How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Private Label
When it comes to using Social Media channels for marketing, most businesses and entrepreneurs think about Facebook and Twitter and assume that Instagram is just for the fashionista/food/travel junkie’s constantly bombarding their followers with pictures of the last meal they just had or a selfie they took in some exotic location in an attempt to make their friends totally envious.
Ok, well that might be largely true. However, brands and influencers are also utilising Instagram in the most creative ways to help sell actual products, grow their following, engage and build a relationship with their audience as well as drive traffic to their site and you should totally be doing the same if you’re not already.
Instagram is one of the most visual tools out there for social media marketing, so if you want to promote your private label, this is where you should be showing it off.
With over 400 million monthly users and nearly a quarter of these coming from the US (this figure is expected to grow by 100 million by 2019) and with sponsored posts only just having entered the platform, it’s still a really great time to take advantage of organically getting your product out there to a mass audience.
The topics that will be covered in this post are:
- Why Use Instagram?
- Who Uses Instagram?
- How does it work?
- How to Create Effective Images and Content?
- Engage Your Audience
- Run a Contest on Instagram
- Use Instagram Influencers to Increase Your Reach and Drive Traffic
So why use Instagram (IG) in the first place?
Instagram allows you to do the following:
- Market your Business or Product
- Increase Brand Awareness by reaching a mass audience
- Drive Traffic to your Product
Having a physical product already gives you a big enough reason to be using Instagram as a platform to showcase and market your product.
Products were the top content types for the top 200 global brands in terms of engagement, at 60% (Source: Hootsuite)
So don’t be afraid to showcase your products. People follow brands on IG knowing they’re going to be exposed to products.
Who Uses IG?
- The greatest share of traffic was from the US (as of September 2015, source: Searchenginewatch). So if you have a private label on Amazon in the US, Instagram is definitely a channel you want to be considering in order to engage with your audience in this market.
- Iconosquare’s 2015 Instagram study shows that 70% of IG users report having already looked up a brand on the platform. Plus, 62% of users follow a brand just because they like it!
- IG has a fairly even user distribution between males and females with 51% of users being male
- It’s highly popular among the younger audience with 75% of users in the 16-35yr old category
- Mobile Users – Instagram is exclusively a Mobile app and with the average user spending 3 hours a day on Mobile and 90% of their mobile time spent in apps, Instagram is a surefire way to reach your Mobile audience
Why do Users Love and Continue to Use IG?
Quality – Images are visually appealing on IG and it gives everyone the opportunity to feel like a professional photographer (sort of). Users are favoured for having quality pics!
Fun and Easy – Snap a pic, edit, caption, hashtag like crazy and share. Playing around with the filters and features makes it super fun too!
Inspiring – People go to IG because of the great experience that excites them, they like seeing brands being creative and don’t feel like they’re being sold to.
Instant – You can get an immediate audience for your brand or product in a short time if you put some great posts out there and use the platform properly.
Constraints – ‘showing one photo at a time creates value for each image and enhances your viewing experience’ (techcrunch). More weight and focus is placed on one image so you’re forced as a brand or user to make it as powerful and impactful as you can, encouraging you to share mindfully.
Identity Creation – People share content to define themselves and to let others know what values and beliefs they stand for. Give your audience something to identify with.
How Does IG Even Work?
If you don’t already have an IG account for your Private Label, then what are you waiting for? Head on over here for a detailed outline on how up your account:
(Also includes a detailed process on defining your brand’s purpose)
Key things to remember
- Include a Link in your Bio! (Bit.ly links are popular as it’s easy to track where your customers are coming from)
- A brief description in your bio about your brand/company
- A great profile pic (company logo is usually the way to go for businesses)
- Link it to other social media accounts
- Set your account to public so anyone can easily view your account and follow you
Example of a Great Bio
Hollister cleverly tell their users to tag their photos with a unique Hollister hashtag with a chance of being featured on their IG page. ‘Using a unique brand hashtag can increase your brand authority and help distinguish your business in a sea of companies who are vying for the same audience’ (Thrivehive.com)
Create Your Identity
First and foremost it’s so important to establish your personality as a brand because this is what will influence the type of content you put out there. And your aim is to make your content engaging for your audience so they’ll want to interact with you. The photos are going to have to say it all (yes you get to write taglines but the pic is what stands out).
For example, you’ll notice that clothing brands might only post pics of their clothing line and nothing else (see example below) – a British manufactured streetwear brand ‘RepresentClo’ has a clean, plain and street theme. Their page features influencers/models who wear their line and pictures of their product and nothing else.
Cosmetic brand ABH post really quick video tutorials to promote their latest products. They helped put HD eyebrows on the map with the numerous tutorial videos, which were posted on Instagram. As a result they’ve grown their account to nearly 10million followers!
Anna Macko – a Laptop Lifestyle Entrepreneur uses luxury images with a consistent font style and theme to inspire and motivate her audience – picking a theme and a few select font styles with your logo on each post – makes them instantly recognizable
Use your own images and don’t over post – when posting on Instagram – make your brand authentic and stick to using original photos of your product.
Be picky about which pictures and products you want to post to give an exclusive feel to your brand rather posting every single product pic you can conjure up – no-one wants to see them all!
Use Professional photos to promote your brand or product – The visual power of IG is on a completely different level compared to other social media channels.
Brands and Influencers are super picky about which pics they choose to share on Instagram because it literally is the case of allowing your ‘picture to speak a thousand words’. A lot of effort goes behind these pics that get posted (professional photographers, lighting and the right setting). For more detail on taking, editing and creating epic images, check out this post.
Be Creative – Stand out, be unique and colourful with your photos and don’t be afraid to show off your brand’s personality. Flaunt your goods and include detail and aesthetics in an artistic manner. This will help build a relationship and culture with your audience and users will come to you to purchase when they’re ready.
Starbucks did a great job of letting their voice carry over to their audience in a really clever and creative way using top trending hashtags, of course!
Don’t Hard Sell, Instead Tell a Story in a Powerful Way. Let your customers soak up your brand without feeling like they’re being sold something – this is the beauty of Instagram. Tell a story that resonates with your customers and one that users will want to share to encourage the power of ‘word of mouth’ marketing.
People don’t feel like they’re being sold something, it’s more of an insight into a brand’s creative side. People feel inspired and want to continue to feel inspired rather than being sold to.
Mon Purse is a brand that lets their customers design their own bags. Their IG account is full of lovely creative pics, simple captions and professional photos.
In the post below, they’re not trying to sell anything, just simply reminding customers that they have the freedom to pick whatever style and colour they want if they ever wanted to buy a Mon Purse Bag!
Pick a Theme Buffer’s IG account focuses on letting people in on the culture of their company and do an amazing job of this since their goal is to attract the best talent.
They promote their culture of Remote Work with pictures of travel, team retreats and their employees just having fun!
Get the Size Right:
IG guidelines for posting images:
Of course you’ll need to take the above guidelines into account but there are quite a few tools out there that can help you get the image size right.
Canva is a great tool to help you create your IG post (and any other social media post), it already has a pre-existing template for you to use along with fonts, filters, backgrounds and more – if you want to combine these with your own, you can do.
Squaready and InstaSize allow you to keep your photos in their rectangular dimensions if you wish
Whitagram is great for getting the white background effect if you want to crop your image and post it with this effect
Inspire Your Audience
IG fans love inspiring quotes and what they love even more are those brands and influencers who inspired them in the first place.
So don’t be afraid to use inspirational quotes.
‘BillionDollarWomensClub’ makes great use of humorous and inspiring quotes to engage their audience:
To create your own picture quotes, check out these 15 awesome apps that are completely FREE to use!
Hashtags – Why do people hashtag like crazy?
Because ‘hashtags are the keywords of IG’ (Kissmetrics) and using the hottest hashtags in the right way is one of the easiest ways to gain traction to your account.
Hashtags allow you to:
- Boost your reach
- Empower your message
- Connect and Engage with your audience
- Identify Important Influencers
- Monitor What your Audience is Talking about
- Help you come up with New Content Ideas
So the next time you wonder why people are getting a bit carried away with hashtags, remember there’s actually logic behind the madness.
Check out the following most popular and top trending hashtags used on IG to empower your message
If you want to know what hashtags are trending in real time, just do a keyword research in order to get the most relevant and highest traffic hashtags.
By tapping on the search icon on Instagram, the top trending caption tags appear. You can easily search hashtags to use in your own posts to increase your engagement.
You can also use this tool to help you find the most relevant and top trending hashtags
How to Engage With your Followers and Grow Your Following?
Ok, so now that you’re using all these hashtags and posting hundreds of pics a month, don’t forget to engage with your followers and continue to grow your following with a few useful tools.
Respond to followers who tag you or ask you questions or even compliment your pics. You can also use Instagress to automate this (see below)
Comment Visit other profiles (especially your follower accounts) and comment on their posts
Re-Post – If your fans tag you in an awesome post they’ve created that’s relevant to your brand then be sure to repost and share it with your audience.
Encourage Users to Tag their Friends A very simple tactic but when you post a photo (you don’t need to do this every time), in your caption, if you encourage users to tag their friends in a post, you’ll attract users’ friends to see your post hence get seen by a larger audience.
Tools that Can Help
Crowdfire Allows you to increase your follower base by following relevant people searching for related topics to your brand. It also lets you unfollow people that don’t follow you back and steal competitor followers by using the ‘copy followers’ feature.
Integress You can automate your liking, commenting and following activities based on specific hashtags and geo-locations as well as unfollow users from different sources. Grow your audience effortlessly with this tool.
Run a Contest or Giveaway Promotion
- A really awesome and effective way for your business to increase engagement, get a few thousand new followers, let your content get shared amongst fans and friends and promote your Amazon Private Label to a new audience, is by running an attractive giveaway.
- Check out these examples to inspire you for your next contest!
- Rafflecopter is also a great tool that can help you launch and manage your giveaway
- Finally, check out this fab and informative post on how to successfully run an IG contest
Use the Right IG Influencers to Increase Your Reach
Another extremely effective way of increasing your reach and driving traffic to your private label, is by using other IG Influencers who already have an established and large following (20k and above), which is a similar target audience to yours.
Think of IG as a huge blog with every user being a blogger.
The bloggers with a really large following are known as IG Influencers and thousands of small businesses, start-ups and solopreneurs used the following tactic to get their brand or product in front of their massive following.
Since IG sponsored posts is only available to certain brands at the moment, you can still use this tactic (it will cost you but not very much) it’s basically Outreach but for IG and it’s way more accessible because unlike Blogger outreach, it’s still very affordable because it’s not too saturated…yet!
Finding the Right Influencer
There are apps out there that can help connect you with the relevant influencers (https://www.influencerdb.net allows you to do a quick search and it’s free) but personally I’d recommend just investing some time scouting IG accounts
- Click on the search icon in IG
- Click on hashtags and type a word related to your product or industry
- You’ll see the top posts for that hashtag
- Next click on a few of the posts and then look into their accounts
- Once you find an interesting account, you’ll get a list of suggested accounts that appear underneath the ‘Follow’ button
- Make a list of 10-20 accounts you want to target
What to Look For in an IG Influencer Account?
- Relevancy for your brand – You should be able to get an idea about this by simply looking at their account posts and captions to get an idea of whether they’re a good fit for your product
- Number of Followers – Focus on the ones with 100k followers but also have a few in your list with a smaller volume just to get you started.
- Email Account in Bio? If they have one this means they’re accepting ads so get in contact
What to Ask Them?
- Either use Direct Messaging in Instagram or Email them using the account in their bio
- Explain you’re looking to promote your IG account and business and whether they’re open to advertising opportunities
- If it’s a yes – Ask for a quote
- Always negotiate
See this example template below, used by a brand for their IG Outreach, which led to a successful outcome:
Great profile page, I really like your style!
My name is (Your Name Here) and I represent my brand/product X that has been running over a year now and we’re preparing to launch a new product (give a short bio of what your brand is about).
I would love to send you a care package of our products, in exchange for an editorial and a few instagram posts? (Insert how many pics you’d like them to post) Is this something you would be interested in?
(Insert website here)
All the best,
Note: If you have zero ad budget, this tactic could still work for you. Rather than talk about exchanging money for posts, simply reach out to these Influencers who you think would love your product. Build a genuine relationship with them and let them know you’d love to send them a new exclusive and free sample and don’t ask for anything. If they love your product, they’ll post about it for free. Many brands have done this and grown significantly on Instagram.
Meowbox used this tactic on a zero ad budget and grew their Instagram followers 10x in a single year and now have over 500,000 followers
What sort of Campaign to run with?
- Product Review (usually means you would send them a sample product and they would wear/use/review it and then post it on their account)
- Sending them your product photos to post on their account
- Using Influencers to help promote a contest or Giveaway
- Paid mention or shout out – This simply means you pay the IG Influencer to mention you in a pic they post for a fee – a simple and affordable way to attract more followers and drive traffic to your site via the link in your bio
Check out this post for a detailed strategy on launching your campaign with IG Influencers:
Stats about Instagram to Help You When You Create Content
- Top brands on Instagram are seeing a per follower engagement rate of 4.21% (versus FB which is .07% and Twitter at 0.03%)
- To figure out the average number of likes you should see for each post: multiply your number of followers by 37 and divide this figure by 1000
- Captions that include another user handle in the caption net, 56% more engagement – if you’re including pictures of people in your posts then be sure to include their user handle in the caption
- Posts tagged with a location receive 79% higher engagement – Add a location to provide a massive boost!
Useful Instagram Tools
- IFTTT ‘Connect the Apps you Love’, this tool allows you to cross post across various social media channels. So once you post something on Instagram, it automatically gets posted on your FB or Twitter account (depending how you set this up)
- Later – Lets you schedule posts so you can bulk create and schedule
- Takeoff – Auto schedule your posts smartly for when they will most likely be seen you’re your followers
- Iconosquare – Analytics and insights for measuring your IG performance and stats
There you have it, now that we’ve shown you how to master Instagram, remember the following points to take away with you:
- IG is one of the fastest growing social media channels out there and now is the time to get in and take full advantage before it gets saturated!
- It’s popular among both men and women, the younger audience own over two thirds of the market share in usage
- It’s super easy to get set-up and use and there are many tools out there to help you automate it (some of which are mentioned in this post)
- Create professional looking photos and be as creative and inspiring in order to engage and build your audience
- Go crazy with hashtags but be relevant and increase your photo rankings!
- Remember to continue to engage with your audience through commenting, sharing and reposting
- Running a contest on IG is a sure fire way of gaining new followers
- Use IG Influencers to Increase Your Reach and Drive Traffic – this is one the top tactics used by brands (especially smaller ones with little budget) to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to their site. Although it may have passed the early stages, there’s still room for you to get on this now!
Promoting on Instagram can be really enjoyable so just go crazy and have fun with it 🙂