How-to Guide

5 Secrets of Marketing on Instagram Revealed

In April 2017, Instagram announced that there are now more than 700M Instagrammers, doubling its user base in two years.1 This growth shows no signs of slowing down with the last 100M users having joined faster than ever before.2

Not only are Instagram users signing up at record setting rates, but they are also more engaged with brands. In addition, they’re more likely to follow the brands they love on Instagram than on other social media platforms.3

Instagram is still the king of social engagement.

If you still think Instagram is just about selfies and taking pictures of your food, you’re missing out on the enormous potential of this powerful social destination. Build trusted relationships with customers, drive more sales and expand your reach with these top five untold secrets of marketing on Instagram:

1. Spark Action

A picture may be worth a thousand words –but don’t stop there. According to Instagram, if your audience finds your post inspiring, 75% of them will take action such as visiting a website or telling a friend.4 With one in two Instagrammers using social media for product research, the push is towards getting users to click the “Shop Now” button and complete their purchase.5

Instagram posts are now more “shoppable” than ever with the new “Tap to View Products” feature. Once a business has a product catalog connected to their account, tagging a product is as simple as tagging a person in a post.6 On the consumer's end, once a product is tagged as shown in the Sephora post below, buying the product is just a few quick clicks away.

Sephora Instagram


2. Tap Into a Passionate Community

2017 is the age of the “social media celebrity.” These influencers cultivate massive followings and leverage their audiences to land sponsorships and build partnerships with brands. Owned communities brimming with passionate brand advocates and earned social content in the form of recommendations and endorsements are among the most convincing ways to connect with new audiences. Finding a social media celebrity who is the right fit for your audience demographics and price range is key. Some will post in exchange for free products; others require payment. Communicate the number of posts and how your product should be tagged, but avoid telling an influencer what to say. Instagram is about credibility; the post will be more meaningful if the influencer describes their product or service in their own words, with their own image or story.


3. Maintain Authenticity

The line between organic content and paid content is getting blurrier every day, and let’s face it—Paid Social sometimes gets a bad rap. Amidst concerns about transparency, Instagram has launched a new “Paid partnership with” tag so “creators and businesses will now be able to quickly disclose their partnerships easier than ever before, maintaining authenticity across the board.”7 This feature not only gives a level of transparency, but it should also satisfy FTC requirements. Also, it “gives the creators and businesses the ability to track and share insights around a partnered post.”8

So, how do brands leverage paid posts without sticking out like a sore thumb? Start by looking at your organic content, and borrow the ideas that will amplify your brand story while connecting to your audience at every stage of the customer journey.


4. Expand Your Reach

It’s no secret user-generated content is the most trusted type of content available. Sharing UGC by “peer” not celebrity fans and followers is an excellent way to provide trustworthy, valued content to your audience. If someone tags you, uses your branded hashtag or share a post that’s relevant to your audience, share it through a 3rd party app like Repost for Instagram and Repost on Iconosquare on your own feed. Always get permission, don’t edit their post, give them credit and clearly note that it’s a repost.


5. Take a Response Approach

Twitter is not the only social customer service channel. Overall, brands have to do better to engage and provide support via social, not just offer education and entertainment content. It’s more important than ever that your organization deploy a social monitoring and engagement management solution that provides actionable analytics on Instagram interactions in addition to allowing your agents to respond to comments and connect with consumers on a larger scale.

Companies like StubHub know it’s imperative to recognize Instagram as a major social care channel. With their response approach as shown below, and the right social care tool they’ve improved response time by 300% and now have a trusted relationship with prospects and followers on social like never before.

StubHub Instagram


Need help managing your Instagram content marketing? Lithium Social Media Management can help you manage social campaigns and responses with precision and efficiency. Our Social Publishing enables you to manage your entire social strategy with a single tool and boost engagement by publishing the right content at the right time, driven by Klout data.

Want to see how it works? Request a demo.

Hungry for more social marketing tips? Learn more about how to make your social strategy “stand out” in our new guide, Standout Social: How the Convergence of Paid, Earned and Owned Social Fuels the Customer Journey.


1 TechCrunch - Instagram’s Growth Speeds up As it hits 700 Million Users
2 Instagram - Celebrating One Year of Instagram Stories
3 GlobalWebIndex - Half of Instagrammers Follow Brands
4 Instagram - Hitting 500,000 Advertisers
5 Global Web Index - 1 in 2 Instagrammers Researching Products on Social
6 instagram - A Better Shopping Experience on Instagram
7 Instagram - Why Transparency Matters: Enhancing Creator and Business Partnerships
8 Instagram - Why Transparency Matters: Enhancing Creator and Business Partnerships

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