to scoop some of them up.

  • First, switch your profile to an Instagram Business Profile if you haven’t already. This will give you tons of free tools and insights
  • Next, start taking advantage of those free tools. Check out your audience’s demographics, like their age or top locations.
  • Post product teasers to urge people to buy your products or services without being overly pushy. They’ll be more likely to buy if they don’t feel pressured.
  • Turn your posts into sponsored ads to reach target audiences that may not be following you yet. One post might just have them hooked.
  • Use Instagram Stories to post behind-the-scenes photos or videos. Followers will appreciate the insider posts, which builds your relationship with customers.
  • Partner with influencers that have a wide reach in your industry. Their followers trust their recommendations.
  • Be sure to leverage the power of user-generated content by reposting images that your customers share. You can turn this into a contest with an interactive branded hashtag.
  • Choose a photo to share every week or every month that aligns with your brand’s message.
  • Post at the right times and avoid overposting. Post one to two times every day and check out when your followers are most active. Schedule posts to go live during those days and times.

 

Finally, be sure that you track the right metrics to see how your Instagram marketing gro efforts are paying off.

 

Keep an eye on follower growth rate, engagement rate, and your URL click-through rate.

What Instagram marketing techniques work best for you and your brand?

 

Learn more about Instagram Marketing

https://priyasinghi.com/instagram-visual-design-how-to-tweak-up-your-branding-on-instagram/

https://priyasinghi.com/instagram-marketing-4-ways-to-level-up-your-social-media-strategies/

https://priyasinghi.com/how-to-sell-on-instagram-a-instagram-stories-marketing-strategy-thats-generated-hundreds-of-thousands-in-sales-that-you-should-know/

 

Post credit: https://neilpatel.com/blog/instagram-marketing-tips/

Instagram Stories: How 18 Brands And Influencers Are Using It (And You Can Too!)

10 billion.

That’s the number of videos people watch on Snapchat every day. The same potential consumption (maybe more) exists for Instagram Stories —  quick videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours, just like Snapchat, but with an audience of 500 million users.

Does that sound like a channel worth exploring?

We believe so! Storytelling has always been a key part of marketing, and features like Instagram Stories are empowering us marketers to tell better and deeper stories about our brands. We’d love to provide you with more resources about Instagram Stories so that you can master this platform and see your voice spread.

In this post, I’d love to share 18 Instagram marketers who have been doing rad things with Stories to give you some inspiration on what you could do for your Instagram Stories too.


Now you can also plan and schedule Instagram Stories directly within Buffer, on web or on mobile. Try it now for free.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is schedule-instagram-stories-feature.png
Instagram Stories

18 Creative Uses of Instagram Stories (and how you can do it too)

From my research, I discovered several creative ways brands and individuals have been using Instagram Stories. And here’s the great news: most of these strategies do not require huge budget or resources to pull off!

Before we dive into each brand and individual, here’s the full list of rockstar Instagram storytellers with links to their Instagram profiles.

(Note: If you end up following some of these great accounts and wish to see their Instagram stories from a desktop browser, there’s a neat Chrome extension here which lets you do just that.)

  1. NASA
  2. LOFT
  3. Huffington Post
  4. Techcrunch
  5. Gary Vaynerchuk
  6. Chris Burkard
  7. New York University
  8. GoPro
  9. When I Work
  10. Shopify
  11. Remote Year
  12. Black Sheep Cycling
  13. Olympics
  14. Brian Fanzo
  15. Minaal
  16. 9gag
  17. Sean McCabe
  18. TrackMaven

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at how each of the following brands and individuals uses Instagram Stories and see how you might take inspiration to adapt their strategies for your own brand!

1. NASA (@nasa)

Supplement your main Instagram content with bonus info via Stories

This is one of my favorite ways of using Instagram Stories: telling a deep story behind each and every Instagram post.

One of the key differences between Instagram and Snapchat is that Instagram provides a public, viewable profile for your main content. On no other social network can you get this type of supplemental information about the posts themselves.

This makes NASA’s use of Stories quite the native strategy. Here’s a great example: Recently, NASA posted about the annual Perseid meteor shower on their Instagram account and used Stories to share more about the meteor shower and the research on it, talking to the scientists involved in the research and showing the equipment used for the research.

NASA Story

How you could do this for your business:

After you choose a final photo to share on Instagram, snap a couple of extra ones that go behind-the-scenes. This can be as easy as:

  • Flip your camera around to take a photo of the opposite view (example)
  • Share some of the failed drafts of photos (Instagram Stories are ephemeral, thank goodness!)
  • Snap a photo with the team that helped you create your Instagram photo
  • Zoom out and photograph the setup – works great for product shots to show all that goes into getting the photo just right!

2. LOFT (@loft)

Turn Stories into real-time events (and amplify engagement)

LOFT, a women’s clothing brand, invited two best buddies for a style challenge, which was shared as an Instagram Story. The challenge: Find something (in the LOFT store) the other didn’t think she could wear.

Not only did LOFT allow their followers to follow along the fun challenge, LOFT also gave them an opportunity to engage with a recent Instagram post and help spread their brand by asking them to tag their best friends in the post.

LOFT's Instagram Stories

(Hat tip to Amanda Tessier for this one!)

How you could do this for your business:

Take a look at your event calendar and see if there are any upcoming events and activities that your online community can follow along. It could be:

  1. Challenges like LOFT’s
  2. Company retreats
  3. Meetups, conferences, or roadshows

Otherwise, consider if you could organize fun games around your product or service which your online community could participate in by leaving a comment on one of your recent Instagram posts or sharing a photo with a particular hashtag.

3. Huffington Post (@huffingtonpost)

Use photos with captions to tell your stories

With the help of the text and drawing functionality of Instagram Stories, Huffington Post has been creating interesting short photo summaries of recent news, allowing their followers to consume their content in a more visual and fun manner.

Huffington Post Story 1
Huffington Post Story 2
Huffington Post Story 3

How you could do this for your business:

Go through all your recent blog posts and challenge yourself to turn one of them into a photo story. Adding captions will tend to make it easier while drawing with the three different Stories markers will bring more personality to your story.

4. TechCrunch (@techcrunch)

Give your followers a quick and easy way to consume your content

Quite similar to Huffington Post, TechCrunch has been using Instagram Stories to share headlines and short text summary of recent tech news.

Techcrunch Story

How you could do this for your business:

If you publish lots of content regularly like a news or media agency, summarize your articles with a headline and a tagline or sentence. If the news is shareworthy, adding your brand logo, like how TechCrunch did, could help to spread the awareness of your brand.

5. Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

Mix high-quality edited content with raw authentic content (and keep in mind the vertical screen size)

Gary Vaynerchuk has been using Instagram Stories for several purposes — promoting his DailyVee videos through high-quality visuals, sharing very authentic glimpses into his daily life, and connecting genuinely with his followers.

Gary Vaynerchuk Story 1

In a recent Story, he mentioned that his followers asked for more wallpapers on his Instagram Stories and so he made more for them.

Gary Vaynerchuk Story 1

How you could do this for your business:

Gary Vaynerchuk does quite a few things well on Instagram Stories, and here are some of the things you could try:

  • If you produce video content as part of your marketing strategy, consider creating an extra version for the vertical mobile screen or simply add borders at the top and bottom, which Gary Vaynerchuk does sometimes.
  • If you tend to use your Instagram posts to drive traffic to your content on your blog or Medium publication or YouTube channel, create promotional images and mention that the link is in your bio.
  • If you create images for your social media posts, make an additional image for the vertical screen or reuse the one you created for Pinterest.
  • Use Instagram Stories to do research and interact with your community. What types of content do they want from you via Instagram? How can you provide those content to them?

6. Chris Burkard (@chrisburkard)

Show your behind-the-scenes adventures

Chris Burkard is a very talented photographer with almost 2 million followers on Instagram.

He has been using Instagram Stories to take his followers through his adventures where he captures the jaw-dropping photos he shares on his Instagram accounts, including river crossings and camping outdoors with very windy conditions.

Chris Burkard Story

How you could do this for your business:

While not every business might have such adventurous experiences on a regular basis, your followers might be interested in what your company does on a day-to-day basis. Think about some of the fun aspects you could show them, such as brainstorming sessions, team lunch, company games and more.

7. New York University (@nyuniversity)

Bring your followers on tours

New York University has a very engaged following on Instagram. Each of its posts has thousands of likes and 10–20 comments. Following the theme for its posts, New York University “takes” its followers on tours around the campus and city, enhancing the experience of following the account.

New York University Story

How you could do this for your business:

This is great if you are a tourist attraction or school or even a retail store with a great physical space and environment!

When you are taking your afternoon break and going out for a walk, snap a few photos of interesting sights or locations and share them with your followers. These raw authentic snaps will give your followers a better sense of the area and might make them want to visit you more.

8. GoPro (@gopro)

Bring your followers on an adventure

GoPro is one of the brands I think of when I think of adventures. When Instagram Stories was launched, GoPro jumped onto the opportunity to share more footage taken with, yep, GoPro.

Recently, while making its GoPro family member’s dream come true of seeing the aurora australis, GoPro shared the adventure with its Instagram followers through incredible video footages of the trip.

GoPro Stories

How you could do this for your business:

If you are an outdoor activities company, share all the thrilling and breathtaking videos of the outdoors with your followers.

For those who might not have such opportunities on a daily basis, here’s something else you could try. While GoPro’s Instagram Stories alone looks amazing enough, it is part of their #DreamReal marketing campaign of fulfilling their social media advocates’ dreams. You could perhaps:

  1. Use Instagram Stories to promote your company’s hashtag and encourage more people to use it.
  2. Show how happy the winners of your giveaways are or how awesome your giveaway prizes are to attract more people to participate in them in the future.

9. When I Work (@wheniwork)

Feature your customers and share behind the scenes

When I Work is employee scheduling software with over 15,000 happy customers worldwide. Recently, they visited a few of their customers in Canada and featured them in their Instagram Stories.

When I Work Story 1
When I Work Story 2

How you could do this for your business:

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If it is possible, visit your amazing customers and give them a shoutout on your Instagram Stories. This will let your followers know what types of businesses and individuals use your product and might give them the social proof they need in order to convert. Furthermore, this will help you build a stronger relationship with your customers.

10. Shopify (@shopify)

Promote your blog posts creatively

You might not always be able to visit our customers like When I Work so Shopify worked around that by letting merchants, who use Shopify for their business, take over the Shopify Instagram account and share about their business.

Apart from merchant takeovers, Shopify also promotes their blog posts through Instagram Stories.

Shopify Story

How you could do this for your business:

This is just one of the many ways you could promote your blog posts through Instagram Stories:

  1. With the blog post you want to promote, find 3-5 key points that will grab your followers’ attention. (An easy way could be to look at your H2 headings.)
  2. Turn them into fun Instagram Stories using relevant photos, captions, and drawings.
  3. Create a simple bit.ly link to be used for the last photo.
  4. Post them!
  5. Bonus: It will be great to download each Instagram Stories photo onto your phone as you create them and post them all at once when you are ready. This will help to ensure that your followers see the full set of photos at a go.

11. Remote Year (@remoteyear)

Bring your offline and online communities together

Remote Year is a year-long program where 75 digital nomads travel across the world to work and explore 12 cities together.

Through their Instagram Stories, they share what they do on, I believe, a daily basis, allowing their followers who might not be able to join the trip to still be part of the fun.

Remote Year Story

How you could do this for your business:

It can be a bit of a bummer for your community when they are unable to attend some of your events. It could be meetups or conferences with a limited number of tickets or an exclusive event for certain customers only or a program for a selected few such as the Remote Year. However, that does not mean they have to miss out on all the fun. Here are some of the things you could do:

  • Interview key personnel briefly about the topic of the event
  • Invite attendees to share their experiences at the event
  • Film interesting and fun moments of the event
  • Appoint a host or two for your Instagram Stories while the event is taking place to talk about what is going to happen during the event, narrate as the activities are happening and interview attendees, like what the Remote Year did for some of their events (as seen in the first photo)

12. Black Sheep Cycling (@blacksheepcycling)

Give sneak previews of your upcoming products or launch them through Instagram Stories

Black Sheep Cycling is a cycling brand that provides innovative and unique cycling apparel.

A few days ago, they launched their ambassador kit for their community. Besides announcing the upcoming launch with an Instagram post, the team also used Instagram Stories to showcase the kit from various angles.

Black Sheep Cycling Story

How you could do this for your business:

While preparing the marketing materials for your upcoming launch or announcement, create a few more vertical designs for your Instagram Stories. Consider more than one image or design since the ephemeral nature of Instagram Stories allow you to share more photos and videos without cluttering up your Instagram profile. Here are some variations you could think about:

  • Different angles of the product
  • Specific features of the product
  • Different people using your product
  • Various ways of using your product

13. Olympics (@olympics)

Report timely news and wrap-up

When the Rio 2016 Olympics was taking place, the social media team behind the Instagram account took the opportunity to share more about and celebrate the incredible Olympians. Harrison Barnes also took over the account to give a wrap-up for a day and shared his thoughts on the day’s events.

Olympics Story

How you could do this for your business:

While you might not always be part of huge events like the Olympics, there are likely to be many high-profile events in your respective industry. For example in the tech field, one such event is TechCrunch Disrupt. You could attend such events and provide timely updates to your followers. Here are some possible ways:

  • Create simple images to share cool announcements and important news from the event
  • Share your thoughts about the announcements and news of the event
  • Interview speakers and prominent figures in the industry briefly, if possible
  • Feature partners and customers who happen to be at the same event

14. Brian Fanzo (@isocialfanz)

Give previews of your talks and let others take over your Instagram Stories

Brian Fanzo, popularly known as isocialfanz, is a millennial speaker who is very knowledgeable about community building, social media, livestreaming, influencer marketing, tech and more. In 2016 alone, Brian will keynote at more than 40 events around the world.

He has been using Instagram Stories to give previews for his upcoming talks and events such as the #Cloudtalk. He did the same when he was taking over our Buffer Instagram Stories while Brian, our Social Media Manager, took over his.

Brian Fanzo Story

How you could do this for your business:

Work with other brands and influencers to take over your Instagram account and ask to take over theirs too. Like Gary Vaynerchuk said, “It’s an easy way to reach new audiences and increase brand awareness.” And it’s great because both parties stand to benefit from the takeovers.

A cool feature of Instagram Stories is that it allows you upload any photos and videos that were added to your phone’s camera roll within the last 24 hours. Simply swipe down while you are in the Instagram Stories camera mode. This allows you to share photos and videos from the brands and influencers without having to share your Instagram account password.

  1. Get them to create Instagram Stories and save them onto their phones without posting them.
  2. Get them to send their draft Stories to you via email, Dropbox or Google Drive.
  3. Download them onto your phone before the time you wish to post them (you will have 24 hours to use them after downloading them onto your phone).
  4. Wait for the right time and voila!

15. Minaal (@minaalofficial)

Share user generated content and showcase your customers

Minaal makes durable, professional travel gear that gets you where you want to be – faster, happier and more productive. (It is a brand many Bufferoos love too!)

In their Stories, they share photos from their community who are traveling all around the world with the amazing travel bags and gear.

Minaal Story

How you could do this for your business:

Many a time, we love to showcase our users’ photos of them using our products, only to realize that the photo quality might not be on par with those we post on our profile or it might not match the theme of photos we chose for our gallery. Instagram Stories provides a great option to feature your users (and your product) without changing the theme of your Instagram branding or adding too many photos to your gallery.

Invite your users to share photos of themselves using your product and let them know that you will be featuring them on your Instagram Stories. Alternatively,

  1. Look out for photos of your product by your users (if there’s a hashtag that your community uses, that will be very handy)
  2. Reach out to those users and ask if you could feature their photos and them on your Instagram Stories.
  3. Once you have the photos, add their Instagram handle and perhaps add some drawings to the photos to make them more interesting.

16. 9gag (@9gag)

Funny user generated content and stories

I think most of us are quite familiar with 9gag and their hilarious content. With Instagram Stories, they brought their funny storytelling to another level!

9gag Story

How you could do this for your business:

I believe most businesses aren’t like 9gag in terms of the amount of user generated content they have (thought it’s great if you do!). However, this does not mean we cannot learn anything from 9gag. I think 9gag is a great example of telling the same stories through different formats (on their website, Instagram posts, Instagram Stories and more).

Instagram Stories allow us to quickly click through a series of photos and videos, and that’s a great way to tell stories! It feels a bit like flipping through a photo book. So an idea could be:

  1. When you have a story or message to share with your audience, come up with a storyboard of the photos and videos you need.
  2. Download the materials onto your phone and add captions and drawings to make them more engaging and visually appealing.
  3. When the time is right, publish all of them together according to your storyboard.
  4. Bonus: You could use an Instagram post to briefly talk about the story and direct your audience to check out your Instagram Stories for more information.

17. Sean McCabe (@seanwes)

Give previews of your live events or courses

Sean McCabe used to be a hand lettering artist who charged five-figure rates until he launched a course teaching people how to do what he did and made six figures in the first three days. Since then, he has been teaching a variety of courses on building and growing a sustainable business.

He has been using Instagram Stories to share sneak peeks of his live training and why his followers should sign up for his courses.

Sean McCabe Story

How you could do this for your business:

Personally, I like to find out as much as I can before I pay for a course, a product, or a service. Quite similar to a trial for a product or service, Instagram Stories could be an interesting way to share just enough to entice your followers into signing up for your paid courses or exclusive content.

Also, sharing a short memorable link makes it easier for your followers to act immediately.

18. TrackMaven (@trackmaven)

Share top news in your industry

TrackMaven is a marketing analytics software tool that helps marketers make smart decisions through understandable and actionable data. In line with their area of expertise, they share top marketing news every week in their Instagram Stories.

Track Maven Story

How you could do this for your business:

I imagine most of us are already reading up a lot about our own industry so this just takes a tiny bit more effort:

  1. When reading through all the news, bookmark the top 3 to 5 pieces which are most shareworthy or most useful to the people in the industry or your customers.
  2. On Friday each week (or even every morning), share the news.
  3. Adding your thoughts about the news could help to make you a thought leader in your industry too.

Small plug

I would also love to give a shout out to Brian, our amazing social media manager, who has been rocking our Instagram Stories game too. Our Stories range from social media tips to influencer, brand and team member takeovers. If you are interested in learning more about social media, marketing and behind the scenes of a remote team, we are @buffer on Instagram!

Buffer Story

Over to you

There are definitely many more creative brands and folks out there that I did not come across during my research. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you know of any or if you feel that you are creating awesome Instagram Stories, feel free to share your handle below! Thank you!

Post credit: https://buffer.com/resources/instagram-stories-who-to-follow/