Getting the hang of using Instagram can take some time, dedication and patience. Even those who aren’t new to the platform need to pay attention to trends and stay up-to-date and the latest features being unrolled.

If you want to gain followers and make money on Instagram, one thing that can truly help is to take notes on what others are doing. Take a look at these 10 lessons you can learn from some of the best brands on Instagram.

1. Let your customer be your best sales tool.

A lesson that often goes overlooked is the value in showing what your product can do. One of the best ways to do that is to showcase how your customers are using it. An added bonus of this approach is that it allows you to give credit to your followers and to generate increased engagement.

Adobe is a company that’s doing this right. They feature a ton of user generated images and art using their line of digital products in a way that is inspirational to their audience. It also shows the capabilities of their software. Most of us would consider that a win-win.

2. Show your creative side.

Due to the sheer volume of users on Instagram, it definitely helps if you have a creative approach to your marketing. Creativity is something that seems so simple, but truly takes a great deal of talent to pull off in ways that stand out from the crowd. L’Oreal is a brand that takes this concepts to new levels and excels in showcasing their products in visually appealing, yet innovative ways.

The one thing they’ve managed to pull off exquisitely is the placement of their products within their feed. A basic rule of thumb on this platform is to follow a common color theme within your feed in order to make it more pleasing to the eye. L’Oreal manages to showcase a vast array of colors within their product line in ways that make aesthetic sense. It’s playful, fun and a real work of art.

3. Be of value.

No matter how lovely your Instagram feed looks or how wonderful your product may be, you won’t get far on any social media platform if you don’t offer immediate value to your customers. They follow you for a reason. Some market research can clue you into what it is they want most. Once you find out what that is, be sure to deliver.

Give them a reason to want to follow you, as IKEA is known to do. They offer glimpses into how their furniture can be displayed within your home through both their image and video content.

Seeing items placed in real life settings shows how usable the pieces are and inspires followers to want to check out more. Also, while I don’t recommend this as a long term strategy, you can buy Instagram followers for social proof, so more people are likely to follow you.

4. Share instead of trying to sell.

No one wants to feel like they’re being sold to. Consumers want to exercise free will and choose the products and services they find worthy of their hard-earned dollars. Hard sells rarely go over well in any medium, but especially on social media platforms where transparency is crucial.

Try not to make every post a sales ad. It’s important to mix it up with content that’s relevant to your niche and that adds value, as already noted. Walmart does this quite well.

They showcase their products in a number of settings, both in-store and out in the world. They also feature images of associates and customers in relevant circumstances. They tell a story.

5. Just ask.

Increasing engagement is a goal most brands have on social media. When your followers are actively involved with you, they feel invested and are likely to become repeat customers. One of the best ways to increase engagement is to ask your audience for their feedback directly.

Whole Foods is a company that excels in this area. They ask insightful, meaningful questions within their captions to solicit input from their followers. In return, they receive tons of likes and comments.

6. Social media as customer service.

Social media channels have become the go-to for many consumers when it comes to voicing their opinions and seeking remediation when they’re dissatisfied with a brand. When done right, companies can actually benefit from this practice.

Zappos is one such brand leading the pack in this arena. They even set up a separate account just to manage such issues. Showing genuine interest in providing attention and an immediate response goes a long way when it comes to customer loyalty.

7. Involve users in real life. 

Most marketers don’t think to take social media into the real world, but it can make a significant different in your customer engagement and help you stand out from the pack.

Check out what the mattress company, Casper, is doing to get their products out there. One example is their brilliant marketing campaign, known as the “sleep tour”, that actually introduces customers to their mattress pads, pillows and even mattresses in real life.

8. Update a classic.

Some of the most well-known businesses are the ones who’ve been around and have thrived for decades. In order to make this happen, they must adapt and evolve with the times.

Wendy’s, the iconic fast-food chain, is one such brand that has reinvented itself on social media to an overwhelmingly positive response from customers. Their modern, edgy approach is appealing to millennials and a younger crowd. Who would’ve expected that?

9. Don’t be afraid to use video.

Instagram is a visual platform, and that doesn’t just mean static images. Users have proven they crave video content, and the most successful companies are happy to give it to them. Victoria’s Secret is one such brand.

In just a matter of six months on Instagram, they were able to gain approximately seven million followers. One reason for such success just might be their prolific library of videos showing everything from behind-the-scenes peeks to stunning product reveals.

10. Appeal to their senses.

Luxury automobile brand, Mercedes Benz, does something with their Instagram account that more brands would benefit from. They present their vehicles in a way that make them seem accessible to their followers.

They provide an insider’s view of what they have to offer and what sets them apart from their competition. Showing what it would be like to own and use their product is a quick way to grab attention and interest.

These 10 tips should provide you with a great deal to consider when mounting your own online marketing campaigns. Use the suggestions that mesh with your brand, and don’t be afraid to experiment a bit to discover what works best with your audience.

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