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There is no denying the power of social media where marketing is concerned, but utilizing it to its fullest potential can be a challenge. Social media platforms are constantly changing and developing, so just staying on top of the technology can feel like a full-time job.

Instagram is one of the most influential social media platforms out there so it can be beneficial to tap into.  There’s no one way to run an Instagram campaign, but there are some definite do’s and don’ts when it comes to molding your campaign. We have compiled a list to help you navigate the journey.

Do On Instagram

Have a separate business account

A business account on Instagram gives you a lot more marketing-related perks than a personal account can provide. If you have over 10,000 followers, for instance, you can insert links into your stories. If you fall below that 10,000 point, don’t worry.   There are still plenty of perks out there for smaller businesses.

Instagram Insights is very similar to Google Analytics in that it can give you information about profile views, post popularity, website clicks, new followers, email clicks, and demographic data of your followers (location, gender, age, etc.) With a business account, you can also endorse your posts as ads and even set up a schedule to auto-publish your posts.

Two more perks that come with an Instagram business account are that you can incorporate a contact button on your posts and even set up quick replies for your Direct Messages (DMs). The quick reply capabilities alone can save you a ton of time responding to your followers’ frequently asked questions.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Instagram Stories for Marketing

(Pixabay / PhotoMIX-Company)

Plan, plan, plan

It may be a little tempting, given the nature of the platform, to post a quick picture and think you’ve done your marketing job for the day, but that would be selling yourself short. You need to make a plan and stick with it. Be consistent by managing your audience with timing and scheduled posts. Use cliffhangers to build up hype for future posts, sales, and competitions. Most importantly, you need to retain cohesion – don’t forget that it is Instagram STORIES. Everything that you post should relate to your business story, including your company goals, and persona. Posts should build upon each other and maintain focus no matter what the subject for that day.

Be interactive with stickers

Stickers are a great way to connect with your followers because they can yield a lot of different outcomes. You can poll in real-time, open up discussion from your followers, and include a product or hashtag sticker to direct your followers to a specific product or page. Stickers let you shape how your followers react and interact with your brand, so use them to their full advantage.

Go live

If you get nervous under pressure, this suggestion may require a little bit of discomfort while you get the hang of it, but it is a great way to market your brand. When you go live, you are speaking to your followers in real-time, so any fumbles or mistakes will be broadcast to whoever’s watching. If you need to practice beforehand, do so, but also know that the occasional flub-up is a great way to show humor and demonstrate that you’re the human behind the brand. While going off-script to capture a special or unique moment is a great way to utilize the live setting, you can also run contests or host Q&As about your products in real-time. Your followers will get a notification when you start posting, and you can choose to save and re-upload your live session later if it was particularly successful or informative.

Don’t Do On Instagram

Neglect your DMs

Direct messages are an invaluable method of communication – especially if you don’t have an actual brick-and-mortar storefront for your products. For this reason, you need to pay particular attention to your messages and respond to your followers’ questions and comments in a timely manner. Don’t leave people hangin’.  Remember, there is an autoreply option that lets you answer frequently asked questions within seconds so that responding doesn’t take up so much of your time.

Use other people’s hashtags

There is a time and a place for popular hashtags, but for the sake of your company, create your own hashtags and stick with them. Any time you use another person’s hashtag, your followers have the option of leaving your page for someone else’s, so it’s in your best interest to use hashtags that are specific to your product or brand.

Forget a Call-to-Action

Instagram Stories now let you upload pictures or premade slides with instructions for what your followers should do next. Remember – a call-to-action (CTA) is a powerful tool because without one, your followers may not know what to do next. Make the CTA engaging with an arrow sticker or sound effect, and word it so that it prompts a specific action. If you can’t insert the phrase “Would you like to…?” before your CTA and have it make sense, it’s not a good Call to Action.

Neglect Highlights

Highlights are a low-key way to quickly shine a spotlight on important information. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to new followers or give a sneak peek at a new product. They can also build comradery among your followers by highlighting specific people’s work or involvement with your brand.

If you’re already using Instagram Stories to promote your business, you’re in a good place, but there is always room for improvement. Hopefully a few of these suggestions have given you an idea for how you can sculpt your current Instagram marketing campaign to make it work better for your business.