5 Actionable Instagram Marketing Ideas

Instagram has been around for a while but most businesses haven’t yet figured out how to best utilize the platform.

Here 5 actionable Instagram marketing ideas for you to start with!

1. Invest in Instagram Ads

This tip is contributed by Janette Speyer (Partner at Web Success Team and Hot Ice Media)

We run a small agency in Los Angeles specializing in consumer goods. Many of our clients are in the food industry. As we all know, Instagram is a powerful visual messenger. It did not take long to convince everyone to try it out.

Our Facebook rep showed us how to navigate Power Editor. (Power Editor is a 3rd party app that Facebook uses for ad placement.) Although I am used to working on many ad platforms, this one does take a little getting used to.

Instagram Ads

The strategy

Once we found our way around the app, we were ready to think strategy. The holiday season is a perfect time to start promoting any product. So we built a concept around the time of year when shoppers are looking for new ideas. 

We debated if it was best to show the product in the imagery or just stick to a single picture that would convey the brand's qualities. 

It is often difficult for our clients to omit their packaging pics in the message. We opted to indulge them and let it run to see what came back to us.

Targeting the right audience

The benefit of using Instagram on the Ad Manager is that you can use the same parameters that you use in other Facebook ads. Our target markets are already defined and it is a good starting point for our first campaigns. We can always tweak later as the results come in.

Results

We are happy with our initial findings. Although far more expensive than regular Facebook ads, Instagram ads are worth the money. Even more so if you are if you are in the consumer goods business. Prices range from about $1.50 an impression to $3.50 on the higher side as opposed to Facebook that ranges at $.10 to $.60. 

What about B2B?

We did a personal test for our business to see what kind of engagement we would get.  B2B is not as appealing as a good piece of pumpkin pie or a turkey. Surprisingly, we got lots of positive feedback.

Here is a sample of the ad we ran

So a few takeaways

  1. It is a visual vehicle so this is a great opportunity for "show and tell"
  2. You can use videos to tell the story
  3. It is not widely used yet. So now is the time before the noise level gets too high
  4. 80% of traffic these days comes from mobile
  5. You can use your budget for both Facebook and Instagram at the same time for more exposure. (Facebook will show that same ad on both platforms)

Paid reach is a necessity for most business. We have a unique opportunity with these low-cost platforms. Take advantage of this now before those prices go up. I was around in the days of traditional advertising and the price was prohibitive.

If you have experience in Instagram advertising, please also help SEOchat forum member in this thread.

2. Re-Market Your Creatives

This tip is contributed by Martini Fisher (Author of "History, Prehistory and Biological Evolution" and many others)

I started on Instagram about two weeks ago. It was only about a week before my last book came out. I used Instagram to show my face. People respond to faces and they don't get to see my face in my books, of course, so Instagram is good for that. I also used it to put a few snippets of little paragraphs and dialogs from my upcoming book, as well as some visual triggers I used.

In my research I took a lot of pictures – so I chose some good ones and uploaded them on Instagram. And I put some photos of random daily activities there.

Market Your Creatives

It works for me. The photos involve my readers in my writing process, and they get a sort of "backstage pass" to what I look like and what I do on a daily basis. The dialogs I put in there give them little teasers of my upcoming book, and I met a couple of bloggers, reviewers, and fellow writers through Instagram as well.

3. Build Your Personal Brand

This tip is contributed by Sunita Biddu (Social Media Strategist & Blogging Coach )

I have started taking Instagram seriously just recently. I haven't marketed any project yet but personal brand marketing has worked very well. Well enough that it got me one big collaboration and two high paying clients. Played with this FAST social networks and figured out three most important things.

  • RIGHT Instagram Hashtags Matter. I could clearly see the difference in response for posts with hashtags, without hashtags and posts with right hashtags. There are some key hashtags such as "awesome", "amazing", "instagrammers", "instadaily" etc. that flood your posts with response when used. Plus the most relevant and popular hashtags about your posts.
  • Right Timing: A post made at 9pm received 85 responses within 5 seconds of posting. A post of similar quality posted at 2pm receives hardly 6 responses. You can imagine the power of timing.
  • Your Bio Counts. Once you attract your audience, they would like to know more about you and that's where you bio would make the difference.

4. Build Loyalty

This tip is contributed by Lukasz Zelezny (Head of Organic Acquisition)

My personal experience with the platform differs in many ways from the potential that it offers many different brands. Any brand that wants to maximize organic reach will definitely be able to extract plenty of value from Instagram. Personally, I have not yet used Instagram for marketing in any formal capacity and I personally believe it will be difficult to use it in my specific case for selling anything in the near future.

However, there are brands that will be able to utilize the platform for marketing, and it is in some ways better than Facebook. I've read studies which show that Facebook users are far more likely to turn away from brands than Instagram users; in fact, Instagram users are actually receptive to following up with brands and engaging with them in a proactive fashion.

Instagram isn't as crowded when it comes to marketing. Virtually all marketers today use Facebook to promote products and services, but less than half report using Instagram. Because of this, I would definitely recommend that brands take a look at Instagram to see whether their business model is compatible with marketing in Instagram broader community.

It's also worth noting that Instagram doesn't filter out organic reach in order to force brands into paid marketing. Facebook used to offer a similar approach, but then limited organic page reach to boost marketing revenue. Instagram theoretically allows 100 percent of followers to see each post. Because of this, it's hard to deny that Instagram has marketing potential.

Instagram – at least for some brands – can be a great way to boost reach and fulfill marketing objectives. Its effectiveness will vary by industry and niche, but it's definitely worth looking into.

5. Extend Your Connections, Increase Your Interactions

This tip is contributed by Doyan Wilfred (Growth-hacker and content marketer)

Just like on all the other social media platforms out there, visibility is key. 

In order to be successful on Instagram, begin with interacting. You should publish less and be actively engaging with other users.

Comments are more powerful than likes. Comment a lot!

Here’s how to manage your Instagram comments and likes.

Bonus Ideas and Resources

  • Create an Instagram-based service. For example, this site lets you print our Instagram photos easily
  • Integrate Instagram into your current site content to co-promote your Instagram channel and visual content using site. There’s a wealth of WordPress plugins for that (Here’s a handy guide on how to install WordPress plugins)
  • Partner with a charity. Instagram is full of active non-profit startup that enjoy huge engagement. Support one of them to both do something good and build visibility on Instagram

Are there more Instagram marketing ideas? Please share in the comments!

7 Cool New Social Media Networks, Apps & Tools to Check Out in 2016

The New Year is fast approaching and it’s the best time to try something new. I know the feeling: You are likely to have found your comfortable spot right now… You have platforms you enjoy, tools you find useful and apps you chose to download to your phone.

However social media world is changing fast: You are either keeping up or quickly become irrelevant. Here’s the inspiration for you: new social media tools to check out in 2016.

New Social Media Platforms

Blab

This is a social media network for video chatters. If you tried Periscope and joined at least one Google Hangout on Air, let me put it simply for you: Blab is right in the middle between the two.

Blab

Join and set up group video interview, meet new people and connect to influencer sin real time!

Yik Yak

You have probably seen screenshots of Yik Yak all over the web lately. It is a platform that is all about local sharing on a social wave. You download the app, narrow your location via GPS, and communicate with anonymous people in your area.

It is still growing, so some cities are pretty dead. But larger urban areas have exploded in activity, and you can find plenty of conversations, or start your own.

Ello

Are you a creator who wants to connect, be inspired by, and be an inspiration to other creators? Then Ello is for you. Upload your content, edit it, share it. Then go and look at what others are creating.

This is a great social network that will give you one on one interaction with others that share your passion. So download the app and say ‘Ello!’

Now, if you have problem getting used to new social media networks, First Site Guide has an excellent write-up called "How I Learned to Love Twitter!" that tells a story many of us are so well aware of: How we first join a social media community and feel helpless and lost and how to ultimately overcome that!

Social Media Dashboards

Cyfe

Cyfe is your only way to make sense of the buzzing social media world: Archive social media streams and search results, monitor social media statistics and set up reputation management dashboards. Cyfe has something for everything.

Cyfe social media dashboard

Plus, Cyfe supports an insane amount of social media networks you can track: Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Facebook for Business, Google Plus, Youtube, Vine, you name it!

Social Media Mobile Apps

Social apps aren’t all about Facebook and Twitter anymore, or chatting applications. Whole networks have been created that you may have never heard of, with specialized services you will love. These are some excellent newer ones that have gained a ton of traction this year, and are continuing to grow. You gotta check them out!

Kleek

Facebook’s friend feed and its algorithm are an annoyance for most users at this point. Kleek integrates with the social network to give you more control. It works by connecting to your account and letting you create your “cliques”.

Only the people you want will show on your mobile feed. It will also alert you to special events, such as birthdays or invites from those people. Super simple, but helpful. Think of it as making Facebook yours, without having to create secret groups and flick between feeds.

Storehouse

This is a really simple, basic app that will change how you view, collect, curate and share media forever. Take your chosen photos and videos and create a story that you can tell to anyone you choose.

Everyone knows that a lot of social interaction online these days is visual storytelling. This takes it to the next level, all from one small and easy to use application.

shots :)

Yes, that is the real name of the app, smiley face and all. The concept is just as silly: this is an app that not only allows you to take selfies, it demands it.

You take the shot, you edit the shot, you share the shot. It is the best way for you and your friends to indulge in some harmless, fun vanity. Take photos or videos. Upload with descriptions and send to anyone you like.

You probably don’t need even more time wasting apps to catch your attention. But admit it, at least a few of the social media startups on this list have you curious. It’s OK, we won’t tell anyone if you want to go and take a peek. We are just as addicted ourselves.

Do you have a social media app that you think belongs on this list? Let us know in the comments!

B2B Social Media Measurement Proves ROI

In the B2B space, there persists a belief that social media only works for B2C. This is because to date most have no proof it works for B2B. According to MarketingProfs and The Content Marketing Institute B2B Content Marketing 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America, measurement is a key area where B2B marketers are struggling:

Only 21% say they are successful at tracking ROI.

 

New social media management solutions make tracking leads and identifying which social shares generate leads and conversion possible. Businesses that implement social media measurement tools have the advantage of focusing their time and resources where they get results.

Many still think social media only works for B2C not B2B. Interested in how many other B2Bs are using social media? All of the statistics below are specific to B2B and come from the above-linked 2015 research.

  • 92% of B2B companies use social media content (beyond blog posts) as a content marketing tactic.
  • 48% of B2B companies use social media ads to either distribute or promote content
  • 42% of B2B companies use promoted posts – such as promoted posts on Facebook or promoted tweets – to promote or distribute content
  • 41% of B2B companies say promoted social posts are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content
  • 38% of B2B companies say social media ads are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content

Percentage of B2B Companies Using Each Social Network

  • 94% LinkedIn
  • 88% Twitter
  • 84% Facebook
  • 72% YouTube
  • 64% Google+
  • 41% SlideShare
  • 33% Pinterest
  • 24% Instagram
  • 20% Vimeo

Most Effective Social Networks for B2B Content Marketing

  • 63% of B2B companies say LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform
  • 55% say Twitter
  • 48% say YouTube
  • 42% say SlideShare
  • 40% say Vimeo
  • 32% say Facebook
  • 25% say Pinterest
  • 24% say Instagram
  • 20% say Google+

User data from social media management tool Oktopost agrees. Their user data indicates LinkedIn generated 80.33% of conversions, compared to 13.73% for Twitter, 6.73% for Facebook, and 0.21% for Google Plus. Further, their user data shows that B2Bs should be focusing on interacting in discussion groups because 86.30% of conversions were generated in groups versus 10.07% on company pages and 3.63% on personal profiles. Source of stats:

B2B Social Media Measurement

It is possible to measure not only which social network generates the most leads or conversions, but exactly what lead a specific piece of content generated. Once a lead is recognized, all touches with your creatives and social shares are recorded.

Drill down into exactly which post in which LinkedIn group generated a lead. Find out which groups never convert so you can focus your time on the ones that do. It is clear that LinkedIn produces the most leads and conversions. Sales teams have the additional benefit of knowing much more about each lead before contact.

Leads obtained from LinkedIn provide access to profiles which reveal major insights into their backgrounds, authority, and job descriptions. Their titles may indicate whether they are decision-makers. And you can use LinkedIn’s InMail to contact them.

It is unclear why brands are so focused on Facebook. Leads from that source often provide little information for your sales team to go on. You have to request connection which many reserve only for friends and family. Without being connected first, any message you send is likely to end up in a mailbox the user never sees.

B2B Social Media Case Studies

Still not convinced social media converts for B2B? Lee Odden of TopRankBlog compiled 12 B2B Social Media Case Studies with details on how these twelve B2Bs benefited from specific social media strategies. Here are examples of what some of these B2Bs accomplished:

  • SunGard generated over 3000 leads in just 3 days
  • Toshiba: 19,000 opens, 1,100+ clicks and generated 309 leads
  • LivePerson: 800 downloads, 11% open rate with a 17% click-through-rate (CTR), generated 270 marketing qualified leads and cited as “the most successful e-book of 2013”
  • LinkedIn: 10,000 downloads in less than 30 days, more than one-third by marketing qualified leads

Impressive conversion rates like these are attainable by using social media management tools that include the ability to measure results. Case studies provide ideas for what to test and what kind of results other B2Bs have been able to achieve.