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mobileimage-01Instagram isn’t just a fun, popular social media app, it’s also a great way to connect with customers and market your brand visually. Late last year, Instagram surpassed Twitter with 300 million monthly users, meaning that marketers have an even better chance of engaging customers with appealing images and the right hashtags.

These articles and blog posts offer some great tips and tactics to help you master Instagram marketing so you can better connect with your customers and prospects.

Instagram Marketing in 2016 — 10 Tools for Instagram You Need Now!, by Loren Ridinger via The Huffington Post:According to Statista, Instagram’s global advertising revenues are expected to climb to over 2.8 billion dollars by 2017. When you realize their revenues were expected to be only 600 million in 2015, you understand the massive marketing reach of Instagram. Whether you’re a seasoned Instagram veteran or a newbie considering dipping your marketer’s toes in the Instagram pool, there are a number of tantalizing tools you can investigate for your visual outreach strategy. Not only do you have the Instagram app itself, but you also have a myriad of resources available that integrate with this powerful visual content creation tool. Review the following roundup of Instagram resources to see which ones can help turn your business into a customer magnet in 2016.”

How to Get Noticed: 3 Instagram Marketing Strategies, by Josh Brown via Content Marketing Institute:You should use every single Instagram photo as an opportunity for growth. Adding some general hashtags to the end of your captions can and will get you more exposure – period. It’s simple, it’s easy, and it adds authenticity to your photo….Make the caption and the hashtags related. If you see success with certain hashtags, it’s going to be tempting to include them in every post. But you’ll have more success in the long run if you think ahead and create photos for those specific successful hashtags. While you’re at it, make sure you know you understand the hashtags that you’re using or you may end up on the wrong end of a scandal. Don’t spam hashtags. Instagram users love hashtags and while it appears that there isn’t a saturation point, if you’re filling your posts up with multiple hashtags, then you’re casting your net too wide, plus it just looks like spam to viewers. Don’t make the caption too short. Brief captions can be great, just recognize that a short caption followed by a wave of hashtags can again possibly hurt your image.”

5 Reasons Why Instagram Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think, via Foxtail Marketing: “Most consumers won’t pay attention to marketing efforts if they aren’t visually appealing. Instagram is the best tool to showcase products in a creative way and create a visual brand identity. The good news is, most marketers are aware of Instagram’s power. Creating original visual assets is the number one area that most marketers want to learn more about. Instagram can drive sales. If you think Instagram is all about selfies, think again. Posting on Instagram is a form of word-of-mouth marketing. According to a McKinsey Study, this unique marketing drives more than twice the sales of paid advertising. Not only does it increase sales, customers who find a brand or product through Instagram have a 37 percent higher retention rate. This is because consumers think Instagram is more personal than traditional social media platforms.”

3 Instagram Influencer Marketing Success Metrics You Should Be Measuring, by Jordan Feise via Traackr:The good news is, Instagram has experienced unparalleled user growth and boasts the highest engagement of any social network. Sources claim that Instagram users are 15 times more engaged than Facebook users. Sounds like a marketer’s dream! There are many brands that are getting influencer marketing right on Instagram…Instagram has proven to be a great platform for influencer marketing due to the high level of user engagement. Influencer marketing on Instagram can help boost your brand’s reputation, increase your reach and build loyal customers. Now for the bad news: Instagram influencer marketing success metrics are not as cut and dry as other channels. It is hard, if not impossible, to know exactly how many people a post reached via Instagram. Likes, comments and number of followers can help to estimate how many people saw a post, but it is not an exact science.”

Instagram Marketing Gains Powerful Advertising Platform, by Kyle Harper via Skyword: “New promotion platforms—particularly for social media—often come as a bittersweet opportunity for marketers. Along with the allure of new channels, audience, and growth, comes the reality of new testing, new demands for content, and community management. For small brands, this can pile up to an insurmountable strain on budget and manpower, while for larger companies there’s always the risk that a slight oversight might result in public embarrassment that can harm your brand. However, these considerations can be greatly mitigated with Instagram’s CRM integrations. By bringing your Instagram campaigns immediately into comparison with your other efforts, testing and management can be streamlined, allowing marketers to more simply apply principles from their other efforts to their new Instagram marketing campaigns. The most popular software currently supported is Salesforce, boasting a range of analytics tools and management options.