While selfies, memes and Kim Kardashian may be the first things that come to mind when you think of Instagram, it turns out that there is a lot more to this social media platform than meets the eye, especially when it comes to using Instagram for marketing.

Over 300 million people use Instagram daily, making it a digital marketer’s wet dream, particularly when you consider the impact of hashtags and Facebook data-enabled advert targeting to ensure that you’re reaching exactly whom you want to reach.

So, if you’re looking to put another feather in your cap and integrate Instagram into your marketing plan, then you’ve come to the right place!

Use Instagram for marketing? How?

It’s understandable that those new to Instagram may not understand just how much potential the platform holds as a marketing tool, so to help you with this we’ve put together 5 of the best ways to use Instagram for marketing below.

The blue sea of Sliema, Malta. What’s not to like about island life?

A photo posted by Systemato (@wearesystemato) on

Establish your brand & build a community

Being such a visual medium, Instagram enables you to inject personality into your social media. If a brand having a personality isn’t marketing, I don’t know what is.

Through appealing images and videos, and smart copy, you can make your business stand out among your competitors, and also show off how tech savvy you are – a quality consumers don’t even know they appreciate.

The real joy that Instagram brings is the ability to communicate with your followers through tags, comments, and messages, as well calls to action for Instagram business accounts. These features give companies the opportunity to use Instagram for marketing as a two-way street – you can put out content that people can respond to.

Coworking day at Systemato. Shit getting done y’all. #coworkers #coworking #agencylife #remotework #team

A photo posted by Systemato (@wearesystemato) on

Reaching new audiences through hashtags

On the surface, the magic of a hashtag is clicking on it and seeing what other beautiful images our fellow humans across the globe have posted under that same string of characters.

In reality, what makes a hashtag wonderful is that by adding that tag to your post, you’re exposing your business to dozens of new users who may otherwise never have heard about you.

While you’re at it, make sure to take advantage of trending hashtags – yes, jumping on the bandwagon may not always be the wisest thing to do, but it’s one hell of way to get noticed (so long as the hashtag is in fact relevant to what you’re posting)!

Romeo, o Romeo… don’t bother – we’ve got our Eccos, we’re good. #Eccoshoes #streetstyle #urban #mediterraneanlife

A photo posted by King Shoe Shop Malta (@kingshoeshopmalta) on

Advertising

While there are some great organic ways of getting seen online, one strategy that will give you guaranteed exposure is advertising.

Advertising on Instagram is simple – put some money behind a post, and voila! your post will appear in your target audience’s newsfeed.

Instagram advertising is set up via Facebook, which may seem counterintuitive and perhaps just a tad complex, but trust us, it’s not – it’s actually a great way to run adverts because Instagram uses Facebook’s user data to target your ads to the users you want to reach the most.

NO. SUCH. THING.

A photo posted by King Shoe Shop Malta (@kingshoeshopmalta) on

Integrate your Instagram with your other social media platforms

Post a cool picture on Instagram? While you’re at it, you should share it on Twitter and Facebook too! Linking to your Instagram from your other platforms is a guaranteed way to get new followers. You don’t want to cross-post each single image, as that would defeat the purpose, but it’s a great way of making users aware of your widespread presence on social media.

Better yet, if someone tags your product or service on Instagram, take that as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on this generous user. It’s also recommended that you tag any of your commercial partners in posts – not only will your partners love you for it, but it’s a great way to show that you’re running a dynamic business.

Run contests

People love free stuff – this is an undisputable fact. Don’t let the logistics of running a contest deter you from taking the leap. The premise is simple – pick a theme and a corresponding hashtag, ask your audience to follow you and then use the hashtag in their post and the photo with the most likes wins!

What do they win?

It could be anything from a free product or service, a voucher or even something exciting like tickets to an event or trip.

This tactic guarantees that you’ll increase your followers and get users buzzing about your brand online, as well as raise brand awareness and brand engagement. This is the kind of word of mouth that makes you look exceptional.

Without our sales staff we are nothing #thankyou #salesstaff #onefamily #grateful #loyaltyatitsbest

A photo posted by King Shoe Shop Malta (@kingshoeshopmalta) on

Make use of analytics

While you’re at it, get to know your audience – who are they? What do they want?

By reaching out to your audience through Instagram you can use the interaction with your audience to find out if what you’re doing in your business is achieving the desired effect, and you can also test out new ideas to find out if that pipe dream of yours can actually become a reality. Sure, you know who you want your audience to be, but analytics and user data allows businesses to find out exactly who they’re reaching and who they’re not reaching.

On the surface, it may seem like Instagram is just a place to post pretty pictures but it’s actually a great way to establish and strengthen your relationship with your audience – and if you’re clever, it’s a great way to grab people’s attention long enough to use call to actions and get them to sign up to your newsletter or visit your website.

Diane Brincat

Author Diane Brincat

More posts by Diane Brincat

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