You already know that Instagram is great for promoting physical products, but as a digital product creator, you feel like you don’t “belong” on Instagram. 

It’s understandable to feel that way. You’re also wrong.

There are plenty of ways digital product sellers can promote their products and build their brand on Instagram beyond just leaving links in their bios. 

Read on to find out three easy ways you can take advantage of Instagram’s marketing power for your digital product business. 

Method #1: Work with influencers

If you’re planning on selling online courses or something you’ve spent months developing, your gut reaction may be to contact influencers with millions of followers. 

However, that may not be the most cost-effective or highest ROI way of working with influencers. 

Instead, you will probably see more benefit by working with micro-influencers, or influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers. 

According to influencerintelligence.ecoconsultancy.com, 56% of marketers said that niche, mid-tier, and micro-influencers are more cost-effective to work with than larger influencers.

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And it’s no surprise when you consider how many more micro-influencers there are than mega-influencers. Shoe brand Sperry, for instance, worked with over 100 micro-influencers for one of their marketing campaigns.

One reason why micro-influencer campaigns can be more effective is that micro-influencers tend to have better engagement rates.

According to SocialPubli report, influencers with less than 1,000 followers had an engagement rate of 10.1%, whereas those with over 1 million followers had a 0.02% engagement rate. 

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These higher engagement rates can translate into more clicks, follows and eventual sales for brands which partner with micro-influencers. 

In fact, 85% of marketers said engagement data like shares and comments are the biggest measure of success for influencer marketing programs. 

The first step in picking a micro-influencer to partner with should be to calculate their Instagram engagement rates and use a tool like HypeAuditor to assess the influencer’s audience quality and demographics.  

Next, prepare your pitch and reach out to influencers — here’s a great guide to negotiating with influencers on a shoestring budget.

Once you’ve heard back from influencers, lay out the terms of your agreement and how they will promote your campaign (need some inspiration? Check out these four ways to improve your lead generation with influencer marketing). 

Then, with your terms set, launch your campaign. Simple as that.

Method #2: Engage with your audience

Even though 80% of Instagram accounts follow a business, that doesn’t mean you can or should constantly bombard your followers with ads. 

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Consumers want to purchase from brands who both value their time and attention ( i.e. don’t inundate them with ads) and who they like or relate to. 

How your brand acts on social media in terms of its personality and online interactions can affect your brand reputation, sales figures and more. 

Therefore, it’s important to know what kind of brand your audience wants to interact with, and what they want or don’t want you to do on social media. 

For example, 83% of consumers want brands to be friendly on social media, whereas 86% want them to be honest. 

Conversely, 72% of customers want brands to be funny, and 33% want companies to be snarky. 

But, customers care not only about how your brand’s personality is reflected through the social media — they also care about how you act. 

83% of consumers think it’s “cool” when companies respond to and answer questions on social media and 68% like when businesses join online conversations. 

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Lo & Sons, as an example, did a great job of answering commenters’ questions on this Instagram post

By engaging with your followers, you may not only boost your account’s engagement rate and brand perception for the users you interact with, but you may earn recommendations from them as well. 

Accoring to clutch.co, 72% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand if they had a positive experience with that brand on social media, so those few minutes you spend talking with your audience may earn you more followers, customers and sales you otherwise may not have had. 

That said, it’s important to keep your customers’ feelings in mind lest you offend them or tarnish your brand’s reputation.

Cinnabon, as an example, received backlash after posting a photo on Twitter to honor actress Carrie Fisher after her death. 

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Many people felt that Cinnabon’s post was in poor taste and was trying to profit from the actress’s passing. 

Still, engagement through commenting will only take you so far. For a more intimate and engaging experience with your brand, include other types of Instagram content in your marketing campaigns.  

Method #3: Use Instagram Live, Instagram Stories, and IGTV

Instagram is great for sharing enviable photos, but there’s so much more you can do to promote your brand than just posting pictures. 

As livestream.com states, given that 80% of consumers would rather watch a live video than read a brand’s blog, you may want to use Instagram Live to livestream video, for example. 

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Musician Carrie Underwood used Instagram Live to tell her followers about her just-released album, although you could also use Instagram Live to host Q&A sessions, run contests or feature a recurring video segment.  

You could also use Instagram Stories to bond with your audience if you’re looking for content that has interactivity baked into it. 

Instagram Stories are videos and images that appear as a slideshow and which disappear after 24 hours. 

You can add emojis, GIFs, and images to your Stories to make them more interesting. You can also add links if you’re a verified account or have over 10,000 followers. 

To engage with your followers, include polls and questions in your Stories, which can help you with everything from gathering customer research to entertaining your followers. 

Because Instagram Stories tend to be many short videos and photos strung together, they’re best for sharing bite-sized pieces of information. 

They’re also an excellent way to ask and respond to questions from your audience, such as this Q&A with WeWork’s co-founder. 

Lastly, you could also upload pre-recorded videos using Instagram TV. 

As the research of animoto.com states, 93% of marketers claimed they earned a new client because of videos on social media, with 40% of marketers ranking video as having the highest ROI compared to other types of content. 

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For those reasons and the fact that 85% of consumers said they want more branded video content, Instagram TV may very well help you in your lead-generation and lead-conversion efforts. 

Instagram TV videos must be a minimum of a minute long and can be up to 15 or 60 minutes depending on how you upload them. 

As with Instagram Live and Stories, there are multiple ways to use Instagram TV to promote your brand, such as how-to videos, product demos, and webinars. 

60 Second Docs, for instances, creates educational 60-second documentaries for their viewers, whereas BBC Earth used this Instagram TV video to share an excerpt from their Dynasties series. 

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Bottom line

There are plenty of ways Instagram can help your small business

You can communicate with your followers in real-time using Instagram Live, engage with them through Instagram Stories or share helpful and entertaining content through pre-recorded Instagram TV videos. 

You can use Instagram to promote your digital products

For a digital product creator, it may seem difficult to stand out amongst all of the physical products promoted on the platform. 

To thrive on Instagram, think beyond mere product photos and opt for more clever marketing tactics. 

Here are three tactics any digital product creator could implement on Instagram include:

  • Working with micro-influencers to promote your products
  • Engaging with your followers to build the brand-customer relationship, attract viewers to your website and encourage word-of-mouth following from happy customers and followers 
  • Using Instagram Live, Instagram Stories and Instagram TV to provide thoughtful and engaging content for your followers to enjoy 

One thing which all of these tactics have in common is that they, like the platform itself, are inherently social. Keep your followers and friends in mind as you apply these strategies and you (almost) can’t go wrong.

Taylor Barbieri
Taylor Barbieri is a content marketer for Podia, an all-in-one platform where online courses, digital downloads, and membership websites -- alongside their creators -- thrive. Check out our free 12,000+ word guide to creating profitable online courses, even if you’ve never done it before.

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