Instagram Promotion Strategies That Work In 2020
January 30, 2020 by Rafaella Aguiar
Last Updated: August 4, 2020
Social media is a great marketing and promotional tool for businesses. It can help you find new potential customers, create community and build trust. But before any of that happens, your primary goal needs to include Instagram promotion. Promoting your Instagram is the best way to find new followers who can eventually turn into customers or clients.
There are one billion monthly active users on Instagram. With so many profiles vying for people’s attention, it can be difficult for users to find you and for you to make an impression. That said, many users are making it work. After all, 200 million users visit at least one Instagram business profile every single day. Following these steps for Instagram promotion will put you ahead of the curve in finding and attracting your ideal followers and customers.
1. Optimize Your Profile So It’s Ready For Promotion
Before you can attract the people you want to have following you, you need to make sure your account is ready for them. Let’s take a look at some of the most important steps you should take to prepare your followers.
- Make sure your Instagram name is easily searchable. This is one of the areas that you can put keywords to ensure that your profile appears when your ideal followers are searching. Jordan Lee Dooley has a podcast called “She,” so for this account name she uses @shepodcast, which clearly describes this account.
- Use a business profile. Business profiles allow you to access analytics, add extra contact information to your profile, create ads, and access the swipe-up feature once you reach 10,000 followers.
- Add a photo that depicts your profile well. This is one of your audience’s first chances to understand who you are. Kelly LeVeque, author of the book Body Love, uses a photo from the photo shoot for the cover of her first book as her profile picture. For any of her readers, this makes her account easily recognizable.
- Write a headline that states exactly who you are or what your business is. This headline is also searchable, so this is a great place to put keywords if you need. Instagram strategist Molly Ho uses this to her advantage by using “Instagram strategy & growth” as her headline. Because she includes it in her handle, you already know that her name is Molly Ho and she has a studio. The headline provides the next level of key information so you know if you’ve found the right account.
- Add a link to your website, ecommerce page, social media profile or wherever you’re trying to send users. This is also a great place to add a freebie or a lead magnet if you’re trying to build your email list. If you talk about a variety of links in your posts or stories, it might be a good idea to use some sort of link service such as url.bio to be able to include multiple links in one. Kicksta uses it and here’s how it looks:
- Make sure you use branded hashtags and other hashtags to help users find your profile. Remember, everything you put in your profile is either helping your potential followers find you or showing them why they should follow you. Marie Forleo primarily sticks with branded hashtags because she’s known for a number of phrases. The hashtag #MarieTV refers to her YouTube show, and #TheMarieForleoPodcast is self-explanatory. Her book is called #EverythingIsFigureoutable, but it’s also a phrase her community uses regularly.
- With a business profile, you can promote your Instagram by adding a button that encourages people to email you, call, book a reservation, or take another action. This is a great way to give them easy access to taking the next action. Taft’s Brewing Company has a “Contact” button and an easy way for visitors to “Get Tickets.”
2. Create Excellent Content
Once your account is prepared to attract your ideal followers, it’s time to create exceptional content that makes them want to not only follow, but also engage with your posts. This is one of the most organic forms of Instagram promotion.
The fact is that every audience behaves a little differently and responds to content in different ways. Try creating different types of content, and then use your analytics in your business profile to see which types of content they’re engaging with most.
- Long-form videos
- Short-form videos
- Funny posts
- Behind the scenes
- Informational posts
- Quote graphics
These are some of the most common examples of post types you can be creating for your Instagram. Unless there’s something that your audience outright dislikes for some reason, you should be producing all of these types of content as frequently as you can. That said, understand which are the top three types your audience engages with the most and focus on them.
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Make sure you incorporate Instagram stories into your content creation plan too. They’re a very easy way to ensure that you’re appearing in front of your audience. Stories are still posted chronologically, while the feed posts are shown based on an algorithm. Stories can contain any of the types of content we mentioned above, and they can also direct viewers to see your most recent post.
When it comes to how frequently you should post, that’s up to what you and your team will realistically be able to handle. The most important thing is that you determine a schedule and a frequency and then stick with it. If you know you can post once a day, everyday, then go with that. If you’re determined to post twice a day, then do so. If you only have the bandwidth to post three days a week, go for it – and make those posts count. The important thing is to show up for your audience when they expect you.
3. Use An Instagram Growth Service to Promote Your Profile
Now that you’re consistently producing high-quality content and you’ve created a schedule, you can use an Instagram growth service to promote your Instagram, and help you gain real followers, not bots. The best way to generate organic Instagram growth is to leave likes and comments on your ideal followers’ pages. This lets them know that you exist and will hopefully inspire them to come check out your profile.
Kicksta can help you with Instagram promotion by handling that manual work for you. Once you sign up, you’ll be able to provide a list of accounts that you want to target. These accounts can be profiles that are similar to yours. For example, Starbucks could list Dunkin’ as an example. Chances are followers of Dunkin’ would likely be interested in Starbucks’ offerings too.
Your list of target accounts could also include complimentary brands. For a boutique fitness studio, they could target the local supplement shop or smoothie store. It could also feature direct competitors, like two local Mexican restaurants. Don’t forget to include influencers in your niche. A brand that offers sustainable products and solutions could easily target @thegirlgonegreen, as she’s an influencer in the sustainability space.
Once you provide your targets, the growth service will get to work. The system likes photos of the followers of those targets you’ve provided. This helps promote your profile the same way it would if you manually went and liked the photos of your targets’ followers. It gains their attention to send them to your page. This in turn, results in exposure and eyes on your content. (That’s why we needed you to be creating great content first!)
In this way, a growth service can generate organic growth and real Instagram followers. The target users check out your page on their own, and make their own choice to follow you if they’re interested in your content. This means that you’ll only be getting real, engaged followers who want to see and engage with your content, increasing traffic and sales.
4. Instagram Paid Promotions
Instagram ads are a great way to reach new users too. The first step is to ensure that your Instagram account is connected to a Facebook business page, because you’ll actually create your Instagram ads in the Facebook ads manager. Ads can be a great way to reach new potential followers, or you can use them to re-target your existing followers to get them to take a particular action, like download a guide or even make a purchase.
As with any advertisement, you want to begin with a goal. You need to know if you’re looking for:
- Video Views
Or any other type of goal you want. In general, Instagram ad goals are categorized into three options: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.
Once you select your goal, you can customize your audience based on demographics, or you can create a custom audience based off of a list you already have. This is a good option if you want to target your current subscribers with an ad about a product or service.
Instagram ads vary in cost, depending on factors like the specificity and popularity of the audience you choose, but in general they can cost about $0.70-$0.80 per click, although that could reach as high as $1.30 per click. You’ll want to decide on your budget ahead of time, based on the value that these clicks will bring you.
Finally, you’ll also need to determine how long your Instagram promotion will run. This is an easy decision if you have a specific amount of time that your program or service will be for sale: your promotion can end when you stop offering that program or service.. However, if you’re advertising something that’s not for sale, or if your product is always available, it can be difficult to determine when to end your ad. It can be a good idea to just let them run for a little while and see how they do. If their ROI is too low after a few weeks or months, you can stop them at any time.
When creating Instagram ads, you can choose to place them in stories or in the feed, and you can use a variety of formats, like carousel, video, or collections. Let’s take a look at some examples of good ads.
No Evil Foods created a great Stories ad that is bright, colorful and simple:
The Social Bungalow used this video ad to retarget its followers to lead them into the funnel for their currently-open Instagram program. It’s a captivating video that can easily stop the scroll:
This night run photo ad includes an easy link and a sale, which is a simple way to capture attention:
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This carousel ad included two pictures that show off different angels of this wedding dress. The first picture is well-styled, and the second shows off more of the dress itself:
5. Use Hashtags For Your Instagram Promotion
Believe it or not, hashtags are still relevant and important to a successful promotion strategy for organic Instagram growth. Hashtags are the easiest way to search on the app, and users certainly do so when looking for brands and products. They’re also a great way to help you build authority. When new potential followers stumble across your posts in a hashtag, it’s good for them to easily see more posts from you in the same hashtag. That increases your authority on that particular topic because you’ve posted about it frequently.
There are various types of hashtags, so let’s quickly talk about the most important ones.
- Industry hashtags: These are fairly self-explanatory, as they’re important hashtags for your industry. This might mean #EverythingIsFigureoutable, from our earlier example. Marie Forleo is a prominent name in the online entrepreneur space, so many people in that industry will use that hashtag, even if they’re not specifically talking about Marie.
- Competitor Hashtags: Using competitor hashtags can be a gray area, especially if they’re direct competitors. These are typically branded hashtags that relate directly to your competitor’s business.
- Niche Hashtags: Niche-specific hashtags are typically smaller but filled with people who are very interested or involved in that particular niche. This could be as simple as #PortlandPhotographer or #SundayGolfBags.
In any post you can use up to 30 hashtags. If possible, use all 30. After all, that’s 30 chances to add keywords that your potential followers could be searching to find you. Make sure that your hashtags relate to your post. You should have some that relate to the photo, and some for the caption, otherwise Instagram might get suspicious. You don’t want to post a photo of a puppy and use the hashtag #icecreamsandwich. Their algorithm understands the difference and could potentially penalize you.
Make sure to use hashtags that have a variety of sizes. Add some that have only been used 5,000 times (niche hashtags), some with 10-50,000 uses, and some with 100-300,000 uses (industry hashtags). Create a nice sampling you can mix and match depending on your post.
6. Location Tags
Another tactic to use is location tags. You can add these to traditional feed posts at the top of the post or add a tag in your story if that makes more sense. Location tags help people find your business when they’re looking for accounts in a certain area. If you’re a local restaurant, using location tags is really useful. For example, Ecliptic Brewing uses the Portland, Oregon location tag on their photos to reach people looking for restaurants in that area.
7. Tag Brands You’re Promoting
Tagging brands you’re promoting can also be a great way to promote your Instagram. By tagging a brand, they could likely want to share your post, which in turn puts your name and account in front of all of their followers. When you tag brands in your posts it’s a great way to show that you support them. Be smart when you’re choosing which brands to promote though, because your followers are watching!
8. Work With Reputable Influencers
Working with reputable influencers who match your brand and mission, can be a great Instagram promotion technique. They share your brand with their followers, and they can create social proof by using and sharing about your product. Influencers often have a very loyal, devoted following, and their followers typically trust their recommendations. Because of this, influencers are often protective of that following and only partner with brands and accounts that share their mission, and ones that they personally love.
9. Run A Contest/Giveaway For Instagram Promotion
Another great strategy is to run a contest or giveaway. You can call on your existing follower base to share your brand with their friends, which is a great way to reach people. Overall, people trust their friends more than brands. Giving away a product or even a gift card can be a great motivator to turn your followers into advocates. In a typical Instagram contest or giveaway you’ll ask your followers to tag their friends in order to be entered to win. If you want to go one step further, you can giveaway two things: one to the person who commented and one to their friend they tagged, with the requirement that they’re both following you. This can be a great way to grow your following.
Finally, you can always cross-promote across other social media channels. Whether you promote your latest Instagram live in your Facebook group or link a Pinterest pin back to an IGTV video, it’s a great idea to use your existing audiences on other platforms to grow your Instagram audience. These audiences already know who you are and like you, and they’re likely on Instagram already anyway. It can also be a good idea to repurpose your content from IGTV videos onto Facebook, like Jasmine Star did here.
11. Post Videos to IGTV
Speaking of IGTV, it can be an excellent promotional strategy on its own, too. With a little thought and planning you can create IGTV videos that people can watch as your own mini TV show. The key here is to create excellent content you know your audience will resonate with, because if you’re going to invest in creating a full IGTV, you want to know that it will work. Test out your content in your Stories and in your feed, and then once you find a topic your audience wants to learn from you about, create a captivating IGTV video. Promote it in your feed and your Stories and watch the views roll in from your audience!
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12. Use Instagram Stories Frequently
Make sure you incorporate Instagram stories into your content creation plan too. They’re a very easy way to ensure that you’re appearing in front of your audience. Stories are still posted chronologically, while the feed posts are shown based on an algorithm. Stories can contain any of the types of content we mentioned earlier, and they can also direct viewers to see your most recent post.
Stories are easy for Instagram users to consume, and they’re incredibly popular. Many content creators now are putting the majority of their focus on Stories and showing up there daily, while posting in their feed 3-5 times per week. Stories also give you the chance to ask for easy engagement. With stickers, polls and other engagement tools, your audience only needs to tap once or twice to vote or choose their response. This can be a great way to get your audience used to responding to your calls to action.
People also feel like they can relate more to Stories, since that’s where users often share their behind-the-scenes. They can tend to be less polished and more candid, showing the real side of your brand. On the flip side, though, Stories can also be strategic and use pre-created graphics that promote your products, services or even free offers. Here are two different examples, one from Shunta Grant, and the other from The Emma Rose Agency.
13. Post Content Consistently
One of the best ways to create a strong Instagram presence is by posting consistently. The definition of consistency can be up to you. If you want to post in your feed every single day, go for it! But be realistic. Once you choose a schedule, try your best to stick with it, as that will show your followers that you’re here for the long run.
Remembering to post can sometimes be difficult, as can creating content on the fly. Instead, consider using a planning tool to help you schedule your posts in advance. You can create your posts in batches (either by the week, month, or whatever amount of time works for you!) and then schedule them out so you know your feed will be consistently full. (Don’t forget to show up in Stories!)
Here are a few of our favorite post scheduling programs:
- Buffer: create a preset posting schedule and then add your posts to fit our needs.
- Preview: drag and drop your posts and view them in calendar mode to know you’re keeping with your consistent schedule.
- Plann: design your beautiful Instagram feed in advance and even create graphics directly with Canva.
14. If You Have It, Use the Swipe-Up Feature
This might not apply to you, but if you don’t have 10,000 followers or a verified account, don’t zone out yet. The swipe-up feature is a great way to encourage your viewers to head to a different website. It’s one of only three ways to include a working link on the app. (The others are via DM and in your bio.) You can direct people to your website or another external link, like Amazon or an article. It’s an easy way for people to see the information you want to share without fully leaving the app.
Most people don’t want to completely leave Instagram, and the app itself is designed to keep people on it, rather than sending them away. So while you should certainly use the swipe-up if you have it, do so intentionally and infrequently, otherwise your followers might start to tune it out.
Also – if you don’t have the feature, you have a couple of different options. First, you can encourage people to send you a DM. Then you can engage them in conversation and then send them the link directly through there. Or, if you really want to include the swipe-up, you can create and pay for an ad. Instagram Stories ads can include the swipe-up feature even if you don’t have 10,000 followers.
In these examples, Stacy Tuschl links to her Facebook page where she’ll be doing the Live she’s promoting in the Story. Then, Landyn linked the website she’s been tagging as she talks about the appliances she’s showing in her Stories.
15. Incorporate UGC and Reposting
User-generated content (UGC) is a great way Instagram promotion strategy because it builds trust with your audience. Many people trust other people’s words and opinions over that of the brands they follow. It’s not personal, it’s just human nature. We subconsciously (or consciously) believe that companies will always try to make themselves look good. Whenever you can share good things about yourself through someone else, you’ll begin to earn points with your audience.
You can generate UGC either by searching for it through hashtags or individual accounts, or you can create a contest where you encourage your followers to purposely create content featuring your product or service. Then, ask their permission to share the post, and once you have it you can repost it. You can do this by screenshotting it and then cropping it to fit, or you can use a reposting app to do the heavy lifting for you. UGC is a great part of an Instagram strategy because it highlights your customers, builds trust with your followers and saves you some time on content creation.
Instagram Promotion Strategies
So there you have it: our best Instagram promotion strategies for 2020. Now that you know how to promote on Instagram, which strategy will you try first? Do you need to update your profile first, or are you ready to dig into an Instagram growth service?
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