Each and every single month, more than 1 billion people log into Instagram, interact with content, and post content to the platform.
Far and away one of the most frequently visited and often utilized social media platforms, even more so than Facebook, Instagram has become the “go to” platform for serious business owners, advertisers, and marketers that are looking to build their business online.
And even though Instagram is 100% free to get started with – and you can have a brand-new Instagram account up and running in less than five minutes.
The truth of the matter is the overwhelming majority of business owners, advertisers, and marketers out there aren’t using Instagram the right way to build their business or create the kind of financial future they have always dreamed of.
Honestly, the majority of the Instagram market is little more than “traditional marketing” applied to the digital world – and that just isn’t going to cut the mustard any longer.
No, if you are going to knock your Instagram marketing right out of the park and really turn it into a powerful channel for marketing you have to know exactly what you’re doing.
On top of that, because you’re going up against already stiff and established competition, you also have to take advantage of as many shortcuts checklists as possible to get you to the top as fast as you can.
Here are some critical tips and tricks in this quick checklist that will help you do exactly that.
Let’s dive right in!
Create Your Instagram Strategy
Most folks run their marketing right off the rails at the start, never even realizing that their entire Instagram marketing and was built on a foundation of sand and not concrete.
Most people just kind of throw different marketing approaches at the wall of Instagram and hope that something sticks, rather than taking a real systematic and focused approach to creating marketing that actually has an opportunity of working.
But not you.
No, since you are reading this quick checklist and following along with all of the tips and tricks we were able to share, you are going to have an almost unfair advantage over the competition to create truly effective marketing that actually works.
You’re going to be able to start at the start (where you need to create that solid foundation) and build from there.
Identify Your Perfect Prospect
The very first thing you have to do (even before you create a new Instagram account) is come up with a crystal clear image of who your perfect prospect is.
You have to know what they are most interested in getting out of you, what they are most interested in seeing and interacting with on Instagram, and the “hot buttons” that compel them to go from engaged Instagram follower to paying customer as quickly as humanly possible.
Once you have this crystal clear image of who this perfect customer is you’re going to want to craft each and every single piece of Instagram content you create (as well as every other piece of marketing you manufacture) for them and them alone.
A lot of people make the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone with their Instagram marketing, missing the mark completely and getting zero followers instead of laser targeting in on their specific niche while ignoring the overwhelming majority of people that wouldn’t have become customers anyway.
Steal Great Ideas from Your Competitors
After really firmly establishing that image of your perfect prospect it’s time to go and look at the top 15 or 20 Instagram accounts in your industry, really trying to come up with an idea of what they are doing so effectively in your market to already.
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to try and reinvent the wheel when it comes to online marketing, especially when your competitors (your successful competitors, anyway) will not have only blazed that trail for you to follow but will have left very easy to understand and copy clues for you as well.
Some people get a little bit squeamish about “stealing” content ideas from competitors, but you are going to want to get past that as soon as humanly possible.
We aren’t in any way suggesting that you actually rip off physical pieces of content and pass them off as your own, but if you are in an outdoor equipment niche in your best competitors are posting in sunup and sundown images of camp life you had better believe you are doing a lot of the exact same thing or you are going to be missing your mark with your ideal prospects and losing ground to these competitors for no reason whatsoever.
This will help you speed up your content marketing on Instagram significantly, but it will also help you slip right into the top tier of Instagram accounts in your industry when you’re publishing the same content as the “big dogs” are.
Create a Content Marketing Calendar
The content marketing calendar is the number one differentiator between amateur hour marketers on Instagram and serious and savvy social media marketers, and you’re definitely going to want to find yourself in the latter group.
Major companies all over the world have spent a tremendous amount of time, energy, and effort really trying to streamline and systemize as much of their customer acquisition process as possible.
And while these major multinational companies have budgets far bigger than anything any of us could ever muster, the one weapon that we can copy and use just effectively as they are is the content calendar.
Setting up your marketing six months (or even better, one year) in advance with a plan for every single piece of content you are going to release a very specific day and as part of a very specific marketing campaign gives you an almost unfair advantage over the rest of your competition.
By setting out understanding that you are going to have to create content for a three times a week release you’re not only able to create those posts in advance and get them ready for “prime time”, you’re also able to find just the right piece of content to publish at a particular point in time to dovetail in with all of the other marketing approaches you are utilizing.
With a content marketing calendar, you can be working on a Valentine’s Day campaign, for example in the middle of June, coming up with content that will be released on Instagram that goes hand-in-hand with the Valentine’s Day campaign you have been running from the end of January right up until the middle of February the coming year.
On top of that, you can really start to automate your Instagram marketing when you take this kind of approach.
Because you have all of your content created and ready to go, you can then script programs or outsource the actual publishing work to someone else – freeing up your time so that you can focus on other high leverage business activities without having to worry about how you’re going to cobble together an advertising approach that day.
This is game changing stuff, and you have to be 100% certain that you are doing EVERYTHING in your power to systemize, automate, and delegate as much of your Instagram marketing as possible.
This checklist will go a long way towards helping you do exactly that, but the bulk of the work is going to come from creating content focused on your perfect prospect, content proven to work by your competitors, and content that is released on a regular and systemized basis according to your content calendar.
Growth, Growth, Growth
The next stage after laying your foundation and Instagram marketing is focusing entirely on growing your following just as quickly as humanly possible.
Instagram does a lot of the heavy lifting for you, helping to recommend your Instagram account to other people automatically and even actively promoting your account through Instagram posts of the day, hashtags, and the like, but you really want to take ownership of your Instagram marketing right out of the gate to grow your account as large as you’re able to as fast as you’re able to.
After all, the greatest content in the world, matched perfectly to your ideal customers, isn’t going to be worth ANYTHING unless you are getting eyeballs and actively engaging people that have chosen to follow your Instagram account.
Without followers, all of your efforts are wasted completely – so you have to build that following up from the ground with lightning like speed.
Here are some quick tips to help you do exactly that!
Piggyback Off of Instagram Influencers
Instagram influencers – the most frequently followed, engaged with, and active accounts in your market or industry – have the ability to lift any account that they regularly interact with, as well as any account that regularly interacts with them.
You have to do everything in your power to either capture the attention of these Instagram influencers in your industry or your market so that they start to actively promote the content that you provide (and we will show you one way to do that in just a second) OR you have to try and “steal their thunder” as much as possible by mentioning them in your own content so much so that their followers start to pay attention to you as well.
Instagram marketing is quickly becoming an arms race of sorts, with major accounts releasing new posts on an hourly basis as opposed to a daily or even weekly update.
Major accounts – we’re talking about accounts with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers – need to have a lot of activity to keep up with their hungry followers, and that means that they need a tremendous amount of original content that they have the chance to share.
That’s where you as a “smaller operator” come into play!
Because you don’t have to feed the same kind of beast (yet), you can actually afford to not only create content for your own Instagram account but content for these major Instagram account influencers as well.
By creating content that you then give to these influencers to share with their followers 100% free of charge (though with attribution and tags going back to your account), you are able to do them a favor while also serving your own needs.
These kinds of accounts are super happy to enter into these kinds of agreements.
They get a lot of free, high-quality content that they don’t have to work hard to create, they keep their followers happy, and they get to partner with new up and comers in the same industry.
You’ll also benefit from the extra exposure you get from these influencing Instagram accounts – and before you know it you will have floods in floods of followers diving headfirst into your account, turning you into an influencer as well!
Another great approach to growing your account quickly is to run regular contests where you actually give away high-quality items or services on your Instagram account in exchange for increased follower numbers.
This is a proven, tried and true, and amazingly effective marketing tactic and technique that has been in use long before Instagram was even thought of.
The only thing you have to do is fulfill your end of the deal – actually giving away whatever products or services you have promised to – and they cost you a little bit upfront, but when you actively monetize your Instagram account, you’ll find that the return on investment is well worth it.
The bigger the item, the more exciting the service, and the more valuable the giveaway, the more action you are going to get and the more followers you are going to accumulate.
If you are in the golf niche, for example, giving away a sleeve of balls is barely going to move the needle. Giving away a trip to Pebble Beach, however, is going to have you swimming in more followers than you will know what to do with.
Sure, that trip to Pebble Beach is going to cost a lot more than a sleeve of balls, but as mentioned above the return on investment is going to be well worth it.
Instead of picking up a handful of followers for $12 you might pick up 10,000 new followers or more for $2000. The trade-off should be obvious.
Create Multiple Channels of Monetization with Instagram
At the end of the day, new followers aren’t cold hard cash in the bank unless you actually begin to monetize your followers and your account on Instagram.
The easiest way to monetize your Instagram account is to simply use your account and your Instagram content as an entry-level to your marketing funnel.
You’ll be able to push visitors and followers to your account deeper and deeper into your marketing materials, converting at least some of them into paying customers – and that’s got a pretty reasonable ROI.
Of course, there are other ways to monetize your Instagram account – and even if you do decide to sell your own products and services, you’ll want to pursue some of these avenues to maximize your leverage on social media and create multiple income streams.
For starters, you can seek out other businesses in your industry – competitors or those offering complementary services – and offer to provide them with “sponsored content”.
You basically become an affiliate for their company and any of the sales you drive through your Instagram account pay you get paid a commission.
This is how a lot of “Instagram models” make their money online, posting pictures of themselves and workout gear or using workout supplements provided by other companies and getting a cut of the affiliate sales they drive.
These people are making a steady income off of this kind of affiliate marketing alone, so it’s definitely worth investigating.
There are plenty of ways to monetize Instagram, and hopefully, this quick checklist has shined a little bit of extra light on the subject for you going forward!