Instagram marketing has become one of the most popular promotion strategies on social media. One billion people use the network every month (one in eight people on the whole planet), and 71% of users are under the age of 35. This channel is young, engaging, and highly-visual. 

The massive size and visual-focus of Instagram can be off-putting for some brands that want to use the platform but don’t know where to start. Your brick-and-mortar business can have a successful Instagram marketing campaign if you put effort into what you post. Follow this guide to grow your following. 

1. Share Instagram Stories Along With Posts

Don’t limit your Instagram presence to simple posts. Instagram stories have become increasingly popular and allow you to stay at the top of the page throughout the day. 

There are multiple ways you can build stories into your marketing:

  • Give different employees access to the account to be an “Ambassador for the Day”
  • Share updates at an event to let people see what they’re missing out on
  • Post sale items and product samples to show people what you have on offer

Even creating a well-designed graphic about a weekend discount can increase your Instagram engagement and be just as effective (if not more) than a static post. 

2. Add 8-12 Relevant Hashtags to Your Post

Hashtags are how people find you on Instagram. People follow specific tags and search hashtags to see information. By using specific hashtags, you’re joining the community and becoming part of the conversation.  

Instagram is a hashtag-heavy platform, and it’s okay to use several different tags and themes when you post. In fact, some studies have found that you can add more than 12 hashtags to your post without seeing drops in engagement. If you don’t want a paragraph of hashtags on your post, you can always leave a comment after you post with your relevant tags. 

If you don’t know what to post, it’s okay. Tools like Hashtagify share word clouds of relevant tags that you can add to increase engagement. 

3. Provide Real Insights and Updates About Your Business

Instagram users aren’t interested in just promotional pieces. They follow your brand because they like it and want to learn more about you. Fill this void! 

Go behind the scenes at your business, share what makes you unique, and post about your staff. This makes your account more approachable and engaging than brands that just want customers to buy something with every post. 

4. Follow People in Your Target Audience

How do you expect to build a large following if you’re not following others in your community? Start by following a few other brands in your area that you like. For example, you can follow local non-profits, media outlets, and public figures. 

Then, start tracking local hashtags. For example, if your brand is in Nashville, you can follow people from there who enjoy posting about the city. Many of these accounts will likely follow you back, allowing you to build relationships while growing your influence.   

5. Tag Local Brands and Companies That You Work With

This is a simple tip, but it is effective. Tag your vendors, your partners, and your neighbors and give them shout outs from your account. If you get your produce from a local farm, tag that farm. 

Not only will these accounts likely tag you back in the future, they can also share your post now so their fans can see your brand and follow you as well. 

6. Use Instagram to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

Instagram can be a valuable traffic driver to your brick-and-mortar business, but it can also bring people to your blog. Set up a couple of posts each month to promote your blog, and link to it on your profile page. Share an engaging image and describe what the content is about. 

Pro Tip: You can track the effectiveness of these posts through Google Analytics, under Acquisition > Social > Overview.

This traffic can drive your other marketing efforts. With more people on your page, Google can pick up behavioral analytics like bounce rate and time on site. If these metrics are favorable, then you could see a rise in your SEO rankings. 

7. Tap Into Influencer Marketing

If you have the budget to work with local influencers in your area, consider paying local bloggers, vloggers, and people with large followings to promote your brand. 

They can recommend your products and visit your store, tagging you and encouraging others to visit. This is a great way to get in front of new audiences and tap into highly trustworthy word of mouth marketing.  

8. Share Fan Photos and Tag Your Fans

Once your Instagram account starts growing, you can start to share fan content that people upload. Follow location tags for your business and your store hashtags to see if people are posting about your brand. 

Share this user-generated content and tag your fans thanking them for the share. This is a great way to reward existing customers through Instagram marketing. 

9. Offer Instagram Exclusive Offers

Why should your customers follow you on Instagram over any other social media channel? It’s up to you to give them a reason. 

Post exclusive content that they wouldn’t see on Facebook or Twitter and share offers and promo items that are unique to this platform. These special offers also make it easy to track your social media success rate, as you can count the number of redeemed offers in-store. This will give you an idea for your Instagram conversion rate and overall value for the platform.  

10. Listen and Comment Just as Much As You Post

Social media is just as much about listening as it is about posting. Become part of the Instagram community. Let people know that there is a face behind your account, comment on other posts, make fun comments, and listen to others. 

This will let you create a real presence online that people will be attracted to. 

Improve Your Instagram Marketing Efforts

Your social media presence can drive customers into your brick-and-mortar business. It can grow your sales and make your company sustainable – you just need to know where to start. 

Use these Instagram marketing tips to start building a presence for your brand on this popular platform. Then, take it one step further. Learn how to bring you online social media in your store. 

Read our guide on how to integrate social media into the in-store experience to get tips on how to get customers and shoppers to find, follow, and engage with your social platforms while visiting your brick-and-mortar location.