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Instagram is known as the best social network for organic engagement with an interaction rate of 2.2 percent. Users respond well to the image-driven framework of the platform, and they come back every day for more.

CMOs know better than anyone the importance of a clearly-driven marketing plan for every social network you use. To cultivate a loyal following for your brand on Instagram, consider these marketing strategies that some of the most popular brands and CMOs use.

1. Use Micro-Influencers, Not Macro-Influencers

Influencer marketing holds great promise for CMOs. With the help of more established brands on Instagram, you can read your target audience based on their needs, interests, problems, motivations, age, gender, education level, and geographic location.

When considering influencer marketing, you might think that the best approach is to reach out to influencers with a massive amount of followers. Those with 100,000 followers or more would bring the best awareness to your brand, right?

Yes, your awareness numbers will spike, but if you’re after engagement, sales, and followers, micro-influencers offer the most bang for your buck. These influencers have less than 100,000 followers and as such, their audience is far more engaged. Connecting with a non-competitive influencer in your brand will also connect you to more potential customers.

Besides that, they’re more affordable. A macro-influencer like Kim Kardashian can cost as much as $250,000 for a single post. Other macro-influencers charge about $1,000 per 100,000 followers, an expensive investment without a targeted return since you’re paying for both interested users and not.

A micro-influencer, on the other hand, charges about $100 per 1,000 followers, so your marketing budget can better absorb the cost. Plus, you’ll get a better return by connecting only with Instagram users who are likely to follow you and become repeat customers.

2. Write Better Hashtags and Use More of Them

Hashtags are more important than many marketers realize. They make your posts searchable and increase potential traffic for each post. You’ve probably already been using hashtags, but if they haven’t been performing as expected, use these tips to improve them:

  • Use relevant and trending hashtags. These hashtags were created by other brands in your industry and are performing very well on related posts. Because they’ve already generated heavy traffic, you’ll get more attention to your post that brings a unique spin to a trending topic.
  • Create branded hashtags also. These tags are connected with your brand only so that your loyal followers recognize your brand and can use the hashtag on their own posts. This increases brand awareness and connects you with more potential customers.
  • Keep your hashtags short and memorable. According to research, the best length for a hashtag is 21-24 characters. This is short enough to spell and remember, but long enough to contain all the relevant information.
  • Use the right amount. Some argue that you should use as many hashtags as possible. The limit in your post is 30 hashtags, but you can add another 30 to the comments if you like. Just make sure that you enter down a few spaces in your post to hide your hashtags from your users’ feed, making your post look less spammy.

Others argue that you should only use a few, relevant hashtags for optimum engagement. You can learn the best number to use for your posts by posting some content with a lot of hashtags and some with a few and see what perform best.

3. Use Instagram Stories Every Day

Stories is one of the most popular platforms on Instagram with more than 500,000 followers logging on daily. You can create massive leverage by using Stories to connect with your customers, entice interest, show sneak peeks at new products, launch giveaways, and promote sales. If your brand is verified on Instagram, you can even post links in your Stories that takes consumers straight to your product pages.

Stories are popular because they make your brand look and feel more authentic. They also elicit the classic FOMO emotion (fear of missing out). Because Stories are only posted to the platform for 24 hours, consumers must log on daily in order to see what’s new from their favorite brands.

Instagram statistics show that brands get up to 37 percent of their total impressions and engagement from Instagram Stories. This is engagement you can’t afford to miss!

4. Make Live Videos

Everyone wants to feel like they’re on the inside track or that they’re being given insight into something few others can access. Behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive product reveals, unique tips and tricks, and more can all be captured in live video form.

You can depict situations that allow viewers to relate to your business or to picture themselves in a scenario of your creation. You have the ability to create a visual narrative through your live videos that can compel a deep connection to your brand. It’s like you’re offering something special just for your special followers.

But it’s more than that. Live videos in Stories actually put your video at the very front of the queue. This means that consumers will see messages from your brand before anyone else’s. You might feel uncomfortable getting in front of the camera without the ability to redo or edit anything, but this kind of engagement is simply too good to skip!

5. Follow Competitor Brands and Executives

As you proceed on your way to becoming the best brand on Instagram, you can’t ignore those in your industry who are already killing it on the platform. By following and running competitive analyses on them, you can learn what works and doesn’t for your target audience.

You can learn a lot from following executives of a brand as well. Many executives of large corporations in your industry will have an Instagram account where they attempt to connect with their audience and grow awareness and engagement for their brands. Analyze these accounts as well to learn from mistakes and victories on their part.

As you put together a competitive analysis that compares the successful actions of your competitors to your own, you’ll understand much about running a successful Instagram marketing campaign.

That being said, don’t get so caught up in copying your competitors that you fail to let an original, creative, and potentially dynamite piece of content reach your audience. There’s always room for creativity, especially if it has the potential to make your brand an Instagram star.

These are merely five tips that successful brands are using on Instagram to increase number of followers and engagement, thus driving sales. Try them out for yourself if you want to see similar results.

                                        

Intrigued by influencer marketing? Do you want a better idea on how to get started? Read “5 Q/As About Influencer Marketing Success.”

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