In 2010 when Instagram first started, no one could have imagined this social media platform being used as such a useful tool to grow your online business. Fast forward to 2020 and Instagram has become one of the most popular marketing channels for bloggers.
Want to get your slice of the pie and dominate Instagram marketing?
Let's do this!
1. Switch to an Instagram business profile
Whether you're creating a new account or revamping a current one, you need to switch it to a business account.
Using an Instagram business profile means you have access to statistics about engagement data, impressions, follower activity and so much more all from the Insights tab.
To switch to a business profile, go to your profile, open the menu and go to Settings > Account > Switch to Professional Account > Business.
2. Learn from audience insights
Your audience insights can let you know the demographics of your followers, like their age, location and gender.
This data is helpful to see if your blog content is attracting your ideal audience.
You can also see when your followers are most active on Instagram and how your posts are performing. Using this data can help you understand how Instagram users are interacting with your content and see where there's room for improvement.
3. Plan a cohesive theme
Within seconds of visiting an Instagram profile, you've already decided if the account is worthy of a follow.
More often than not, a cohesive Instagram layout and theme is crucial in those first few seconds of engagement with potential future customers.
Curating the look and feel of your IG is one of the best ways to gain new followers, but it can be stressful to constantly make sure each post is similar to the ones before it.
One way of helping to maintain a cohesive look is to schedule your posts in bulk. This helps you plan the look of your feed ahead of time.
Later in this post I'm going to introduce you to Tailwind for Instagram, my preferred Instagram scheduler.
4. Optimize your profile
Instagram has limited space on your profile, so use every bit of this space to your advantage.
Just like on each picture you post to your Instagram feed, you can now add clickable hashtags in your profile description.
In addition to using relevant hashtags to your blog, use a branded hashtag too. You can use this branded hashtag in your posts too, to get users used to seeing your brand name.
One of the fastest ways to grow your account is using Instagram stories. Stories, displayed at the top of your follower’s timeline, is a great place to put behind-the-scenes style posts to make your followers feel personally involved in your brand.
These are only available for 24 hours, but see our next bullet point to see how followers can access these stories forever.
When posting a story to your profile, it normally disappears after 24 hours. But Instagram now allows you to save expired stories to collections right under the description on your profile.
Take the time to create collection covers for each highlight so users can see your showcased Instagram content that highlights your brand's identity.
Instagram is great for building a brand. Even if you're a blogger, building your brand is still very important.
What Instagram isn't great at is sending massive amounts of traffic to your blog.
With that said, you can and should add a link in your bio so your followers know where to find you.
I recommend linking to a landing page with an email opt-in form to turn Instagram fans into email subscribers.
Within your posts, Instagram now allows business profiles to add product stickers and tags right on the picture. These can be shoppable links that include the price and where to shop for a particular item on your feed.
If your company uses Shopify, they also have access to incorporate this seamless shopping experience right from the post itself.
5. Sponsored ads
To get more exposure to your blog from Instagram, you can look to buying ads on Instagram.
Similar to boosting a Facebook page update, Instagram lets you promote a post too. This is a great way of getting more eyes on your brand, but it will cost you.
To keep costs down and results high, pay close attention to which pictures are organically receiving the most attention on your profile, to get the most bang for your buck.
6. Post at the right times
When utilizing your analytics you can see the exact days and times that your profile is bringing in the most views. With that in mind, it’s also nice to know that historically the worst days to post on Instagram are Sundays and Wednesdays, and the best days to post are Mondays and Thursdays.
Using your insights tab to find the best posting times can help you plan your entire Instagram marketing calendar.
7. Swipe up links
For Instagram accounts that have over 10,000 followers, they unlock a super useful feature called a swipe up link.
This swipe up link can be added to Stories, driving traffic directly to your blog posts or a landing page designed to get email subscribers.
9. Partner with influencers
If you are just starting out on Instagram, one way you can gain followers quickly is by partnering with already popular influencers to reach a wider audience.
Spend some time finding some influencers that already have a substantial following that is relevant to your brand.
Since they already have built a bond with their followers, they will likely trust their recommendations and be more likely to follow your account, engage with your content and ultimately become a fan of your work.
10. Leverage your existing audience
If you already have an audience (whether it's blog traffic or a media social channel), you can use that existing audience to grow your Instagram following.
Here's how to leverage your existing audience to grow your IG follower count.
Much like you can embed a YouTube video into a blog post to grow your YouTube audience, you can embed Instagram content in your blog posts as well.
Say you want to add a picture or a quote in a blog post. Instead of adding an image directly on your blog, add it on Instagram and embed the Instagram post instead.
The end of your blog post is the perfect place to add a call to action. Usually this would be for something that really matters to you, such as: buy my product or join my email list.
But you can also have a call to action like: share this on Facebook or follow me on Instagram.
Be sure and not overwhelm the reader with multiple calls-to-action. When you tell them to do one thing, they might do it. But if you tell them to do multiple things, they won't do anything!
You can use the MiloTree WordPress plugin to add a widget showcasing your Instagram profile that slides into the screen after scrolling.
Send a one-time "broadcast email" to your email list letting them know you are on Instagram.
I use ConvertKIt for email marketing. If I was to send this email, I could not only see the open rate and click rate, but tag subscribers who specifically clicked on the Instagram link.
This could be useful in segmenting your list in case you want to send emails to subscribers who previously expressed an interest in your Instagram.
Be sure to let your readers know the value they will get by following you on Instagram. For example, if you post content, updates or freebies they can't get anywhere else.
11. Involve your followers
Even if your existing customers are not influencer-level famous, their influence can help your account grow.
Create a branded hashtag and ask your followers to make a post using this hashtag.
In exchange, offer a prize of a shoutout or some kind of freebie related to your business.
Take Instagram marketing to the next level
When building your Instagram presence, you can lose a lot of valuable time having to sit down and craft the perfect Instagram post each day. You want to drive the most traffic and sales to your profile, and this can’t be done without frequently posting to your feed.
Ideally, you will want to post at least seven photos a week on your Instagram, and taking the time to do this once a day can add up to hours you could be using to grow your brand in other ways.
That is why using a scheduling tool to post your Instagram posts for you is one of the simplest ways to increase traffic, without being physically active on the platform every day.
Automate Instagram marketing with Tailwind
The best social media scheduling tool currently on the market is Tailwind.
Tailwind helps you figure out the best times to post to get the best engagement.
Once you figure out your schedule, you can even pre-upload an entire week (or months) worth of posts in one place to free up some time that you can spend growing your brand.
With Tailwind you can consolidate hours of social media management down to minutes by scheduling your content exactly how you want to.
Not only that, but Tailwind is free to use for your first 30 posts.
Let me do a deep dive into how to use the best Instagram automation tool around, Tailwind.
Using Tailwind's drag and drop grid planner, you can visually plan your feed and maintain a consistent posting schedule.
Benefit #1: Auto-publishing
Imagine being able to post your Instagram pictures at the perfect time for optimal engagement each and every day. Now, imagine being able to do this without even having your Instagram app open. That is the beauty of Tailwind’s auto post feature.
All you have to do is prepare your posts to a specific time you want them to publish, and Tailwind does the rest.
Benefit #2: Post at the right time
We’ve already mentioned how important it is to post your Instagram pictures at the perfect time each day, but Tailwind has built in algorithms that will figure that out for you.
Using Tailwind’s smart scheduling software can take that headache away and become essentially a hands off process.
That initial engagement your post receives right after posting determines how Instagram will share your post to others, making that optimal timeframe absolutely vital in your brand’s success on Instagram.
Letting Tailwind do all the leg work for you can allow you to focus your time on other important aspects of your brand, all you have to do is set a suggested time to post, decide how often you want to post throughout a week, and let Tailwind do everything else.
Benefit #3: Maintaining consistency
Tailwind can also take your previous posting data history and use it to create recommended posting times for future days. They completely take the guesswork out of when to next post to gain the most positive feedback. The more you post, the more data Tailwind will have to better represent your account, so the more you use it, the better it gets!
Simply drag and drop wherever and whenever you want your next post to be automatically posted, and forget about it.
Benefit #4: Browser extension
You can also now schedule Instagram posts on the go with the Tailwind app for iOS and Android.
Benefit #5: Analytics
With Tailwind's IG analytics you can see both profile performance and their post inspector, which lets you see which posts net you the most likes and comments.
By studying the metrics you can see which types of posts receive the highest engagement, which is helpful for planning your future content.
Benefit #6: Hashtag finder
One of the newest additions to Tailwind’s scheduling tool is their upgraded hashtag finder.
Their hashtag finder can recommend intelligent hashtags that are unique to every post.
You can also save hashtags in a list for later use, saving you time from having to come up with new hashtags every post.
Benefit #7: There's a free trial
Perhaps the most exciting feature Tailwind has is their free trial. The creators of Tailwind are so confident you'll love their scheduling tool to grow your brand, that they are offering it completely free for 30 posts.
There's no need to enter payment information either. Just connect your account and start scheduling for free.
Wrapping this up
Here's a short video showing you the basics of how to use Tailwind for Instagram. And if you have any questions for Tailwind, hit them up on their Facebook page here.