It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a hundred times. That is probably the secret of Instagram’s popularity and the reason why its users are 15 times more engaged than those on any other social platform. If your specialty is the products that can be attractively showcased, Instagram is the place to promote them. Not sure how to do it right? Here are some Instagram marketing tactics that are proven to work for brands.

Step 1: Building a Following

13% of Internet users have Instagram accounts, so there is a good chance your customers and target audience are using it, too. The trick is in driving them to your account and building a large base of loyal followers. Here is how you can achieve that.

Use the Right Hashtags

Hashtags are the main thing that can help your target customers find your posts, sort of like keywords for your website. The hashtags you think are relevant to your business are not always what people are actually using. So, it’s important to identify the hashtags that are both accurate in describing your business and popular with the users. Free tools like Websta or Iconosquare can help you with your hashtag research.

Identify Filters that Work Best

When you select a filter, you just use what looks good to you. But the truth is some filters work better than the others, and their effectiveness can be different for various audiences. What you should do is experiment with different filters and analyze which of them get more response from your own followers.

Identify the Best Posting Time

There is no universal posting time for everyone, but you can surely identify when your audience is most engaged. The Iconosquare tool can show you the peak times when your followers are most likely to comment or like your posts, and these are the best times to publish new content.

Attract Your Competitors’ Audience

People who follow your competitors’ accounts are the ones that are most likely to follow yours, since they are obviously interested in your type of products. Try to draw their attention to your account by interacting with them. You can identify these people by using tools like JustUnfollow: it lets you search for Instagram accounts of your competitors and see the lists of users who follow them.

Ask Leading Instagrammers to Feature Your Products

Partnership with influencers in your industry can be extremely effective: since their audience trusts their judgement, them featuring your product can give you hundreds of new followers and customers. Keep in mind though that not all Instagrammers are open for this kind of ‘product placement’, and those who are expect you to pay a certain advertising cost.

Step 2: Selling to Your Followers

Now that you have built a following, it’s time to convert your followers into buyers. Here are several effective tactics that make people want to not only admire and share your photos, but also contact you and buy the product.

Let Them Know It’s in Short Supply

People tend to want things more when these things are in limited stock and more difficult to get. This principle is often used by marketers, and Instagram is where you can take advantage of it as well.

Post Your New Products

New products are another thing most people like, so don’t miss your chance to give your new offerings a kick-start by showcasing them on Instagram.

Use Social Proof

Social proof – testimonials, success stories, and such – are a very persuasive tool, because we have more trust in things that are recommended by other people. On Instagram, social proof works best in the visual form. Post photos of your customers wearing/using your products, or encourage them to post these photos on their own accounts using a certain hashtag. This can be much more powerful than glossy marketing shots.

Now, are you using Instagram to promote your products? What tactics work best for you? Share them in the comments.