If you’ve been following our blog for any length of time, you’ve already learned that there are plenty of ways you can go about using Instagram to increase user engagement and generate real results for your brand.
From connecting with an Instagram influencer to funneling your marketing dollars into sponsored posts, these are tactics that can get reliable results for your brand.
Of course, some influencers may be a poor fit for your brand, and we’ve all seen sponsored posts that fail to get any engagement whatsoever. When this happens, you might as well be flushing your hard-earned cash down the toilet.
So, what can you do to make sure your brand’s sponsored posts are giving you the best shot at success? Good news—there are a few key sure-fire things you can do to keep Instagram users from simply scrolling past your paid content:
1) It’s All About the Visual
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, should it? The same thing that makes your regular Instagram content engaging is also going to make or break the success of your sponsored posts.
After all, while research has consistently shown that Instagram has the highest levels of engagement among social media platforms, the truth of the matter is that your average Instagram user is going to be quickly scrolling through their feed, not stopping until something catches their eye.
You need to ask yourself if the images you’re using for your sponsored posts really all that eye-catching. Great photos take planning. They take advantage of editing tools and make lighting and color composition a priority.
They’re not afraid to try out unique angles or ideas, and they don’t look like a magazine ad, either—in fact, the best sponsored posts often look like an organic post.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using high-quality images from a free stock photo library.
Do what you can to use only the best images for your Instagram marketing efforts, and you’ve already won half the battle.
Targeting is where you can really up your Instagram marketing potential. This is because Instagram uses Facebook’s in-depth targeting platform for targeting sponsored posts.
Why is this such a big deal, you might ask?
Take a look at how detailed your targeting can get.
Sure, you can target your sponsored posts based on age or gender, but you can also target users based on their interests, relationship status or even where they went to college.
The mobile dating app Clover is a perfect example of how specific targeting can transform your Instagram marketing.
The company’s sponsored posts were exclusively shown “to single men and women aged 18-35 living in the United States and Canada who used iOS 7+”—a mix of demographic and behavioral targeting.
The company increased its new subscriptions by 64 percent, in large part thanks to a small effort to create a stronger focus on their target audience.
When targeting is used well, your posts are much more likely to reach an audience that is actually interested in your Instagram content.
3) Use Calls to Action
The “call to action” (CTA) is probably one of the most overused pieces of marketing jargon on the planet, but that’s because it’s also one of the most important elements of any successful sponsored post.
Instagram has taken this one step further with the recent update to its call to action button.
The updated button runs along the entire width of your ads, a redesign that Instagram’s internal data tracking reports has increased click-throughs by 45%.
But there’s more to a good call to action than adding Instagram’s button.
The best sponsored posts utilize their captions—and occasionally part of their images—to inform customers and motivate them to take a desired action.
A successful call to action will be direct and to the point. No beating around the bush, here.
Whether you want your audience to download an app or sign up for a free product trial, you need to tell them what you want them to do (and how it will benefit them) in as few words as possible.
This is especially true if you include part of your call to action in the image itself—besides, you don’t want the text to make your picture look cluttered.
Put only the most important, attention-grabbing words (like “Free Trial”) in your image, and save the explanation for your caption.
Wrapping Things Up
While continually crafting successful sponsored posts can sometimes be a hit-or-miss process, many of the keys to success really aren’t that different from what boosts engagement for your organic Instagram posts.
As you follow these best practices for sponsored posts, you’ll be able to get more out of your Instagram marketing than ever before.