How to Turn Your Instagram Followers Into Paying Customers

If you want your Instagram profile to help you increase sales and grow your business, you have to treat your Instagram followers as if they are all prospects and make them want to buy your products.

1. Offer Value

To grab prospect’s attention and increase your chances of converting them to a paying (and loyal) customer, you need to offer value in two key places in your Instagram profile – in your bio and on your feed. Tell the prospective qualified audience why they should follow your content and the benefit it will offer them.

Give them a lead magnet with the link in your bio. (You can change the link as needed to go along with any offer you’re currently running.) This way, they know immediately, what’s in it for them if they decide to follow you and will boost your conversions in turn.

The posts you share on Instagram should also be filled with value. You achieve this by focusing on your unique selling proposition, or the biggest thing that makes you different from the competition and post valuable content based on that.

Another way you can offer value is to create Instagram exclusive content – that is content you don’t share on your other social media channels. Use it to reveal new products, so your followers feel special.

Use it to create an offer, such as a discount code, that you don’t release anywhere else. Launch your product or event live on Instagram, and then post the replay later on your other networks, to encourage people who follow you on other channels to follow you on Instagram, too.

2. Make Your Account About Your Audience – Not You

If the account is about you and the sales you need or want to make, your audience will feel it. If you’re lucky enough to keep the followers in the first place, chances are most of them will ignore you. Otherwise, many of them will just unfollow your account.

This means taking time to focus on what your audience needs from you, and what you can do to meet those needs. Be different from most brands that focus on their products and services. Focus on your target market instead, and you’ll be giving them value while also standing apart from what the competition is doing.

3. Engage With Your Followers

Engaging with your followers is critical for your success on social media because it shows them you’re building a two-way relationship with them. You’re listening, and you care. There are several ways you can do this.

First, make sure you’re taking the time to reply to any comments people leave on your posts. It takes a few seconds to like a photo, but taking the time to leave a comment is important because everyone’s time is valuable. If you don’t respond, your audience knows you’re not paying attention, and doesn’t have much motivation to continue reaching out to you with comments.

Take the time to ask questions. Have a conversation around your big idea. This builds trust and lets your followers know you’re looking to build relationships – not just make sales. When you ask questions, they’ll be much more likely to engage – especially if you’ve set a precedent by replying to the comments they make.

4. Make it Easy for Them to Buy Your Products

Most of the time, if people have to go through multiple steps to be able to buy your products, they’re just not going to do it. That’s why you should take advantage of the fact that you can now tag your products in Instagram photos, and people can click to buy from you without ever having to leave the Instagram platform. Super easy for them means more likely sales for you.

Your account must first be approved for shopping on Instagram, which means you must sell physical, tangible products. (If you sell services, you can change out the link in your bio as often as you need to, changing your landing pages based on the current specials and deals you’re running and direct people to the link in your bio in your caption.)

You must connect your Instagram business profile to a Facebook catalog. You can either connect to an existing Facebook catalog or use a catalog on Business Manager account that owns the Facebook Page linked to your Instagram business account.

From there, you’ll either need to create a new catalog with products or connect to the existing catalog you want to use for shopping on Instagram.

From there, you’ll be able to tag any products in the catalog in the photos they appear in, so people can click and buy. You can tag up to five products per single image post, or 20 products in a multi-image post – and use one product sticker per story. You can use the sticker with highlights, videos, and swipe up.

Ultimately, all it takes to be successful and build an engaged audience of followers who are willing to become customers is to be authentic and meet their needs. The second you make your social activity about your company and not about your audience, that’s the second you fail.

When you act from a place of concern for your audience and a desire to help them meet their needs, that’s when you will be able to earn trust and build the necessary relationships to earn revenue from Instagram.

8 Tips for Writing the Perfect Instagram Bio

Building a presence on Instagram takes a lot of time and dedication. It also requires a great deal of strategy. Everything from the types of photos you create to the time of day you post them makes a difference.

There are ways to get a jumpstart on developing a successful account, but knowing and implementing proven strategies will help you reach your online marketing goals.

1. Visually Identify Yourself

Consistent branding is important across social media. Branding is the way in which your followers identify you. It’s comprised of a number of components that portray your message and who you are.

Visual branding is achieved through numerous design strategies, from your logo to the stylistic theme of your photos. Try to incorporate visual elements into your bio so that it is instantly recognizable. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to use your company logo as your profile picture.

A logo is a visual representation of your brand and can be used in many ways to create consistency throughout your marketing.

2. Use a Strategic Link

Instagram only allows you to post one link in your bio, so it’s imperative that you use it wisely. Consider your marketing goals and the best ways to implement them.

It may make sense to link to the homepage of your website so that your Instagram followers can get a get a general sense of what you have to offer. However, that’s not the only option, nor is it the one that may be right for your needs. Perhaps you want to link to a particular landing page that gives more in-depth information about one aspect of your company or that shares a current promotion.

Another option is to link to a specific product page or giveaway URL. The beautiful thing about your bio link is that it can change as needed. A popular strategy is to direct followers through your post to follow a specific link in your bio.

3. Add a Call to Action

Speaking of giving your followers direction, you should do so throughout your content, as well as in your bio. A simple call to action (CTA) will let your audience know what action you’d like them to take. It can also encourage engagement. People generally take well to such gentle suggestions.

It doesn’t have to be salesy or over-the-top. Simply add a statement suggesting folks visit a particular page and link it in your bio. You’ll probably see a favorable response.

4. Each Word Counts

Another aspect of branding involves the tone you use in your copy. The words you use matter, especially in a limited space such as your Instagram bio. Therefore, be sure to think carefully about how you want to portray your business.

Use a tone that reflects your brand, such as trendy, upbeat, serious, educational or fun. Take time to reflect on your choices to be sure you’ve written a bio description that fits your brand and tells visitors what they need to know.

5. Include the Most Important Information

Your bio truly is the place where people are likely to go first in order to learn about your business. These days, they often head to Instagram before even Googling a company. Therefore, you absolutely must include the most important information in this space.

There’s no room or time for fluff. Visitors will scan this area and get the information they need in an instant. Ask yourself what your most important message is. What’s your purpose, and where do you excel? How can you alleviate your customer’s pain point? What makes you stand out?

6. Make Your Bio Searchable

Keywords are important even in your Instagram bio. SEO, or search engine optimization,  helps search engine visitors to find you. You never know who may come across your profile when searching for what it is you do best.

Including SEO-friendly terms that precisely describe your product or service will get you in front of more eyes, increasing your chances of gaining loyal followers and making sales.

7. Don’t Forget the Hashtags

Hashtags are essential to Instagram use. They help users find you, and now you can incorporate them into your bio. That’s great news because it sets a precedent the minute a user stumbles upon your account.

You can use popular hashtags that are most relevant to your business to help folks find you, but it’s also a good idea to create a custom hashtag just for your business as a means of visible branding.

Placing this custom tag in your bio allows new followers to associate this visual with your brand.

8. Use Whitespace to Your Advantage

As with any copy such as advertising and blog posts, formatting is important in your Instagram bio. People have gotten quite used to scanning online content. They’re busy and in a hurry. That’s why you want to make it as easy as possible for them to discover your message when viewing your bio.

They should be able to take a quick glimpse at your copy and come away with a general idea of what you’re all about. This isn’t possible if you try to squeeze your total allotted word count into one long paragraph. Instead, make it gentle on the eyes by breaking things up.

You can whitespace simply by adding extra actual spaces between lines. Asterisks or emojis are also fun ways to give your words a little breathing room, as long as these fit with your brand style. Bulleted lists are always good, as well.

Hopefully, these tips will have you feeling confident and ready to write your own stellar Instagram bio. Taking some extra time, planning and strategy in this area will pay off big in the long run.

The 12 Funniest Brands on Instagram You Should Be Following

Social media can be a fickle place. It’s tough to know what’s going to be a hit with your audience or what will attract new followers. One thing that seems to be quite popular and shared frequently is humor.

If you can use it strategically and tastefully, there’s a good chance these types of posts can really take you far. People love to share funny stuff, and humorous posts are often quick to go viral and helps brands boost their conversions.

To get some pointers, check out these 12 funny brands on Instagram.

1. The Honest Company

The Honest Company is a baby product brand that prides itself on, well, its honesty. Their products are good for the environment and ethically manufactured. Their approach to humor is simple.

Among adorable images of babies and their own products, The Honest Company Instagram feed is sprinkled with inspirational, funny and relatable sayings about parenthood and family. They even throw some inspirational quotes in for good measure. People identify with these sayings and respond favorably to the brand.

2. Taco Bell

Taco Bell takes a novel approach to their Instagram use, and it’s proven to work quite well. Their images are colorful and eye-catching, but may not strike you as humorous at first. It’s when you take a closer look and read the captions that you’re in for a belly laugh.

These one-liners are pithy and succinct, yet usually strike with humor that’s relevant to their audience. They go all out with creativity, even soliciting the participation of their followers at times. We can all learn a lot by examining Taco Bell’s clever use of captions.

3. Old Spice

Old Spice has sprinted its way to Instagram stardom and social media popularity in general with its hysterical new image. They’ve rebranded themselves in recent years with wildly beloved television commercials featuring Terry Crews and Isaiah Mustafa.

The brand has springboarded that popularity into their social media campaigns and is quite well-followed on Instagram. Their corny, yet quirky, edge is one that users have come to recognize and to  seek in droves.

Old Spice uses video, along with several of Instagram’s newest features, to prove they’re not afraid of innovation. Don’t be afraid to show your true, weird personality if it fits your brand image and audience.

4. Denny’s

Denny’s is the iconic family restaurant chain that’s been around for since the 1950’s. If their use of social media is any indication, they’re proving to be able to remain current through the decades. Check out their Instagram profile, and you’ll see innovative use of the platform’s reliance on sharp visuals. They use photoshop to create unusual imagery that makes you do a double-take.

The humor is usually an interplay between the clever graphic and witty caption to provide an experience their followers seem to love. Denny’s shows you can push the envelope just enough to remain relevant and tasteful, yet humorous to a wide audience.

5. Arby’s

Arby’s, the roast beef joint we all know and love, has had a social media turnaround of sorts. They’re showing how a brand can truly find and cater to its niche.

Check out their Instagram feed, and you’ll see image after image of unique art crafted out of paper to represent pop culture figures. Arby’s uses these creations to speak to a very specific audience in ways only they might understand, it’s proving to be incredibly well-received. They’re going for the “geek” crowd, those who are into anime, science fiction, video games and more.

And it’s working! These crowds eat it up, no pun intended, and they seem to love the inside jokes the brand is able to deliver. This just goes to show the ways in which brands must be ready to evolve to meet the needs of their audience.

6. Totino’s

You can see Totino’s humor before even viewing their content. Just check out their bio, where they list their name as “Pete Zaroll.” Get it? Pizza roll! That’s funny.

Totino’s claim to social media fame is actually their meme game. They pay attention to what’s trending with regard to the latest meme and then incorporate their own version of the trends. The results are hilarious and loved by many.

7. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club is the afford, quality razor club that everyone seems to be raving about lately. Not only do they offer a popular service, their social media presence is pretty likable, too. They stick to their brand and have developed a voice that’s easily identifiable. Much of their humor is corny or revolves around puns.

They stick with a comic theme related to grooming, with an acceptable smidge of bathroom humor thrown in for good measure. Sometimes you should just go with what you know, rather than trying to be hip and trendy.

8. JetBlue

JetBlue has developed a consistent Instagram following with their tried and true clever approach to humor. Their signature move is to use simple graphics and infographics infused with subtle humor to hook their audience, while delivering consistent and useful sales information.

It’s quite genius, really. You might also enjoy the beautiful travel photography they feature.

9. MTV

MTV is a classic when it comes to pioneering visual spaces. It should come as no surprise that they’d be great on social media. Their visual branding is young and vibrant, with funny memes thrown in for good measure.

The brand definitely gears its humor toward a specific, modern audience. They speak to their core demographic, which is a golden rule of digital marketing.

10. Pabst Blue Ribbon

Pabst Blue Ribbon is a beer brand that’s long been loved for its affordability. The brand knows its strength and embraces it. You can definitely see this in their approach to humor, and it’s fabulous.

Pabst embraces their followers, which these days seem to be hipsters who love cheap beer. They cater to this group with the images they choose of concerts, nightlife and young people, along with some goofy gags showcasing cans of their beer.

11. Skittles

Skittles definitely shows their personality with their Instagram presence. The candy brand’s approach to humor is zany and silly, totally appropriate for its youthful demographic.

Most of their content features actual photos of their candy being used in some dramatic or unique way. So it’s not all about the middle school humor. There is some real thought and ingenuity throw in, as well.

12. Oreo

Oreo has gained a reputation of being on top of current events and addressing them head on. Sometimes they do this with a serious or inspirational perspective, when the occasion calls for such.

But there are other circumstances where you can count on the cookie giant to come through with something hilarious. In addition to current events, Oreo is up on their pop culture. Look for graphics featuring the most relevant trends, with their iconic cookies displayed in prominent, unexpected ways.

There you have it. These are a dozen brands that each have a unique approach to humor that their Instagram fans flock to. See which of their lessons you can incorporate into your brand’s identity.

10 Proven Methods for Boosting Conversions on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most widely used social media platforms, and as such, is one of the best marketing channels for brands. Many large brands are using the platform everyday to connect with their customers and make sales.

The unique photo-sharing platform gives businesses the chance to create one-of-a-kind opportunities to engage with their customers and increase brand awareness and visibility.

While it’s likely you’re doing everything you can to strengthen your presence on Instagram, but here are a few tips to help you increase your conversions and boost sales from the social channel.

1. Connect with Influencers

Influencers are the people on Instagram who have an established audience – and the audience is similar to the one you’re going after.

Their followers look to them for, and trust their product and service recommendations. Spend time cultivating relationships with influencers in your niche that have high engagement rates – not necessarily large audience sizes.

2. Invest in Ads

Advertising on Instagram is one of the best ways to reach a new, yet targeted audience. The investment is worth it, but can make an especially large difference if your brand or business is still in its infancy.

You can plan your ads in such a manner that you reach customers who are most likely to be interested in your products. You can include a Shop Now button that takes users to a category or a product page.

3. Use Retargeting Campaigns

To make your Instagram ads even more effective, you can use retargeting to engage people who’ve already been to your website.

These people have already expressed interest in whatever your brand provides, so retargeting them helps keep your brand at the front of their mind. You can set the retargeting campaigns to advertise to people who’ve left your website without making a purchase.

4. Show Products in Action

High quality images can do a certain bit to show off your products, but they generally aren’t enough to drive sales. Use video posts, too, of course, but beyond that, showcase the experience of using your products.

Tell a story with the photos and videos, and make the most of your caption space. Describe the textures of the material if you sell clothes. Include recipes if you sell ingredients, and so on.

5. Make Your Instagram Shoppable

This makes it easier for people to buy the products they see in your images, which will of course boost conversions. There are several ways to do this – the easiest one creating a Facebook product catalog and linking Facebook to Instagram.

6. Vary the Link in Your Bio

As you run different campaigns on Instagram, you should change the link in your bio to the appropriate landing page. This, aside from Stories, is the only place you can put a link.

You can also use space in your bio to provide a call to action. Tell people where to go and what to do next, and you’ll likely see an increase in your conversion rate.

7. Go Live on Instagram

Rather than just showing your products in photos, you can use the Instagram Live video feature to show your products in action. Sephora, for example, uses the platform to do product demonstrations so their fans can see exactly what they’re getting before they buy it, which makes it easier for them to shop when they’re ready.

This is meant as an expansion of tip number 4 – because you don’t want all of your live videos and other content to be about your products. You should also use the platform to show your company culture.

8. Share User-Generated Content

User-generated content comes from reposting people who use your products and services taking photos or video and sharing it across social media. It’s another form of word-of-mouth advertising that can help grow your business. Your existing customers are creating content that shows your product, which you then share with your audience.

Some people may not share images of your product without you encouraging them to do so. One of the best ways to do this is to offer an incentive for their content, such as a chance to win a prize if they post photos that feature your product or hashtag.

Whenever you share any kind of user-generated content, make sure you give appropriate credit to the person who created the original photos, as they will appreciate the shout out.

This fosters a deeper connection with the people who are already your customers, while serving as social proof for the people who may still have doubts.

9. Use Hashtags

Instagram hashtags are a great tool for discovery. They help you expand your audience, but they can also be used to boost conversions. Do some hashtag research to find popular hashtags that are relevant to your niche and create a branded hashtag for each of your promotions.

You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, but you shouldn’t try too hard to max them out with every post.

10. Host Giveaways

Running a contest is a great way to build buzz about your brand, and get your products in the hands of people who will use them and talk about it. But before you decide to post about a give away, do some planning. This way, you’ll be able to track the buzz you generate, and determine how well your efforts pay off.

Using all of these tips as part of your Instagram strategy will most definitely increase your conversion rates. If you don’t notice a boost over time, take a look at your analytics to see if there are adjustments you can make to the time and frequency of your posts.

If it still doesn’t work the way you want, study your competition a bit more and work on boosting your overall engagement rates.

5 Rules to Follow When Reposting on Instagram

Instagram is a great network for connecting with your audience, and if your business is just getting started, it can be a bit overwhelming to learn the ropes. Sometimes, it can be difficult to have your own original content when you’re a brand new account, so that’s why it’s a good idea to learn the etiquette associated with regramming.

One of the most common reasons to regram a photo on Instagram is because an influencer or customer has created and shared content about your brand.

Whether it’s because of a collaboration you started, a sponsored post you paid for, or an organic mention, there aren’t too many issues with using someone else’s image, as long as you remember to follow these rules, and consider that you don’t own the content – even in cases when you brand is mentioned or featured.

1. Always Give Credit

There’s a fine line between sharing someone else’s content and stealing it. Instagram doesn’t have a native sharing feature like you see on Facebook and Twitter. It’s not because they don’t want you to do it – but it’s because they want everything to be shared in “this instant” and re-sharing others content takes away from that.

That said, there are a few different ways you can do it, but you should always give credit back to the original poster, because it is their content – not yours.

You can do this by tagging the original account in the caption of your regram. It can be as simple as “Credit: @username” or, you can work into a sentence like, “We love this photo by @username.”

2. Ask for Permission

While most people won’t mind that you regrammed their content with credit back to them, it’s still a good idea to ask them for permission. This way, you’re completely covered legally.

When you come across a photo you want to regram on your own account, comment and simply ask. All you have to say is, “We love this photo! Can we repost it?” or, “Thanks for sharing our brand/product/service. Can we regram your photo?” Ask however you want, as long as you remain kind.

Wait for the account to respond with yes before you add the photo to your queue for regramming. If the person says no, respect that and move on.

3. Make it Clear It’s a Regram

Attribution should be enough to let your audience know your photo is a regram of someone else’s, but it’s always best to make sure your followers know this content did not originate with you. Use hashtags like #regram and #repost, too.

That way it is very clear you are not stealing other people’s work. When they see that you’re crediting another person with their work, they will be more apt to submit user-generated content for you to share.

You can even use it as a chance to invite people to submit content to you for that purpose. You can say something like, “Want your photo featured on our Instagram? Tag it with #brandhashtag for a chance to be included.” Then, monitor the hashtag for photos, and reach out to ask permission for the ones you want to use. You could make it a weekly feature if you get enough interest.

4. Don’t Edit from the Original

If possible, avoid making any edits to the original, because it’s not your work and you don’t want to change it in anyway. You can make minor edits like cropping the photo slightly, but too much and it becomes a different work – one that you’re stealing, since it’s not really something you can give credit back to the original poster for because it’s so different from the original.

If you feel the need to edit something before you regram it, then you probably should just skip regramming it in the first place.

5. Don’t Only Regram Other People’s Content

While it’s okay to regram other people’s content from time to time, it’s not acceptable to create your entire Instagram feed with curated content from other people. In fact, the time it takes you to ask and get permission from other people could mean that you’re left with nothing to post anyway, so you may as well spend time creating original content to share on your own.

You never know when someone might find something you share worth regramming. It’s always a good way to get exposure to other audiences’ and increase your overall following.

How to Save an Instagram Photo to Regram

Because there’s no built-in sharing option, you’ll have to go through some extra steps to get photos ready to regram to your account. You’ll need to save the photo to your phone and add it from your camera roll, or use a third-party Instagram tool like Repost for Instagram or Iconosquare. These will make it easy for you to give credit to the original poster, too.

Regramming quality photos that are related to your company or brand, or feature your company or brand, is a great way to engage your audience without having to constantly come up with your own unique and original content. But if you rely on it too much, or don’t take the right steps to get permission, you could land your brand in a lot of trouble.

8 Tips for Writing Better Instagram Captions

Instagram is a social media platform that’s driven by images. You know how important it is to craft professional and interesting photos. What some online marketers neglect to give as much attention to is their words. What you say matters just as much as the visuals you produce.

The captions that go along with your images matter a great deal. They tell who you are and convey your brand’s voice. Getting into a groove of crafting captions that resonate with your followers can be a bit of a process. It will likely take some trial and error, but these eight tips for writing better Instagram captions should get you started on the right foot.

1. Use Your Brand’s Voice

First and foremost, be sure to write your captions in the tone you wish your brand to convey. You want everything you say to reflect who you are, so think about your tone when writing each and every caption. Use wording that sets a mood and shows the personality you want to be known for.

2. Put the Important Information First

Depending on the device being used, captions usually are cut off after only a few lines. Users can view more, they just have to click through.

That’s why you should add the most important stuff first to be sure your message is seen. Writing longer captions is fine and is often necessary. Just keep in mind that the point of your post should be clear at the beginning.

3. Cross Promote

Cross promotion is when you share your social media profiles across platforms. It’s okay to mention your Twitter or Facebook accounts on Instagram.

You can invite users to follow you in those places, as well. This is an easy and efficient way to increase your social media engagement across your various social media properties.

4. Add Some Hashtags

Strategic hashtag use is important to driving audience engagement, so be sure you’re adding them to your captions. Incorporating hashtags that are relevant and specific to your brand and your post helps people with interest in your niche find you. You can do some easy hashtag research simply by looking for your subject matter in the search box or by checking out what your competition is using.

Try to seek out hashtags that specifically hone in on your niche, rather than more broad topical ones. This will allow users with interests that align with yours to find you. When you go too general, you’re more likely to get lost in an overcrowded sea of hashtags. You can even come up with your own branded hashtags. People can use them as a way to get your attention, participate in a contest or share your products with others.

5. Mix Up the Length

Sometimes people use captions as an afterthought, which is a mistake. This small area is a marketing goldmine. It allows you to impart the information you think is most relevant in a way that will resonate with your target demographic.

People may also underestimate the power of captions. You can truly tell a story that resonates with people within the caption. This is a very effective strategy when you have a post that lends itself well to emotion or when your goal is to truly show who you are. Longer story captions should be used sparingly, though. Mix it up with shorter captions that are to the point, as well. Sometimes a longer explanation isn’t necessary, and your photos can stand alone.

6. Give a Shout Out

Your Instagram captions are the perfect place to add tags. Tagging other users is a great way to engage followers or those you would like to follow you. You can give a shout out to anyone you’d like to recognize or show your appreciation for. You can even ask users to tag a friend on occasion. These types of posts are fun, and they introduce new people to your brand.

Don’t go overboard, though, as this could be seen as a blatant way to gain attention. Be genuine and sincere in your shout outs. Only tag users whose content you truly love or whose content is relevant to yours.

7. Be Strategic

You should always plan your caption. A hastily written caption typed out at the last minute wastes valuable social media real estate. Remember, your caption is an extension of your marketing goals.

Take time to write them with strategy in mind. If you want to increase engagement, ask users to tag a friend or give a shout out, as was mentioned above. When you want to drive sales conversions, focus on the benefits of your products. Emphasizing your specific knowledge is a way to portray you as a knowledge influencer. Be sure your messaging matches your intent.

8. Give a Call to Action

Finally, don’t forget to tell your followers what you’d like from them. When done in a non-pushy way, this approach can be quite effective. A quick call to action is a great way to accomplish your marketing objectives.

A simple one sentence CTA is all you need. You can ask people to follow you, sign up for your newsletter, enter your contest or visit your latest sale. Just be intentional and not too salesy, and you may be surprised just how effective this tactic can be.

Writing Instagram captions doesn’t have to be tricky or intimidating. Use these tips to create a strategy that works for your brand, and you’ll soon see increased engagement and more followers come your way.

Instagram vs Snapchat: Which Is Better for Business?

Many companies make the mistake of trying to be everywhere at once, when they would get a far better return on investment just by sticking to one or two platforms they know their audience is a part of and doing those well.

Instagram is a free online photo-sharing App and social network platform. it was founded in 2010 and acquired by Facebook in 2012. Users can edit and upload photos and short videos through a mobile app. They can add a caption to each of their posts and use hashtags along with location-based geotags index supposed and make them searchable by other users within the app.

Snapchat, on the other hand, is a mobile app that allows users to send and receive self-destructing photos and videos. Photos and videos taken within the app are called snaps. The nurse can draw or insert text on their snap and determine how many seconds the recipient can review it before the files and Spears. Messages can only be used once and during viewing. The recipient must maintain contact with the device’s touch screen or the snap disappears. It was developed in 2011.

In response to Snapchat popularity, both Facebook and Instagram added a similar feature call Stories which disappear from the platform within 24 hours.

So, which one is better for business? Let’s take a look at six key areas so you can decide which platform would work better for you.

1. Users and Demographics

Instagram has more than 500 million daily users, with more than one billion monthly active users, and Snapchat on the other hand only has 310.7 million monthly active users and 190 million daily active users.

  • 52% of Instagram users are females, and 42% are male.
  • 110 million Instagram users are from the United States. 43% of American women and 31% of American men use the platform.
  •  37% of adults use Instagram in the United States and the USA has the most number of Instagram users.
  •  32% of all internet users are on Instagram.
  •  31% of Internet users between the ages of 18 and 24 use Instagram and 32% of Internet users between the ages of 25 and 34 use Instagram.
  •  72% of teenagers use Instagram. 35% of us teenagers say Instagram is the preferred social media platform.
  • An estimated 71% of us businesses are on Instagram as of 2018.
  • 200 million+ Instagrammers visit at least one business profile every day.
  • 130 million Instagram accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month.

In contrast:

  • 24% of U.S. social media users use Snapchat.
  • 73% of 18 to 24-year-olds in the U.S. use Snapchat
  • 75% of Snapchat users are younger than 34-years-old
  • 90% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13 and 24-years-old
  • 69% of U.S. teenagers say they use Snapchat
  • 24% of U.S. adults use Snapchat.
  • 61% of Snapchat users are female while 38% are male.
  • People under the age of 25 use Snapchat for an average of 40 minutes a day.

According to a Facebook survey the most popular topics on Instagram among young adults are food, fashion and Beauty, Hobbies, music, and TV and films. Instagram users tend to follow celebrities, get do-it-yourself inspiration and look at Travel photos.

Research shows that 71% of Snapchat users use it only or mostly for peer-to-peer messaging. 60% of the interactions on Snapchat are made between close friends. 46% of Snapchat users in the United States don’t use Instagram.

2. Content Types

Instagram posts are usually polished and high-resolution photos while Snaps are generally unedited and raw.

Stories are available on both platforms. They can either be images or videos. Besides Stories, images and videos are the other types of content available on both platforms. But, they are displayed differently between the two.

Images and videos are published as posts on Instagram and snaps on Snapchat. Unless your Instagram account is private, posts are public. Snaps are mostly private between two accounts.

Instagram posts can be square, vertical, or horizontal. Snaps are usually a vertical because they are displayed in full screen.

Instagram posts remain on your profile in your feed but snaps disappear after 24 hours.

When it comes to Instagram Stories, people are beginning to post more unedited content there than they would in their feeds.

3. Engagement Rates

Comparing engagement levels between the two platforms is a bit tricky because the forms of engagement across the two are different. On Instagram, people like, comment, and watch a video. On Snapchat people view a snap and reply privately.

It’s impossible to compare engagement levels as a whole but it is worth looking at the engagement level of Stories because Stories are on both platforms and similar and how they behave.

A report from TechCrunch indicates the businesses are seeing higher engagement rates with Instagram Stories than Snapchat Stories.

Analyzing 21,500 Snapchat Stories found that the average unique viewers per Snapchat Stories fell about 40% in 2016 after Instagram launched their Stories. The Amplify Influencer Community saw 28% higher view rates for Instagram Stories than Snapchat Stories.

4. Discoverability

It will be easier for people to discover your brand on Instagram. It’s important to look at three areas in regards to discoverability: your profile, engagement, and user-generated content.

 On Instagram, you have a public profile that shows your follower count and all of your posts. Instagram suggests profiles to follow and curates relevant content in the Discover tab which helps people find you.

 With Snapchat, your profile can only be viewed by friends and people who have added you. There’s not a lot of information on your Snapchat profile because the snaps at Stories you post disappear after 24 hours.

With Instagram, likes and comments on your post can be seen by everyone. Direct messages can only be seen by you.

On Snapchat, there’s not a lot of room for engagement because only you can see who has replied to your snaps or Stories.

When it comes to user-generated content, on Instagram, people, including yourself can find any post that mentions you. People can discover your profile through hashtags and  @mentions. Because of this, user-generated content is a common marketing strategy on Instagram because it can help you grow your account and increase your reach.

 Comparatively, on Snapchat, snaps or Stories and it’s in your brand can only be seen by the friends of the person who posted them.

Your brand is more discoverable on Instagram than on Snapchat. This is wonderful if you want to raise brand Awareness on social media and use social proof to build your brand. That said, there are many brands who prefer the privacy of Snapchat because it allows them to build more meaningful one-to-one relationships with their followers.

5. Ads

When it comes to ads, both platforms offer powerful targeting options along with several ad formats. Instagram launched its advertising platform in late 2015 and since then has seen the number of businesses that advertise on the platform growth over a million. Because Instagram is part of Facebook, these businesses have been easily able to create Instagram ads through the Facebook ad manager.

 In the beginning, Snapchat advertising used to be fairly inaccessible for most businesses. Other than using SnapChat geofilters, businesses that wanted to advertise on Snapchat had to purchase ads from Snapchat ad partners which were often cost-prohibitive. Earlier this year, Snapchat launched its self-serve Snapchat ad manager to make it easy for businesses to run ads on Snapchat themselves.

Using either of the ad manager as you can easily create a target audience for your ads based on factors such as behaviors, interests and demographics. You can also reach people using your own data such as people who have interacted with your business and the platform’s data such as users who look like your customers.

Both platforms offer a variety of ad formats. with Instagram, you can run ads in feeds, ads in Stories, or boost your existing posts. With Snapchat, you can run snap ads, use geofilters or lenses.

6. Analytics

The ability to measure and analyze your social media performance allows you to improve your social media marketing efforts. Instagram natively provides business profiles with Instagram Insights which is an in-app analytics platform for posts, Stories, ads, and followers.

 Snapchat, on the other hand, does not provide any analytics data except for ads and many marketers have been left to track their Snapchat marketing activity manually.

There are a number of third-party tools and free Instagram analytics options available such as Union Metrics, Keyhole, and Websta.

When you go looking for Snapchat analytics tools, there are fewer to choose from and they aren’t free. Snaplytics, one of the most popular Snapchat analytics tools costs $19 per month per Snapchat account for very basic metrics such as completion rate, screenshots, and views.

Just by looking at this comparison, it’s clear that Instagram seems to be the better choice. However, it’s important to consider which platform your target audience prefers. If you are targeting students, young adults and teenagers, it may be more effective to reach them on Snapchat rather than Instagram.

And because a huge percentage of Snapchat users aren’t on Instagram, being on Snapchat could be the only way to reach them.

How to Use Instagram Live to Grow Your Followers

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms around. They boast at least a billion monthly users. They’re second in popularity only to Facebook. People seem to love this image sharing site, so it makes sense that businesses, brands, and bloggers should be using it to market themselves.

One feature that was rolled out a few years ago and is gaining traction is Instagram Live. Using this service, you can post live video clips to your Instagram Stories. It’s a fun and meaningful way to engage your audience.

However, there are definitely some best practices when it comes to using this feature. Take a look below to discover how to use Instagram Live to grow your followers.

1. Decide on Your Purpose

Before you create a video, you want to determine its purpose. This helps to give you direction and keep you on task when recording. It also lets you inform your audience of what the video will include when you promote it. You want to build anticipation, right? IG Live videos only stick around for 24 hours, and then they’re gone. There are a number of reasons why this format can be beneficial.

Many marketers use these short videos to announce a product launch or give a tutorial on how to use a product. They might also do interesting and relevant interviews with other Instagram users. Hosting an audience Q&A is a great way to boost engagement.

People also like to see the ins and outs of your business through video tours of your headquarters or behind-the-scenes highlights of your staff. These are just some of the more popular ways people are using Instagram Live video these days.

2. Promote Your Video Ahead of Time

Create hype about your video by promoting it before its launch. Let your followers know when you will broadcast your video. A date and time are both necessary to ensure your audience will show up.

You can write an Instagram post to create some buzz and get the word of mouth going. If people know ahead of time, they’re more likely to tune in.

3. Provide Incentives

Now that folks know when your video will launch, you can also sweeten the deal by offering them some incentives to attend the viewing. Giveaways are always a good draw when it comes to enticing viewers. Exclusive discount codes are also good.

If you have some loyal and engaged followers already, it may be enough to promise them a big announcement they’ll learn about first by watching your video. Some type of incentive is always good when it comes to any live event.

4. Practice and Prep

As they say, practice makes perfect. You don’t want your video to be overly scripted. However, having a plan in place and running through it a few times is a good idea.

It will help to calm your nerves and make sure you know what you’re going to say during your live stream. It will also give you an idea of how long the video will be and can alert you to any potential problems ahead of time.

You don’t want to find yourself stumbling over something that could have been prevented with just a bit of practice. In addition, take the time to prepare your supplies ahead of time. If you are doing a demonstration, you may need certain products or props. Have everything on hand when you’re ready to launch to avoid any potential embarrassment.

5. Hype Up the Urgency

You can use the fact that Instagram Live videos are only around for 24 hours to your advantage.

Be sure to remind your audience that they will only have a limited time to see your video. This will provide a sense of urgency around the event. They may want to mark it on their calendars so they don’t miss it.

The fleeting nature of these video broadcasts makes them ideal to offer exclusive discounts. People hate the idea of missing out. If they’ve been thinking about buying your product or investing in your webinar, now might be the best time for them to take the leap while they can get it at a great price.

6. Set Settings to Automatically Save Your Video

The settings in your Instagram stories let you upload your video to your story, share it to Facebook and save your video.

The settings icon is shaped like a gear and is located in the upper left-hand corner of the Stories screen. Make sure you set your video to be saved automatically so that you don’t lose it.

You may want to take advantage of some of the other features to expand your overall reach. It’s possible to share your video only with select followers. This can be great if you want to offer exclusive access to a particular group.

7. Engage With Viewers

There are some steps you should take during your live video to ensure things go as smoothly and effectively as possible. Engaging with your viewers is always recommended because it adds a personal touch and helps them to feel invested in your content.

Take a look to see which users are watching. Give them a shout out if you can, especially if you’re familiar with them. Also, take time to welcome new people.

Answer questions if any are coming in. If you’re not able to pay attention and answer them right away, be sure to let your viewers know you intend to follow up on those questions. Any type of engagement will help you video session to flow more naturally.

8. Make It Personal

An Instagram Live video is the perfect outlet to add some personal touches to your content. People like to attach a face and voice to a brand. Let them into your world by sharing your personality.

If you’re quirky and fun by nature, let your audience see that. If you’re shy, it’s okay to admit it. Video live streaming opens you up to being vulnerable, and that’s okay. In fact, you can actually use that vulnerability to your advantage.

Hopefully, these eight tips will help you to get started using Instagram Live to grow your followers. This feature is a fun and effective way to facilitate engagement and expand your reach. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Before long, you’ll overcome your nerves and feel like you’ve been doing video forever.

How to Use Instagram Direct Messages to Drive Business

Instagram Direct is the direct messaging service offered by Instagram. Currently, it’s available to all users without restriction. That’s good news because it means, as a business owner, you can reach out directly to anyone who has an active account on the platform. Unfortunately, many businesses aren’t taking advantage of this valuable opportunity.

The ability to connect with your followers and customers in a direct way offers many advantages. The key is knowing how to use Instagram Direct messages to drive business in a way that provides value and doesn’t come across as spammy.

Keep reading below to learn more about Instagram Direct, its benefits and how you can use it to its maximum potential.

About Instagram Direct Messages

Instagram Direct messages allow you to communicate directly with another Instagram user. You can send text messages, photos, and videos through the service. It’s much like direct messages (DMs) on other platforms.

Businesses are using Facebook Messenger in a way that allows them to reach their customers and potential customers in a more personal way. Instagram messaging lets you accomplish the same thing. Instagram Direct can serve as a much more efficient and useful marketing approach than more traditional methods like direct mail or other forms of advertising.

You can send direct messages to any of your followers. If someone isn’t following you, it’s still possible to send them a message. The difference is that these message requests will need to be approved before an exchange can occur.

If they approve your message, you’ll be able to communicate freely in the future. Look for the paper airplane icon at the top of your Instagram home screen in order to find your Instagram messages.

Benefits of Instagram Direct

Messaging Instagram users directly lets you control the narrative. You can get to narrow down the message and target it to an individual or small group, rather than the type of post you would put out to all of your followers.

This can provide you and your business with a number of benefits, including increased sales. Social media is all about building relationships. This is particularly important for business. People respond to a more personalized sales approach in a way that simply isn’t possible through mass marketing methods.

Instagram Direct can be a convenient way to reach out to a customer. It’s easier and faster than typing up a long-winded email, and it usually elicits a quicker response. In addition, this type of communication can increase brand loyalty because the user can feel seen and validated by your business.

You can also improve your lead generation by slipping into someone’s DMs in a professional manner. You can even cultivate connections within your industry through messaging on Instagram. This type of virtual networking can prove to be quite valuable.

Types of Direct Messages to Send

You may wonder how to use Instagram Direct in a professional way that gets results. There are a lot of strategies you can use that are likely to be well-received by Instagram users. Messaging can work really well when you want to connect with influencers or find ways to collaborate with other businesses.

You can drop a micro-influencer a line introducing your business and letting them know what you like about their profile. Suggest types of collaboration that could be mutually beneficial as a way to start the conversation. You can also offer to trade services with another business that complements yours but isn’t direct competition.

It’s a win-win for everyone. If you’re an influencer, Instagram Direct can also work well for you. Pay attention to the brands that appeal to you and don’t hesitate to reach out with an introduction and initial proposal of the ways you might work together.

Your customers or potential customers will appreciate recognition or offers targeted specifically to them. Give a shout out to Instagram users who demonstrate characteristics that are compatible with your brand. Tell them you love what they’re doing.

Send an exclusive discount code to followers who consistently interact with your account as a thank you for their engagement. You can get really creative with these direct messages in ways that foster relationships and offer genuine value. When you do, your efforts are likely to be rewarded.

How to Use Direct Messages for Your Business

There are lots of ways your business can connect with potential customers through Instagram Direct. You’ll need to first find the accounts you wish to target and reach out to. Search for which users are using certain hashtags relevant to your business.

You can also do a direct search for your brand’s name. If folks are already talking about you, it makes sense to reach out to them. You may also want to find users by geographic location if that makes sense based on your product or service.

Take a quick audit of user accounts to find the best ways to approach each one. If you see someone has a lot of engagement with their followers, this person might be an influencer worth collaborating with.

Someone who has used your product would likely appreciate a discount code in return for their loyalty. They might even give your business a shoutout as a thank you. Remember, it’s all about relationships.

The key, no matter who you approach and what you offer, is that you bring people value. Strive to give them what they need or want. Remember that any interaction you have with people should be about them, not about you or your business.

That’s the best way to make genuine connections and build relationships. Once that happens, sales and profits are likely to follow. Provide more value than your competitors, and you’ll soon see your momentum building.

Instagram Direct is a great tool for connecting with people, building relationships and adding value to the social space. All of these things combined will improve your bottom line significantly.

Your followers and those who can benefit from your business will usually be pleased to hear from you as long as you approach them in a professional way with an end goal to help them in some way. Give it a try to see the results for yourself.

How to Use Instagram Hashtags to Grow Your Audience

If you want to be successful on Instagram, you absolutely must use hashtags. There’s really no way around it. People can’t find you and connect as easily with your brand if you’re not using them.

These simple words and phrases help users find posts that are relevant to their interests. When used correctly, hashtags can bring you tons of new followers and create engagement in ways that are significant.

However, there are a lot of marketers out there who are using this valuable tool in ways that are completely wrong. Avoid that trap by following these tips on how to use Instagram hashtags to grow your audience.

1. Make Sure They’re Relevant

You can easily find lists online of the most popular hashtags on Instagram. Checking out what’s trending will also give you a good insight into what people are talking about. However, don’t be tempted to use a hashtag just because it’s popular. First of all, popular tags tend to be too mammoth.

You’ll get lost in all the competition if all you’re using are the most popular hashtags. You also want to be sure the ones you use are relevant to your business, brand or niche.

Doing otherwise will just look spammy and turn people off. Instead, do some research to discover hashtags that are related to what your brand is all about.

2. Use the Right Number of Hashtags

You should definitely use multiple hashtags if you want to increase your chances of getting engagement on your posts.

After all, people are looking for different things. Using more than one tag will let more people find you. However, you don’t want to overdo it. Nine or ten should be a good target to shoot for.

Remember, though, only use the tags that are relevant to your post. If you can only find a few good ones, that’s fine. Targeted tags are better than meaningless ones.

3. Get Specific

You want to attract a targeted audience. That means an audience that is interested in your specific offering and will find the most value in your business. Therefore, it’s important that your hashtags be specifically targeted in a way that will appeal to those people.

Knowing your ideal audience will help you to create those hashtags. You’ll get better quality engagement when you take the time to use hashtags that are highly relevant and specific to your audience.

4. Do Your Research

Yes, you need to research to find the hashtags that are relevant to your industry or business. You can do a search on Instagram using related keywords to find tags others are using that are generating engagement. You can also check out what your competition and their followers are using.

Try different tags out to find the ones that work best for your audience. Also, be sure you take time to research any tags you’re not sure about to make sure they’re not associated with anything questionable that could tarnish your brand’s image.

5. Consider Popular Hashtags Sometimes

There are times when popular hashtags can be appropriate for use. Again, if they’re relevant to your post, use them. It’s possible they could expand your reach, and they won’t come off as spammy.

Just be sure you’re using additional, more targeted tags as well. A combination such as this can work well in your favor by helping you to reach a wider audience and still getting through to your more targeted demographic.

6. Add Hashtags Later

You can even add hashtags after a post is published. Sometimes you become aware of really great hashtags later that you wish you had been using all along.

That’s okay. Just go back to relevant posts, click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the post and click “edit.” You can then edit your post and add the newly acquired hashtag. It’s also possible to avoid the editing step and just stick hashtags in the comments if you prefer.

7. Hide Your Hashtags

Sometimes hashtags can look pretty messy and clutter your content. There’s a simple way to avoid this if you’d like. As noted above, you can always opt to add hashtags to the comments of your post. This way, they’re far removed from the important stuff and aren’t distracting.

However, they’re still useful in helping users to find your post with Instagram’s search feature. You can add these tags easily by clicking the speech bubble beneath your post once it’s published. Add the hashtags, and then click “post.” It’s simple.

Unfortunately, people won’t be able to see the tags once you get several comments added. They will have to click on the “View all comments,” button in order to do so.

Some users prefer to bury the hashtags within the caption. That’s also quite easy to do. When writing your caption, just tap the “123” key, then the “return” key.

Add a period, dash or bullet (whichever you prefer) and hit “return” once more. Repeat these steps five times, and you’re done. Because Instagram only allows users to view the first three lines, they won’t see your hashtags unless they click on the “more” option.

8. Use Brand Hashtags

Did you know you can create your own hashtags just for your brand? It’s true, and it’s a really effective way to attract engagement for your business. A brand hashtag is one that is meant just for your business.

Sometimes it refers to your brand. Sometimes it points users to a particular campaign or contest. You can get extremely creative and have lots of fun with brand hashtags.

These hashtags let users tag their posts containing your brand so they can be easily found. It’s a great way to create viral word of mouth if you have a particularly compelling campaign or story to share.

It also allows users who are involved in the campaign to find each other and to share or compare posts. People like to engage in these campaigns, and they can truly generate a lot of interest. Just make sure they’re short so folks can remember them easily. Otherwise, they won’t be very effective.

Try these eight tips when using hashtags. Hopefully, you’ll find that they create the engagement you’ve been seeking and grow your audience significantly.