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Starter tips on how to use Instagram for marketing

Starter tips on how to use Instagram for marketing

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Without a shadow of a doubt social media marketing, and in particular Instagram, is a must for a modern-day business. With 68 % of instagrammers engaging regularly with brands, there is no better time than now to be promoting on the gram! If you are new to Instagram or could just benefit with some helpful tips to perfect your marketing technique, read on.

Define your strategy

What do you want Instagram to do for your business? As with any marketing plan there needs to be a strategy. Instagram is not about posting numerous pictures to make the page look full and active. Before setting up the account, ask yourself what do you want this account to do for your business. Send traffic to a website? Increase sales? Reach new audiences? Strictly addressing these questions will help filter relevant content from irrelevant. Instagram is all about visual communication, therefore pictures must be as clear and striking as possible to help the viewer understand the message quickly and easily. Thought must go into every uploaded post and each post should be clearly aligned with the predefined marketing strategy. If the strategy can be identified from looking at the post you are on the path to success. Rome wasn’t built in a day! The striking image of a clock below links to the message behind the post which was about the importance of timing when breaking into emerging markets. An eye-catching image which relates to the message behind the post.

Master the content

Nike is a great example of how commitment to premium content is key when trying to grow and keep followers. Dedication pays off and at time of press they have 32.5m followers according to the Iconosquare Index, surpassing all other fashion brands. Here are some tips we can learn from a quick scroll through Nike’s account. Newsjacking Nike effectively taps into current affairs. When news breaks on a topic the brand can relate to and will be of interest to followers, Nike is there to share it.

Keeping it real

Followers need to feel a sense of realism when scrolling through Instagram and this can be achieved by posting content that is currently trending. From gearing up to watch the Wimbledon Championship to keeping wrapped up during the winter months, Nike will show that they’re experiencing it too.

You only have to look at a few posts from Nike to see that there is a story and inspiration behind every picture. Of course there is product placement, but it does not hit you in the face or cloud the story of the picture. Getting your picture to emotionally connect with people drives for greater success with followers than throwing branding in their faces. Create a story behind your brand and subsequent posts to drive follower interest and engagement. Another approach is to track the content your followers are sharing and then mirror it in a way that represents you brands personality. This will keep you in the loop with the current buzz and trending stories, without looking product pushy. Content recycling Content doesn’t need to be original every time when using Instagram (or any other social media platform for that matter). Noticed some content that was a hit with fans? Reuse it, but come from a slightly different angle. For example, a photo that receives a high volume of likes can be reused as a sponsored post to attract more followers. Burberry is a good example of repurposing content. Take their Christmas 2015 television ads. They were made into 15 second Instagram videos and behind-the-scenes picture posts. It is not set in stone what will and will not work for Instagram, but if you see something working well play on it and reuse it to your advantage.

Strategic engagement

Avoid a one-way street approach. Work and converse with your fans to grow followers and make your brand more noticeable. Like their posts Tell followers to tag a friend Speak to your fans Starbucks is a great model to follow on how to converse with fans. Examples include where they have reached out to fans by acknowledging their content in order to put the fan in the spot light. This can work wonders for your brand image as it portrays a more human and less corporate view, which is what Instagram does better than any other social platform. Allowing users to see the personality behind the brand is always a winning strategy when applied on Instagram.


Although Instagram is all about images, hashtags will leverage your content to your target audience. Over hashtagging is a real problem. Using too many hashtags can make your posts look spammy, unprofessional and sometimes attract unwanted comments. Just because there is no character limit, doesn’t mean you have to go overboard. Three is a good number of hashtags in my opinion.

Branded hashtags

When promoting a campaign or just to get your brand name out there, create a unique hashtag. By having a tailored hashtag you can monitor followers, tools such as tag board will help you track this. Also it allows your fans to easily connect with one another. But remember to keep checking your hashtags so you can respond quickly to any comments. Creating a unique hashtag is also useful when running a hashtag contest as it enables followers to upload photos under a particular hashtag. All the entries are then collated and displayed on one page.

Use popular hashtags

Be an advocate for what people are already using. Search for commonly used hashtags that your target market are already using and go with that. For example if your business is a gym and you post a workout image, use tags like #Fitness #Workout. Even really generic but popular hashtags like #tbt (throw back Thursday) help increase the scale of your reach. Just make sure the hashtag fits with your business.

Use trending hashtags

Instagram is a shop window for spotting trends. Make sure you are following the leading brands and influencers in your business in order to quickly spot a trend. The moment you see a trend that relates to your business, play on it. But remember what goes up invariably comes back down, so keep checking its relevance and usage.


Spend time to make your images creative and eye-catching, users take a matter of seconds to scroll through a single stream of images. So make sure your posts stand out.

Apps to enhance photos

Use software like Adobe Photoshop or apps like Whitegram, Pic Stich and Afterlight are great for editing photos. Check out more recommended apps that will help you enhance your Instagram photos and videos.


Mix up your photos by using infographics and quotes. Infographics work especially well when there is a lot of information to be conveyed. Infographics help break down the information making it digestible and attractive.

Now give it a try. We have covered many techniques, habits and useful tools to help master marketing on Instagram. The key is to remember the need for strategy and thought behind each and every post, making it look as intriguing as possible. Apply these tips and tricks to witness the marketing power of Instagram. And if you are in need of more information contact a member of the Make It Rain team. Happy gramming!

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