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6 Tips to Maximize the Use of Instagram to Grow Your Online Presence6 minutes read

In April of this year, Instagram reached 700 million monthly members, making it the most popular social network in the world. Because of this, Instagram is now a hot marketing target for businesses interested in reaching consumers. The image-sharing social network’s demographic is especially notable since 90 percent of the site’s members are under the age of 35.

But connecting with customers on a site that operates primarily on images can be difficult. It’s important to fully understand Instagram’s customer base in order to post in ways that will engage them. Here are a few ways brands can make the most of Instagram as a marketing tool:

#UsetheRightHashtags

Like Twitter, Instagram’s users find posts of interest by clicking on specific hashtags. If they see an interesting fashion item, for instance, they may click on the #fashionista hashtag captioned there to see more posts like it.

For a brand interested in reaching new customers on the site, hashtags can be invaluable. However, as beneficial as it can be to cram multiple hashtags into each caption for maximum reach, it can also make captions clunky to a brand’s follower base. Instead of listing dozens of hashtags consecutively, pick several high-impact hashtags, such as those that are trending or tend to be popular on the site.

You can also use this handy trick to hide your hashtags in your caption while still making your post show up to those who click the hashtag from another user profile.

use right hashtags

Be Human

On any social media platform, too much marketing is spammy, making it more likely you’ll scare customers away than winning them over.

The best brands use their Instagram profiles to show the human side of their business, whether it’s showing customers using their products or showcasing employees hard at work. Your posts don’t have to include people to be personal. Consider having employees add their own photos.

A bookstore could ask each employee to snap a photo of their favorite book that month, for instance, or a company that specializes in outdoor gear could encourage employees to snap photos of nature and share them on the company Instagram account. Since you’re limited to photos on Instagram, you’ll have to get creative with visuals to tell your brand story.

Encourage User-Generated Content

You don’t have to do all the work. Your customers can be your best resource when it comes to creating content. Also, there are many Instagram automation tool available which can make it a lot easier for you.

Customers: Best Resource for Content

  • Encourage customers to share photos of themselves using your products, then re-gram those posts.
  • The customer will be excited, making it more likely they’ll be loyal to your company moving forward.
  • You’ll also find that this content keeps your Instagram account updated in a way that engages visitors.

How to get your Customers to share photos?

  • One way to get customers started is to simply invite them to share photos of themselves enjoying your products.
  • You can make this a contest entry, with a free product going to the winner, but many customers will participate without that incentive.

Include Social Links

One of the biggest drawbacks of Instagram is its refusal to make links clickable in captions. Instead, you’ll commonly see “link in bio” to reference the clickable URL listed in a business’s bio section.

In addition to adding a link to your website, you should provide your usernames for other social media sites. They won’t be clickable, but customers will be able to enter your username into the search field on those platforms and easily find you.

If you’re more interested in generating traffic for your social platforms than sending customers to your website, use your one clickable link to send people to a page of your site that lists each of your social media accounts. This can be a useful way to build your following across multiple platforms in the short term, allowing you to switch to your website URL once you’ve reached your audience-building goals.

Cross Promote

Instead of filling your bio with social media usernames or linking to a directory of them on your website, you can increase traffic by posting content that entices customers to find you.

If you post a new blog, include the featured photo with an interesting lead-in, and use “link in bio” to send people over. Use a similar technique to invite customers to your Facebook or Twitter profiles.

If you upload an informative how-to video to your YouTube account, include a teaser image and caption and update the link in your bio to point to YouTube for a short time.

Cross promotion is a great way to let your customers know that you’re posting interesting, unique content on other platforms so that they can follow if they’re interested. Also make sure you include an Instagram button on your website and blog, as well as sharing your Instagram username on your social media accounts.

Make It Useful

As with text-based social platforms, user-geared content performs best. The more information your customers get out of your posts, the more likely they’ll come back on a regular basis. This can be challenging with an image-based platform since you’ll be limited to what you can fit in a caption.

In addition to linking to other social platforms where you’ve uploaded interesting content, you could also share a different photo each day with a “tip of the day” to inform and help customers.

If you sell products, share photos with tips on ways customers can use various items in your collection. If you provide services, upload photos of your technicians hard at work, along with tips in the captions.

Think of interesting ways you can be seen by customers as a useful source of information in your area of expertise, and you’ll find your follower numbers quickly increase.

Instagram is a fun, popular platform that brings unique opportunities for business owners. For best results, spend some time browsing the site and pay close attention to what other businesses are doing. You’ll soon find that you’re naturally coming up with ways to use the platform to broaden your brand’s reach and increase sales.

By Kaley Hart

Kaley Hart is a San Diego based digital strategist and writes for Jumper Media social media
marketing column. She loves working with small businesses, and telling their stories through
social media. Kaley is very talented, but her most impressive quality is the ability to identify any
dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. Go, Bruins!

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