5 Free Instagram Marketing Strategies You Can Deploy Right Now

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Instagram is one of the fastest growing marketing channels for businesses. However, to use it effectively you need to know exactly how to grow and promote your brand. I’ve effectively mastered the most prudent strategies over my years of using Instagram to promote my small retail e-commerce store. By using these methods I was able to really make my followers engage with my Instagram page by actively commenting on my pictures and clicking the link to my online store at the top of my profile. So let’s kick off the list with numero uno:

Lesson #1. The art of the #hashtag

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Perhaps one of the most important features of Instagram is the hashtag. It’s what allows other users who are searching to find your photos and engage with your post. Sounds easy, right? Well, not really – there’s a little more finesse that goes into researching and finding the perfect hashtags to post with your photo.

For my business I sat down and brainstormed every single word or phrase that could be related to what one of my customers wanted to find. I then took each word and expanded to try other variations. Once you have your list written down you need to login to Instagram and click the search icon (the little magnifying class at the bottom). Click the “tags” tab at the top and then beginning typing each of your newly brainstormed hashtags into the search box.

Instagram will automatically return the total amount of posts with that hashtag. Now here comes the important part. Only use the hashtags that are the most popular and have the highest amount of posts. This means that there is a bigger audience searching for those terms and will drive more traffic to your photo and profile.

Another tool that I have had success in using has been Hashtagify. This free tool will help you find the best hashtags to use for your posts.

Once you have the perfect hashtags I would recommend using them for ALL of your photos.

Lesson #2. Contests

I’ve had a large success by running my own contests and giving away some free items from my shop. Contests should be used sparingly. You don’t want to go overboard with them but having a few of them a year is an excellent way at boosting your followers. When people see a contest on one of your posts there’s a very high probability that they will follow your page in hopes of entering future contests.

Here are some great examples of Instagram contests that helped boost businesses and brands.

The best ways to run are a contest, in my experience, is by simply asking the use to “like to win”. It has a low barrier to entry (meaning participants just have to follow you and then like a post to enter) and it helps increase your reach on the Instagram platform. Another favorite way is to make them engage with the photo that you post for the contest. Ask them to leave to a comment in relation to the photo.

I would recommend reading about 4 things you must do before hosting a contest.

Lesson #3. Like as many of other people’s photos as you can

I found this one of the best way for achieving followers back to my page. The psychology behind this is that people usually check their new likes soon after they post a photo. If you can like a photo right after it’s been posted (better success with this than liking an old photo) then it’s likely that the user who posted the photo will notice and check out your profile.

It’s recommended to only like photos that are related to your niche. Search out hashtags related to your page or business to do this.

There are some automated services that will automatically like photos for you such as as Robolike or Instagram Like Bot.

Lesson #4. Promote your Instagram page everywhere

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For me, I promoted my Instagram page everywhere I could. Some great ideas are:

  • Link to your Instagram on your website, a common place for this is in the footer
  • Put your Instagram link in all of your e-mails (in the signature)
  • Include your Instagram on your business cards or any other type of stationary
  • Cross share your Instagram page on other social media sites (I found that sharing your Instagram posts on Facebook works really well)

Lesson #5. Update your page by posting new pictures (every single day)

Make it a rule to try and post at least one new photo each day. Don’t go overboard. I found the sweet spot is one per day. You don’t want to spam your page with too many photos which may cause people to unfollow you.

Regarding the best time to post each day – there has also been a lot of research on the best time of day to post on Instagram. From all of my research 2:00 PM seems to be the best time for the most engagement (likes on your photo).

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