Human beings are highly visual, therefore visual marketing is so effective. 90% of information sent to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. No wonder we see so much visual content being published online every day! Instagram is the social media platform with the hugest unused potential these days. It’s not over-crowded with marketers yet, not yet over-monetized. You don’t see ads everywhere when you login. (It’s actually the smoothest experience for the user!) Lots of models, foodies, moms, photographers, etc. have taken over the site: Instagram has become a solid independent career path for so many… But the marketing applications are still unclear for many people who haven’t quite figured out how to best utilize the platform’s unique features. Instagram is one of the most efficient visual marketing platforms, but it’s also the hardest one. It’s hard to stand out on Instagram (every other account there publishes something awesome!) and it’s even harder to convert: How to get people act if you can’t even link? Non-profits are among the earliest and the most successful Instagram adopters. Let them teach us a few Instagram lessons! #1. Force Viewers To Empathize Empathy is a powerful force, one that can bring even the most different people together. the ability to put ourselves in another’s shoes and feel for them remains one of the greatest strengths of humanity that is too often lost in us. Non-profits often use forced empathy to gain attention and visibility, and to push people to act. For example, this photo with a touching and personalized caption (sharing the dog’s name) is a great example of empathy: It sparked a heated debate that spanned across many personal pages, official pages, and groups. Empathy drew a crowd that couldn’t help but participate in the discussion despite not usually interested in the issue. #2. Use Hashtags That Provoke Action Hashtag marketing is pretty standard across Instagram now. While experts used to warn against saturating posts with too many hashtags in a single description, Instagram is where you can rest assured that hashtags won’t annoy anyone. Hashtags have become a norm and a special slang there. When choosing the hashtags to include in your description, select those that are directly related to your campaign. People searching those tags are probably interested in acting! Cyfe is a multi-purpose hashtag marketing solution that can help you discover related hashtags, monitor hashtag context, keep an eye on how your competitors use hashtags and watch your Instagram stats: all in the same place. I use Twitter and Google Plus widgets on Cyfe to get more context for hashtags and I use Instagram widget to watch the progress. I also have my Google Analytics “goals” widget on the same dashboard to track Instagram conversions as well. Cyfe works best for me because it supports multiple Instagram accounts, so I can watch both my personal and my business accounts there: #3. Make Leads Conversions Through CTA’s There are two possible ways to call to action on Instagram. One is the newly-launched Instagram CTA solution (available to Instagram advertisers). The other one is incorporating calls-to-action into your visual content (without sounding too salesy). This is where you can learn from nonprofits: Their call-to-action are perfect! [For example, post timely calls to action: Combine a holiday with the action!] You may want to consider having a specific page linked in your profile that goes to Instagram specials. It gets past the problem of not being able to link to the product itself, and makes the CTA more powerful and relevant. You can also direct them to PM you for information on making the purchase, though keep in mind how much extra work this could cause. It is best for very small businesses where there will be fewer inquiries. Or big businesses that have enough funding to hire people to manage the messages coming through the account. #4. Utilize the Power of Influencers and Visual Quotes Visual quoting is a powerful content marketing tactic, and not just on Instagram. You can market your visual quotes on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr: When done well, they work like a charm everywhere. Visual quotes build trust by association: And trust provokes action. Here are lots of image editing tools to create and market awesome visual quotes. #5. Add Loyalty-Building Print Products to Your Marketing Strategy Instagram is a perfect way to market your flyers, gift cards, calendars, and catalogs. Consider providing print products that build loyalty. Building up that product line is not at all hard or expensive. Budget-friendly services like PrintMePoster custom posters, Square gift cards and Minted calendars are just a few easy-to-use low-priced platform allowing to build, print and ship your loyalty-building products. All you need is to come up with a catchy message! Takeaways and Final Thoughts: How to Build Instagram Presence? Create convincing nice looking images that provoke emotion rather than action Provide good content consistently: 3-4 times a week To ensure consistency, use Instagram scheduling tools Try to schedule Instagram updates to around 5 pm. It’s believed the best time to post to the visual platform. Additionally, use tools to determine your own best time to Intagram. Here’s mine: Research related memes, events, local events, etc and find specific hashtags that can drive action and awareness Keep an eye on your competitors: Take note of hashtags they are using and the campaigns they are building. No need to replicate someone else’s tactics (You want to stand out!) but keep an eye on what’s working Try Instagram ads: They work best in combination with Facebook advertising Read and interact more than you post, especially at that start. Not only will it help you to build up your initial following, but also it will help you better understand Instagram marketing: What its users best react to, what they like to interact with, etc Use visual marketing tools to create custom images: Canva lets you create templates, so you can save time building new visuals after you build up some content over time. Are there any non-profits you are following on Instagram? Please share in the comments! Images: Author’s Own ______________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. 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