“Growth hacking” has quickly become one of those marketing-centric buzzwords that everyone hears about and knows is important, but doesn’t know what it actually is.
Allow us to simplify things for you—basically, growth hacking is the process of using a wide variety of quick marketing processes to bring about maximum exposure online. This can be for a person, product or service, and usually involves a great deal of trial and error.
One of those “quick marketing processes” of which was previously made mention just so happens to be none other than Instagram—this is where we come into the picture.
Seeing as how many of this blog’s most active readers tend to be growth hackers looking to limit the “error” side of the trial-and-error formula, we’ve decided to create a brief blueprint for the hacking of Instagram marketing in less than 48 hours.
By no means is it an easy process, but the following six tips should be more than enough to have you well on your way to launching an awesome Instagram marketing campaign in under two days.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to get started.
Step #1: Identify Your Business’ Niche
This might seem like a given, right?
Sadly, far too many ill-guided growth hackers take to Instagram and begin firing off posts with no direction to speak of. Yes, you want quick results, but to get the right results quickly, you’ll need to zero in on your brand’s niche.
The broad, all-encompassing answer to this question should be obvious, but don’t stop there.
Take things a step further, thinking critically about the less apparent causes your brand cares about. As you continue to ask and answer questions about your company’s interests, you’ll soon find yourself with a specific space to target on Instagram.
Need an example of this? No worries—we’ve got you covered.
American Express has a booming Instagram account. The company deals in finance—not horribly exciting, to say the least. However, American Express has made their Instagram marketing work, focusing almost purely on something that matters very much to them—people spending money.
Check out their Instagram account, and you’ll see what we mean.
No matter how far back you go, American Express has always posted images of people leading exciting lives, thanks to the benefits offered them by their services. Your company will likely be different, but the strategy should be the same.
Step #2: Push High-Quality Photos and Download a Photo Editor
Both of these are incredibly important. First, let’s tackle the need for large, high-quality images. These days, Instagram has over 500 million active users—that’s a ton. And while a blessing for digital marketers and growth hackers, it also means something not so great—the space is crowded.
To stand out, you’ll need top push nothing but top-notch photos.
Seriously, coming in as a brand, the odds are already stacked against you. Without visually stimulating images, no matter how much work you put into Instagram, you’ll hear nothing but crickets.
But how exactly do you go about making awesome images happen?
Great question—this is where a strong photo editor comes into play. Using VSCO, Aviary or Afterlight, you can take grainy, run-of-the-mill smartphone photos, and make them something truly breathtaking.
And don’t be afraid to experiment with this stuff. Use different photo themes and filters to keep followers interested in what your account is up to.
Though every step of this process is key, if you do plan on skipping something, make sure it has nothing to do with the promotion of high-quality photos and the downloading of a reliable photo editor. Both are that important …
Step #3: Choose the Right Hashtags
Enough with the #ThrowbackThursday and #NoFilter hashtags—everyone and their dog is using them. If you’re going to quickly stand out, you’ll want to include a few hashtags with every post, but not just any old hashtag will do …
Choose hashtags that will work for your brand, but that won’t get lost in the haze of what everyone on Instagram is using. Are your brand’s potential customers using the #TBT and #PhotoOfTheDay hashtags?
Absolutely, but the majority of the people who use them aren’t interested in your company.
So, to make your efforts more effective, revert back to to step one, conducting research as to the most valuable hashtags your specific niche has to offer.
* Note: For a detailed outline of how this is to be done, click here.
Step #4: Building a Following By First Following
Jaw-dropping content alone won’t do much for your Instagram marketing efforts. For Instagram to work for your brand, you’ll need people (the more, the merrier) to not only follow your account, but interact with your content, too.
To set the proverbial ball in motion, you’ll need to start following people.
Once again, referencing the niche you’ve already established, follow the biggest, most influential accounts. What are these, exactly? Basically, if there’s an account you’d ideally like to become in the coming months and years, follow it.
From there, it’s time to follow their followers.
After all, these are the accounts that clearly are interested in your brand’s niche. Though not everyone will follow you back, you’ll slowly but surely begin building a healthy base of followers.
Keep at it—they will always come …
Step #5: Use a Tool Like Crowdfire App
But what should be done with those accounts that don’t follow you back?
Easy—unfollow them, of course.
Seems simple enough, but if you’re following two-hundred accounts a day, by the end of the week, it can be hard to keep track of who’s following you back and who isn’t.
It’s for this reason that you need to invest in a tool like Crowdfire. Crowdfire can be used for both Twitter and Instagram, and is perfect for keeping track of what’s happening with your account.
Using the app, see who’s following you, who isn’t and what accounts have gone inactive in the past one, three and even six months. As far as Instagram follower management is concerned, there’s no better, more affordable tool out there.
Step #6: Like Other People’s Photos—Don’t Stop
We’ve specifically mentioned likes, but what we’re really trying to say is that you need to take a genuine interest in other people’s content. Liking other people’s posts just so happens to be the quickest way to engage, but comments and direct messages will work, too.
This can be a painstaking activity, but the more regularly you’re willing to dive headfirst into the trenches of Instagram marketing, the quicker your account will grow—trust us, there’s no better way to build an Instagram account than through user interaction.
Rinse and Repeat
It’s been a couple of days, and you’re good to go now, right? If only things were that simple …
By now, you’ve created an account, built out some top-tier content and have a few hundred followers to see your stuff—this is great, but it’s nowhere near enough to begin driving traffic and making sales.
Yes, Instagram is by far the most most versatile of social outlets for digital marketing endeavors, but you’ll need to give this process time. As such, continually cycle through the above steps, and you’ll soon see what all the fuss is about.
Before long, you too will see the tried-and-true ROI delivered time and time again by Instagram.