10 Powerful Instagram Marketing Tips (That Actually Work)

With a billion monthly active users, there’s no doubt that Instagram is one of the biggest social media channels. This makes it an excellent platform for brands and marketers to reach out to a massive audience. So it’s no surprise that Instagram has already contributed to 15% of Facebook’s total ad revenue – a number that’s expected to grow to 70% by 2020.

While this is great news for brands and marketers, it also means that the platform has more competition since everyone’s flocking to it. This makes it crucial to adopt effective Instagram marketing tactics that will help you engage your audience effectively.

Let’s take a look at 10 powerful Instagram marketing tips that actually deliver results:

#1: Decide on a “Look” and Maintain It

As you probably already know, Instagram is all about aesthetics. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain visual consistency on the platform if you want people to instantly recognise your brand. This would involve creating images with a similar colour scheme and/or style.

It’s all the more important because Instagram users upload over 100 million photos and videos on the platform every day. So you need your content to stand out from the sea of content from other users and brands if you want people to engage with it. You want to create something that’s instantly recognisable so people will stop scrolling when they see it.

Take a look at the Jo Malone Instagram feed, for example.

Image Source: Instagram

The brand prides itself on being understated and produces scents inspired by nature. Similarly, their feed is also comprised of minimalist and understated photos. The main highlight of these photos is their perfume bottles and the flowers and plants from which the brand draws inspiration.

Similarly, decide on a colour scheme or a style that you want to evoke through your Instagram feed. And then ensure your photos and videos maintain this by strategically using filters and Lightroom presets.

#2: Write Captions that Resonate with Your Audience

One of the best ways to stay on top of the minds of your audience and encourage them to engage with you is by relating to them. That’s why it’s crucial that you accompany your photos and videos with captions that will resonate with your audience. Give some context to your posts with relatable captions that will help your audience understand your brand voice.

Think of the type of audience you’re targeting and what tone and language they wouldl appreciate. Is it witty with a bit of humour? Would they appreciate puns? Are they likely to be an exhausted bunch that would appreciate jokes and references about stress? Or perhaps they might appreciate serious, formal communication more.

Once you have a clear idea of what your target audience is like, you can develop your brand voice accordingly. You should then use this voice consistently in your brand communications, including your Instagram captions.

Take a look at the caption in the following photo by Butchies London. It’s short and simple, which is easy to process. It also makes a reference to the cheesy burger in the form of a pun that would resonate with their audience.



#3: Do NOT Over-Post

If you want to appeal to the Instagram crowd, you need to avoid over-posting at all costs or you may come across as annoying. You don’t want your followers to unfollow you because they’re tired of seeing your brand’s posts in their feeds.

At the same time, you still need to make sure that you’re posting consistently so you make the occasional appearance in their news feeds. So you need to create a strategic posting schedule to catch your followers when they’re the most active.

According to a CoSchedule analysis of multiple studies, posting once or twice a day on Instagram is ideal. The best times to post are between 8AM and 9AM and around 2AM.

That said, what works for other brands may not necessarily work for you. So it’s best to conduct your own experiment to determine the best times to post for your brand and the ideal posting frequency.

Image Source: CoSchedule

#4: Use Stories for In-the-Moment Content

Stories are prominently visible at the top of the app, so they ensure more visibility for your content. In addition, 500 million people use Instagram Stories on a daily basis, meaning Stories get plenty of engagement. This makes them perfect for highlighting your brand’s updates and product teasers.

Plus, your Stories disappear after 24 hours so you don’t necessarily have to spend hours on editing them. So they’re great for capturing and showcasing in-the-moment photos and videos to engage your audience.

Stories are perfect for showing your audience what’s going on behind-the-scenes of your brand. What’s the production process like? How are your employees making it all happen? All of this makes for excellent content to engage your audience in the moment. You could even share videos and images about trending topics or brand events as they happen.

Shake Shack, for instance, created Stories to fit a trending topic – the Met Gala. They showcased Katy Perry’s burger costume and talked about how it was their favourite outfit at the event.

#5: Create Useful Content

Sure, you got on Instagram to promote your brand. But there’s such a thing as being blatantly promotional. Instagram is better utilized to engage with your audience. So if you want to market your brand on the platform, you first need to focus on engaging your audience.

One of the best ways to do this is by providing them with content that’s useful to them. This is much more effective than blatantly promoting your products and their features with no real use to the audience.

You can create content that helps your audience understand how your product can benefit them. For example, instead of explaining the product’s features, you can showcase a customer who has improved their life using that feature.

You could also provide your followers with ideas on how your product can be used in real life. For example, you could show them a recipe implementing your product as an ingredient. In other words, your Instagram content should be useful to your audience.

Califia Farms regularly shares healthy recipes that include their products.



#6: Build Communities Around Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags are a great way to build a community of fans on Instagram while getting more brand visibility at the same time. The idea is to come up with a hashtag that’s relevant and unique to your brand, use it in your posts, and encourage your audience to do the same. So it’s an excellent method of getting your audience to engage with you and create user-generated content.

When people use your branded hashtag in their posts, it’s going to stir up some curiosity among their followers. These followers may click on the hashtag to learn more about it and discover your brand in the process.

Your hashtag doesn’t necessarily have to be your brand name. It could also be a slogan or a phrase relevant to your brand name.

For example, Away, the travel and lifestyle brand, came up with the hashtag #travelaway. It’s not a commonly used phrase in regular conversations, so it’s unique to the brand. And it’s relevant because it contains both the brand name i.e. “Away” and a relevant word i.e. “travel.” There are now more than 55,000 posts implementing the hashtag.

Image Source: Instagram

#7: Share User-Generated Content as Social Proof

You could even go one step further from the previous tip and share user-generated content on your Instagram profile. This is the perfect solution to two main problems – inability to come up with content ideas and inability to win consumer trust.

Since you’ll be sharing content created by your customers, you’ll always have fresh and original content to post on your feed. Plus, user-generated content acts as social proof to showcase that other customers are vouching for you. So it’s much easier to win over your audience.

There’s also the fact that your customers will feel appreciated when you share their content. After you create a branded hashtag for people to use, track the hashtag to find content that you would want to share on your feed.  Even if you don’t want to disturb the visual consistency of your feed, you can share it in your Instagram Stories.

Letterfolk does a great job of this, as they regularly share photos of their products taken by their customers. They also credit the photographer in the caption, giving them the spotlight and some recognition.



#8: Reach More People through Relevant Influencers

One of the most effective ways to reach a bigger audience is by partnering with influencers. Influencers on Instagram have built a massive following of people who tune into their feed for creative content, expert opinions, and recommendations. They usually have expertise in specific niches, so their followers are likely people who are interested in that particular niche.

This means that influencers can introduce your brand to a highly relevant and engaged audience. So they will be able to help you boost your brand visibility, while instilling trust in the audience because they’re vouching for you.

There are tons of campaigns that you can run with influencers. You can get them to create a simple brand mention post, have them review your products, invite them to an event, unbox your new product, and more. Some brands even work with influencers to come up with a new line of products altogether.

For instance, Regi partnered with lifestyle and fashion influencer, Justin Livingston, who has 331,000 followers on Instagram. Regi is a booking platform for spas and salons, so the company let the influencer experience their services. He provided a rave review on Instagram along with a discount code for his followers.



#9: Invest in Sponsored Ads

Another great way to reach a relevant audience on Instagram is by using sponsored ads. Instagram lets you target users whose characteristics and behaviour match those of your target audience. So you’ll have an easier time getting your brand in front of the right people.

This is great because some of the people who could be interested in your products may have never heard of your brand. When you feed your ads to them, you’ll be able to draw them in and possibly even convert them.

Mathieu Laca, a contemporary painter, was able to drive more traffic to his site after running Instagram ads. He promoted his posts that were showing up among “Top Posts” for relevant hashtags, targeting a North American audience that’s interested in visual arts. As a result, he gained 3,000 new followers and saw a 688% increase in traffic to his site.

Image Source: Art Storefronts

You have the option to set your budget, so you only pay what you want to pay. Plus, you can choose from different types of ads – carousels, photos, videos, or even Stories. Not only do Instagram ads help you reach a relevant audience, they also help reduce your ad spend and increase your returns.

In fact, NUXE, a French beauty brand, ran a Stories ad with stop-motion videos. They lowered their cost per acquisition by 48% and saw a 6.2X return on ad spend.

#10: Launch Contests for Brand Visibility

People love free stuff, but you can’t just give out your products for free to everyone who wants them. While your brand will get tons of recognition for it, you’ll be running at a loss.

To solve this problem, you can run contests that allow you to be selective about who gets your products for free. At the same time, you’ll be keeping things fair instead of favouring certain people so everyone stands a chance.

It’s also a great way to market your brand, because giveaway posts tend to see a lot of engagement. People engage with the post in the hopes of winning the contest. More engagement translates into more prominence on the Explore pages and therefore, more visibility. Plus, the winners will get a chance to see how well your product works and may even become loyal customers.

Here’s an example of a giveaway contest by Peds. They’re giving away some of their products along with several gift cards. People need to follow the brand and tag three friends to be considered for the contest.



Final Thoughts

These are 10 of the best, most effective ways to market your brand on Instagram. While some will directly impact your marketing efforts, some are a bit more indirect. But they all focus on a way to get more people to notice your brand and engage with it on Instagram. You can test these tactics out and see whether they’ll fit in with your existing Instagram marketing strategy.

About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.