Growth Hacking is a term we often hear these days. It’s a term that is thrown around a lot by businesses and marketers alike. In this article we will discuss about some growth hacks for Instagram in details.
According to Wikipedia, “Growth Hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business. Growth Hackers are marketers, engineers and product managers that specifically focus on building, engaging the user base of a business.”
Simply put, it means achieving monumental growth quickly. And this goal should be your guiding light throughout your entire journey of growing your business.
Growth Hacking means achieving monumental growth quickly, and it should be your guiding light throughout your entire journey of growing your business. – Tweet This!
Instagram – the eCommerce sale machine
Instagram offers eCommerce businesses some incredible opportunities to reach their target audiences and drive sales.
In September 2017, Instagram proudly announced that the business community on this channel had grown to 2 million advertisers, in just about six months after reaching 1 million advertisers earlier that year in March.
From big brands to small businesses and pop-up shops, businesses around the world are driving extra-ordinary results with Instagram. According to a report, 75 percent of Instagram users visit a website or make a purchase, after looking at Instagram ads.
So, if you haven’t optimized Instagram for sales, you are definitely missing out on a big business opportunity. But even before you start doing that, you must know what Instagram entails.
10 Instagram Growth Hacks for eCommerce stores in 2019
Instagram Growth Hack #1: Device a strategy
Since we are talking about Instagram in this article, you will need to answer a few questions before you get started:
How much growth do you target on your Instagram account?
What does growth mean to you?
What is your timeline in which you would like to achieve this growth?
What new things will you try?
If you are done answering these questions, then it’s time for you to move on to the next phase. But please make sure that you remember one of the most important things about Growth Hacking – it works pretty much like word-of-mouth marketing.
You will not be able to do much with Instagram unless you have all of the above answers, and have an in-depth strategy that clearly defines your Instagram goals. So, give it a think! Jot down exact numbers if possible, and how you’re going to get there.
Your marketing tactics may include a variety of things, and no one can spell that out for you. These can include things like using influencer marketing, using an Instagram growth tool, or simply focusing on user-generated content. It doesn’t really matter what you put down as your strategy; you can always tweak it later as and when you figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. But just write something down now so that there is a starting point.
For instance, check out your competitors’ (who offer similar products and are about the same size as yours) Instagram page. Do they have more followers than yours and more engagement? If so, try and draw some inspiration from the tactics they appear to use.
Keep in mind that your Instagram growth hack strategy should be comprehensive, consistent, and realistic. Consider your resources; and don’t go for something, which you can handle but can’t sustain. For starters try the principle of “Less is more”. You can always branch out later into more advanced Instagram growth hacks and tactics.
Instagram Growth Hack #2: Optimize your business profile
As more and more customers are now turning to Instagram for their online shopping, your Instagram business profile is becoming the new homepage. And that means you should put in a lot of thought and effort into optimizing your Instagram business profile as you would do while creating your website.
Make sure your Instagram business profile includes:
- A profile photo: Choose a photo that is on-brand (preferably a logo), and that makes your customers easy to identify with.
- Well-written bio: Your Instagram bio is extremely important. Along with having a clear description of your business, it should speak to your audience and let them know exactly what you offer.
- Link to your shop: The URL section of your bio is the only clickable link you can add to your Instagram business page, so make sure you’re using it right! This is also the place to which you would ideally want to drive traffic from your individual posts and stories. Creating a unique URL for this section also gives you the opportunity to measure your website visits from Instagram.
Beard Brand does a fantastic job of reflecting a solid business profile. Simple yet sophisticated, Beard Brand’s business profile is minimalist and consistent, with an eye-catching bio and a branded profile photo. The brand now has 156K followers.
Your Instagram business profile is the first point of interaction your customers will have with your brand, and it might be your chance to create a lasting impression. Hence, it’s important to make a great first impression and lure people to follow your business. By creating a consistent brand story, you will be in a better position to convert leads into customers and the latter into devoted followers.
Here are some more ways to optimize your profile so it gets crawled by Google.
- Use geotagging when appropriate.
- Have a complete profile that includes a profile name, username, bio, and links to your other website.
- Use keywords in your profile information and in your content.
- Promote link building to your profile and your posts.
- Encourage social sharing across different channels.
Instagram Growth Hack #3: Focus on SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is used everywhere you want your brand to show up online. Because this is where you use keywords to help your shop/brand/content rank as high as possible on search engines. Similarly, SEO can be used to help your Instagram account show up in search results, too. The higher your Instagram page ranks in search results, the more followers and growth you’ll get. So, don’t overlook this Instagram growth hack strategy.
Let me cite a simple example for you to understand this better. When you type “partywear Instagram” on Google, most of the results on the first page are Instagram “Accounts”. Some others would be Instagram “hashtag webpages”, and some other roundup posts from third-party websites that list the top partywear apparel brands. There are people who use Google to find Instagram accounts. So it’s important that your page shows up in responses that are relevant keywords in Google search results.
According to Search Engine Watch, Instagram accounts are difficult to display in search results because Instagram blocks search engines from indexing your Instagram photos and images. But, although your images can’t be indexed, your profile can be; and hence, showing up in search results is not impossible. For this, do the following things:
- Make sure your profile is set to public, not private.
- Include your most important keyword in your username.
- Put some keywords in your Bio, because search engines will also crawl your Instagram bio, The Home Depot, for instance, has just a single sentence in their Instagram bio but it includes the important keyword phrase, “home improvement retailer.”
- Use the “name” field as it is equally as important as your bio. It should include a key phrase that’s distinct from your username, but one that can still double up as a keyword and describe what you do.
If you are able to get your Instagram page to rank in search engine results, your page will see more traffic and more growth.
Instagram Growth Hack #4: Encourage User-Generated Content
We buy things when we see others buying them, and once we know they are happy with what they have bought, we buy more of them. And this is the reason User-Generated Content (UGC) grows your business in a myriad of ways.
The most common form of UGC we find today is in the form of reviews and ratings. They are one of the most powerful forms of social proof today. Others of course are statuses, photos, and videos of people using the particular products. Our brains are hardwired to gravitate towards visuals. So, the visual aspect of UGCs is very impactful. You can then easily repost the UGC on your social media pages to showcase your customer base, and how much your products are loved. UGC is a great way in which you can influence your consumers to trust your brand and buy your products.
Of all the social media platforms, Instagram is the most popular one for UGC. 60% of social media influencers agreed that Instagram is the best platform for such engagement because of its visual nature and usability on mobile devices. Because of these reasons, users are keener to share content about their favorite products through and on Instagram.
The activewear brand, Outdoor Voices encourages UGC in a way that feels authentic. Instead of exclusively focusing on their products, the brand asks users to capture moments when they are #doingthings that are active and fun.
Their UGC campaigns are famous because they focus on the individual, and not just their products.
The clothing company Madewell motivates their users to create content about their products through a reward of being showcased on the company website’s #everdaymadewell gallery.
Because of the possibility of being featured on their website, their hashtag #everydaymadewell is extremely popular on Instagram.
Remember the following tips when you create your next UGC Campaign:
- Create a specific hashtag that your customers can use and so all your user-generated content stays in one place.
- Add your UGC hashtag feed to your website so that your website visitors can find your Instagram and UGC content easily.
- Make sure your product is Instagrammable. Remember how Coca Cola added names to their bottles.
- Put the spotlight on your customers, not on your products.
- Make the campaign mutually beneficial by offering your contributors some kind of incentive.
- Set some rules, but eliminate barriers to entry
- Don’t pause your own content. Keep them flowing.
Millennials trust User Generated advertising 50% more than traditional marketing messages. And if this is not a good reason to start a UGC campaign now, Shopify claims that User Generated advertising receives four times higher click-through rates versus any other type of marketing.
Instagram Growth Hack # 5: Use Instagram Ads and Stories
Once you’ve set up your business profile on Instagram, and have decided how much you want to spend on Instagram marketing, Instagram offers a variety of targeting options, so you can choose the ones that best suit your business’ needs – Instagram Ads and Stories for instance.
Running your own Instagram ad campaign isn’t that difficult after all, and the easiest way to run ads is by boosting your best performing posts by hitting the “promote” button. Instagram will automatically pull together a “similar audience” with whom you can share the post to, but simultaneously, you can also create your own audience in the app by choosing the required demographics.
The best Instagram Ads, which drive eCommerce sales are the ones which clearly explain how to make a purchase.
The best Instagram Ads which drive eCommerce sales are the ones which clearly explain how to make a purchase. – Tweet This!
Take @thebouqsco for instance. They use “Shop now and save” as their CTA in the caption followed by a short description of the offer. They also use “Shop Now” as a call to action for the button text to encourage users to make that purchase.
The ad makes it pretty clear on what they are offering without any distractions by keeping their messaging quite simple.
Instagram released advertising in Stories, offering brands a paid opportunity to expand their network and reach more people. Instagram Stories are immersive, and act as full-screen ads allowing your brand to use targeting that makes your ads personally relevant to the people you want to reach out to.
While photo ads will likely retain their top spot well into 2019, statistics show that Instagram Story ads will see the most growth. These ads pop up in between Instagram Stories of accounts you follow and can make a large impact on potential customers.
Coach used Instagram to tell a story around their Parker bag. They start with getting their fans excited for the weekend. Then they highlight their bag and follow it up with a clear call to action to “Swipe up to shop.”
Rei on the other hand offers a solution to everyday problems through their Stories. Their Instagram Story was on time since the winter season makes outdoor running conditions comparatively tougher for runners in North America, where the majority of REI’s customer base is located.
Instagram Stories have become a great way for businesses to make deep and long lasting connections with their followers and show off their brand’s personality. You can also create Instagram Stories with product links like Uniqlo below:
This is a huge Instagram trend right now and can help you grow your email list, sell more products, drive traffic, and much more.
Instagram Growth Hack #6: Build Shoppable Instagram Feed
Shopify’s shopping feature integration has become a huge win for small and medium size eCommerce businesses on Instagram. According to Shopify and TechCrunch, “Instagram is already a ‘significant’ driver of Shopify merchant store traffic, so being able to convert said traffic right on the platform instead of round-tripping could result in a big boost of additional sales.”
The platform’s shopping feature lets businesses tag saleable products and allows users to purchase them directly within the app.
Some Shopify plugins like the Shoppable Instagram Galleries makes it easier to do this. The Instant Purchases feature leads visitors to add items to their carts and buy the products directly from Instagram images on your feed. Businesses can also create a custom gallery to showcase their products and add the gallery’s link to their Instagram bio.
In the example below, the retailer directs users through post captions and Instagram Stories:
If you’re a small business or medium size business, looking for an alternative solution to drive traffic from Instagram, using a feature like Linkin.bio might work quite well for you. With Linkin.bio, you can send your followers anywhere by linking your Instagram posts to specific product pages, blog posts, or websites.
Some things to remember before you plan to get the most out of your Shoppable Instagram posts are:
- Create high-quality product images
- Showcase your products as part of a lifestyle
- Curate UGC
- Educate or entertain your audience
- Use product videos wherever applicable
- Experiment with product stickers in Stories
Instagram Growth Hack #7: Leverage a third-party tool
Sometimes for new businesses, growing and increasing a highly-targeted following quickly seems impossible if they had to do everything manually. And hence, at times it might be wiser to use some of the super convenient Instagram marketing tools to understand your audience, create a content pipeline and make sure your Instagram posts went out as planned.
Many Instagram marketers and eCommerce owners use third-party tools so they can focus on other important things while their account continues to grow. You can consider the following third party tools as part of your Instagram growth hack strategy.
- Kicksta: Kicksta, for example, is an Instagram growth service that helps you get more organic followers. And it is rather simple: You sign up, define to Kicksta who your target audience is, and then the tool uses your account to begin engaging with people who might be interested in your company. And before you even know it, many of those users will start following you back. Kicksta saves you time and this growth hack increases your brand awareness and gets you more followers. It also provides you with a dashboard so you can figure out what’s working.
- Ritetag: RiteTag allows you to right click on any image or text, and then instantly gives you a list of hashtag suggestions based on real time hashtag engagement. It is helpful in finding the right hashtags to get your products/posts discovered. With RiteTag, you have a simple solution for finding non-obvious trending hashtags in 28 languages that boost the reach of your posts and grow your Insta-following.
- Grum: Unlike other popular social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn Instagram’s biggest drawback is that this marketing channel doesn’t allow you to schedule posts. Well, not anymore! Grum is the only popular tool that allows you to schedule posts to go out automatically – without any manual intervention.
There also are some Shopify apps – which you can explore – that can help you to increase your sales.
Instagram Growth Hack #8: Use the right Hashtags
One of the best ways for your brand to gain traction on Instagram and reach all the right people is to master the art of the hashtag.
Hashtags are a great way of putting your brand in front of millions of people. However, it’s important to not use too many hashtags in your posts, which can make them look spammy.
The key thing to remember with hashtags is, it is better to focus on a handful of highly targeted, and trafficked hashtags. This increases the chance of the right people seeing your products. By carefully choosing your hashtags, you can ensure that the people finding your posts are in your target demographic.
One simple trick to find great hashtags is to see which ones influencers in your niche are using. But at the same time, keep in mind that many of these hashtags may have millions of posts, and in choosing these, there’s a fair chance your post will end up getting buried in all these posts. Try to find hashtags that are used by influencers and receive a lot of attention, but watch out for the ones that might be used too much at the same time
For example, the hashtag #summerwear currently has more than 406 million posts:
So, if summer clothing is your niche, this might not be the best hashtag to use since it already has 524K posts. In that case, it’s better to get a little more specific. Take #summerfloraldress. With less than 100 posts and counting, this could be a bit more targeted than #summerwear and could attract a certain type of audience in your geography.
When choosing your hashtags, think about your specific niche, and build your hashtag selection around that. This is better than simply using any old popular hashtags.
Instagram Growth Hack # 9: Master Storytelling and Instagram Captions
Storytelling is powerful, and when it comes to brands, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. As humans, our brains are wired for a story, instantly connecting us to them. By capturing and sharing the right stories, you can take your target audience on a beautiful journey helping you to form a personal connection with your audience. Telling stories through your brand’s Instagram profile can help your account grow.
We often tend to neglect captions when composing an Instagram post. In order to get the filters and hashtags right, it can be easy to forget that text plays an important role, too. The power of text cannot be underestimated on a social media network dedicated to pictures. Your Instagram is another integral part of any Instagram post. A caption can make or break a post. If you have a compelling image but lacks a strong caption, your post may not do too well. So this is an area you definitely need to pay attention to. A good caption can relate to the user.
The first step to getting this a bit right is to understand your market. When you understand your market, you get one step closer to creating content that will speak to them. If you believe in something and can find a way to express that through your brand, do it. Look at IKEA’s message in the post below:
Or it could be a simple message like the retailer below. Apartment Therapy has been doing a fantastic job in this area with captions that relate to a specific emotion without making too much effort.
Captions can also serve as your CTA. That doesn’t however mean that you need to pitch a product in every post. You can encourage people to interact with your brand in other ways, like visiting your website or checking out a video.
Sometimes, you may want to let your image do all the talking. That’s okay too. Your caption should add value to your image/post so if it doesn’t, then maybe it’s best to leave it out.
Instagram Growth Hack #10: Run Sales Campaigns
Different kinds of sales campaigns like giveaways, contests, and discount codes — all of these can be used as Instagram growth hacks because of the simple reason that all these can help you grow your account. Let’s look at each type of sales campaign and discuss the best way to execute them.
Contests: In a contest, your users typically have to perform an action such as liking one of your photos, tagging friends, or following your account in order to have the opportunity to win. Some brands also run contests where fans have to post a photo in order to enter. Doing contests is a great way to encourage UGC. You could run a contest where your followers have to share a picture of themselves holding a product. Contests like this have a massive reach. Instagram accounts that hold contests grow 70 per cent faster.
Giveaways: To enter giveaways, your followers should be required to do something that will help get your brand in front of more eyes. So, make sure not to giveaway freebies randomly.
Discount Codes: Discount codes help boost engagement on your Instagram profile and can lead to more traffic through word-of-mouth and referrals. Consider running a one-day-only HALF PRICE sale for a certain product, or offer seasonal or SPECIAL DAY discount codes and encourage your followers to tag friends and spread the word.
Bonus Growth Hack Tip for Instagram: Use Videos sparingly
A study shows that the time spent on watching videos online has gone up more than 80 percent year-on-year. And compared to last year, four times as many videos are being uploaded to Instagram every day. Hence, it is safe to say that the demand for video content continues to grow, and videos in Instagram Stories are equally popular. It all boils down to the fact that the more videos you put up there, the more you grow your account.
There are different ways in which you can post videos on Instagram – in your feed, on Instagram Stories, and on IGTV. In these videos, you can talk about your products, tell your brand story, and use curated User-Generated Content (UGC). People also enjoy video tutorials or how-to videos, which are particularly popular within the beauty, food, and fitness industries.
Moreover, with Instagram Stories, you also have the option to start a live stream. This can be a great way to announce the launch of a new product.
As you plan a video strategy, remember to produce content that makes people feel something. This could be a funny video, an inspiring video that motivates your users, or an educational and informative one. The type of video content you post should also be relevant to your niche; but should overall ensure that your videos leave viewers feeling some kind of an emotion. It is these videos that are more likely get the most views and shares.
Figuring out how to sell more on Instagram takes practice before you can determine what works best for your business. Following these ten tips will make the process a whole lot easier by eliminating a lot of the guesswork. While learning how to sell on Instagram can be a little intimidating at first, once you get a hang of it, it’s a lot easier than it seems. Just make sure that no matter what you do, make cheerleaders out of your customers. After all, happy customers make a happy brand!