How to Use Instasize to Create a Cohesive Brand on Instagram

Growing an engaged following is the goal of any successful brand looking to market itself on social media. A big part of drawing potential followers and connecting with them is your visuals. That’s why Instagram is such a powerful tool for marketing your brand.

Not only is the app intensely visual in nature, but with over 800 million active users per month and one of the highest interaction rates of any social media platform, it is also one of the most effective ones out there. That’s the good news.

The challenge, however, is getting your brand to stand out amid a veritable jungle of competing accounts. We’ve already talked about the different ways you can develop your brand’s voice on Instagram, so now let’s discuss another important aspect of marketing your brand on the platform.

One of the best ways to grab and keep the attention of your prospective followers is to make browsing your feed a visually pleasurable experience that they’ll want to keep coming back to. A well curated feed with posts transitioning beautifully into each other is what you should aim for, and one of the key elements to achieving this is design consistency.

A consistent, cohesive look across your entire feed is not only appealing to the eye, it highlights the care and though you put into your brand. It may seem like a complex challenge, but achieving a cohesive brand isn’t actually that difficult with a plan in place and the right tools.

The first thing to keep in mind is that people look at your Instagram in two different ways. They see your posts individually on their feeds, and they also see them all together in a layout when they visit your profile. Visually interesting posts tend to get people to check out your brand’s profile.

It may take people seeing your posts a few times to get them to check out your profile. Having a consistent and appealing look across your posts will help potential followers recognize your content when it pops up.

Once you interest them enough for them to take a look at your brand’s profile, that’s where they usually decide to follow you. Having a cohesive and appealing look across your posts guide potential followers to this point, which is why a good image editing app like Instasize is such an indispensable tool for anyone looking to market their brand on Instagram. Let’s check out how Instasize can help you attain that cohesive aesthetic for your brand.

The quickest way to find a unified theme for your brand’s feed is to experiment with filters. Instagram has a modest selection that may suit your needs, but if you want your brand to stand out you’ll need a wider selection of filters.

Instasize’s extensive library of filters are a great way to easily apply a consistent but unique look across all your images if, like most of us, you don’t have an extensive background in photography.

Serious brand marketers can gain access to even more exclusive filters by availing of a premium membership. No matter how you want to project brand, there’s probably a theme that conveys it perfectly. If you’re going for something dark and broody, you can try out the A2 filter from Instasize’s Amber collection. Or you can go for a more cool and wintry look with the Spruce collection.

For something on the more light and bright side, why not try H2 from the Havana collection or the M2 and Arya filters?

Dramatic black and whites are more your thing? The app’s Radio and Nova features can give you that serious, dramatic tone.

Don’t forget that you can tweak a filter’s settings to really get a look that’s right for your brand. Once you feel more comfortable editing the settings of your photograph, Instasize lets you create your very own look by changing image settings such as Exposure, Contrast, Brightness, and the like.

Maintaining a consistent aesthetic also extends to the text you use to complement your visuals. Everybody knows that text is a convenient way to include link information or the time and date of your next Instagram Live post.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that selecting the right font, color, and style creates an instantly recognizable look. Instasize makes this easy by giving you an extensive set of options for creating the right text layout and style for your brand, all in a single app.

Besides being able to choose from a number of text styles, Instasize also lets you select the color and font applied to the same style without breaking the design. No need to resize and reposition the words, it’s all automated!

These tips should help you start designing your own brand’s unique, cohesive look. Remember, everything about your brand’s look should tell your brand’s story. So choose everything, from the colors, framing, and text styles with care. Keeping this and mind will go a long way towards getting your brand’s message across, and building an active and loyal following.

5 Reasons Why Micro-Influencers Are Vital to Marketing Success

Influencer marketing is on the rise, and while celebrities have an advantage, you do not have to reach their level to be successful as an influencer.

Micro-influencers, or people who have fewer than 100,000 followers – often lower than 20,000 depending on who you ask – are particularly helpful for marketers. Let’s take a look at the reasons why, aside from the fact that they do make up the majority of digital influencers online today.

1. They are more cost effective.

For many brands with limited budgets, it makes more sense to work with micro-influencers because they have significantly lower rates compared to people with thousands, or even millions of followers. Macro-influencers, or those with an audience of 500,000+ tend to charge high fees for sponsored posts. While they can still deliver value, the high fees mean they aren’t a cost effective investment.

Cost effectiveness should be part of your brand strategy, whether you’re just dabbling in influencer marketing or you are heavily invested in it.

If you pay $10,000 for a top-tier influencer to do one post, you won’t get as much from it as investing the same $10,000 in a larger campaign with multiple smaller influencers. You’ll get more posts total, and exposure to a better variety of audiences across the same niche with the micro-influencer campaign.

For smaller businesses that don’t have the budget to even work with a macro-influencer, micro-influencers let them jump in to to compete with the bigger brands, because all that matters is the influencer aligns with their budget and their target market.

2. Engagement rates are higher.

Studies by Markerly and HelloSociety have shown that influencers with smaller followings have higher engagement rates than the top-tier influencers.

Both studies reveal that as audience size increases, engagement rate decreases. Because engagement is a more important metric for brands, it makes sense for them to collaborate with people who they know will get their message across.

Sure, Kim Kardashian may have 135,570,876 followers, but her engagement rate is only 1.96%. Compared to micro-influencer Modern Fit who has 46,076 followers and a 2.62% engagement rate. Higher engagement is always better because it means people are paying more attention to what the influencer is sharing.

Influencers with 100,000 followers have around a 1% engagement rate, meaning only about 1,000 people are interacting with the content. But a smaller influencer with audience of 10,000 followers and a 6% engagement rate puts you in front of 600 people.

While you’re still losing exposure to 400 people, the difference in rate between the larger influencer often means you’re getting a much better per follower/engagement cost than you would with the larger influencer.

3. They’ve got authenticity.

Higher engagement rates generally mean that many followers have been there from the beginning, so they’re invested in the influencer and connected to them personally. Micro-influencers cherish their growing communities, and as such, are there to reply to comments, attend events, and engage their community both online and off.

Celebrities and other high profile influencers are often in high demand and have other commitments that stop them from being so readily available and personal with their following. Let’s be honest – no one really has the time to reply to 300 Instagram comments in a day, so the smaller audiences get more interaction from the influencer.

The other thing that makes them more person is the fact that their audience trusts them, which is not as a common with macro-influencers. Because these macro-influencers are known to regularly work with a variety of brands and consistently take on paid advertising projects, it means the audience doesn’t readily trust all of their recommendations.

4. They’ve mastered quality content creation.

Because micro-influencers are working toward building a macro-influencer status, they are focused on creating quality content their audience loves. They may not have a huge following, but you can bet they’ve mastered what it takes to create quality content.

Whether it’s the written word, imagery, or multimedia content you’re after, you can find an influencer to get the job done well, on budget, and without compromising quality. Instagram influencers are great at visual content, and many of them are great storytellers, using the captions to enhance the photos and videos they post.

5. They’re willing to go above and beyond.

Many brands love working with micro-influencers because they are great to work with. They are willing to go beyond what’s necessary to impress clients and keep them satisfied because they are so grateful for the chance to work with a brand that values them and their audience.

Because they aren’t as busy with other commitments as macro-influencers can be, it’s often easy to reach them via email to communicate with them directly, rather than having to go through a talent manager. Micro-influencers are generally more willing to explore out-of-the-box options, as well.

Micro-influencers are a great way to deliver marketing messages because there are plenty of them out there, and they deliver authentic, natural, and genuine recommendations. They are not affected by ad blocking software so there’s nothing standing between the content and consumers.

The marketers who understand the power and value of engagement in influencer marketing create better, and more powerful marketing campaigns. Leveraging smaller influencers in your marketing strategy allows any brand to succeed.

6 Essential Tips for Making Mind-Blowing Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories came about as a way to compete with Snapchat. It’s a fun feature you can use to string together image and video content to share with your followers. Your Stories will show up for only 24 hours, so folks will be encouraged to check back with you regularly.

Companies and influencers of various levels use this tool to engage their followers and to keep them interested. Using it can have a bit of a learning curve, though. Give these six essential tips for making mind-blowing Instagram Stories a try and see what a difference it makes.

1. Employ editing software to keep your videos short.

Video is a great addition to your Stories. It can be a fun way to shake things up and add real personality. People generally love them. However, Instagram only allows you to insert 15-second videos into your Instagram Stories. To get the most professional and efficient results, you’ll need to use editing software.

By editing your videos in advance, you’ll make sure things come together in a way that’s pleasing to viewers. Editing software lets you crop and splice segments of video together, adding music and transitions to improve the flow.

You can also adjust lighting, change speed and add filters to your videos. Try shooting in portrait mode since most people browse Instagram on their phones. There are a number of software possibilities to consider. Each has their own benefits, based on your skill level and equipment.

2. Use geotags and hashtags strategically.

If you want to gain followers quickly, you’ll want to use geotags and hashtags in your posts. You can do this in your general feed and in Instagram Stories.

Geotags allow you to add a location tag to your post, which can be as specific as a particular building or as broad as the city you’re in. Hashtags can be customized to reflect your specific niche. Both of these are like maps that lead your users to content that interests them.

You have to be careful to use tags strategically, though. There are lots of hashtags mistakes people make when just starting out. Do an Instagram search for relevant keywords in order to start your hashtag research. You can also check out what similar accounts are using to get ideas. Try not to be too vague or broad. The more specific, the better. Don’t forget to geotag your Stories with a location.

3. Take advantage of fun Instagram effects.

There are lots of native effects and features within Instagram that will let you enhance your Stories. You’ve probably seen others use some of them. Discovering which ones work with your content and appeal to your audience can take practice, but it’s well worth it as a way to up user engagement.

Play around with font options such as classic, neon, typewriter or modern. Try the boomerang effect to create fun video loops to add some unique personality and fun. Use text frames to break up the look of photos and highlight your text. Stickers are also a simple and fun way to add pizzazz to your images.

4. Trying going live.

Live video is becoming popular across social media platforms. This feature can be used in a lot of unique ways that really let you show off your personality or your products. Going live in Instagram Stories is a strategic way to engage with your followers in real time and share with them an interesting aspect of your brand.

Try featuring an expert within your niche for a Q&A. Live tours of company headquarters also tend to go over well as a way to give a behind-the scenes view to your audience. Introduce a new product line with a live stream or bring in a popular influencer to collaborate with your brand.

5. Boost engagement with polls and shoutouts.

If you want to gain followers and increase engagement, try creating polls and mentioning individual users with shoutouts. A poll allows you to ask questions about your brand or your industry and to gain feedback from your followers. People like to give their opinion, so why not ask them directly? This will also help you in creating future content that’s relevant to your audience.

You can mention users who are doing interesting things relevant to your brand or those who have interacted with you through hashtags and mentions. Just share that content in your Story and give those individuals a mention. They’ll appreciate it and will likely follow you back if they aren’t already.

6. Feature Story Highlights.

While Instagram Stories are fantastic for gaining followers and increasing engagement, they’re only around for 24 hours. However, you can pull parts of your Stories to be featured in Instagram Story Highlights that are permanently featured at the top of your profile. Another advantage to Highlights is that you can categorize them so that users can peruse which topics are of most interest to them.

You can switch up your Instagram Highlights as often as you wish to keep things fresh and share your latest content. It’s a great way to re-use your best Instagram Stories images and videos in a prominent way.

Keep these tips in mind to improve your Instagram Stories. You definitely want to be using this feature to engage your audience. Take time to find which aspects work best for you and have fun with it.

5 Instagram Trends to Pay Attention to in 2019

If you’re getting serious about Instagram, either as a brand or an influencer, these are the trends you need to focus on and become part of this year. Awareness of what’s going on in the Instagram world ensures you are better able to craft a strategy for growth and engagement.

1. It’s all about micro-influencers.

If you’re just starting out on Instagram, there’s no need to worry about growing your audience to huge numbers before you can start benefiting from influencer status. If you have less than 100,000 followers, you fall into the micro-influencer category, and many brands prefer to work with influencers at this level.

But now, everyone has a chance to become an influencer. Nano-influencers, or those with as little as 1,000 followers are increasing because brands want to work with average users on brand campaigns and sponsored posts.

Why?

Studies by Markerly and HelloSociety have shown that influencers with smaller followings have higher engagement rates than the top-tier influencers. Both studies show that as audience size increases, engagement rate decreases.

Beyond the rise of micro-influencers, we’re seeing an increase in micro-brands. Small businesses that are competing with big retailers and able to do so well because of low customer acquisition costs thanks to social media.

It’s often more cost effective for brands, particularly those that are strapped for cash, to work with nano and micro influencers because they see a clear ROI.

2. Instagram Stories.

The majority of Instagram users use the Stories feature. According to the Preview App, 86.6% of users surveyed use the feature. But, the same source reveals only 36.6% of people watch Insta Stories, while 63.4% watch posts.

This means you should keep the main focus on your posts, but it doesn’t mean you should give up on Instagram Stories. In fact, if you include them in your strategy and factor them into your overall feed aesthetic, you can really make them work for you to increase engagement and build solid relationships.

3. Influencers double down on authenticity.

Social media is all about authenticity. In the early days of Instagram, we saw a lot of posed photos that were over processed with filters. These days are over, as people are flocking to Instagram for more authentic relationships and genuine experiences. In 2018, a new breed of Instagram influencers came to light, those particularly focused on authenticity. Take for instance, Jenna Kutcher, a body-positive Instagrammer who gained more than 500,000 followers in a year, growing to over 800,000 without paying for any of them.

Influencer marketing has grown significantly thanks to Instagram, with global ad spend on influencers expected to reach over $5 billion by 2020.

In 2017, major fashion and beauty brands, such as Revolve, Chloe, and Benefit Cosmetics invested in influencers by sending them on outlandish vacations, all with the focus on selling their products. Though brands are excited about the potential Instagram influencers bring for their brands, users have started to see through the “perfection” and #sponsored posts.

In an effort to keep brand deals without losing followers, we can expect Instagram influencers to become more authentic and personal, even down to discussing their sponsored posts.

4. Dark social hits Instagram.

Dark social may sound scary, but it’s just the term used to describe social media activity that cannot be tracked because it’s private. When someone shares links or posts in direct messages, we see the traffic, but cannot tell where it’s coming from.

Instagram Direct has improved greatly because we can now use GIFs and video chat. It has moved from one-on-one texting to a group chat platform, with many people using it instead of WhatsApp and Messenger.

Because of the tagging, sharing, and reply features on Instagram Stories, it’s easier than ever to start private conversations on Instagram.

This year and beyond, Instagram will continue building features for Direct, and we may see DMs go away from Instagram altogether. It’s possible they’ll spin into a separate app like Facebook did with Messenger.

5. Planning your feed in advance.

Data from the Preview App also shows ⅔ of Instagram users plan their feed in advance. Of those people, 63.5% plan their posts less than a week in advance, and 36.5% plan a week or more in advance.

This is particularly useful for brands who want to ensure their content is ready for various launches and promotions. And it’s useful for influencers who want to make sure they’re following along with a certain visual aesthetic, and continually producing content. Planning in advance also keeps you on track and prevents you from having lulls where there is no new content available to engage your audience.

That said, while many people plan their Instagram feeds, they do not plan their Instagram Stories. Only 21% of people surveyed indicate that they plan their Stories, meaning 79% of people create their stories on the fly. This could be why many people don’t watch Stories. Try planing yours in advance then see how it affects viewership.

No matter what the trends are for 2019 and beyond, one thing is certain. People love Instagram! Preview App data shows that most people spend between one and three hours a day there. If your brand isn’t part of the network yet, you are really missing out. Even if you don’t have a shoppable feed, you can still cultivate relationships to turn casual social media followers into loyal customers.

The Ultimate Guide to Making Money on Instagram in 2019

Making money on Instagram can be tough and no individual or company does it in exactly the same way, but what is the best way?

How to make money on Instagram in 2019

What are the benefits?

One of the more obvious reason would be the money, however there are a variety of other reasons as to why you’d do this; a key one being its’ longevity. Unless you stop posting and engaging with your audience all together, it’s very unlikely that people will stop engaging with it completely. It’s also great because it’s another channel for you to push new products to your consumers!

A key to being on Instagram and using hashtags is that it allows you to inspire organic conversation; word of mouth is undoubtedly by far the best form of advertising, and native social media content is a great way to generate conversation around your brand. Using hashtags will allow you to better target niche’s and sell your product/service directly to the people who’d want to buy it!

How do I do it in 2019?

A fairly common way to make money off of Instagram is brand deals; Influencers will approach a brand (or vice versa depending on the size of their following/engagement and the brand) and they will negotiate the terms by which a promotion takes place!

This process also varies depending on what platform you’re looking at e.g. it’s easier to set loose requirements for a photo than for a live stream/video! Bar this, the underlying theme is that an influencer is being paid to post about something specific, or make content associated with a specific topic!

The amount you can ask for is usually dictated by the level of engagement you have, so as long as you can keep this us and your following is growing, you’re on to a winner!

Another way this can be done is through affiliate links; these are where a brand will give an influencer/influential account a code/link where people can get a reduction in price for goods. This is great for both the account and the Business as it will drive sales, but also when chosen accurately, heightens the influencers’ standing in their niche.

Company side, a slightly less direct approach but nevertheless successful, is just to drive engagement, this’ll bring attention to your brand and as we stated previously, it’ll drive word of mouth promotion.

The secret way to generate engagement

You can use hashtags in a variety of ways in the processes mentioned above; you can use them to analyze what your ideal customer is talking about/engaging with online. There are a few ways by which you can do this; one being going on the most popular hashtag relevant to you which you can find in feed or in the explore page, and then look at the top 9 posts and make note of the hashtags on those posts, and then do that for each hashtag you come across until you’re satisfied you have enough!

You can also make your own hashtags to help you understand how people are reacting to a product/campaign, and can help to measure ROI depending on the purpose of the campaign! As with anything in Marketing, calculating ROI is nothing more than an estimation, albeit a calculated one, but more so with influencer as it’s still a relatively new form of communicating with consumers! But with the right tools, there’s no reason why your brand can’t run a successful influencer campaign using hashtags!

So i think it’s safe to say we’ve established that hashtags are a handy tool when marketing a brand, but it’s important to establish which one’s best match your target audience!

How do I find out what they are?

We narrowed it down to 3 methods. We will be exploring the two current methods for hashtag research before introducing our time saving solution.

Method 1 – Competitor analysis

This is by far the most time consuming hashtag research method. Go through your direct competitors and establish what hashtags they use. You should evaluate which posts you’re analyzing have the highest level of engagement, and look at the hashtags for the posts where the engagement may not be as high; are they the same/different?

Engagement is really important when looking at all this content because although reach is important as is audience it’s important to make sure people are interacting with it and it’s also a good metric for calculating ROI. Once you’ve done this, click on those hashtags and review the top 9 posts for the hashtag. Look at who likes the photos; are these people your current audience? Are they the people you want to be targeting? If the answer is yes then you have found a good hashtag for you to use. Repeat this process over until you have a large library of hashtags you can refer to for your different posts.

Method review:
Time: 2/10
Results: 6/10
Scalability: 3/10

Method 2 – The staircase strategy

Another method when going through which hashtags to choose, is to use the “staircase strategy”. Start by picking 10 hashtags that have a lower average amount of likes then you do, and then 10 hashtags that have a similar amount of engagement to you on their top performing posts. Finally pick 10 hashtags that have much higher engagement than you on their top performing posts.

This method works by making you easily rank on the smaller hashtags. This sends positive signals about your post to the Instagram algorithm. Often, you will “Climb the staircase” and soon rank on the medium sized hashtags before eventually climbing that final step and ranking on the hashtags that have a much higher engagement than you on their top performing posts.

Method review:
Time: 6/10
Results: 4-7/10 (depending on how relevant the hashtags you choose are)
Scalability: 6/10

How we do our hashtags research?

We initially where using a mixture of the two methods developed above. This problem was that it was too time consuming and although we could make educated guesses, we never truly knew wether or not we were reaching our target audience.

We hired data scientists to develop a hashtag research tool that outputs the most relevant hashtags for your posts by analyzing:

  1. What hashtags are often used together in top performing posts
  2. What hashtags share the same audience and engagers

On top of that, we wanted to be able to filter the searches so we could still apply the stair case method. When searching we are able to filter by size of hashtags and average engagement on their top posts.

Method review
Time: 10/10
Results: 8/10
Scalability: 9/10

Conclusion

Instagram can without a doubt be a very lucrative channel of making money online. What you need to focus on first is on the strategy that you are going to employ in order to kick off your Instagram business. Then it’s time to put in the work and time to build the audience and reach the levels of engagement that will ultimately earn you a living, by doing what you want – being on Instagram!

A 11 Step-Guide to Running a Successful Instagram Contest

Instagram is one of the most rapidly growing social media platforms out there today — with more than 800 million monthly active users. Compared to just two years ago, that’s more than double their active user growth.

But what’s better than a massive user base is that Instagram has higher engagement rates and overall, less competition compared to other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Running an Instagram contest is a great way to increase your follower account and brand awareness.

Step 1: Consider Goals and Objectives

As tempting as it may be to get a contest idea and run with it, if you want it to be truly successful, you must take time to plan, which means thinking about goals and objectives. Your contest should align with business goals, and fall in line with audience interest and behaviors. The most common Instagram contest goals are growing brand presence and awareness, and increasing your follower count and engagement.

Planning your goals ahead of time ensures you’ll be able to measure how successful the contest was, so you can make adjustments for the next one. In this stage, you’ll determine the metrics you’ll track, and how often you’ll track them – which generally depends on how long you decide to run the contest. Some metrics you may wish to track include:

  • Number of entrants and comments
  • Follower count
  • Engagement levels
  • Website/Landing page traffic
  • Number of purchases
  • Number of mail list signups
  • Feedback – both positive and negative

No matter what your goal, having specifics in mind makes it easier for you to determine how well your contest worked to help you reach the goal.

Step 2: Choosing the Type of Contest You’ll Run

Instagram easily facilitates multiple types of contests, and it’s easy to combine elements from multiple types to create your own. All that really matters is you keep the barrier to entry low because if people have to do too much to enter, they just won’t. That is unless the prize is huge and they perceive the work they have to do to enter worth it.

  • Like contests: Post a picture of your product on Instagram and invite users to like an share the photo. When it closes, choose a winner at random and notify the winner by email. Send the winner free product. Combine this with follows to increase both follower count and engagement.
  • Comment contests: Ask your followers to comment on one your brand’s photos for a chance at winning the prize. You can also vary this one by asking them to answer a question, and choose the best answer to win the prize. This is a good one if getting feedback is one of the goals.
  • Photo challenge contests: This one helps you get user-generated content to use all throughout your social media and marketing. Ask your followers to post a photo with your products and your hashtag on their personal profile. This can also be a selfies contest.
  • Tag-a-Friend contests: Ask your followers to tag one of their friends in the comments of one of your brand photos for a chance to win a prize.
  • Reposting contests: This one helps with brand awareness and increase reach because you ask your followers to repost your Instagram photo on their personal profiles.
  • Voting contests: Let your followers vote on their favorite photos and get a free product or a gift that’s related to the photo contest.

Step 3: Entry Methods

Depending on the contest type, the entry methods may vary. Simply following your account or commenting on a post could be an entry, but you could give participants additional ways to enter, such as joining your email list, re-gramming your post to their followers, or tagging a friend.

Step 4: Deciding Contest Rules and Duration

When it comes to running any contest, but especially those on Instagram and other social media platforms, it’s critical to ensure you have clearly defined contest rules. Plus, you need to know how long the contest will run, so everyone has a fair chance of winning.

It’s entirely up to you how long the contest runs, but the longer it runs, the more effective it will be. Ideally, you should run it at least a week. But, if you want to run several shorter ones, or always keep one running, you can do that, too. Whatever you choose, all that really matters is that everything is clear to your audience.

Step 5: Creating a Unique Hashtag

You want to create a unique (branded) hashtag so you can track entries. If you use something too generic that others are likely to use, then those posts will get mixed in and could mess up your entry counts and analytics as you try to measure the success of the contest. You want the hashtag to be easy to remember and avoid complex or difficult spelling. Keep the hashtag applicable to your brand, services, or products.

Step 6: Selecting a Prize

For best results, choose a prize that your ideal customer would want. This way, you work toward building targeted followers – not just any followers. The more effort the contest requires, the bigger the prize should be. Options include:

  • Gift cards
  • Coupons
  • Giveaways
  • Free services
  • Goodie bags

Step 7: Deciding the Theme

If there’s a theme around the contest, it will be easier to market. Remember, the people participating in the contest are working for you – and if you’re asking them to post content you can use in your marketing, then it helps if they know what kind of content to post.

For best results, choose a theme that aligns with your market, products, or services. Launch a contest around events, holidays, or seasons that align with your band.

Step 8: Determine How Winners Will Be Chosen

Will you use a random number generator? Will the followers vote on the best entries? Will a special team of people you choose on your staff determine the winner? However it happens is fine, just make sure you’re clear when you’re creating the rules and promoting the contest.

Step 9: Promote the Heck Out of It

You won’t get participation in the contest if people don’t know about it. Promote the contest before it starts, when it starts, and periodically while it’s running so people know what’s going on. You may want to consider using paid advertising to promote it if your audience is fairly small at the beginning.

Write a blog post about the contest. Talk about it on your other social media channels. Post it on your Instagram Story. If you have an email list, send out a message to those people to let them know you’re running the promotion.

Step 10: Monitor Submissions and Participation Level

Keep track of all the submissions to make sure they’re following along with the rules. Track participation to see if you need to continue promoting it, or if others are doing a good job promoting it for you.

Step 11: Follow Up, Rinse, and Repeat

Follow up with the winner to make sure they receive your prize. Announce the winner and thank everyone for their participation in the contest. Take a look at the contest entries and all the other metrics you choose to track and compare everything to what it was before the contest started to determine how successful it was. When you’re ready, launch another contest and repeat the entire process again.

Instagram’s promotion guidelines are fairly broad so you have more freedom to get creative with your contests and its guidelines. To improve your chances of success, get creative with the types of contests you use so you always keep your audience guessing. Make sure you’re offering the right prize and using targeted hashtags so you’re building the best possible audience for your brand.

How to Get Real Followers for Instagram in 2019

Instagram is proving to be a real winner in the realm of social media. It’s gone through a lot of changes since its early beginnings as a simple photo sharing app. These days, the bells and whistles of the platform make it a marketer’s dream.

There are so many ways to engage an audience and showcase products. It can definitely become overwhelming and a bit confusing. If you want to experience growth and get real followers for Instagram in 2019, take a look at the tips below.

1. Know your audience and post accordingly.

First and foremost, you must post what the people want to see. This means you have to know your intended audience pretty well. You can accomplish the feat by developing an ideal customer avatar. An avatar is merely the detailed demographics of a fictional individual who would be likely to buy from your company or follow your brand.

Have fun and get creative when creating this person. Decide on a gender, age, geographic location, interests, needs and more. When you’ve developed your ideal avatar, your posts should be directed at this “person.” Think of your avatar and what would appeal to them prior to creating an image or story. Your content will reach the right audience when you employ this strategy.

2. Know your hashtags and use them.

Are you using hashtags on other social media platforms? They’re popular everywhere online, but they’re
absolutely essential on Instagram. Relevant hashtags help people who are interested in what you have to offer find you. It’s kind of like a road map.

You don’t want to use just any tags, though. The ones you choose should be relevant to your brand and your post. That way you’ll attract the most targeted audience possible. You also want them to be
specific, rather than broad. Don’t just use #marketing as your hashtag. Instead, find something that conveys the type of marketing your post references. Finding hashtags can seem overwhelming, but there are lots of ways to discover the good ones.

Do a query through Instagram’s search bar. Check out what your competition is doing. Then research particular hashtags to see how many people are following them and whether that tag might be saturated. Again, more specific is often better because it eliminates some of the competing voices within the general field. Don’t forget geotags. These are location-specific tags that help you to connect with others in that area or who have an interested in the region.

3. Plan your posts.

It may seem all you have to do is post some pictures on a regular basis, and the people will come to look at them. Unfortunately, that’s far from the case. The most successful accounts on Instagram devote a great deal of time and dedication to their posts.

You’ll want to plan things out ahead of time to ensure you have an appropriate flow of material. You can create a calendar with your tentative daily post material. Then pull together your resources such as photography props, models and other assorted essentials. Some people shoot several Instagram posts on one day.

Others spread things out. You’ll find a groove that works for you, but you absolutely must plan. Winging it rarely works when it comes to running a successful social media account. Take particular holidays, campaigns and even days of the week into consideration when deciding what to include in each post.

4. Engage your audience.

Social media revolves around relationships. That’s what makes it social. Engagement is essential to any successful Instagram account. Not only do you want to get a lot of followers, but you need to keep them interested or they’ll leave you for something shinier. Basic ways to engage followers is to acknowledge them by responding to their comments, answering their questions in DM and visiting their feeds.

That’s right. Put yourself out there. Follow people in your niche. Like and comment on their content. It may seem obvious, but it’s what is absolutely necessary and the foundation of social media.

5. Keep the conversation going.

If you want to up your engagement game and increase your chances of gaining loyal and long-lasting followers, dedicate time to finding ways to bring your followers back for more on a regular basis.

You can do this in a number of ways. Holding contests and giveaways is always good because it requires people to interact with your account in order to be entered. You can also recognize individual followers on a regular basis by giving them a shout out in your feed and sharing their content. It’s flattering and will build bonds.

You might also want to encourage your followers to share photos of themselves using your products. Come up with a special hashtag to identify such posts, and then recognize them by sharing with your audience at large. User-generated content like this is gold. It makes followers feel special, provides you with social capital and keeps your feed full of interesting, engaging content.

These are a handful of the top ways to gain followers. Take some time to explore Instagram and try out all the cool features they offer. See what works for you and your audience, but don’t forget to employ these basic, proven strategies to maintain consistent follower growth in the new year. Your effort will pay off, and you’ll be building a brand that people love to follow.

Want to Be an Instagram Influencer? Here’s What You Need to Know

Influencers on Instagram are users with a particular niche and, generally, a large audience. These individuals are popular because they offer unique content and they connect with their Instagram followers. They’re also making big money because brands are taking notice.

Companies want to work with these social media rock stars in order to get their products in front of influencer audiences. If you want to be an Instagram influencer, here’s what you need to know.

1. Pick a niche.

In order to succeed as an influencer, you have to have growth and stand out. After all, there are around a billion monthly users on the platform. The best way to get noticed and to maintain sustainability is to choose a niche you’re passionate about and post on that topic almost exclusively. A niche is a specialized area of interest, and it should be specific. For example, fashion is a popular topic.

However, it’s a bit broad. It would be easy to get lost in a sea of fashion posts. On the other hand, maybe you’re a passionate advocate for body positivity. It might make sense for you to specialize in plus size fashion.

You can take that niche even further by focusing that niche on sexy plus size fashion. You might post about outfits for going out on date night or for on vacation. Whatever you choose, be sure it’s something you love. That way, you won’t get tired of posting on that topic.

2. Let your personality shine.

Because social media is all about building relationships, you want to find your tribe. Getting people to follow and engage with you depends on them liking you. People want to see authenticity.

They’ll know if you’re faking it. Influencers often work with brands. By not consistently showing your true self, you risk being viewed as a shill who promotes items only to make money.

On the other hand, if you regularly make posts that demonstrate your true nature and show your vulnerability, your audience will be more apt to believe you when you share great products with them.

In addition, being authentic allows you to stand out from the crowd. No two people are alike. Audiences get bored with the same old thing, so take risks. Share your expertise and what makes you different.

3. Create a signature look.

As an influencer, you’re essentially selling yourself. You are the product. Therefore, you are your own brand. Branding is an important concept in business. By sharing your passion and expertise in exchange for sponsorship and other monetization methods, you are a business. Your brand is what people think of when they hear your name.

So take the time to craft your message and aesthetic prior to launching your Instagram feed if you haven’t done so already. Decide what type of vibe you want to give your visitors. Think of some adjectives that describe your brand and consider ways to convey that message. For instance, if you want to be seen as fun and daring, it might make sense to use bright, jeweled toned colors.

Someone going for a sophisticated tone might choose black and white photography with graphic accents of gold or silver. You can also incorporate filters to brighten or subdue your photography. Stick with the same filter for every image you post in order to maintain a cohesive aesthetic. Branding for Instagram can be an extensive process, but it’s definitely worth it.

4. Make sure your posts look professional.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer, but you won’t go far as an Instagram influencer if your photos don’t look sharp and beautiful. Don’t worry. You can do this yourself.

Lots of people do. It’s also possible to hire a pro if you have the budget. However, it’s not necessary. There are plenty of tutorials online with advice on how to take professional looking photos. In fact, you can do it with just your smartphone.

You simply have to learn some photography basics and follow those rules to get started. As mentioned in the last point, there are photography editing apps to help you polish the end result with filters, cropping and other tools.

5. Post regularly.

An influencer needs to cultivate a fairly sizable and engaged audience. As you develop your following, they will expect to hear from you on a regular basis. Posting regularly is actually an important part of building that audience in the first place.

Instagram’s algorithm favors those who post frequently, and you’ll soon see your content begin to rise to the top of the feed for more people to see. A good rule of thumb is to post at least once a day, shooting for seven times a week or more.

6. Get social.

Yes, Instagram is a social media app. You have to be social if you want to build a dedicated audience to influence. That means answering every question that comes your way through DM and replying to your comments regularly. There are lots of ways to invite engagement. Post polls in your Instagram Stories.

Give a shout out by sharing someone else’s content and tagging them to be sure to give them credit. There are plenty of opportunities to create engagement. It just takes some creativity and an outgoing nature.

You also need to put yourself out there and engage on the accounts of others. This doesn’t have to be scary, though. Think of it as having a conversation. In order to build relationships, you must talk to people. Reach out to users in your niche.

Don’t be afraid to approach some of your favorite companies, either. Even as a new influencer, it’s smart to get on the radar of brands you’d like to work with in the future.

There are tons more advanced tips to help you become an Instagram influencer, but these should give you a good start as you begin to research the ins and outs of the platform. Have fun with it, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

How to Find the Best Instagram Hashtags for Your Account

Hashtags are practically a necessity if you want to gain followers on Instagram. This simple tool lets you categorize your posts with relevant tags so that people with those interests can find you. It’s like a roadmap to your content. However, choosing hashtags can seem like an overwhelming process.

You probably know it’s good to use multiple hashtags, but you want to use them strategically. Don’t stress. Just keep reading below to discover how to find the best Instagram hashtags for your account and avoid unnecessary hashtag mistakes.

1. Search on Instagram.

Instagram has its own integrated search bar known as the Explore feature. Just type a relevant keyword in and select the tab marked “tags.” This will produce a list of hashtags that include that word. This search will also show you some posts containing the hashtags.

These insights can help you to make some important decisions regarding which hashtags to use on your own posts. Study the tags to determine which may be overused and whether there are more specific ones you can use for better results.

Trial and error should always be expected in order to figure out what works for you. Spend some time here to generate potential keywords that fit your brand and your audience. Sometimes it really does make sense to start with the obvious.

2. Try related hashtags.

Did you know that you can actually follow hashtags these days? It’s true. Many popular hashtags have their own Instagram accounts. Check out these hashtag pages to find users interested in that topic.

It’s a great way to find people to follow and engage with. Hopefully, they might then choose to follow you. While you’re on a hashtag’s page, take time to take a look at the top of the page for a list of related hashtags.

Just swipe left to preview them. This feature offers a goldmine of potential hashtags for you to try out. It’s often best to pick ones that fall within a particular niche. That way, there’s less competition than you’d find with the more generalized terms. Plus, you’ll be more likely to connect with followers who could truly benefit from your particular offerings.

3. Check out your competition.

It’s always good to know what others in your industry or niche are doing. Spend some time visiting the profiles of your competitors. This exercise can tell you a lot and help to inform your own marketing decisions.

By reviewing their most-used hashtags you can determine whether you may wish to use the same ones or if researching related tags might be in your best interest. You can also look to popular influencers who are posting about things relevant to your brand for hashtag inspiration.

4. Visit past successes.

Your own account can be one of the best places to find the right hashtags to use. Check out the posts that have performed the best and gained the most engagement. Which tags did you use? Perhaps it was a  geotag, which is a specific tag listing a current location. Maybe it was a hashtag related to a particular holiday or trend. Pay attention to what’s worked for you in the past and look for patterns.

Try to tag future posts following these patterns to see what sticks. Be sure you’re using tags that are most relevant to your brand’s purpose and audience. It’s not advisable to use one simply because it’s popular. Any success with this strategy will likely be a fluke and could backfire on you by actually causing you to lose followers who feel deceived.

5. Create your own hashtag.

You can make up your own hashtags that fit your brand specifically. A tag related to your unique product could find traction as people discover that item. You may also wish to create fun campaigns to gain the attention of your followers.

Contests, giveaways, influencer campaigns and more can all be marked with their own hashtag. While it may take some extra time for people to notice, this type of hashtag is uniquely yours and is most likely to bring you followers who are genuinely interested in your business and what you have to offer. Get creative and give it a try.

6. Know your brand.

An often overlooked strategy for finding hashtags is to study your own brand. Hopefully, you know your brand inside and out. You understand its mission and the ultimate purpose you wish to serve with
your product or service. You know the feel or vibe you wish to convey to your audience and potential customers.

Your overall mission is probably drilled deep into your subconscious. In addition, you should have a strong understanding of your targeted customer base, including demographics like age, interests, preferences and more. Even when brands know this information, they can overlook its importance, and that’s a big mistake.

Instead, use this insight to your advantage. Make a list of what your brand stands for, words associated with your overarching message and adjectives that describe your ideal client. Then use those words to launch your hashtag search. You’re sure to find tags that serve your purpose.

These are just a handful of tips for you on how to find the best Instagram hashtags for your account. Marketing research like this can be in-depth and time-consuming, but it’s worth it and should net you the types of results you’re looking for. Taking time to plan a hashtag strategy is a smart decision and will increase your likelihood of engagement success.