Instagram is now one of the world’s biggest social media platforms with around 1 billion active monthly users. With a massive audience available, you need the best Instagram Marketing Strategies out there. Here’s an interesting fact: 70% of hashtags on Instagram are branded. So what do you take away from that? Whether you are active or not on Instagram, your competitors definitely are.

If you have an account setup already then you are on the right path. But even if you do have one setup, it doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to successfully market your business or its products or services. If you want to successfully market your business and drive in sales through Instagram, you’re going to need a proper marketing strategy. And don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered as we will give you a 2 part marketing strategy for you to implement it in your Instagram campaign. Here is part 1 of the marketing strategy for you to implement in your Instagram campaign:

Increase your following

Your first task is to increase your following. The reason being is simple. For you to gain new customers, your posts have to be seen by new people. Unless you are a new business, you probably have an existing database of customers. Start there. Get your existing customers to follow you.

According to recent statistics, over 73% of people follow a business account because they are interested in the product or service. Now your existing customers are people who are interested in your product or service. Therefore its good to look for followers in your existing database of customers. You can do this by sending them a message or an email. Ask them to follow you with an incentive. Try and offer them discounts and offers and if you use this strategy, follow through with your promise.

Next, the best way to find followers is to follow other people. Now, it won’t help if you follow random accounts and users. You need to find users who fit your target audience. How do we we do that? One effective way is to find accounts with large followings who would likely have your target audience. Not necessary to steal followers from your competitors although that might help.

For example, let’s say your business is a restaurant, and you’re located in central London. Now your target audience would be food lovers who live in central London. How do you find them? Search accounts of restaurants located in and around that area and look through their followers. One more thing that could be done is to search through specific hashtags or foods that are famous in that area or any hashtag that is likely to be posted by a food lover living near central London. Once you follow these accounts, the users will get a notification and they will likely checkout your page. If they are interested, they will start following you too. Once you do this, you are bound to get more followers. With more followers, it will be easier to drive in sales through Instagram.

Post regularly at the right intervals

Now once you’ve got followers, the next step is posting. Now for you to have a successful Instagram campaign, you have to actively post stuff. Basically you have to have an active profile. Posting stuff once a week or once a month isn’t going to cut it. But at the same time, posting too much isn’t the right way to go either. So how much do you post?

Research shows that top brands post on average of 1.5 posts a day or about 10-11 posts a week. If you go over that, chances are that you will flood your followers’ feed and they will find your account annoying.

Also you need to find the optimal time to post stuff. Possibly at around office hours of a standard working week. Why? Many employees admit to using social media as a distraction. Therefore posting at these times would increase the chances of your post being viewed by followers.

Use hashtags

Apart from the images or videos you post, you need to have good captions. And good captions have a number of hashtags. Why are hashtags important? When you use appropriate hashtags, the right people that you want to target will see your posts. With the new update, people can follow hashtags. Posting content using a hashtag that is followed by a large audience makes the perfect platform for people to see your products and to likely follow your account.

But just any hashtag with a large following won’t do. You need to find the right hashtag which will likely make people who follow it, to be interested in your business. However you want to play the hashtag game, don’t shy away from using hashtags. Some research suggests engagement is highest on posts that have more than a 11 hashtags. Make the smart choice!

Make the first impression of your page attractive

When a Instagram user clicks and comes into your page, they will see your profile picture, your bio, and your recent posts. First impressions matter. In the real world or the virtual, first impressions matter. Therefore if the first impression of your page is attractive, people would likely be more interested in following your page, and maybe even go into your website, provided you have put a link to your website in your bio.

So how do you make it attractive? When a user comes into your Instagram page, they should have no doubt as what you do. Meaning your profile and bio should define who you are and what you do. Your profile picture would ideally be your logo instead of a product or a person the user isn’t going to recognize.

The point here is, if your page isn’t attractive when people come into it, people aren’t going to be bothered in following it or going to take any interest in it.

Use Instagram ads to extend the reach of your posts

Instagram allows all businesses to advertise their business. But you will still need a Facebook account to make Instagram ads as they can only be created in Facebook ad creation or Power editor. Test out ads for your business to extend the reach of your organic posts. It will definitely be worth trying for your business.

This concludes part 1. Click here for part 2!