Are you looking for ways to increase brand awareness and reach a responsive audience without spending huge sums of money on ads? Organic Instagram marketing is the strategy for you!
Instagram is ideal for posting organic content because its users engage frequently with businesses’ content.
But organic Instagram marketing is more than just posting regularly and hoping for high numbers of likes and comments.
You have to curate your posts for your intended audience and strategically use Instagram’s different features, including Stories and IGTV.
That’s where we come in!
Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the Instagram marketing waters, or you’re trying to improve an existing business profile, this is the guide for you.
We’ll show you everything you need to succeed in organic Instagram marketing, from creating your account to optimizing your posts to using Instagram analytics.
Why Instagram Is Perfect for Organic Content
A major goal for branded organic content is increasing reach and spreading brand awareness. With over 1 billion monthly active users, 63% of whom check the platform at least once per day, organic Instagram marketing has every opportunity to increase brand awareness. There are over 500 million daily active users of Instagram Stories. And 67% of users have swiped up from a brand’s Instagram story to learn more.
It’s not enough to just have people see your post, though. You want users to engage with your content as well. Facebook may be the more popular platform in terms of numbers of users, but organic content often performs better on Instagram. An average Instagram post sees 23% more engagement than a Facebook post, even though Facebook has more than twice as many monthly active users.
4 Places to Post Organic Content on Instagram
To take advantage of organic Instagram marketing, the first thing you need to do is set up a business account. Once your profile is established, you’re ready to dive in!
Instagram offers multiple avenues for posting organic content: the Instagram Feed, IGTV, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Live. Let’s take a closer look at how to use each of these to organically promote your brand.
1. Instagram Feed
The Instagram Feed is the main dashboard users see when they log in. Feed posts consist of single images, multiple images, or videos of up to 60 seconds. In their dashboards, users will see posts only from accounts or hashtags that they follow.
The posts that show up in a user’s feed are determined by the Instagram algorithm, which looks at engagement, predicted user interest, and the time a post was uploaded. So if followers show interest in posts that are similar to yours, then your images and videos are more likely to show up in their feeds.
Take advantage of this feature by creating organic feed posts that offer as much or more value than competing content. For example, if you are running a special sale, you could highlight it in a Feed post, as Adagio does with their “free sample” offer in the image above.
2. Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are short, vertical videos up to 15 seconds long. They are visible for 24 hours after they’re posted, and then they disappear unless you save them to your Highlights. Highlights stay up until you delete them, and users can view them by going to your main profile page.
Stories see 2-3x more engagement than Feed posts, thanks to their unique interactive features. For example, on organic Stories posts, you can add questions and polls for viewers to answer, and you can add a “swipe up” call to action (CTA) that takes the user to your main website or profile page.
For more information and tips on designing your Stories-based organic Instagram marketing, check out this resource from Hootsuite.
Instagram TV is ideal for long-form content, allowing videos of up to 60 minutes long. A 1-minute preview of your video will show up in your followers’ main Instagram Feed. If they click the video, it will take them to your IGTV channel to watch the entire video. Users who subscribe to your IGTV channel will get notified when new videos are posted.
The longer run time of IGTV videos allows you to go more in-depth and show followers why they should engage with (and purchase from) your company. For example, posting product tutorial videos shows the value followers would get from your products. You can also put live links in the description of your videos without having to use a third-party app.
For more IGTV best practices, check out this resource.
4. Instagram Live
Instagram Live is the perfect place to host a Q&A session. People watching your live feed ask questions or leave feedback in the comments, which you see as you host your video.
This organic interaction helps you personalize your brand and connect with customers. It creates a feeling of transparency and authenticity that is hard to achieve with paid ads.
Maximize attendance at your live session by advertising it ahead of time in your main feed. Cosmetics brand Sephora announces their upcoming live videos several days ahead.
Take advantage of these four placement options to share a wide range of organic content across Instagram.
How to Boost Your Organic Instagram Marketing Engagement
Posts and profiles with high engagement have greater reach and are more likely to find their way to the top of their followers’ feeds.
Here are a few strategies for creating high-quality content that generates buzz.
Strategy #1 – Choose Your Post Type
It might seem like there are endless possibilities of post types to choose from, and that’s true to an extent. But when it comes down to it, there are some types that perform better on Instagram than others. Each encourages engagement in a different way.
Help users feel connected to your brand by taking them behind the scenes. This might be a tour of your office, an interview with your employees, or a look at how your products are made. These posts make the viewer feel like they’re getting an exclusive look into your brand. For example, the floral shop East Olivia gives users an “inside look” at the company’s new work-from-home setup with this post.
Encourage engagement by publishing a giveaway post with rules that require likes, comments, or tags. You might ask users to comment with their favorite product from your company as a form of entry. Or you could ask followers to tag at least one friend. Sephora created a giveaway where anyone entering had to tag someone else and leave a comment.
For user-generated content (UGC), regular Instagram users post about your brand or show themselves using your products. When people see that other users are happy with your product, they are more likely to try it themselves. Encourage UGC by asking followers to share images or videos of themselves using your product, and then share their content to your own page—with their permission, of course. Camera company GoPro uses their photo of the day campaign to regularly showcase UGC.
When influencers post about your product, it brings your brand to the attention of their followers, extending your reach. In fact, 34% of surveyed social media users have found brands solely because of influencer posts. Wayfair, a discount-furniture site, has an ongoing partnership with lionelthehog—admittedly one of the cutest influencers we’ve ever seen.
There are several tools and resources you can use to find influencers within your industry. It’s important to work with influencers whose target audience is similar to your own so that your influencer collaborations are reaching people who are interested in your products.
Using these content types will give your organic Instagram marketing strategy a solid jumping-off point and help increase engagement.
Strategy #2 – Tag Your Products
If you’re an eCommerce store, there’s an easy way to maximize the value of your organic Instagram marketing posts: tag your products. When users see your post, a “view products” button will appear at the bottom of the screen, and the names and prices of tagged products will appear.
When users tap the tags, they’ll see a more detailed picture and description of the product. Then, they can either tap the product to go to your mobile site or bookmark it on Instagram to view later.
To start tagging products, set up Instagram Shopping and you’ll see a “tag products” option when you create a post. Instagram allows up to five tags for single-image posts or up to 20 for multi-image posts. You can tag only the products that are listed in the online catalog connected to your account.
Tagging makes it easy for users to look at and purchase your products right away, without having to navigate to your site and search for the products.
Instagram Insights show you information about how your shoppable posts are performing. You can see what types of products appeal most to your audience and tailor your posts accordingly. Check out this resource to learn more about Instagram insights.
Strategy #3 – Spark Engagement with Captions
Captions provide context for your image or video and tell a story about your brand. They show users why they should care about what they’re seeing.
Along with including CTAs, you can also ask questions in your caption to invite answers through comments. Or you can tag users through @ mentions that are somehow involved with the post (like a customer who shared UGC). The tagged user will get a notification, and if they comment on or share the post, it will be visible to their followers as well as yours.
Strategy # 4 – Boost Visibility with Hashtags
Another way to help your post stand out is by adding hashtags to your caption. People can search for specific hashtags to see posts that use it, and if they follow the hashtag they will see posts from it in their feed.
Increase engagement with hashtags by following these best practices:
- Use a mix of high- and medium- or low-volume hashtags.
- Research the hashtags your competitors and target audience are using.
- Use a moderate number of hashtags. According to a HubSpot study, five or six hashtags per post is a good goal. Engagement starts to decline if you have more than six. LEGO takes this advice in their post.
If you’re hosting or participating in an event, use event and location-specific hashtags to build awareness.
Strategy #5 – Schedule Your Posts
Your organic posts are more likely to be seen by your target audience if you post when they’re online. Otherwise, your content will get lost in the backlog of other posts on their feed.
Use Instagram analytics to figure out when your audience is most active. Navigate to “Insights” from your main profile page, and tap the “Audience” tab. You’ll then see a breakdown of your audience, including days and times they are online.
Once you have a set of days and times picked out, use a third-party resource, such as Hootsuite, to schedule your posts. By using this tool, you can maintain an active Instagram presence without constantly needing to be on the platform.
Increase Brand Awareness with Organic Instagram Marketing
Instagram is a crowded space, especially for organic posts. It’s crucial to have a strong understanding of the features and post types available in order to maximize the reach of your content.
As you build your profile, take advantage of Instagram’s multiple placement options, and encourage engagement by posting different types of content, like UGC and behind-the-scenes posts.
This makes for an interesting profile and encourages users to click through multiple posts.
Do you want to add to your organic Instagram marketing by using Instagram ads? Check out our Instagram Ads Guide!