Join me on Instagram @evelinadilauro A mini video of my ultimate hot air balloon ride
We get it. You took an amazing photo, put on the perfect filter, uploaded it and now you’re waiting for the likes and comments to roll in your feed. It’s a great feeling and payoff when you know your content does well on Instagram. And for your brand, you want that feeling to be consistent.
However, getting others to engage with your Instagram isn’t as simple as uploading decent content and calling it a day. Your brand must understand how to promote your Instagram to reach your biggest audience possible. There’s more than 700 million users and casting the perfect net with your promotions can reel in big rewards.
The hard part is just learning how to promote your Instagram for success. It shouldn’t take a PR expert to make you successful, so skip the pay-per-follower sites and follow these 12 tips to organically grow and promote your Instagram:
Instagram has turned into a must-have social network for marketers. Even more so, younger audiences continue to seek Instagram for brand interactions, engagement and personality. According to the Sprout Social Q2 2017 Index, 51% of millennials enjoy brand personality on Instagram.
The platform continues to be an environment of sharing, liking, tagging and commenting. Additionally, younger generations can be inspired to make purchases on Instagram, despite its limited “link in bio.”
Instagram’s core users can navigate the app seamlessly, although it’s not as traditional as marketing on Facebook or Twitter. The visual appeal of the app is unlike other networks as well. Images and videos from brands drive engagement, which only help you promote your Instagram even further.
According to our Q1 2017 Index, 60% millennials and 67% of Gen Xer’s said they were more likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow on social media. And the single-scroll environment of Instagram puts your content front and center in the viewer’s smartphone or tablet.
Think about how much more engaged your brand’s audience would be if they had to scroll through each Tweet one at a time. It should be no surprise that a report from Forrester discovered brands see user interactions on 2.2% of their posts, which is the highest by far per network.
If you’re a brand looking to promote your Instagram, this is the perfect network to boost audience engagement. It’s all about learning the environment and taking advantage of how users interact.
When you want to promote your Instagram for your brand, the first thing to do is make a clear distinction between your business and personal accounts. For starters, you should optimize your Instagram account so you’re focusing on the audience and not just the product.
This means selfies, friend groups and travel photos need to stay out of your brand’s Instagram account. While it seems completely obvious, a surprising amount of personal content makes its way to brand feeds. Think of what your audience wants to see–not your friends or an inside joke.
On the other hand, this doesn’t mean your brand’s Instagram feed should only be full of products. Polaroid does an excellent job of separating the business from personal without taking out the personality. Its feed is extremely inviting to both newcomers and fans alike.
Striking a good balance between business and personal can give a little something to all of your followers on Instagram.
The majority of your customers know they can probably find you by doing a quick search on Instagram Explore. Your job is to make it as painless as possible to find you. Don’t make it harder by using different profile names across all your networks. Keep all your social media handles consistent and simple by following these best practices:
For example, Revolution Brewery uses the same handle across networks, simply titled RevBrewChicago. The shortened username makes it easier for users to find the brewery, but by adding “Revolution Brewery” as the Instagram profile name, both are searchable.
In the same vein as your username, your bio should be just as simple and match your brand. Keep Instagram bios to a minimum, but at the same time, make sure you mention who you are and what you do. Because at the end of the day, this is one of the few places to truly promote your Instagram.
That’s why it’s essential to always have a link in your bio. Using URL shortening tools such as Bit.ly helps you keep your link concise and easily trackable. And within Sprout’s social media publishing tools, you have instant access to Bit.ly shortening for social posts, including Instagram.
While linking to your homepage isn’t the worst idea, several brands use this space to link to promotional, sales or other marketing landing pages. This way you can keep the move from Instagram to your site more cohesive.
As a rule of thumb, hashtags are a great source of discovery on Instagram. Whether you want to increase your visibility or find exactly what you’re looking for, hashtags for Instagram are the best way to do so.
It’s a good idea to continually search the newest hashtags in your industry. The hashtag doesn’t have to exactly correlate with your brand, but it should still be relevant. Once you find some candidates, use them in campaigns, to find new followers and get that little extra reach!
Did you know 7 in 10 Instagram hashtags are branded? That’s why you should also look to craft your own unique branded hashtag to build more awareness around your profile. Using a combination of both branded and standard hashtags is a great way to track engagement.
With Sprout’s Instagram analytics tools, you have the flexibility to track outbound hashtag performance by selecting any number of profiles. See what garners the most engagement and how your branded hashtags work in broader industries.
Let your creative side shine with hashtags like Nest’s #Caughtonnest, which shows real-life events captured on customer’s security cameras. Even hashtags like #AskWestElm show you simple party favors that can make your home a little fancier.
Lastly, monitor hashtags your competitors use too. While it may not be your intention to compete on certain hashtags, you could still end up discovering ways to better reach your potential customers.
With geotagging features on Instagram, it’s easy to make yourself seen across your city or in other parts of the world. If your business has multiple locations, use geotags to promote your Instagram in various locations. This gives Instagram users a chance to see an assortment of photos and videos tagged at a specific location.
Geotags create a hub of stored content. It also gives you a great opportunity to see user-generated content showcasing your brand or place of business. From there, you can engage with customers that tagged you and thank them for using your services.
For example, if you search The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you would find the Instagram location tag. This is the official tag of the venue where you can get tickets or see others posting. Thousands of people use this geotag when they’re in Cleveland, which gives the brand plenty of engagement opportunities.
If you’re a brick and mortar store, Instagram geotags can be critical to effectively promoting your Instagram. Make sure your business is geotagged so customers can post their photos. Additionally, Instagram uses Facebook’s API to locate business results on the platform. Check your Facebook location settings to ensure you’re set up correctly.
Promoting your Instagram needs its subtleties–otherwise, your page will look like a billboard of advertisements. It’s always best to mix up your feed by avoiding constant hard-sell posts.
Unless you’re a major brand with massive recognition, you have to be a bit more subtle with selling. When users come to your feed, try to engage instead of directly sell. There are so many other creative ways you can sell to your audience without seeming like a shady used-car salesman.
For example, Lush Cosmetics is smart about the way they sell its product. Instead of going into grave detail about why you need it, the Instagram photo does all the talking alongside an informative caption. This is a visual space, so having your most creative folks handle your Instagram is a smart way to always look fresh.
Try to see Instagram as a promotional tool that drives traffic to your product pages. There you can do hard-selling calls to action and phrases. You’ll go far on Instagram if you can produce amazing photos and videos, but your message shouldn’t be lost or overbearing.
If you’re following the appropriate steps to promote your Instagram, here’s a trick you might want to explore. According to Curalate, a visual analytics and marketing platform, images with high levels of blue can generate up to 24% more likes than those with red or orange colors.
Additionally, photos that are brighter-colored can increase engagement by 24% as well when compared to darker images. With nearly 65% of Instagram posts receiving between 0 and 10 likes, it’s important to find any way possible to get more people to like, engage and respond to your posts.
We’re definitely not recommending for every single Instagram photo to be blue, but when you put in the time and effort into a post, you’re more likely to see your audience participate.
While it’s important to focus on new ways to promote your Instagram, you can’t keep your efforts to just one network. To truly build your audience and promote your brand on Instagram, post links to your feed on other social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
According to Social Media Examiner, each social channel has its own uniqueness when it comes to building an audience and promotion. On the other hand, you can’t put all your eggs in one Instagram basket.
Try to promote across primary channels to boost Instagram traffic and followers. For example, the Blackhawks Store promotes its Instagram with giveaways.
It’s a good idea to use Instagram’s visual appeal to your advantage. You want to show off your product, services or employees in the best light, so why would you ever take poor pictures of them?
You can make Instagram special for your audience so they know this is where they can go to see the products or services in action. Or you try to use Instagram as a sole creative space for your brand, much like the company Reynolds Wrap.
The second you amaze your audience with your content, you earn their trust to follow and engage with you. At the same time, don’t veer off the path too much. Some businesses use Instagram a little too freely to express their brand. Try to stick to your brand voice and make sure each post resonates with that vibe.
While it’s great to use unique Instagram post ideas, it’s not always so easy coming up with them. If you’re struggling for new ideas, try something you know is popular. Various social media trends change with the weather, but if you strike gold, you’ll see the payoff.
For example, one of the biggest trends in social media is face filters for selfies. Even though Snapchat started the game, both Facebook and Instagram are in the space. You can also take advantage of Instagram Stories to post fun and unique content with stickers, filters and other effects.
Taco Bell frequently uses Instagram Stories to make content resonate with viewers. This provides them with more ways to showcase their brand personality and ultimately helps promote their Instagram feed.
In-the-moment videos are popular enough for brands to get in the game. A report from Recode found Instagram Stories hit 250 million users, growing more than Snapchat.
It’s always good to be in the know of social trends because they can easily help you drive traffic and build awareness without consistently creating new ideas.
How will you know where to improve your promotion strategy on Instagram if you’re not tracking anything? This is an important question to ask yourself because so many brands tend to pick and choose different ways to promote their Instagram. But many don’t track their steps to see if it developed a positive outcome.
With Instagram analytics, you can successfully measure the performance of each post with presentation-ready reports to back up your claims. By monitoring your Instagram activity, you have better insights on engagement ratings and overall audience growth.
Whether you have to manage one or multiple Instagram accounts, Sprout Social gives you the tools to measure the performance of each social profile. If you try to blindly promote your Instagram, you’ll end up missing out on what changes worked well and which ones fell short.
There’s so much that can go into a successful post, so make sure you have a better idea on your Instagram strategy by tracking key metrics.
Now more than ever, success in self-publishing is all about ‘discoverability’, especially if you want to spread the word about your very first self-published novel (or your second or third but for the complete beginner in particular, it’s even more daunting).
Which extra strategies will best help spread the word?
Once the big day has come and gone and the initial rush of sales has (hopefully) happened, once you’ve told everyone you already know that it’s out there and numbers have begun to stall, how then do you continue to spread the word without continuously tweeting ‘buy my book, here’s my book, oh by the way, buy my book?’
Here are some of the technical tools you can toy around with to help progress your reach. Many of these are Amazon based as most self-published authors make a large percentage of income there, but some are not related to Amazon and are available to all.
Build up your ‘also boughts’ and reviews with a freebie launch, which is basically the books that appear underneath yours on the sales page. These start appearing within a few days of sales starting on your book, but you can speed them up by using a promotion or giveaway.
As you may know, on Amazon you can opt to be in KDP select and utilize their promotional tools. One of them is being able to offer your book free for a certain period (up to 5 days in every three month period). These work best when you have more than one title, creating a knock-on effect on sales of your back catalogue as new readers (hopefully) like your freebie and come back for more, so increasing the sales of your other titles.
A book page with many ‘also boughts’ fulfils a browsing reader’s need for social proof. Plus, with enough downloads of your freebie, you could end up with 14 pages or so of ‘also boughts’ listed right underneath your book on Amazon, (up to 70 or so other books all bought by customers who downloaded yours), which in turn means your book may appear on those others’ pages. With a good thumbnail pic of your cover and a tempting title, yours may be the next book they click on. This results in more sales over time without you directly soliciting them.
Offering a freebie at launch makes it more likely that you will get more reviews early on. Whether they’re good or not is the risk you take – as is offering your book out to the top 500 reviewers pre-launch, but it’s rare they’ll take a first title if you’re not a reality star or an octogenarian actress.
In one of my recent promotions, When Dreams Return, a 14,000 word spooky romantic suspense, was offered free for 5 days across Mothers’ Day weekend. It led to 12 reviews on Amazon.co.uk – off the back of 2400 free UK downloads.
The landscape is changing, and whilst this was a niche spooky romantic short story, it’s still an indication of current levels of downloads achievable, depending upon the book. The heady heights of Dec 2012 are a thing of the past, when many self-published authors reported 10,000 downloads just by putting up a 5 day freebie.
PERMAFREE – a quick note. Once you have more than one title available, offering a permanently free or ‘permafree’ first book in a series is a good tactic that’s familiar to many. In case you’re not one of them, you set the price as free on other platforms via Kobo, Apple, Smashwords or Draft2Digital.com. Then Amazon (eventually) price matches, side-stepping the five day limit.
However, for a new author, purely to build up reviews the launch freebie may be worth considering, as a review will still show ‘Amazon verified purchase’ even if it was free – proving that person downloaded it from Amazon, and are more likely a genuine review.
Amidst all the fervent counting down to launch and pre-launch cover-teases, Facebookers amongst you may have noticed the occasional ‘sponsored link’ or paid-for promotion pop up on your feed. You can use this yourself and is surprisingly easy if you have a Paypal account. The promotion is only as good as the post itself however, and a rubbish headline or badly worded post may not get much reaction whether 100 or 10,000 people see it.
If you are to pay for promotion on Facebook it’s often most effective for promoting a freebie eBook. Using an attention grabbing headline, for an attractive proposition like a worthwhile freebie, it may be worth spending the money.
Click on the ‘boost post’ button at the side of your post on your Facebook page. You’re offered a choice of fee to reach a certain number of people and your post appears amongst the other feeds more frequently than it would otherwise do, so more people notice it and (hopefully) read it and (even more hopefully) action it.
EXAMPLE – Currently the £18 price band promises an est. reach of up to 12.7k views and so on. Once it’s up and running it counts down the amount of money left to use, and gives you a running total of how many it reached. And if enough of these thousands of extra people finding out about your freebie with its laser sharp headline, and download it as a result, this paid for promotion could well get you higher up the free kindle charts. Which can then lead to even more benefits. You also get a summary once the promotion is over, like the one above – which was for a post promoting my website newsletter sign up in return for a free steamy download.
CHART POSITIONS – of course if you get in the top 100 in the Free Chart then even more people will see your offer since Amazon list the top 100 free right next to the top 100 paid for. A great cover and a good title can catch the reader’s eye amidst the 99 other choices, making yours the next one they download, thereby taking you even higher up the chart.
CASE STORY – Pre the above promotion, When Dreams Return languished around number 120 in the Free chart in UK. Once the promotion was up and running it dipped inside the 100 and headed on upwards as more and more thousands saw it due to the ‘boost post’. It peaked at No. 23 on day 5, just as the promotion reaching 22,300 people for £66 ended.
If you care to experiment, it’s worth dabbling in the lower bands to test the efficacy of your post/headline. If you see it start to take effect, you can always add more money to the promotion and continue it. It’s hit and miss if you don’t get the right offer or the right headline – but it’s a weapon in your armory over which you have total control and full reporting afterwards. And it’s especially good for freebie offers.
[Note from Joanna: Please be VERY careful with paying for Facebook advertising, especially for free books, as it is very easy to spend too much money for very little return.]
NB nearly two weeks after the freebie promotion, this title is still selling enough to remain at around 1880 in the Kindle UK paid charts, possibly helped by still being in the top 5 on these niche categories. See 9 below.
Once your book has been at a certain higher price for at least a month, you can use the relatively new KDP Countdown system. It allows you to run a reduced price offer – preferably a substantial reduction – for a short period, all the while showing how many days and hours left before the price reverts to the higher level. The most useful aspect of this, if you’re a little geeky, is the statistics chart you can generate at any moment from ‘Reports,’ showing the difference the offer has made to sales, pounds per hour and items per hour, comparing figures from before and after the offer.
CASE STORY– Till the Fat Lady Slims, a weight loss book down from £2.99 to 99p for just four days over Mothers’ Day weekend, went from 20p per hour to £2.23 per hour royalties, an increase of 1015% on the previous week. This type of reporting can really help you decide whether to do price promotions again, monitor more specifically the various variations on your offers, (eg do it at £1.49 next time) and whether therefore to remain in KDP Select (click here for an alternative viewpoint), or abandon it and use other platforms not just Amazon (see below.)
This promotion will also (hopefully) enhance numbers sold, which in turn can raise chart position, increase number of reviews and improve ‘also boughts.’
Pick out a specific section of your book and upload it as a separate title as a freebie, making it very clear it’s an initial instalment – particularly useful if you have only one title.
However, it’s got to satisfy, and be worthwhile as a stand-alone – or should have a really tempting cliff-hanger at the end – so that the freebie may entice readers to go for the rest of the novel once they’ve read the first bit.
Make sure it’s well written in order to (hopefully) counteract any chance the reader might feel cheated eg if you haven’t made it clear it’s only the first part of your story.
It may also be worth ‘unpublishing’ that instalment once the freebie is over, to avoid bad reviews if someone inadvertently pays for it, not realising it’s short or incomplete (not everyone reads the product description). Unpublishing is fairly easy, but if you are in KDP Select, the title can’t be published elsewhere for the desired length of time (90 days even if a book is unpublished.)
You can also use the freebie on Wattpad, or as a giveaway on your author site.
Explore the niche categories on Amazon and pick your two genre/categories wisely, aiming for the more niche ones if you think it will enhance the chances of getting to the top of that chart. Whatever you’re writing, there will be some people exploring the other books in the chart their last book appeared in. Fewer obviously in more niche categories, but if you get to number one in that chart in a paid for offer (not a freebie) you can legitimately call yourself a ‘best seller’ on Amazon as your book got to number one in that chart – even if it was ‘KindleStore/Books/Fiction/Romance/Paranormal/Ghosts.’
CASE STORY – By the time it was number 44 in the overall Kindle Free UK Chart, When Dreams Return also got to number 1 in the more important ‘KindleStore/Books/Fiction/Horror’ chart too. If I’d chosen ‘short stories’ as the second category, not Horror, I may not have charted that highly at all.
Finally, if you are left with only your own social media platforms to try to encourage more people to click on your book link, at least make it personal.
‘Had a really nice review already from A James on my new freebie romance eBook – how lovely it feels to read such positive feedback – thank you @A L James! #WhenDreamsReturn. Still at 99p till midnight’
‘My short story #WhenDreamsReturn still 99p till midnight – lots of good reviews, check it out! (Plus link)’.
Often any tweet with a link is just overlooked by the seasoned Tweeter, as they merely skim down the newsfeed on the home page – they follow so many people on Twitter it’s impossible to keep up with them all.
Do your own research by looking down the twitter newsfeed and deciding which tweets you’d ignore and which you’d read. And as they say, always comment on others’ tweets, thoughts, observations, if you expect to get it back in return, someday.
These are just a few observations which are easily accessible and possible of use in building your reach for your first novel.
Originally posted on Mining Awareness : (If you think this is satire, rather than legitimate speculation based on the personalities involved, then you’ve had your head in the sand for the last months.) In the second undisclosed Putin conversation did Trump offer to lift sanctions against Russia (for invading Crimea) in exchange for a Sberbank Loan…