Not too long ago I was sitting in our conference room trying to convince clients that Instagram marketing was going to be the next big thing. “Trends are showing the platform’s popularity is rising. It won’t be too long before you’ll be able to advertise on Instagram, as well!”

All I got that day was a blank stare. Seems like I need to work on my sales pitch.

Regardless of where you’ve decided to place yourself on social media, as a personal user or an Instagram advertiser, there’s no denying the popularity or effectiveness of Instagram. As a business owner and advertiser, there are a few easy things you can do to engage millennial’s and bump both online sales and brand recognition.

Instagram Influencer Takeovers

Obviously, whatever you do, don’t be like Fyre Media. Run your Instagram influencer campaigns right, with a defined marketing budget you stick to.

An Instagram influencer is an individual with a large following in a certain niche. One of my personal favorites is Morgan aka @the_southern_yogi. I’ve been following her for over two years now due to my own personal affinity and love for yoga. She’s the cutest Kentucky girl who’s always smiling and making beautiful, artistic shapes through her yoga. She frequently wears a brand called AloYoga, which is a yoga fashion company touting the tagline: “Performance yoga for studio to street.

southern yogi in paris
“Last night in the city of love.
My heart (and belly) is very full.
Thank you Paris. ?
PC: @keoniology.
P.S. OBSESSED with @aloyoga’s new harem pants. ??” -@the_southern_yogi

Instagram influencers help companies build a larger audience on Instagram, gain trust from others in the Instagram community, and grow their niche.

In Morgan’s case, AloYoga is able to reach an additional 361,000 users simply by having The Southern Yogi take over their profile for a few hours or one day.

While taking over a profile, Instagram influencers will post stories, taking people around with them during their day. They could post the most simple things, like where they’re getting a cup of coffee at, or use the Hands-Free option to film a segment of their yoga practice. All while wearing AloYoga, of course.

Why Influencer Marketing Works

You heard how much I love The Southern Yogi, right? I even love her cat Kovu, who she affectionately calls BabyCat and her dog Kali (a coyote hybrid) she refers to as Little Wolf. I’m pretty invested, right?

That’s the point.

Instagram influencer marketing is so effective because business owners now have access to thousands of potential customers who feel the exact same way I do.

Each potential customer already trusts the influencer enough to follow them (for years, seriously). They also trust the influencer enough to check out your company’s profile, look through your products, and potentially convert. And, they’re so much more likely to convert because of how invested they are in your Instagram influencer!

Use the Rule of Thirds

This is a tactic that’s a little more advanced, but after a little practice, you’ll be a complete pro at it.

Instagram is a completely visual platform, right? We’re drawn in by pictures and videos while being further enticed by inspirational captions. As a business owner, your photos must be eye-catching enough to distinguish yourself from the thousands of other profiles people follow.

The Rule of Thirds applies to photography and is applied by:

“Aligning a subject with the guide lines and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section.”

According to Digital Photography School, the theory behind the Rule of Thirds is:

“If you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Studies have shown that when viewing images that people’s eyes usually go to one of the interaction points most naturally rather than the center of the shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.”

Use the Rule of Thirds With iPhone

It’s simple. Just go to Settings > Photos and Camera > Grid. Voila. You’re a pro.

Keep Monitoring Hashtags

You’re thinking, “Well, duh” right? Fair. Just hear me out.

Using hashtags is still one of the best ways to increase your Instagram reach. Posts with at least one hashtag receive 12.6% more engagement.

Create a Hashtag List

This is just as simple as it sounds. Create a list of relevant hashtags that relate to your business so that people interested in what you sell, or your industry, will be able to find your profile.

Type a relevant #hashtag into the search box in the platform and results will automatically populate for you.

weightlifting instagram hashtag
Showing a general query result in this example. You can search for more pointed hashtags (or keywords, technically) in order to drill down into your targeted segments.

Track Trending Hashtags

Trending hashtags will pop up during a specific event, holiday, or social topic. Obviously, every single trending hashtag won’t be relevant to your product or service, but by monitoring events in your industry you’ll be able to take advantage of trends when they happen.

For example, the CrossFit Regionals are currently going on around the country, with various hashtags trending like:

  • #Regionals
  • #CentralRegional
  • #RoadtoRegionals

During this time of year, there’s always an influx of CrossFit-related gear and apparel companies jumping into the conversation in order to better establish their brands and gain popularity within the CrossFit community. Here are two easy examples.

The Natural Grip

man doing dumbbell overhead squats
“At this level, you can’t afford to rip your hands.” -@thenaturalgrip Instagram

If you’re competing at regionals, you obviously need hand grips so you don’t rip while you perform butterfly pull-ups or bar muscle-ups, right?

Wait, you aren’t a Regional athlete? That’s okay too, all the cool kids are doing it – so you might as well join the crowd and purchase the same hand grips too!

They’re only $27.50 so buy yours today!

Savage Barbell

savage barbell sports bra
“”Some women fear the fire while some women simply become it” ??? BRA & SHORTS by @savage_barbell ! Use code “rachel15″ to get 1️⃣5️⃣% OFF of EVERYTHING ??? #brunettestrong #roadtoregionals @savage_barbell” -@brunettestrong

In this case, Savage Barbell was monitoring both their Instagram influencer (@brunettestrong) and trending hashtags (#RoadtoRegionals).

By doing this, they were able to snag some professional content, join in on the conversation, and potentially sell another sports bra. Pretty sweet, right?

Rachel Campbell, or @brunettestrong, is sponsored by multiple CrossFit-related companies, including gear like weightlifting belts, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, supplements, and even a chiropractor. She’s got this Instagram influencer thing down pretty good.

Test it out. Give it a try. Regardless of your industry or community, the results are the same.

Let me know what you find in the comments below!

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