When marketing your business and products on Instagram, you’ve probably been through the conventional marketing strategies. You’ve created a business profile, used Instagram’s free analytics tools, showcased your products through Instagram Stories and regular posts, created sponsored ads, and posted every single day.
But what if you’re still not seeing the engagement you’d hoped for? For many brands, going through the regular motions isn’t enough to earn 100,000 followers. In that case, it’s time to turn to less common strategies for improved Instagram marketing success.
- Use Automation
One of the best technologies for improving Instagram success, particularly for businesses, is automation. In your research for Instagram marketing techniques, you’ve probably come across other business owners encouraging you not to use automation tools. They say that it can make your posts feel robotic and limit your engagement. However, these naysayers probably don’t know how to use automation to its full advantage.
First and foremost, you need a great Instagram automation tool to increase likes, comments, and followers. Look for a tool that is designed to increase engagement rather than discourage it like some automation tools.
Secondly, many who have failed with automation tools don’t know how to leverage them correctly. They believe that automation means they can set their posts and forget them. However, think of it as a tool to post at the right time to the right people. You still need to engage with commenters and be an active presence on social media.
- Stalk Your Competition
It’s true that being successful on Instagram involves creating original content that no one has thought of before. However, it’s difficult to come up with original content that catches the attention of your target audience every time and gets Instagram likes. Piggybacking on competitor content that’s already performing well is a great place to start.
“Your competitors can be a great source of inspiration for your own Instagram posts,” says Kazi Jakaria, the co-founder of extorfx. “You should try to research what they are doing, what their daily Instagram activity is like and how they do their posts… it really works to research the core concept from your competitors who are doing really well and try to follow what they do.”
You can also research major trends and topics that you see in your industry. If you can come up with a new spin on popular content, you’ll have an easier time appealing to your audience.
- Partner Up
More and more companies are realizing the importance of partnering with other Instagram influencers in order to mutually spread the reach of your brands. This allows you to connect with another expert in a related industry and contribute to existing conversations that will help you reach their followers.
Successful influencer marketing involves a curated strategy. It starts with identifying top influencers whose followers range from 10,000 to millions of followers. They’re typically categorized as micro-influencers (fewer than 100,000 followers), macro-influencers (100,000-1 million), and mega-influencers (over a million). Each type of influencer provides its own benefits, whether you use micro-influencers to connect you with a super-specific niche or you score a mega-influencer endorsement that takes your brand national (or even international)!
Software tools exist to help you identify influencers that will offer the most value to your business. Then, reach out and agree to help mutually promote your brand. It’s one of the best ways to organically increase your following.
- Hijack Hashtags
Hashtags, when used correctly, are an Instagram marketer’s best friend. They optimize your search performance and connect you with followers who are most interested in your industry.
Write your own creative hashtags that go along with your post, but have a hashtag hijacking strategy as well. This involves using hashtags created by influencers in your industry that are already generating a lot of traffic. There are many places to search for these hashtags.
“If you want to promote your SaaS platform for marketing teams, for example, target marketing conferences on Instagram and engage with those specific hashtags,” says Ksenia Newton of Advertisemint. “Also, don’t forget to explore Instagram Stories and Instagram Live. Not only do these two features create a sense of urgency (the content only lasts for 24 hours), those users who click on the Stories’ hashtags are already engaged and looking for you.”
There’s likely a lot of traffic in your industry already, and your hashtag hijacking scheme can help you stay up with your competitors.
- Let Users Generate Your Content
Instagram already has higher-than-average engagement rates, so use that to your advantage. You can increase engagement significantly by letting users generate content for you. It comes with an already engaged audience and relieves a little pressure for your content team.
“Whether it’s hundreds of people or thousands, you can leverage your audience to generate useful content for you,” says marketer Neil Patel. “And your followers will probably enjoy user-generated content even more than they enjoy yours because it’s authentic and unpredictable.”
Of course, if Instagrammers are going to give you the gift of engagement, make sure you give them something in return.
“Your audience probably wants to grow their own following, just like you do,” Patel continues. “Just let them know that you’ll tag them in your post if you choose their photo to regram, then they’ll have an incentive to post user-generated content on a consistent basis.”
He also warns about the importance of choosing photos wisely. It must fit with your brand and support your objective, whether it’s gaining more followers or selling more products. It should also cater to your audience and give proper attribution.
The engagement you can generate from these less-conventional Instagram marketing schemes is incredible. There are dozens of strategies you can take with each suggestion, experimenting to learn what works best and what to avoid in the future. As you apply them, you’ll steadily see your numbers increase and further the reach of your brand.