7 Simple but Effective Instagram Marketing Tips

Instagram continues to grow in popularity, reaching 400 million active users earlier this month, triumphantly overtaking Twitter (yay Instagram!). Since the acquisition by Facebook in 2012, Instagram has made many positive changes including the introduction of paid advertising to make your job as a marketer easier.

However, there is a misconception that Instagram will only work for your business if you are selling visually exciting products. Users are, in fact, interacting with brands at a rate 400% higher than they do on Facebook and Twitter, so with a strong Instagram strategy focusing on visual storytelling, you can too make it in the Instaworld.

Yes, it may be little more challenging if your product isn’t the prettiest, but the goal is to provide posts that your audience will value and find entertaining in order to build your awareness, affinity and ultimately drive traffic to your website.

With that in mind, here are my top instagram marketing tips for making a successful Instagram strategy. I will break these down over a series of posts, covering a number of different tactics. This week we will cover your bio, hashtags, influencers and advocates.

Link in your bio

First and foremost, make sure you have your Instagram bio set up correctly. This means making sure you have the URL you would like to drive your audience to in your bio as this is the only place you can put a clickable link. Refer back to this whenever your aim is to drive traffic to a promotion or the website. Topshop has included a clickable link in their bio taking you to a page where you can find only the items included on the Instagram page, very handy if you want to buy the items you’ve seen in Instagram quickly!. They refer to the link in the bio whenever this is applicable. Airbnb have also tried this, allowing you to book just from the listings featured on their Instagram page...Fancy!

Topshop instagram

A top tip is to use a link shortener such as Bitly or goo.gl and apply tracking parameters so that you can then differentiate it in your website analytics to clearly see how much traffic came from your Instagram account.


Start by adding hashtags which relate to your business, your post and then your target audience, 10 to 15 hashtags is recommended as the optimal number for post success. Mercedes Benz hashtags its brand values, the contents of the picture and variations of the product name.

mercedes instagram
Try to incorporate a mix of popular, less popular and your own custom/unique hashtags. This ensures you will reach popular searches whilst also staying relevant for more than a few minutes to those very interested in your area of expertise or product. Take note of trending hashtags using the search and explore functionality on the app and include the relevant ones in your posts to aid discovery.

Branded Hashtags

People love to feel part of something, so use your branded hashtags to create a sense of community amongst your audience. Encourage your customers to use your branded hashtags, whether they are posting about your product or not. For example, Instaceleb Jen Selter encourages her fans to tag their workout selfies with #Seltering and they often tag her in the posts, helping to grow her own community whilst making the fan feel part of her movement.

instagram marketing

Emoji hashtags can also be very handy, especially if your brand is international, as they translate across languages. Instagram recently used #🎉 to celebrate it’s birthday, with people posting replies using the same hashtag, making the event easily trackable worldwide regardless of language. Be sure to keep a record of the hashtags used on your most successful posts so you can reuse these in the future.

Influencers and Advocates

Influencers and advocates are a great way to maximise your visibility and awareness on Instagram. The difference? Put simply, influencers are defined by their audience size and authority in a particular area but need to be rewarded, whereas advocates have a smaller reach and are highly trusted in comparison because they don’t need to be rewarded and so are being genuine about the product and have little incentive to be misleading.

Use your Influencers

Influencer marketing is particularly strong in certain industries such as beauty, health and fitness. Many top brands pay to partner with Instagram users that have a large community such as bloggers, celebrities or industry experts, in exchange for them promoting products to their audience. The perfect example of this is the Kardashian family, but in particular Kylie Jenner. Although Kim is currently the second most followed celebrity on Instagram (Second only to Taylor Swift), Kylie Jenner has dethroned her sister as the queen of digital after her app sales smashed all her sisters’.

Intstagram Kylie Jenner

Kylie promotes a number of products at any one time, sometimes subtly  advertising products, sometimes publicly endorsing and linking to the brand’s Instagram. Kylie will, of course, have contracts with these brands to fulfill and be paid big bucks for doing so, but with many fans eager to replicate her style, it can be an invaluable marketing strategy and well worth the price tag. Luckily influencers come in all different shapes and sizes, with varying credibility, audience sizes, celeb status and matching price lists!

Not forgetting your Advocates

If you currently have no budget for influencers, don’t fret, you still have your advocates! According to Nielsen, 92% consumers trust advocates over influencers. Ideal advocates are people who have a decent size following (over 1000), post regularly and they clearly love your products and would be happy to praise you. Bosu Body Bar in Manchester quickly built their following after they opened earlier this year by encouraging regulars to share, tag, mention and hashtag them in images of their favourite meals from the restaurant.

Instagram Marketing from Bosu Body Bar

Advocates can easily be identified by running a hashtag report on your branded hashtags and identifying those who use them and post high quality content about you on a regular basis.

Reach out to your advocates

You can achieve this by DMing them and introducing yourself and your team. A partnership can often be maintained by simply gifting products they are required to promote or via discounts. Once you have them on board, begin working on a strategy with as much input from them as possible to keep it authentic. Your aims are to create visibility, generate engagement and provide an insight into your audience's core values in relation to your brand. Repost their USG (User Generated Content) using a reposting app to make sure to give the original poster credit.

Remember, your fans are powerful. Customers trust people individuals over brands, so make sure you use them! If you take time to find someone who is both an influencer and an advocate for your brand, someone who has a large following and influence score and loves you too, you are onto a winner!

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