There’s more to Instagram than just cool-looking photos.

Instagram’s popularity with businesses is growing — and for good reason. Instagram has now reached 1 billion monthly users, and 500 million are daily active users.

This means one thing — a platform rich with potential customers, better engagement, and increased conversion rate — the exact ingredients for a successful marketing campaign.

Social media platforms offer a lot of opportunities for SMBs. Instagram is one of the best channels to increase your reach and awareness drastically. It can be used in a variety of ways.

On the other hand, creativity is always a requirement to stand out among the ocean of competitors. It’s never enough to post awe-inspiring photos. You must be able to create captivating contents that will drive your engagement for a long-term basis.

So, if you are still pushing to gain more likes, comments, shares, mentions and followers, you better read carefully and take down notes.

Here are seven ways businesses can drive more engagement on their Instagram channel.

instagram manager on laptop

1. Spend Time and Effort in Optimizing Posts

Instagram newbies often think that the most important thing you can do is post a lot. Here’s the thing, though: quantity will never beat quality. Your posts have to be smart, targeted and engaging. Optimizing your Instagram posts should be your top priority when running a campaign on this platform. You can do that by following these pieces of advice.

Timing

Research shows that the most optimal time to post on Instagram is around 7 PM to 9 PM. That’s the time when you’re going to have the highest chance of engagement.


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Hashtags

If you’re trying to catch a fish, use a worm. The same goes with Instagram hashtags. If you’re trying to attract a certain audience, you need to use appropriate hashtags. You also need to use hashtags that aren’t overcrowded — if you’re just shouting into a void, it’s unlikely anyone will see your post.

2. Share What’s Happening Behind the Scenes

Admit it! People want to be social. We want a sense of relationship and community. Instagram is not an exception. It’s called social media for a reason, after all.

People get inspired by other people — not a generic stock business image. So, get out there and show your face to your audience. Or at least, let them see what’s behind their screens. Take them to backstage and show them that you are a real human with dreams, aspirations and pet cat (or two).

BTS technique is an effective marketing strategy that can quickly create content that connects with your audience.

3. Team Up with Like-Minded Influencers and Brands

They could be anyone as long as they have a large number of followers. No matter what niche they specialize in — whether it’s gaming, cooking, movies, makeups — social media influencers can drive your engagement significantly. Even better, they can do it with just one video or post.

Popular brands can also aid in your brand’s marketing efforts. Co-branding or partnering with another brand can bring additional traffic to your page with very little effort on your part.

Teaming up with influencers could be your business’ ticket to stardom. The right influencers for your business will be interacting with your target market on a regular basis. They’ve built up a level of trust with their audience, giving them access that you can’t get anywhere else.

instagram marketer on phone

4. Host Contests and Giveaways

There’s no better way to attract customers than giving away free stuff. The best part is that most of the time, the stuff that you can give away is stuff that you just have sitting around. You can offer up a gift basket of your products, a voucher for a service you offer, or any number of things.

Aside from increased engagement, you can also improve your authority through contests. It builds your image as a business entity. Contests allow your brand to be recognized and discovered by a larger audience who will be interested in your contest.

5. Use Geotags to Make Your Posts Discoverable

Targeted marketing is effective — deceptively so. You’d be surprised by how many people you can get interested in your business simply by letting people know it’s close to them. Geotagging is one of the best ways to do that.

Don’t just tag your business, though. Make sure you encourage your customers to “check in” via social media so that their network can see you, too.

6. Include a Call-To-Action in Your Post Captions

It sounds so simple — yet, there’s a reason why every marketer on Earth suggest that you do it for just about any piece of content you’re creating. Videos, blog posts, social media posts, commercials — we do mean anything.

The psychology behind it is simple: if you tell someone to do something, they’re more likely to do it.

Yes, we know, asking “What are you doing this week?” or “What features of our product are you looking forward to?” can sounds weird and hacky, but it works. Give it a shot — you’ll be surprised by how successful a strong CTA can really be.

7. Take Advantage of Instagram’s Features

Sometimes, the smallest of details in the planning and organizing stage can make all the difference. In this case, knowing some of the most useful Instagram features can speed up your campaign’s progress.

Archive Post

When you archive a post, it’s hidden from public view, but not deleted. This is useful for monthly or yearly posts that you might not want to have up all the time.

Stickers

Does your photo look bland? Well, thank Instagram for this cool feature. You can play with your photos using Instagram stickers. There are plenty of options to choose from. Use your imagination.

Download

You can download and save your Instagram content to use on other platforms. If you make a video for Instagram, you should be using that same video across all of your social channels. Remember to stay consistent!

Instagram Needs to be Part of Your Marketing Toolkit

When you’re crafting a social media campaign for either yourself or a client, you need to take advantage of every social network at your fingertips. Don’t limit yourself to just Twitter or Facebook. Adding content to Instagram is easy, and you’re practically guaranteed engagement if you’re smart about what you’re posting to your Instagram account.

Just remember: people on Instagram are looking for entertainment, so give it to them!

About the Author – Kevin Urrutia is the founder of Voy Media, an advertising agency in NYC.

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