Instagram is an important part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy for any consumer packaged goods (CPG) business today, regardless of its size. Developing systems and processes for more impactful posting are going to be critical as Instagram moves further into a Facebook-like algorithmic timeline.  If you are unaware of what this means, it basically will limit which content its users will see, rather than displaying content chronologically like it has done since the start of the social media platform.  The way to make sure your content is getting seen by the right amount of your followers is to make sure your strategic content marketing plans are well thought out.  Instagram has proven an incredibly powerful sales driver for CPG brands that have mastered the platform. The potential for getting thousands or even millions of eyes on your content is there since now more than 500 million people are using the social media platform on a regular basis.

How can you best use Instagram to drive sales and gain brand exposure?

1. Post regularly. This one seems pretty easy but many brands do not have a proper content schedule. You need to first understand what time is available to your team to both produce and monitor the social media platform.  If you can only post twice a week, make sure you post twice every week. Ideally, you’re going to want to work your way up to posting several times per day.  Statistics on the social media platform has shown that posting about 10 times a week is best for engagement with non-personal brands.

2. Use creative, relevant hashtags. Instagram, like Twitter, uses hashtags, which are basically content descriptors that allow users to find your brand.  The right hashtag can attract customers from far away.  At a very basic level, hashtags are a form of free social advertising.  If you are unaware of what hashtags to you, a service like #TagsForLikes can help generate a list of the most popular, on-topic hashtags for each of your posts.

3. Hashtags are’t the only way to be found. Hashtags are a smart way to categorize images, but don’t forget to write a great and engaging post description. When an Instagram user “regram a.k.a. repost” your image, that engaging post description will likely be the reason you will get additional indirect followers of your brand.  Additionally, the description you write can be used to expand on the story of the photo and dive deeper into the engagement you’re building with potential customers. This brand building tactic will help keep fans on your posts longer with a higher engagement level.

4. Expand your “reach” with influencers.  We wrote a great article on influencer marketing a few months ago.  The piece can be found by clicking here.

5. Make sure your Instagram and brand “voice” match. Your brand voice has to be defined by your image composition, colors, topical relevance, and more. These items shouldn’t seem difficult to you if your brand overall has a defined voice.  Here is a great article by Content Marketing Institute on how to create an easy brand voice strategy.  This pre-step is important and worth investing in getting your Instagram style right so followers aren’t confused when they are thinking about converting to customers.

5. Include a clear call to action. This one can be tricky on Instagram because they do not allow for clickable links in the photo descriptions.  The “hack” around this is to point people to the “link in your bio,” which allows your brand to have one clickable link displayed at a time.  This is critical if you want your company to make money with Instagram. What is awesome engagement if you aren’t leveraging it to drive traffic to your site (or vendor sites) for sales?  Always give your fans a next step to take.