Free methods of promotion on Instagram (TOP-15)
It takes a lot of work to promote your Instagram in 2021. Today, over a billion users are registered on the social network, and everyone wants to get as many followers as possible. Different methods are used – from targeting to advertising with bloggers.
Even if you are far from newfangled strategies and ingenious algorithms, do not despair and raise a white flag. In this article, we will tell you about the free methods of promoting on Instagram, and also reveal to you a few secrets for creating a successful profile.
What you need to know about Instagram
First, let’s go over the theory. It’s worth noting that Instagram has changed a lot over the past two years. Firstly, new advertising opportunities have appeared, and, secondly, the audience of the social network has become more conscious and demanding.
If before the core of the target audience were women under 35 , now the parameters have expanded significantly. Yes, now it’s hard to surprise users with a beautiful sunset and cats. They want to see high-quality visuals and competent textual accompaniment. If you cannot give it to them, they are looking for others. It’s that simple!
Alas, no one has accurate data on the structure and size of the Instagram audience. The press service of the social network comes out of the shadows and provides users with any specific numbers only if the indicators reach the round mark.
So is it worth using Instagram as a platform for promoting something? Let’s figure it out with research.
According to Aitarget, the official reseller of Instagram and Facebook in Russia, at the end of 2018 Russia ranked 6th in the world and 1st in Europe in terms of the number of active Instagram users.
And 2017 was marked by the “maturation” of the audience and the active penetration of the social network into the regions. For example, in 2016, there were 58.6% more youth (13-34 years old), but every year this gap is only narrowing.
Instagram is really showing good sales results. If you are a businessman who wants to present yourself to as many buyers as possible, feel free to download the application and create an account.
A good example is fotofon_box. The guys have been promoting their brainchild exclusively on Instagram for a very long time, and when they finally got a high-quality audience, they began to think about other traffic channels.
In order not to fall out of favor with Instagram, you need to know about the existing limits. On the page for developers in the Limits section, it says that the number of unsubscriptions and subscriptions per hour should not exceed 200. There are no other official restrictions on the social network.
Limit on the number of subscriptions. Since 2013, you can only subscribe to 7,500 profiles (both open pages and subscription requests are taken into account).
Limits on the number of actions. Until November 2015, Instagram had strict limits: 60 subscriptions / unsubscriptions and 60 likes per hour. True, in December, the management of the social network decided to close the official API, but the number of allowed actions did not change.
They remain so to this day, but with minor amendments: in 2018, Instagram strengthened its automatic system for monitoring user activity, so now almost every follower can get into a block if its speed exceeds 30-40 actions per hour.
For such cases, Instagram has 4 types of punishments :
- If your activity is too high, be prepared for a temporary block , which can last from 15 minutes to 2 days.
- For added security, Instagram periodically asks for confirmation via SMS, mail or in the app.
- Copyright infringement, erotic content, propaganda of suicidal attempts, discrimination based on race and other inappropriate content are guaranteed to lead to the immediate removal of the post .
- Account deletion is a last resort that is triggered in case of copyright infringement of major brands and in case of excessive activity of a “fresh” profile.
Also, there are rumors among users about the existence of shadow ban . This is when your posts go down in the feed, and posts stop showing by hashtags. True, the leadership of Instagram completely denies the “shadow ban”, calling this phenomenon another invention of paranoid users.
But some Facebook support agents casually hint that shadow ban is a very real phenomenon, and for any disobedience the user risks going into the depths of algorithmic issue. So who do you believe? Rather, it is a philosophical question that so far remains without a concrete answer.
Free ways to promote on Instagram
In order to promote your account, you only need free time.
Connect a business account
Insight of the day: A business account on Instagram is needed not only for businessmen. If you decide to thoroughly start promoting your own profile, first of all, settle this issue.
What are the benefits of a business account? Your possibilities are greatly increased as it has a number of specific functions :
- extended description;
- buttons for quick communication (email, number, directions);
- advertising cabinet;
- full statistics (clicks, conversions, subscriptions, traffic).
Simply put, if you want to keep your finger on the pulse, take a few minutes of your personal time to build a business profile.
To go to a business account, in the upper right corner, click on three strips, go to “Settings”, and then to the “Account” section. Then click on the line – “Switch to a professional account.”
Relevant profile name
There is a well-known principle, which for some reason is sometimes neglected – the simpler the better. If this is a personal profile, use your first and last name, and for commercial pages the tandem of the name of the service (product ) and city.
Try to make sure that your account name contains keywords that make your page easy to find. If the business does not have a specific geographic point, then the name of the city is optional.
Take care of your avatar
They are greeted by their clothes, so we recommend paying special attention to the avatar. If you are promoting a personal blog, then of course put your own quality portrait over a white background. The photo should evoke positive emotions in potential followers, so forget about the gloomy expression on your face.
If you’re selling something, use a product image as your avatar. A brand logo is ideal. Avoid small details and bright colors. The snapshot should evoke certain associations with your products in users.
A good avatar will play a role when searching. For example, a client is looking for a beautiful bouquet in a gift box, clearly imagining how it should look.
He drives “flowers in a box” into the search line and sees a lot of different accounts. Which one will he choose? Naturally, the one that reflects the essence and lives up to its expectations.
Come up with a concise profile description
The difficulty lies in the fact that you need to try to fit all the important information into 150 characters. Brand name, industry, contact details, differences from competitors and unique selling proposition.
The main purpose of the profile header is to hook the client , so immediately eliminate unnecessary “water” and inaccurate wording.
What should 150 characters include?
- Occupation. If you are a good pastry chef, then do not write “make other people’s dreams come true”. Yes, it is beautiful, but irrational, because this phrase is easy to apply to almost any area. “Gluten-free cakes,” “vegan desserts,” “sugar-free and lactose-free cakes,” and so on – this is a clear detachment from the competition.
- Address if your business is located in a specific location.
- Hooks. For example, “free shipping.”
- Contact information. Phone number, email address, links to instant messengers and other social networks.
- If you have a website, insert a active link into the header.
- A clear call to action (click, go, buy).
If you are missing 150 characters, you can add information to your profile description. Connect a business profile if you want to take advantage of this tip.
A few tips to use when styling your header:
- The profile title and description is a selling post, so use those 150 precious characters for good. New people have come to you and, in order to subscribe, they need to clearly know who you are and how you are useful.
- Account name and Name string affect traffic, so try to use keywords. We delete from everyday life “cute”, “beautiful”, “exclusive” and other standard phrases. We don’t need them!
- The name of the profile should reflect the area of the business.
- Enhance your description with keywords as well.
- Don’t forget emojis and calls.
Hashtags are the engine of progress and trade, as they perform several important tasks at once:
- help to find a post in search;
- the publication automatically appears in the feed of those who follow the hashtag;
- lets you create collections (e.g. #brand history, #backstage, #budget travel, etc.)
After marking #, the word turns into a clickable hyperlink, clicking on which, the follower gets to the feed of messages marked with this hashtag.
What is the most common use of hashtags?
- for promotion;
- for easy navigation;
- in order to track participation in competitions;
- for quests;
- to sort products by category.
There are 3 frequency groups in total # :
- high frequency (# love, # sea, # latte);
- mid-frequency (# new books, # autumn forest, # olympiad2020);
- low-frequency (#rainymay, #popsychology books).
Here are some powerful tips on how best to use hashtags:
- Hashtags should reflect the meaning of the post. Help people find the posts they want, don’t mislead them.
- High frequency hashtags don’t live long as new posts appear every second. To avoid falling into the basement of the tape, use mid and low frequency tags. They are more efficient.
- Don’t use the same collection of hashtags. Strive for diversity, because this is the only way you can expand your target audience.
- Avoid hashtags that are meant to share likes: # like4like #like. You don’t want to attract a low-quality audience, do you?
If you have a local business, then geotags will help make the point popular. By marking a certain place, you will automatically be taken to the collection of posts with this mark. If a post collects a lot of reactions and is in the top, it will be seen by a potential target audience.
Masks is a new Instagram trend and a cool way to promote your account. The unique effect is a direct road to popularity, so connect the chakras responsible for creativity and create something unusual.
This can be a memorable lettering, a brand logo or a beautiful filter that smooths skin tone. Everything is limited only by your imagination and skills.
Even if all these high-tech processes are alien to you, there is a way out: contact the pros. Yes, you have to fork out a little, but you are guaranteed to get good feedback. Who will refuse new followers?
Create a lead magnet
Lead magnet is when you give a user a valuable product in exchange for a specific action. For example, a subscription or mention in a story. This can be a checklist of basic tips for effective workouts at home, a video tutorial, or an author’s course.
Just don’t confuse a lead magnet with a CTA or an offer. In this case, you do not offer the client to buy another product from you or click on a button, but provide something necessary to help solve the problem. This is a kind of “bait” and its main purpose is to motivate a person to do what you need.
For example, in online stores, lead magnets are discounts, bonuses, access to closed sales.
Lead magnets help kill 3 birds with one stone:
- stand out from the competition;
- convert leads to subscriptions;
- increase sales.
Mutual PR is one of the most budgetary ways to promote on Instagram. Here are some rules for a successful VI:
- The target audiences of the profiles that promote each other must match. We are now talking not about absolute identity, but about points of contact. To do this, you need to analyze the followers of your VP comrade (use the convenient online service trendHERO ). For example, a local fitness instructor might advertise a photographer’s account. There is no competition factor, but the audiences are very similar.
- Only offer VIs to pages with which you have approximately the same number of followers.
- Do not abuse mutual PR, otherwise you risk losing some of your subscribers.
- Try to keep your vp posts at different times.
- Examine the prospective partner’s account. Read the comments, look at the ratio of likes and subscribers, ask for statistics. Now there are many services for cheating, so the activity may turn out to be fake.
- The last and probably the most important rule: tidy up your own account and only then look for a partner for the VP.
Live Stream is a great opportunity to stir up followers and remind them of your existence, and Live Broadcast is also a chance to exchange followers.
The scheme is the same as for the mutual PR. You find a blogger with whom you can discuss some interesting topic, arrange a time and inform your audience about this significant event.
- profile topics should be similar;
- inform subscribers about the broadcast in advance;
- before the broadcast, talk over an action plan and sketch out at least a rough scenario (this will help to avoid hesitation and awkward pauses).
Active commenting on posts (commenting) is an ideal option to build your audience manually. If you constantly hang out on Instagram and are ready to spend a lot of time promoting, then use this old, but still effective method.
Its essence is that you should leave meaningful, relevant comments under the posts of influencers and your subscribers. No, now we do not mean triviality from the category: “cool photo, come to us”, “we sell inflatable boats, oars and fishing tackle”, “beauty, we have cool underwear especially for you”. Such remarks will only annoy!
Don’t spam or flood pages with aggressive ads. Try to comment with restraint and to the point . For example, you sell bicycles, and a famous blogger writes about how he recently, in long agony, chose a brand new moped for his child. The question is brewing: what is your role in all this? You can write a comment about what to look for when choosing such a transport. Recommend, don’t sell.
Mass following and mass liking
Massfollowing – subscription to accounts in large quantities. The main goal of this action is to get new subscribers.
Massliking – the principle is the same, only here you put likes, expecting feedback from the audience.
You can massively subscribe and like manually, or you can use special services that will significantly save your time and automate this process.
Yes, mechanics are no longer as effective as, for example, 2-3 years ago, but the method is still alive and well. More suitable for small businesses and aspiring influencers who have not yet found their target audience.
It should be remembered that ML and MF are not a panacea. It is foolish to think that only thanks to likes you will gain the required number of subscribers and acquire clients. The result directly depends on the goals of the business or personal blog.
Of course, MF and ML have undeniable advantages: fast profile promotion, a chance to gain a “live” audience, which can later turn into regular customers, high conversion. And ML will help you noticeably increase the loyalty of your followers, because everyone likes when their photos are liked.
Just don’t dwell solely on these methods , as they work only in tandem with other promotion options.
Game mechanics and activities
Promotions, sweepstakes, marathons, contests and so on – all these activities will help you attract a new audience. True, there are also nuances here, which we will discuss further.
- Marathons . This direction of attracting target audience is still relevant. Marathon is a hobby club, and sometimes you have to pay for participation. The classic scheme: bloggers unite, buy prizes and give tasks, and users share the results and receive coveted gifts. You can be the organizer of the marathon yourself or sponsor the initiatives of others.
- Sweepstakes . Everyone loves gifts, so we advise you to periodically spoil your subscribers with pleasant prizes for little activity. For example, money on a card for a comment, or a T-shirt for a repost. The main rule is that the rally must be adapted to the social network.
- Flash mobs. The difference from marathons is that flash mobs are completely free. What is the point: the user should post the results of his actions on his personal page, accompanying the publication with a certain hashtag (due to which the coverage increases). Everyone wins: the active participant gets a gift, you get new followers. To attract users, you can act as the organizer of the flash mob yourself or provide a valuable prize.
Contest is the most effective promotion method. With its help, you can increase your reach, increase engagement, and get new subscribers.
- If you’re a beginner who still hasn’t grasped the intricacies of confusing targeting, we recommend running a contest first. It’s much easier than organizing an entire ad campaign.
- the competition requires a minimum investment. You will only need money to promote the post-announcement and, of course, to buy a prize (if this is a commercial page, you can play your own product).
Now let’s move on to the cons :
- be prepared for an influx of freeloaders who will subscribe to you just for a gift;
- this point follows from the first – after the competition is over, freeloaders will urgently begin to unsubscribe from the account, taking the coverage with them.
In order for posts to get to the top, you need to sometimes bother subscribers, entertaining them with small interactions. You can ask the audience tasks, ask them to find differences in a photo, or vote on possible options using emoji.
Use Stories and Highlights
Stories is one of the most important tools for promoting your account, and pinned stories will help you tell more about your brainchild to your subscribers.
What can and should be published in Stories:
- talk about promotions and contests;
- give short interviews;
- repost user stories;
- share reviews;
- to shoot a mini-series;
- advertise a new product or service;
- conduct polls and battles;
- communicate with followers by showing them behind the scenes of the process.
What can be pinned to Highlights:
- brand introduction;
- conditions of order / payment / delivery;
- customer reviews;
- product reviews;
- promotional codes;
- current promotions;
- profile rubricator with useful hashtags;
- terms of advertising and mutual PR;
Promote your account offline
An offline business has a wonderful opportunity to promote an account outside the social network. A branded background, a mirror with a hashtag, special photo zones for selfies – all this will help you attract new followers.
Instagram business cards (nametag) is the second way to bring people offline. Nametag is an analogue of the sensational QR code. The business card can be shared with friends, sent to customers by mail, made posters or special stickers.
Small tutorial, how to create an Instagram business card :
Go to the “Instagram business card” section and select the background you like. After that, you can save the business card as an image or immediately share it on social networks.
Tips and tricks for free promotion
Tips Checklist for those who really want to get involved in promotion but don’t know where to start:
- Research your competitors . Without a thorough analysis of the competitive environment, you run the risk of ending up in a broken trough. See how fellow craft workers interact with the audience, what techniques are used and what they are doing to engage followers. The best way to do this is in Excel spreadsheet format.
- Think about your uniqueness . List your benefits in advance. This will help you build a competent content plan. It is very important to understand how you can hook people.
- Define your target audience . Analyze who your followers are? What are their interests, habits and preferences?
- Clearly define your style. Now we mean not only the visual component, but also the presentation of the texts. Avoid “water” and vague wording. Don’t be afraid of longreads. If you have a good social media manager who generates delicious stories, why not?
- Make a list of topics. Don’t turn your profile into a trash can. Consistency and a competent approach to business – this is what will help you achieve the desired result. Reflect on the topics and think about how often the posts will come out. Do not overload your followers with overly serious content, but do not go only towards entertainment content. Find a middle ground!
- Determine whether you will additionally advertise the page. Alas, you won’t be full of free methods alone, so sooner or later you will have to resort to targeting, influencers and other delights of paid “buns”. Decide exactly how much you are willing to spend on promotion in the future.
- Don’t forget about the content plan. Believe me, it will be extremely difficult to work without it. Writing posts “on the run” has not yet brought success to anyone, so it is advisable to prescribe a content plan in advance (at least 2 weeks in advance).
- Indicators . Think about what indicators you plan to achieve: the number of subscribers, reach, targeted queries. Do not read in the clouds and really assess your capabilities.
Instagram does not like those who rely solely on luck, so lazy people who ignore an integrated approach cannot get a “place in the sun” here. In order to attract a high-quality audience, you need to stick to a strategy and think about each of your actions. Yes, this is a lot of work, but the result will not be long in coming.
Competently design your profile, make the social network a full-fledged sales channel, work on a content plan and never stand still, because there are many interesting discoveries ahead of you!