5 Top Brandwatch Alternatives

Your social media success depends on how well you are able to listen to what your audience is saying about you, your competitors and your market in general.

This is what social listening and social media monitoring is all about. 

With data and insights extracted from your social listening efforts, you are able to know your customers better and improve your marketing strategy. 

Are you using a tool like Brandwatch, but find it a little too pricey or just out of your budget?

We’re bringing you five top Brandwatch alternatives that will get you the results that you need. 

Jump Links:

1. Keyhole
2. Hootsuite
3. Mention
4. Falcon.io
5. Sprout Social

1. Keyhole

What makes Keyhole one of the top Brandwatch alternatives is that it has the same features as Brandwatch, but it’s cheaper.

Keyhole is a powerful monitoring tool that lets you monitor hashtags, keywords, URLs, topics, social media handles and more. 

Keyhole allows you to track mentions and keywords across news, blogs and forums, in addition to social media accounts.

These insights help you understand who your followers are, and who your competitors’ followers are. This way, you are able to give them content they will appreciate.  

keyhole dashboard - new branding

It doesn’t end there. 

Get social media account analytics for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. With these analytics, you’ll know what you’re doing right and how to keep growing your accounts over time.

Spy on your competitors with Keyhole. Get to know how many followers they have, their engagement numbers and who is leading the conversation in your industry, and why.

Keyhole will also show you influencers, sentiment, and trending topics derived from the mentions collected.

Pricing: Keyhole offers a free trial and 3 pricing tiers. Keyhole’s Account Analytics plan starts as low as $29/month, and the Enterprise Suite is $999/month.

2. Hootsuite

hootsuite

Hootsuite is another one of the best Brandwatch alternatives that lets you bring all your social media marketing efforts into one dashboard.

The Hootsuite dashboard enables teams to collaboratively schedule updates to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, among others. 

Monitor how specific search terms are performing in real-time. This is especially handy if you want to see how certain keywords perform in your industry so you can add or drop them from your marketing campaign. 

Hootsuite is also handy for tracking brand mentions, campaign results and industry trends.

Pricing: Price starts from $19/mo to $599/mo depending on the number of social profiles and users. 

3. Mention

Mention will monitor brand mentions on social media. 

You can monitor your company name, your competitor, or a business-related phrase and see what people are saying – in real-time.

You can respond to these conversations right from your Mention dashboard as long as you’ve connected your social accounts. This is a good way to show your audience that you’re listening to them and build your brand reputation. 

Pricing: Price starts from $25/mo up to $450+/mo depending on the number of alerts, mentions and social profiles. 

4. Falcon.io

Want to do more than monitoring and listening using just one tool?

Try out Falcon.io

This is a SaaS platform that allows you to conduct social media monitoring, publish social media content, manage your customer experience and generate analytics all from one place. 

Falcon.io aims at enabling marketers to deliver more personalized brand experiences to their customers. 

Pricing: From $129 month for single users and small teams.

5. Sprout Social

Grow your social media following and increase your customer base with Sprout Social.

With Sprout Social, you can monitor your platforms, engage new and old fans, measure performance and grow your brand online.  

If you want to see how you stack up against your competitors, then you’ll love Sprout Social’s engagement feature that shows social engagement trends by day and time. It also provides you with engagement analytics from your competitors. 

Pricing: Starts from $99 per user/mo for 5 social profiles and $249 per user/mo for 10 social profiles.

Amidst all the noise online, your target audience is trying to say something to you. 

Listen to them and give them exactly what they want.

Any one of these top Brandwatch alternatives is the magic wand that you need to do this effectively!


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free and search your brand.

3 Top Meltwater Alternatives

Social media monitoring is a non-negotiable part of any successful marketing and sales strategy, and thankfully there are plenty of tools that allow you to collect and analyse social data to inform your decision-making.

Looking for a social media analytics solution that allows you to track conversations, find influencers and keep up to date with your competitors’ activities, but Meltwater is too costly?

Or, are you already a Meltwater user and looking to switch to a more affordable platform?

Below we’ve listed the top Meltwater alternatives you can use to stay on top of your social media accounts, without breaking the bank.

Jump Links:

1. Keyhole
2. Mention
3. Sprout Social

1. Keyhole

Keyhole tops our list of Meltwater alternatives as it offers the same features at a much more affordable price. 

As a specialised hashtag tracking & social analytics solution, Keyhole allows you to keep track of your mentions and analyse the conversations about your brand across the most widely used social media platforms as well as forums, blogs and the news. 

With Keyhole, you’ll be able to understand customer sentiment, identify and replicate your top performing content to maximise engagement, as well as measure the impact of your influencer marketing campaigns.

keyhole dashboard - new branding

Moreover, Keyhole enables you to keep pace with the trending topics in your industry by showing you the hashtags that are starting to gain momentum, as well as the conversations that your competitors are having online.

Best of all? You can collect all your findings in simple, easy-to-understand reports and share them with key stakeholders in your organisation.

Pricing: Keyhole offers a free trial and 3 pricing tiers. Keyhole’s Account Analytics plan starts as low as $29/month, and the Enterprise Suite is $999/month.

2. Mention

Mention is a social media listening and publishing tool that allows you to listen to online conversations and plan your posts so that they reflect the latest industry trends and audience interests.

Mention has two solutions: Listen and Publish.

Mention’s publishing solution allows you to create and manage your social media content calendar from one place. 

Mention’s listening solution enables you to keep tabs on your competition and track key metrics in your industry to stay informed of trending topics and measure the impact of your campaigns.

Mention will send you daily recaps as well as email notifications whenever there’s been a peak of mentions of your brand.

Pricing: Mention offers 4 pricing tiers, including a free plan for one user. Their individual plans start around $25/month and their enterprise plans start at $450/month.

3. Sprout Social

Finally, Sprout Social is another Meltwater alternative that allows you to monitor your brand hashtags in real-time, track post and campaign performance and uncover trends in social media growth. 

Sprout Social allows you to organise your messages and access all your social media inboxes in one place as well as manage your content calendar. You can also use the tool to benchmark your stats against your competitors’, and by getting the Listen & Inform add-ons, you can monitor and analyse topics that are trending on Twitter. 

Pricing: Sprout Social offers a 30-day trial and 3 pricing tiers. Their plans range from $99-249 per user.

Which Meltwater Alternative is the right choice for you?

These top Meltwater alternatives we included in our list are all robust tools that can inform your decision-making and allow you to understand the type of content that resonates with your audience.

As a result, this improve your chances of increasing engagement and helping to reach your other marketing goals.

So which one should you choose?

It all depends on your needs. 

Looking for a specialised solution that gives you really detailed information on your brand reputation online? Then, Keyhole would probably be the best choice. 

Want to track online conversations and plan your social media posts from one platform? In that case, you would probably try Mention. 

Want to bring clarity to your inbox and don’t mind paying extra to get a couple of social listening add-ons? Sprout Social is probably what you want. 

The bottom line is, there are a myriad of tools out there that are more affordable than Meltwater and make social media monitoring affordable to everyone – even small businesses with small budgets.


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free and search your brand.

4 Top Talkwalker Alternatives

There’s no doubt that Talkwalker is a powerful social media listening tool.

But at a hefty starting price tag of $9,600 USD for the most basic plan, it’s simply not an option for most marketers’ budgets.

Don’t worry though. There are several Talkwalker alternatives out there that offer social listening, social media analytics, and the reporting tools you need—with even better ROI for your business.

Jump Links:

1. Keyhole
2. Sprout Social
3. Brand24
4. Mention

Without further ado… here are our top 4 Talkwalker alternatives:

1. Keyhole

Keyhole is a powerful Talkwalker alternative available at a fraction of the cost.

Keyhole’s hashtag analytics and social media monitoring tools allow you to keep a finger on the pulse of your brand and your industry as a whole.

With Keyhole, you can measure the impact of your social media campaigns, hashtags, and influencers. You can also track your competitors, and any content that’s trending for your targeted hashtags and keywords.

Keyhole’s social media reports are easy to use, visually appealing, and easily shareable with your clients.

keyhole dashboard - new branding

Neil Patel says, “This tool (Keyhole) does a lot of things others can’t. And as a bonus, it’s extremely user-friendly.”

Pricing: Keyhole offers a free trial and 3 pricing tiers. Keyhole’s Account Analytics plan starts as low as $29/month, and the Enterprise Suite is $999/month.

2. Sprout Social

While a little pricier than Keyhole, Sprout Social is another affordable alternative to Talkwalker.

Sprout Social offers rich social analytics, engagement tracking, listening capabilities, and publishing tools.

Sprout Social’s collaboration and automation capabilities are a nice bonus, too.

Pricing: Sprout Social offers a 30-day trial and 3 pricing tiers. Their plans range from $99-249 per user.

3. Brand24

Brand24 is another lightweight Talkwalker alternative.

Their platform offers a live feed of your mentions to track your conversations. They also have a discussion volume chart to track unexpected spikes in brand mentions and publicity.

They also provide mention analytics, influence score, sentiment analysis, and a variety of alert options.

Pricing: Brand24 offers a 14-day trial and 3 pricing tiers. Their Personal plan starts at $49/month and their highest-tiered plan is $199/month.

4. Mention

Mention’s social media listening and publishing platform is the final Talkwalker alternative on our list.

Mention offers a feed of your brand mentions, analytics of industry audiences, and reports that allow you to measure the impact of your marketing efforts.

They also offer an interface for social media publishing and scheduling on every platform, including helpful preview tools to verify a post’s layout.

Pricing: Mention offers 4 pricing tiers, including a free plan for one user. Their individual plans start around $25/month and their enterprise plans start at $450/month.


Looking to accurately track your social media campaigns? Prove their impact and ROI? Produce beautiful marketing reports?

Start your free Keyhole trial today.

How to Get More Instagram Followers: 30 Proven Strategies

Everyone has big dreams when they start an Instagram account for their business.

But getting more Instagram followers—especially at the beginning—isn’t as easy at it seems. How do you get more Instagram followers?

Paying for Instagram followers doesn’t work. You end up with inflated follower counts that actually don’t provide any results to your business.

So how do you build an authentic Instagram following that’s relevant to your business?

Here are 30 ways to get more followers on instagram.

Jump Links:

1. Start By Strategizing
2. Research Your Competitors
3. Define Your Audience
4. Consistent Branding & Aesthetic
5. Optimize Your Instagram Bio
6. Use Relevant Hashtags
7. Create a Branded Hashtag
8. Post Great Captions
9. Post Consistently
10. Post at the Right Time
11. Post Beautiful, Professional Photos
12. Post Real People (and Selfies)
13. Ask People to Tag Their Friends
14. Tag Your Location
15. Engage, Engage, Engage
16. Share User Generated Content
17. Follow Relevant Accounts
18. Steal Your Competitors’ Followers
19. Work with Influencers
20. Collaborate With Other Brands & Accounts
21. Contests & Giveaways
22. Post Videos
23. Post Stories
24. Use Story Highlights
25. Use Instagram Live
26. Start an IGTV Series
27. Promote Your Instagram Content on Other Channels
28. Create Custom Camera Filters
29. Instagram Ads
30. Use an Instagram Analytics Tool

1. Start By Strategizing

Social media can be a huge time-waster if you don’t have an action plan. Far too many businesses go straight to posting on Instagram without any idea of why.

The harsh truth is:

Growing your Instagram follower count will require thoughtful, strategic action. Making it up as you go along won’t cut it.

Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goals that relate back to your business plan. 

Your goals may be related to:

  • Growing brand awareness
  • Increasing online sales
  • Boosting website visitors

Try to set a specific, realistic goal with a deadline. For example, increasing online sales by 10% within 12 months.

By establishing your goals up front, you give a purpose behind each post.

If your goal is to grow brand awareness, you may steer more towards lifestyle content.

Want to increase sales? You may post more product shots.

If you want to boost your website visitors, you may post contests or promotional offers.

As a bonus, if you have a team of multiple people managing your account, clearly defined goals means you’ll all be on the same page.

2. Research Your Competitors

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You just have to make yours shinier and faster.

Start by making a list of your top competitors and then checking out each of their Instagram profiles.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What type of content are they posting?
  • What type of content are they not posting?
  • Which posts are getting the most engagement?
  • Who are their followers?
  • What influencers are they working with?
  • How are they making use of video?

Take detailed notes as you go through this process for each of your competitors. By the end of it, you’ll have a great starting point from which to build off of.

For example, you may find none of your competitors are working with influencers, exposing an opportunity in the market.

But don’t stop there. 

By using a social media analytics tool like Keyhole, you can look at the hard data to easily compare the successes and failures of your competitors.

You can unlock insights like which types of posts get the engagement, who has more share of voice, and which accounts have the most positive user sentiment.

3. Define Your Audience

It’s much easier to get more Instagram followers if you tailor your content to a specific audience.

Establish exactly who you’re trying to reach with your posts:

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • What is their job?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What other brands do they like?
  • What do they like on Instagram?

The more specific the better. Come up with 2 or 3 ideal customer profiles (fictional or based off of real followers) and post everything with that user in mind.

For example, if you were Nike, you could target a fictional persona “Can’t-Stop Corey”, a hard-working finance expert who goes to the gym every morning, eats healthy, and watches sports every night.

Corey may be interested in health tips, inspirational quotes, and would likely be persuaded by famous athletes.

4. Consistent Branding & Aesthetic

Surely you’ve heard the cooking expression, “You eat with your eyes first.”

Well the same goes for Instagram. People like pretty content.

Establish a consistent design aesthetic that reflects your brand and appeals to your target audience. Use consistent brand colors, photo filters, iconography, and photo styles.

Take Pantone, for example. They post several videos and images using the same color scheme to create appealing visual consistency.

Check out Pantone’s color consistency!

Pro Tip: There are many Instagram template tools out there to help you make beautiful posts every single time.

5. Optimize Your Instagram Bio

Your Instagram bio has to be your strongest sales pitch.

When someone sees one of your posts and clicks through to your profile, now’s the time to impress.

The perfect Instagram bio is made up of several key elements:

Keyword Optimized Name:
Your profile name is searchable, so target it to the most relevant keywords to your brand. That might be your brand name, but it may also be keywords that help people find you.

For example, if you were a nail salon called Chic Nails in New York, you could make your name “Chic Nails | NY Nail Salon”.

Persuasive Bio:
Tell your potential followers exactly who you are and exactly what they will get out of following you. 

Call-To-Action Link:
Give people a link to click and a reason to click it. If you’re a SAAS company, that may be a free trial. If you’re an eCommerce business, that may be a link to a sale. Try to get more creative than just linking your website.

6. Use Relevant Hashtags

Using hashtags is all about gaining visibility. 

You can post on general trends like #MondayMotivation, but you’ll gain more traction if you post with hashtags that are relevant to your product or audience.

For example, Project UROK helps spread mental health awareness by using hashtags like #mentalhealth, #mentalhealthresource, #mentalillness, and more.

Using a hashtag analytics tool like Keyhole, you can research hashtags that are used most often by your audience or are most relevant to your brand.

You can then build a list of hashtags and use them in each and every post.

Pro Tip: Posting on social media “holiday” hashtags will also put your content in front of more people. Here’s a great list of social media holidays from HubSpot.

The Four Seasons posted this photo for #WorldSleepDay!

7. Create a Branded Hashtag

Creating your own branded hashtag is even better than using someone else’s.

If your hashtag catches on, people will be creating content for you.

And anyone who clicks through to the hashtag on someone else’s post will be more likely to see your content in the search results or their feed.

Not only does that help with your brand awareness, it also makes them more likely to follow you, because you’re the source of the content they loved.

Reebok used #ClubC to celebrate their 35th anniversary by encouraging people to post their Reebok-inspired style.

Now, their fans and influencers are sharing their own Reebok shoe photos, which dramatically increases Reebok’s brand visibility.

Pro tip: Keep your branded hashtag short and easy to remember.

8. Post Great Captions

Instagram isn’t just about great visuals. Your captions matter too.

In a world where authenticity is key, long-form captions will help your audience learn more about you and your unique message.

Plus, there’s evidence that longer captions result in more engagement.

Here are some great ways to keep your captions captivating:

  • Front load your content – Captions will cut off after a couple lines of text, so make sure you start with a powerful message.
  • Ask questions – You’re more likely to get lots of replies if you engage your audience.
  • Format with emojis – Emojis are a great way to break up long text
  • Leave your hashtags until the end – Hashtags increase visibility but clutter your posts. Put your hashtags at the bottom of your posts.

Experiment with caption length to see what gets the best results for your brand.

Pro Tip: Keyhole has an “Optimal Post Length” feature that will tell you the post lengths with the best engagement.

9. Post Consistently

It doesn’t matter how great your content is if your posts are few and far between.

Posting regularly will not only give you more opportunities to get your content in front of people, it also shows potential followers that you’re a great source for regular content.

Pro Tip: Aim to post at least once per day.

10. Post at the Right Time

Depending on your industry, when you post might be just as important as how often you post.

Keyhole’s social analytics tool will tell you the best time of the day to post for each day of the week based on typical post engagement.

11. Post Beautiful, Professional Photos

Instagram is first and foremost a photo and video platform.

That means you’ll gain followers much quicker if you have beautiful, professional photos and videos.

If you have the budget, consider hiring a professional photographer.

If you’re taking the photos yourself:

  • Use a professional-grade camera or a newer phone model.
  • Don’t take photos on the Instagram app. Use your phone’s native camera app.
  • Make sure the camera is focused on the photo subject
  • Take photos that would work as a square.
  • Learn how to take photos with great lighting.
  • Edit your photos or use appealing filters.

Even if your brand is focused more on day-to-day authenticity rather than super polished shots, you’ll still receive more engagement on nicer-looking photos rather than drab, out-of-focus photos.

Pro Tip: Check out this list of 29 Instagram photo hacks from the Huffington Post.

12. Post Real People (and Selfies)

As it turns out, people really like faces! And people love authenticity.

A study from Georgia Tech found that Instagram photos that feature faces are 38% more likely to get a like and 32% more likely to receive comments.

And not only that, photos and videos of real people make your brand more relatable and personable.

Think about it: would you rather have a photo of a product or a video of someone showing you how great that product is?

Authentic photos of your team, or selfies from your influencers are a great way to get free Instagram followers fast.

13. Ask People to Tag Their Friends

People love tagging their friends in content that helps them connect.

If you post something inspirational, funny, or relatable, ask your followers to tag their friends directly from the content.

BossBabe often posts inspirational quotes about women empowerment, asking their followers to tag friends that are also a #BOSSBABE.

Pro Tip: Use this technique sparingly, as using it too often can come off as spammy.

14. Tag Your Location

Tagging your location is another tool in your toolbox for making your posts more discoverable.

You can tag your posts or stories with your location—either with your city or the event venue where you took the photo or video.

Just like hashtags have their own feed, so do locations and events. You can tap a location or event name to see all photos and videos that were tagged with that event.

By tagging yourself at a location, you’re opening the door to new local followers.

Pro tip: To tag your Stories with a location, use the location sticker. Add a location tag in your post too!

15. Engage, Engage, Engage

People use social networks to be social.

So when in Rome…

Find an Instagram community that’s relevant to your brand, and then start liking, commenting on, and sharing content from members in that community.

There are three main reasons why you should be proactive with engagement:

  1. People like it!
    By liking and commenting on people’s posts, they will be more likely to notice you and follow you back.
  2. The Activity tab likes it!
    When someone responds to your comment, it will appear on their followers’ Activity tab. That can increase your potential reach.
  3. The Instagram algorithm likes it!
    Engagement is one of the main signals to the Instagram algorithm. The more you engage back and forth with people, the better.

This is really important:

Keep your posts authentic.

If you’re engaging with a community, talk like that community—as long as it’s consistent with your brand.

People are pretty quick to sniff out a brand that’s engaging in self-promotion, so make sure you’re actually contributing to the conversation.

If you’re a smaller brand, you may want to target users with fewer followers, and then work your way up to bigger accounts.

If you’re a larger brand, you may be able to target higher followed accounts right out of the gate.

Pro Tip: Don’t limit engagement to your marketing team. Your Customer Service / Success team can also interact with people directly on Instagram.

16. Share User Generated Content

Sharing user generated content has so many benefits.

First of all, it’s free content. Your users create it for you.

Secondly, it encourages people to engage with your brand, because they know there’s something in it for them (more exposure). This means more exposure for your account or branded hashtag.

It’s a win win.

The wide majority of AirBnB’s Instagram photos are credited to their users or hosts. They’re using their existing network as an extremely effective way to scale up their Instagram content and grow their follower base.

On top of that, every time you’re sharing someone’s content, you’ve earned a fan of your brand for live.

17. Follow Relevant Accounts

By following accounts that are similar to yours, it makes the Instagram algorithm more likely to recommend your account as a similar follow.

Or, you can follow key influencers, or accounts that are aligned with your target audience. Ideally, they’ll check out your feed to decide if they want to follow you back. 

If you’ve followed our other tips above, it’ll be a sure thing!

Pro Tip: Don’t follow too many accounts at once. A strong follower ratio makes your brand more credible.

18. Steal Your Competitors’ Followers

This tip takes a bit of tact.

Your direct competitors are the most likely accounts to have the followers you want.

So, follow tip #15 and start liking and commenting on the photos and videos of your competitors’ key followers.

Or follow tip #17 and actually start following your competitors’ followers. You’re bound to get a few free Instagram followers out of it.

There’s a chance you can win over their brand loyalty if you come off as authentic and relevant to their interests.

That said, you have to be subtle as to not ruffle any feathers. Don’t engage with any of their content directly relating to your competitors.

19. Work with Influencers

Instagram influencer marketing is popular for a reason: it works.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, $5.20 is earned in media value per $1.00 spent on influencer marketing.

Working with influencers is the fastest way to create a positive association with your brand.

For example, Walmart works with fashion influencers to give a more stylish feel to their clothing lines.

You can use hashtags to identify the best influencers for your brand, or you can use a tool like Keyhole to identify users with the most influence.

If you’re new to influencer marketing, micro influencers are a great place to start. They’re more affordable, more amenable to partnerships, and most likely to be able to sway their close network.

20. Collaborate With Other Brands & Accounts

Keep in mind:

Every other brand is trying to grow their following too.

So look for opportunities to partner with non-competing brands that are a natural fit.

One of the most impactful collaborations was Barbie and AirBnb. They collaborated to create an actual Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse, which served as cross-promotion for both brands.

If you’re looking for collaboration ideas, you can participate in Instagram Stories takeovers, tag each other in content, co-host Instagram Live videos, or execute full marketing campaigns together.

For example, if you’re a local business, you could collaborate with a travel account who’s going to be in your area. From your account, you can share pictures and stories from their visit, and from their account, they can promote your business.

Both sides win.

21. Contests & Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are a surefire way to boost engagement quickly.

Instagram contests are easy:

Ask people to follow you, comment on your photo, and tag a friend for a chance to win free products or services.

The cost of the giveaway is often far, far less than the cost it would have taken to grow your follower account through organic marketing.

But remember:

You need to keep your target audience in mind. Winning empty followers that only follow you for giveaways won’t boost your business long term. Keep the giveaways relevant.

Keep running contests on a regular basis so that users don’t feel compelled to unfollow you.

Pro Tip: Collaborate with influencers or partner brands to extend the reach of your contest.

22. Post Videos

After launching in June 2013, video content has found its place on Instagram.

While videos receive fewer likes on average, videos receive more comments than images.

Another consideration: many businesses simply don’t want to go to the effort of posting videos, so it’s a chance to stand out from the crowd.

Here’s an example from Jamie Oliver, who turns a simple book launch into a nice-looking promotional video:

Need a few video ideas? We’ve got you covered:

  • How-to videos
  • Product demos or explainers
  • Teaser videos
  • Time lapse or behind-the-scenes videos
  • Influencer or user-generated videos
  • People talking!

Pro Tip: Start small. Even simple videos can help you stand out.

23. Post Stories

After their success on Snapchat, Stories launched on Instagram in 2016, and now, 500 million Instagram users post at least one Instagram story every day.

The most successful influencers typically post 6-7 stories per day.

So while stories can feel temporary and fleeting to businesses, users love them. There’s also evidence they produce results. According to Instagram, 1 in 5 stories results in a direct message.

For tons of Instagram Stories tips, check out this blog post.

Pro Tip: Turn your longer pre-produced video content into multiple stories to increase engagement.

24. Use Story Highlights

Don’t forget:

You can pin your top Instagram Stories to your profile.

Some accounts take the route of using their Story Highlights like a website navigation: to highlight their key products, services, or content categories.

Take Huda Kattan for example, founder of Huda Beauty, who uses her Story Highlights to showcase what type of content she puts out.

Others use their Story Highlights screen space to highlight their most recent campaign.

Nike, for example, uses their Highlights to showcase their most recent influencers.

Pro Tip: You can set covers for your Instagram Story Highlights to create a consistent aesthetic. Prada does a great job:

25. Use Instagram Live

Here’s a great tip for any social media platform:

When a platform adds a new feature, they really want you to use it. Because of that, they’re likely to reward your use of their new features in the form of increased algorithmic visibility.

Instagram is making a huge push for video, so use video!

Yes, Instagram Live was launched in 2016, but their push towards video isn’t slowing down.

Instagram Live is a feature of Instagram Stories that lets you stream live to your followers. A ring will show up around your profile picture to let your followers know you’re live.

Instagram Live is great because there’s a sense of closeness with your followers. They can ask you questions while you’re live and you can answer them in real time.

Need some Instagram Live video ideas to get you started?:

  • Behind-the-scenes look at your company
  • Product demos
  • Influencer takeovers
  • Answering questions about products or sales

26. Start an IGTV Series

IGTV is basically Instagram’s answer to YouTube. It’s available within Instagram or as a standalone app.

Whereas Stories are for short-form content, IGTV is long-form videos from a few minutes up to an hour in length. It’s designed to be a modern take on the traditional TV experience.

You can post vertical and horizontal videos, so you get more of the traditional YouTube feel.

It’s still early days for brands on IGTV, so it’s a great chance to stand out early on.

IGTV, like Instagram, is primarily an entertainment platform, so you’ll have to create content that is funny, educational, or downright addicting.

So Yummy has a great IGTV channel where they post 1-4 minute food recipes with stunning visuals.

27. Promote Your Instagram Content on Other Channels

It’s crazy how many brands skip this step.

If you’re making great content on Instagram, promote it on your other channels! 

Don’t just add a tiny Instagram icon link in your email newsletters, actually showcase your Instagram content like you would promote a blog post or a landing page.

Don’t just include a link to your Instagram in your blog, embed your Instagram content in your blog posts.

Sending your customers from other marketing channels to Instagram is perhaps the most underutilized follower growth hack.

28. Create Custom Camera Filters

We’re getting into high-effort territory, but creating a custom camera filter is a fast way to get tons of engagement and promotion for your brand.

Using Spark AR by Facebook, you can create your own AR (augmented reality) filters that are directly tied to your brand.

Then, users will use your filter, along with your branded hashtag, and you can re-post their user-generated content as your own. It’s like a self-sustaining content engine!

Gucci creates filters and asks users to share with the hashtag #GucciFilters, which they share back on their profile.

29. Instagram Ads

While everyone’s looking for free Instagram followers, the paid route isn’t always a bad option.

But don’t buy followers. Pay to promote your content instead.

If you’re looking for fast, efficient exposure, Instagram ads may just do the trick.

30. Use an Instagram Analytics Tool

Today’s marketer has to be data-obsessed.

No matter which of the above tips you decide to follow, it’s smart to always be evaluating whether or not your strategy is working by using data.

Using Keyhole, you can create:

  • Hashtag reports
  • Social campaign reports
  • Influencer reports
  • Brand monitoring reports

It’s fast, accurate, and easily shearable.


To get the data you need to grow your Instagram following, start your free Keyhole trial today.

The Top 5 Social Media Strategies For Marketing Success in 2020

What activities do you need to include in your social media strategy to stay on top of your game in 2020?

We’ll reveal the top 5 strategies you can implement into your current marketing tactics for success throughout the year.

Jump Links:

Social Media Strategies in 2020

1. Use Contests to Get and Stay on the Radar
2. Create Deeper Connections with Video
3. Boost Sales with Augmented Reality (AR) 
4. Get on the Micro-Influencer Marketing Bandwagon
5. Go Beyond Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Social Media Strategies in 2020

According to the latest statistics, there are 3.8 billion active social media users as of January 2020. This is a 9% increase compared to the same time last year. 

Translated into numbers, last year alone, 321 million new users have joined social media platforms worldwide. 

With social media exhibiting an upward trend several years in a row, it’s clear why brands invest a lot of time and effort into creating an effective social media strategy. 

Effective social media strategies consist of a series of steps that reflect your goals and what you plan to achieve on social media. 

Noting down your goals into a comprehensive social media strategy will allow you to track your success and identify areas of improvement. 

Naturally, for a social media strategy to be effective, it has to take into account the latest social media trends…

… which is where we come in.

Below, we’ll share a couple of social media tips that will help you run more effective marketing campaigns, build better customer relationships and ensure that you make the most out of your social media efforts in 2020.

1. Use Contests to Get and Stay on the Radar

You’ve surely stumbled upon a social media contest in the past, or maybe even organised one yourself. 

Social media contests are a proven way to get the word out, get people interested in what you offer, and boost your followers count.

Over the past couple of years, social media contests have been especially effective when done in a collaboration with an influencer.

In 2020, things are going to change.

As more brands make the shift towards enhanced customer service and two-way communication, contests and giveaways will remain as relevant as ever, but their main goal will no longer centre around increasing the number of likes and followers alone. 

Instead, brands are actively starting to use contests as another way to provide something of value to their audience, and not only get on the radar of potential consumers – but stay on the radar as well.

Social media contests can help you:

  • Increase brand awareness and remembrance 
  • Grow your email list
  • Drive more traffic to your website/blog/social media platform
  • Get to know your audience
  • Educate your potential customers 
  • Increase sales
  • Get people to test your products 
  • Reward your loyal customers

… and more!

Most importantly, you do not need to sell physical products to be able to organise a contest. 

Are you a growth specialist helping people that want to start their own business to go from idea to execution? You can offer a free 30-minute consultation call, or free access to your mini-course.

Or maybe you’re a public speaking coach helping people to grow their business through speaking? Why not run a contest and offer some of your resources for free to the lucky winner?

Best of all is, although you give away some of your products/services for free, contests create the perfect opportunity to gain more trust and upsell potential customers when they already have your attention.  

You can use several contest formats including, but not limited to: follow to enter, tag a friend to enter, like to enter, comment to enter, share to enter, vote to enter, take a photo to enter, or any combination of these call to actions.

Neil Patel has discussed this into more detail, so make sure to check out his blog How to Use Contests and Giveaways to Get User-Generated Content.

2. Create Deeper Connections with Video

You’ve surely noticed that various social media platforms have started kicking off more features allowing you to share video updates with your audience. 

YouTube is huge right now, Instagram encourages its users to share instant updates with Instagram Live, and longer form content with IGTV, and of course, there’s the rising phenomenon – TikTok. 

It’s always been widely accepted that visuals drive more engagement, and video enables you to talk to your users directly and make a deeper connection.

It also allows you to share the same information you would otherwise share in written form, in a much more engaging way.

One of the most powerful ways to drive more engagement and get immediate reactions/feedback is live streaming on social media.

Live streams allow you to cover events, pick or announce contest winners in real time or create buzz around a product during its launch phase.

Social media users appreciate the “raw” quality and “realness” of social media videos, so today, everyone can become a content creator, even without the support of a team of professionals.

Check out how one of the leading project management apps Asana, are using videos to show their users and potential customers ways to use their tool to improve productivity and performance.

And of course, many brands who are marketing to younger audiences have already started adopting TikTok.

Take Guess, for example: their #inmydenim campaign targeting Generation Z has gone viral with 41.3M views.

3. Boost Sales with Augmented Reality (AR) 

Social media platforms have made the shift from being a place where people can keep in touch with friends and family to a place where users hang out to stay up to date with the latest developments, get inspired and discover new products.

We all know that social networks influence what people buy online – buyers can easily compare products, read user testimonials and browse new items using social media platforms. 

However, over these past couple of years, social networks have started kicking off new features that allow users to shop on social media as well.

Pinterest’s Shop the Look feature allows users to get instantly redirected to the checkout page, where they can immediately turn their inspiration into a purchase.

Similarly, Instagram leads the way allowing brands to not only sell on social, but also to pair social shopping with influencer marketing.

Check out the following Shoppable post by Revolve:

According to Civic Science’s Trend Adoption Tracker, the number of people who shop through social media “has increased by 8 percentage points since Q4 in 2018”.

At the same time, everyone seems to be talking about AR and how it will shape the future of shopping.

Up until now, a lot of people were visiting stores to see, touch and try on the products before they go back home and order them online, resulting in a complex path to purchase consisting of several touchpoints both in physical and online stores.

This trend among shoppers who are still used to seeing the products before buying them online has been affecting the way retailers do business. 

In the future, we can expect that a lot of retailers will transform their brick and mortar stores into showrooms, where people can see and try on the products, and then buy it online. And second, the latest developments in AR will allow customers to get the same experience – online.

In the past, Facebook and Instagram have launched AR filters, allowing users to try on products from selected advertisers to see how they fit before they make a purchase decision.

These AR tools have been limited to the platforms’ early partners in the cosmetics and eyewear industry, including NARS, Mac, Warbly Parker, and Ray Ban. 

These AR tools are still in the testing phase and are limited to some advertisers. 

However, it’s now possible for anyone to create their own filters using Spark AR Studio, so go ahead and download the app to get acquainted with what it can do, and see if there is a way for you to leverage AR to make your consumers’ online experience more engaging and fun. 

For more information on the current use of AR on social media, as well as the benefits brands can expect to see from incorporating AR into their branded experiences, check out the key takeaways from Business Insider Intelligence’s AR in Social Media Report.

4. Get on the Micro-Influencer Marketing Bandwagon

Despite what naysayers claim, influencer marketing is on the rise, and is expected to grow even more in 2020. 

To stay relevant and get discover by new audiences, brands need to start partnering up with content creators who are loved and trusted by their communities.

But how can small brands afford to pay influencers?

This is a common objection raised by businesses who still equate influencer marketing to celebrity endorsements, while in fact, an influencer can be even someone with 1000 followers.

There are 5 influencer tiers: Nano, Micro, Mid-Tier, Macro and Mega influencer.

You can see the number of followers an influencer needs to belong to a particular tier on the infographic below: 

Source: MediaKix

Lately, many brands have started stepping away from mega influencers and instead, they’ve started to collaborate with smaller creators who have an audience between 10K and 100K followers.

Unlike mega influencers, who have such a large following that they’ve reached a celebrity status, micro influencers have a more genuine relationship with their community and as a result they have a lot of true fans that trust them and their judgement.

One great example that illustrates how successful a strategy based on micro-influencer collaborations can be is Swedish watchmaker Daniel Wellington. The brand’s strategy centres around partnering with micro influencers from all across the world.

The results?

Daniel Wellington has become one of the most well-known brands on social media. 

Daniel Wellington are also encouraging their customers to share pictures of their Daniel Wellington timepieces to get a chance to be featured in their #DWPickoftheDay. This is a great example of a contest where the brand doesn’t offer a physical product, and still manages to incentivise their followers to enter by offering them exposure.

On our blog, we’ve been talking about influencer marketing a lot lately, so if you wish to explore the topic into more depth, here are a couple of resources to consider:

5. Go Beyond Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

The key to staying relevant is keeping up with your audience, their interests and habits.

One of the things that you need to track are the social media platforms where your target audience spend the most of their time. 

Although there are a lot of new social media platforms appearing, and it’s impossible for you to be present everywhere, you need to assess which platform has the biggest potential based on your line of business and audience. 

For example, a lot of brands focus on the most widely known social media networks: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, while overseeing other networks like LinkedIn, Pinterest and as of recently, TikTok.

Depending on your brand and what you sell you might want to consider experimenting with some other platforms which might not be that popular in terms of advertising but may prove to be very effective for you and help you reach new, engaged audiences.

Pinterest, for example, is a great platform for interior design companies, since a lot of people browse Pinterest for home décor inspiration. 

TikTok, on the other hand, has an algorithm that allows for a large organic reach, even if you’re just starting out.

LinkedIn has also rolled out some new features, including banners and CTAs and is a great place for brands who are looking to provide extra value to their audience, since LinkedIn’s algorithm is tailored in favour of long, informative content. 

That’s why we’ve been seeing a lot of B2B and SaaS brands focusing on LinkedIn as the core of their social media strategy. 

Whatever social media platform you use, you need to talk to your audience and make the shift towards a two-way communication. You can do this by using videos, organising contests, throwing events, or simply by sliding into your consumers’ DMs.

Final Thoughts

The social media landscape is changing every day, and with new features kicking off and new social media platforms gaining popularity it can be hard to develop social media strategies.

However, if we take a better look, all these changes and features have one thing in common: they’re developed to help brands drive more engagement, start conversations and provide more value to their customers.

So if we have to sum this up and give you a single tip to follow in 2020, it’s this: 

Be creative, but do not follow trends blindly, and instead, invest in those things that are in line with your brand and are appreciated by your audience.


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free and search your brand.

16 Marketing Automation Tools for Marketers to Streamline Repetitive Processes

Marketing automation tools keep cropping up as customers’ needs continue to evolve. 

The sharp marketer or business owner knows the value of keeping up with new trends. Unfortunately, while this keeps your marketing effective, it takes so much of your time that you have no time to focus on other important functions that need your attention. 

What is a small business without huge marketing budgets to hire big teams supposed to do?

Using marketing automation tools is the answer to doing it all effectively. 

As marketing evolves, so have the marketing automation tools. 

To help you pick out the best marketing automation software, here are 16 tools that you should try out if you’re looking to ease up on some of your marketing functions.

Jump Links:

1. Hubspot
2. Constant Contact
3. ActiveCampaign
4. InfusionSoft / Keap
5. Zoho Campaigns
6. Campaigner
7. Autopilot
8. Marketo
9. Dialog Tech
10. GetResponse
11. LeadSquared
12. Drip
13. Mautic
14. Salesfusion
15. iContact
16. MailChimp

1. HubSpot

HubSpot’s inbound marketing tool will turn your outbound leads into inbound ones. 

What makes HubSpot great is that it’s powerful enough for the expert marketer and easy enough for someone just starting out in marketing. 

How is that so?

Thanks to the simple visual board, you can craft as simple or as sophisticated automation conditions as you want, from setting simple email list autoresponders to setting up your sales funnels. 

Better still, you can integrate your blogging and content tools with HubSpot marketing and automate your content creation so you can delight your customers with the content they want.   

Marketing analytics are also available to view on the platform, so you can tell whether your marketing efforts are paying off or not. 

Pricing: There are three packages; the Starter package at $50/mo, the Professional package at $800/mo and the Enterprise package at $3,200/mo. 

HubSpot marketing automation tool is the solution you need to scale your marketing efforts. From attracting visitors to your blog, converting more leads, to making more sales. 

2. Constant Contact

Looking to automate your email marketing? Check out Constant Contact

This tool comes with unique features that will make your email marketing do so much for your business.  

Already have a list of leads saved somewhere on an Excel sheet or your Outlook and want to reach out to them?

Upload them into Constant Contact in a matter of seconds. 

In addition, you can use Constant Contact’s email list-building tools to build up onto your email list in-person, from your website, from Facebook, and more.

Once you upload your contact list, you can set the tool to handle autoresponders, unsubscribes, bounces, and update inactive emails automatically. 

Here’s the best part…you can send as many emails as you want every month. 

You also have access to real-time tracking tools that will give you reports on who’s opening, clicking, and sharing your emails.

Pricing: There are two plans; EMAIL starting at $20/mo and EMAIL PLUS starting at $ 45/mo.

Constant Contact takes your email marketing beyond the inbox. You can do more including online surveys, events, give away coupons, and more all from the same platform.

3. ActiveCampaign

Imagine sending fewer emails than you are right now, but getting twice the results. 

ActiveCampaign will help you do exactly that through its site messages feature. This feature lets you send targeted messages to your website visitors as soon as they interact with your website.

ActiveCampaign allows you to automate your contacts and manage your email list within its CRM system, ‘Deals’. You can add notes to contacts, set up appointments and send direct messages to your contacts all from Deals.

Pricing: The Lite plan is $9/mo, The Plus plan is $49/mo, The Professional plan is $129 /mo, and the Enterprise is $229/mo.

ActiveCampaign is one of the most flexible all-inclusive email marketing automation tools. It brings together your marketing automation, email marketing, and customer relationship management, all in one place.

4. InfusionSoft / Keap

Tired of using one tool to manage your leads, another to send emails and yet another to send your monthly or weekly newsletter?

Bring all these tasks into one place with InfusionSoft, now Keap.

This tool is useful for small businesses and solopreneurs looking to increase leads, revenue, and customer acquisition without having to spend so much time—or many different tools—to do it.

With InfusionSoft you can automatically collect leads and keep in touch with them based on their behavior.  For example, you can set the tool to send email reminders to customers who added items to their shopping cart but did not checkout.

Move your leads along your sales funnel using InfusionSoft pre-defined automatic marketing campaigns such as sending out birthday offers and re-targeting old customers with new offers.

Pricing: Price starts at $79/mo to $199/mo depending on the number of emails you want to send.

InfusionSoft will help you save time by having all your, CRM, email marketing, eCommerce and marketing tasks in one place.

5. Zoho Campaigns

Zoho Campaigns may be the new kid on the block, but it’s fast becoming a bigwig in the world of email marketing automation. 

Zoho Campaigns has beautiful email templates, an easy-to-use editor, and fantastic automation tools that will make it easy for you to build your audience, run targeted email campaigns and increase your reach.

Zoho Campaigns is fast becoming popular among marketers because it’s easy to use. You get a checklist of what you need to do to create your first email campaign. The checklist updates with each task you complete.

Pricing: You can pay based on the number of emails (from $3/mo for 500 emails) or the number of subscribers (from $5/mo for 500 subscribers). 

Automate your entire email campaign process including performance reports with Zoho Campaigns.

6. Campaigner

Nurture your leads and increase your sales with Campaigner

The better you nurture your leads, the more repeat customers and brand advocates you’ll have. 

This is certainly no mean feat even for the expert marketer. But with Campaigner, you can automate this process through triggered campaigns and events. 

The tool has an Experiment feature that lets you test your subject lines, conduct A/B testing and test the effectiveness of the contents of an entire email.

Once you’re sure what will work best, use the tool’s intuitive drag and drop builder to create powerful emails and automate functions such as email scheduling and auto-responding. 

You can also connect your eCommerce store to Campaigner and drive more sales.

Pricing: Price starts at $19.95/mo for 1,000 contacts, $40.95/ mo for 5,000 contacts, $119.95/ mo for 25,000 contacts, and $449.95/ mo for 100,000 contacts. 

Campaigner is a good tool for a small business that is trying to make a name in the industry and increase sales in the process.

7. Autopilot

Autopilot stands out as one of the most visually appealing marketing automation software in the market.

Keeping up with your customer journey can be quite tasking, but with an automation tool like Autopilot, it can soon be a breeze. 

With Autopilot you can capture new leads from your website, blog or app then create personalized messages to nurture these leads. 

Autopilot makes it possible to automate repetitive tasks such as assigning leads, booking appointments, following up on leads, and educating subscribers.

Pricing: Price starts at $49/month for 2,000 contacts, $149/mo for 5,000 contacts and $249/mo for 10,000 contacts.

Autopilot will let you take your customers through the journey from the moment they become a lead until they are an advocate. 

8. Marketo

Acquiring customers is one thing, but building a relationship with your customers in order to retain them is another. 

Marketo is a good tool for the marketer looking for an easy way to manage leads and build a good relationship with their customer.

Pricing: Prices are available on request. However, Marketo offers a free trial that you can take advantage of to get a feel of the tool. 

From acquisition to advocacy, Marketo will take care of all your marketing automation needs quickly and easily.

9. Dialog Tech

Wouldn’t it be nice to know how your leads react to your marketing messages as you engage them on the phone, Skype or other voice technology platforms?

Previously Ifbyphone, Dialog Tech is a unique voice-based marketing automation tool that lets you automate all your voice interactions. It makes possible to track how these interactions are beneficial to you. 

This tool has features including keyword call-tracking, conversation analytics, in-call scoring, phone surveys, caller-profile data, geolocation routing, reverse lookup, voice broadcasts, SMS, and more.

These features will help you boost ROI with call automation and analytics.

Pricing: Get in touch with Dialog Tech to get a quote.

You no longer have to track calls manually thanks to Dialog Tech. Now you’ll be able to easily tell how many leads you got in touch with via the phone and how those customers reacted after hearing certain keywords.

10. GetResponse

GetResponse is an all-in-one marketing automation software. Think email marketing, webinar hosting, landing page creation, automated sales funnels, and CRM in one dashboard. 

There are some pretty nice features that will make automating your email marketing and autoresponders pretty simple. 

You can also automate your CRM, eCommerce store and list building. Creating automated landing pages is also simple. 

GetResponse is a powerful marketing machine that will help you grow your audience, promote your services, and sell your products.

Pricing: Price starts from $15/month for a list size of 1,000 contacts, to $1,199/mo for a list size of over 100,000 contacts. 

GetResponse is an easy-to-use excellent all-around marketing platform for any small or mid-sized business. 

11. LeadSquared

Tired of your leads falling off halfway through your sales funnel? 

Then consider using LeadSquared to align your marketing and sales efforts to reduce your lead leakage.

LeadSquared will take your leads down your sales funnel faster through an automated lead capturing process, responsive landing pages, drip marketing and segmentation. 

Understand your leads better through behavioural insights, and marketing insights collected through LeadSquared.

Pricing: Plans start at $200 for 5,000 contacts, $600 for 25,000 contacts, and $1,800 for 100,000 contacts.

Make lead collection and engagement easier by using LeadSquared and increase your conversion rate.

12. Drip

Running an eCommerce store is hard work. There’s just too much work to be done. But, you can automate most of this work. 

Drip is one of the few marketing automation tools that focus mainly on eCommerce stores.

You can use Drip to put any eCommerce marketing strategy in motion including email marketing, multi-channel marketing, A/B testing, email campaigns, one-off emails, among others. 

Pricing: Price starts at $49 for 2000 contacts. 

Drip is great when you want to personalize your eCommerce marketing campaigns. The analytics feature is also quite useful.

13. Mautic

Mautic is an open-source marketing software that’s relatively new in the market, but still compelling. It’s especially a favourite among high tech companies.

Mautic has three major features geared to make lead generation easier. The social media marketing feature allows you to interact with audiences on various social media platforms, conduct social listening and collect leads from social mentions, hashtags and keywords.

The email marketing feature enables you to send personalized emails to your business leads. You can use it to create forms so that you can build your email list. 

Develop drip marketing and manage your campaigns using the campaigns feature. This feature also automates your lead nurturing process.  

Pricing: Price is available upon request. 

Mautic lets you integrate and personalize all your digital properties and channels so that you can provide your customers with a seamless customer experience. 

14. Salesfusion

Any marketer working with funnels will appreciate Salesfusion’s ability to create custom digital conversations. These conversations can then be used to convert leads into customers.

Popular Salesfusion marketing automation features include lead scoring and nurturing, media planning, social media marketing dashboard, email templates, marketing analytics, SEO analysis, incoming traffic tracking and more. 

Pricing: Starts at $1000 per month for 10,000 contacts.

Salesfusion will provide you with the right tools to help your marketing team send the right messages to the right leads at the right time without spending so much time on it.

15. iContact

iContact is a fully-fledged marketing automation tool that lets you do so much for your company. 

With this tool, you can easily automate your email marketing, let it build your landing pages and provide you with comprehensive marketing analytics. 

You will also love the social media automation tools that make it possible to automate your social media management tasks.

A unique feature that stands out is the access to strategic advisors who can help you optimize your email sending strategy and inbox delivery to maximize your conversions.

Pricing: iContact has two packages Base and Pro. The base price starts at $12/mo while Pro starts at $25/month for 500 contacts.

By automating most of your marketing tasks with iContact you’ll be able to grow your business and stand out from the competition.

16. MailChimp

MailChimp provides businesses with awesome email marketing features to take away the stress of building emails on the fly.

MailChimp is effective for contacting your prospects and keeping in touch with customers in a bid to increase sales. 

With this tool, you can easily automate your welcome emails, use in-built email templates to personalize your emails, monitor how your leads and customers are engaging with your emails, and target specific behaviours. 

You can also use the tool to create targeted ad campaigns, send postcards, build landing pages and collect reports and analytics.  

MailChimp allows you to set trigger emails based on specific actions such as the sign-up date and website activity.

Pricing: MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 contacts. Paid plans start from $9/mo to $299/mo depending on your total number of subscribers.

Mailchimp is a dependable tool for the marketer looking to automate their email marketing campaigns effectively. 


These are just some of the amazing marketing automation tools that exist to make marketing easier for you and your team. 

Of course, you don’t need them all. So before you settle on any of these tools, determine which marketing tasks you need to automate. 

By automating your marketing, you’ll have more time to focus on other efforts that will increase your company’s ROI.


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free and search your brand.

15 Social Media Branding Strategies to Capture and Retain Your Target Audience

Updated on March 5th, 2020.

As competitors strengthen their online profiles, the need to differentiate your brand’s identity on social media grows.

Building a recognizable brand known for its positive qualities will help gain and retain followers. Successfully executing branding strategies can help win customers, too.

But developing a powerful, branded social media presence is a challenge you can’t quickly overcome.

Consider using these 15 social media branding strategies to do the job help you achieve a strong social media brand presence.

Jump Links:

Influencer Marketing:
1. Connect with Influencers
2. Get an influencer to Takeover

Consistent Messaging
3. Optimize Your Bio and Your Profile
4. Develop Your Voice
5. Be Consistent with that Voice and Your Topics
6. Post Regularly
7. Embrace Visuals

Continuous Engagement
8. Share User Generated Content
9. Create Groups or Communities
10. Join Chats
11. Avoid Platforms Unpopular with Your Audiences
12. Promote Your Profiles Beyond Social Media
13. Offer Users More than They Expect

Ongoing Analysis
14. Monitor Constantly
15. Measure Your Efforts

Influencer Marketing

For those who’ve built a respectable social media following, many strategists consider influencer marketing a next step in building brand recognition.

By getting an influencer who closely aligns with your target image to promote your accounts, audiences should associate your brand more closely with that target image.

For example, many consumers associate Under Armour with athletic strife and excellence because Steph Curry is its biggest spokesperson.

Though your brand may not be able to contract an NBA superstar, there are almost certainly influencers in your industry who can deliver branding benefits.

To identify influencers based on the hashtags and keywords they post with, make a search for those terms:

1. Connect with Influencers

The first step in executing an influencer marketing campaign is identifying suitable influencers.

Of course, they must have large audiences. But those audiences must be engaged. Some studies show the average engagement rate on Twitter is between 1 and 2%, so anything higher is suitable for an influencer.

The next step is building a relationship with an influencer who matches your criteria.

You can start by following target influencers on their main social channels, interacting with their updates and sharing their content.

Once you’ve built some rapport, pitch a campaign that builds your brand’s image while benefiting the influencer. The next section covers an example of how to do so.

2. Get an Influencer to Take Over

Getting an influencer to run your social channels for a day entices their fans to follow you, while giving him or her another avenue to showcase wit and knowledge.

For example, comedian and diehard Boston Red Sox fan Rob Delaney ran the MLB Twitter account on May 7, 2013. The profile gained about 20,000 followers, as Delaney tweeted baseball “facts.”

Influencer Marketing - 15 Social Media Branding Strategies - Influencer Takeover for the MLB

What’s more, the takeover helped MLB build a reputation on social media that many sports organizations aim to achieve: being funny and relaxed.

Consistent Messaging

The core of brand building on social media largely involves creating themes — or, messages — and regularly demonstrating them through text and visuals.

Whereas influencer marketing campaigns may be best executed once you’ve grown a sizeable following, consistent messaging should begin when you join a social channel.

It may take trial and error to see which kinds of content best resonate with target audiences.

But once you’ve figured that out, being consistent in your messaging should reinforce your brand image.

3. Optimize Your Bio and Profile

Your social profiles should encapsulate your business and its main messages, acting as a pitch for those who visit.

Summarize the benefits of using your products or services in your profile description, including applicable keywords to make your account easier to find for audience members. You should also provide another method of contact for serious business inquiries.

Consider emulating these profile descriptions:

Profile Optimization - 15 Social Media Branding Strategies

Depending on the platform, you can also alter your background, profile picture and theme colours to reflect your logo and match your website.

By doing so, consumers will begin to recognize your brand assets.

4. Develop Your Voice

Establishing a common posting tone makes your updates distinct and easily-recognizable. This can also help build a connection with your target audiences, especially if your voice is in tune with them.

Take IHOP as an example. On Twitter, the pancake house appeals to its young demographic by piggybacking off popular phrases among teens and writing without punctuation — similar to what you’d see in instant messaging.

Develop a Voice - 15 Social Media Branding Strategies

If you’re unfamiliar with relevant phrases or jargon, monitor your main social channels more closely. You’ll likely identify niche terms you can use to develop your voice.

On a surface level, using a distinct voice increases IHOP’s engagement. Deeper, it encourages followers to associate IHOP with a laid-back dining atmosphere.

5. Be Consistent with that Voice and Your Topics

You must be consistent with your voice — and the topics you post about — to build an authentic connection with your target audience, influencing them to keep your brand top of mind.

Otherwise, that voice you’ve worked hard to create may seem forced and disingenuous.

Deviating from core topics can also compromise brand tone and messaging.

Going back to IHOP as an example, its social media strategists don’t post about government food sanctions. Doing so could damage how the audience perceives the restaurant.

Stick to your voice and main topics to enforce your brand’s image.

6. Post Regularly

Since social media branding centres on influencing your audience to easily recognize and remember you, irregular posting damages your efforts by keeping you off user newsfeeds.

Posting frequency depends on audience activity and how audience members engage.

For example, you may realize that tweeting in the morning earns more replies than doing so in the evening. You could also earn more engagement by posting twice a week instead of five times to a given platform.

This will take some experimentation to determine.

However, an optimal posting schedule helps keep user attention while potentially earning more followers.

7. Embrace Visuals

Images can be powerful tools to encapsulate your brand’s identity and messages, instead of seemingly-random pictures with your logo tacked on.

Visual content should reflect:

  • Themes your brand stands for
  • Your brand’s unique or differentiating values
  • The topics your audience is interested in

Take this image from Red Bull’s Instagram account as an example:

Use Visuals - 15 Social Media Branding Strategies

It shows Red Bull’s connection to extreme stunts and appeals to its high-energy audience.

As well as engaging fans, visual content of this quality builds and solidifies brand identity.

Continuous Engagement

Frequently engaging fans, followers and other audience members allows you to constantly communicate and demonstrate your brand’s core values.

You can engage audiences by sharing original and third-party party content that ties into brand messages, or running contests and social events related to them.

For B2C brands, replying to users also exemplifies favourable traits such as friendliness and helpfulness, especially when answering questions and helping solve issues.

As a bonus, regular engagement helps keep your brand at the top of consumer minds. This can potentially boost sales and other meaningful actions.

8. Share User-Generated Content

Like posting testimonials on your website, sharing user-generated content that positively depicts your brand can strengthen its identity.

Consider that more than 90% of consumers trust earned media — characterized as word-of-mouth from impartial sources — more than all other types of advertising.

Take a plus-size clothing company for example.

To reap the benefits of word-of-mouth on social media, share similar user-generated content.

9. Create Groups & Communities (or Participate in Them)

Creating, or participating in, groups and communities helps overcome many networks’ low organic engagement rates.

This helps generate buzz around your brand’s content. You can reach users who are interested in your industry or offerings, avoiding crowded timelines that constantly update and bury your posts.

For instance, an analytics company may create, moderate and promote a group about data mining. Not only does this give the company another method of engaging target audiences, but it furthers branding efforts.

That’s because, in the eyes of group members, the company aligns itself with images of research and analysis.

10. Join Chats

Similar to groups and communities, Twitter chats let you directly engage members of your target market to create buzz around your brand’s ideas, opinions and content.

Use a chat’s hashtag to interact with industry players — ranging from prospects to other businesses. You’ll likely build your follower count as you answer questions and interact with fellow participants.

Twitter Chats - 15 Social Media Branding Strategies

This type of direct conversation and engagement allows you to demonstrate expertise and helps build brand reputation among active industry voices.

11. Avoid Platforms Unpopular with Your Audiences

You may waste time and resources attempting to engage audiences on each major social network, as your target audiences may not be active on all of them.

LinkedIn may not be ideal for brands that target teens and young adults, whereas Snapchat likely won’t yield noticeable results for B2B companies.

What’s more, as developers create hyper-specific social media platforms, it may be advantageous to focus your efforts on ones that cater to your target audiences.

For example, many cosmetic surgery clinics favour niche forums over Google+ and LinkedIn:

Niche Platforms - 15 Social Media Branding Strategies

That’s why committing to a group of social platforms — slowly expanding it when appropriate — can help focus your engagement and branding tactics.

12. Promote Your Profiles Beyond Social Media

As your profiles act as engagement and branding hubs, it’s worthwhile to promote your accounts outside of social media to grow their followings.  

You can grow your social media presences by:

  • Participating in Industry Events
    • Run a booth to promote your products. Create valuable physical content to distribute. Strike up a conversation with attendees. As more people learn about your brand, you should gain more attention on social media.

  • Including Handles in Stores and on Products
    • For businesses who drive sales through physical locations, posting images of social networks lets customers know on which platforms you’re active.

By drawing offline attention to your social media profiles, your online branding tactics are likely to reach more users.

13. Offer Users More than They Expect

The bulk of users solely expect to receive status updates, albeit ones with original content, as they follow your social accounts. But offering perks can work to strengthen brand image.

For example, send a private message to new followers that contains a free coupon. It can use your brand slogan, colours and general information, encouraging them to visit your store or website.

They’ll be exposed to more branding tactics — whether physical or online — as a result.

Perhaps most importantly, giving customers more than what they expect influences them to link your brand to a positive experience.

Ongoing Analysis

As with any marketing activity, you must regularly analyze your social media branding efforts to ensure to your tactics are working. Otherwise, you lack insight into your performance.

The worst case scenario? You devote countless hours and a sizeable part of your budget to strategies that don’t yield desirable results.

The best case scenario? Your strategies effectively establish a brand identity, yet you ignore data that can help further establish this identity at a faster rate.

These two scenarios depict why ongoing analysis is crucial to successful branding on social media.

14. Monitor Constantly

Enacting a social media monitoring strategy helps ensure you don’t miss opportunities to build brand identity.

For example, as consumers may forget to tag you or misspell your handle, you can monitor company-related keywords to pick up on their posts and strike up a conversation.

Tracking industry keywords can also uncover engagement opportunities and openings to discuss your business.

Social Media Monitoring - 15 Social Media Branding Strategies
This Twitter live-stream sample is from a Keyhole real-time tracker.

This is beneficial for both branding and public relations because it opens doors to resolve issues and answer questions, exemplifying your business’s positive characteristics.

Finding these opportunities should accelerate your social media brand-building efforts.

15. Measure Your Efforts

Measuring social statistics such as reach and engagement can help refine aspects of your branding strategy.

Assume that using specific hashtags is a key part of promoting your initiatives and products. However, you discover that few users search for — and view posts containing — these hashtags.

Likewise, checking ad performance statistics may reveal they’re not reaching target audiences.

Word of your brand may not be spreading quickly enough as a result.

By measuring these social tactics either manually or with a tool, you can determine if it’s worthwhile to alter your strategies to build brand recognition among prospects more effectively.

Final Thoughts About these Social Media Branding Strategies

It’s important for digital marketers to ensure their activities — ranging from influencer campaigns to active social media monitoring — help establish a clear brand identity.

This means you shouldn’t post for the sole intention of getting shares and winning followers. Instead, think about how your actions can support brand goals and perception.  

The shares and followers will come as you work to build a unique reputation that resonates with your target audience.


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free.

Social Media Trends to Track in 2020 and Beyond: Marketing Tools, Content, and Strategy

Predicting the future of social media trends isn’t easy, but that’s precisely what makes it so much fun! 

For example, Facebook was expected to lose its overall social media dominance. Yet, it’s 2020, and Facebook still remains the most widely used social media platform.

At Keyhole, social media is our bread and butter, and our team here works hard to stay up to date with all the key social media trends. 

We have a good idea of where social media trends are headed in 2020. And best of all…

… we don’t mind sharing our secrets.

Jump Links:

Social Media Trends:

1. Content is (Still) King
2. Visual Content Continues to Dominate
3. Influencer Marketing is Still Going Strong
4. Customer Service is More Important than Ever
5. Things Are Changing

The Top Social Media Tools to Consider in 2020:

1. Keyhole
2. Kicksta
3. Audiense
4. AgoraPulse
5. Meet Edgar

Here are the trends to keep an eye on in 2020 and some relevant social media tips and tricks to help you navigate your digital journey better. 

1. Content is (Still) King

Social media platforms continue to update their algorithms in order to show the most relevant content to social media users. 

Sure, you can pay for some extra exposure, but ads can only do so much for you. The only way you can retain visitors and turn people who stumbled upon your content into prospects is by providing them with enough value.

Here are three things to keep in mind in 2020:

1. Choose Your Platform Strategically

Choosing the right social media platform is more difficult than it seems, and more important than what you might initially think. 

It’s essential that you understand the function of each platform, so that you know which one suits you best. 

Let’s say you’re running a food blog, and your content revolves around posting recipes and food images. 

You wouldn’t choose Twitter to be your main platform now, would you? 

You’d probably opt for Instagram, as it provides a neat balance between image focus and shorter text descriptions (e.g. you could post an image of your cooked meal, and provide the recipe below). 

Suggested read: Writing Instagram Captions that Convert: Content, Formatting, and Hashtags

2. Repurpose Content… The Right Way

Besides understanding each platform and choosing the right one(s) for your brand, skip cross-posting the same content as much as you can.

Yes, you read that right!

Posting the exact same content across all the platforms you’re using makes you look lazy, non-creative and repetitive. 

We’re not saying that you can’t repurpose content (in fact, you should!), but each social media platform has its own audience, content strategy, as well as different areas of focus and specific writing styles.

Something that works well on Facebook may turn out to be a complete disaster or come across as unprofessional if you publish it on Linkedin. 

Here are some great pieces on repurposing content that might help you get started: 10 Ways To Repurpose Content For Social Media and Ins and Outs of Repurposing Content for Social Media Posts.

If you aren’t sure how to approach this, you can always hire a social media expert to guide you. 


3. Stay Consistent

Let’s not forget about consistency.

Imagine you were posting Instagram stories on a daily basis, communicated regularly with your followers, and you suddenly disappear for a month without notice to your followers, only to re-appear because you’d like to promote your newly published recipe ebook. 

News flash: you’re neither getting the recognition you want, nor stepping up your marketing trends game. 

People appreciate continual effort – that’s when you receive continuous validation.

2. Visual Content Continues to Dominate

The focus on visual content is needed now more than ever.

Using visual content improves overall marketing trends, and it can do wonders for your social media engagement. 

Don’t just take our word for it – take a minute and consider the following visual content statistics:

  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. 
  • 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.
  • Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t.
  • Pinterest generates more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined.  

Convinced already? 

Visual content is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise monotonous and quantity-driven content production. 

Making visuals part of your everyday social media strategy can truly change the way customers perceive you and your brand. 

And with the availability of visual tools today, it’s easier than ever!

The downside is, with such a vast number of visual tools to choose from, it can be tricky to pick the right one. 

The best option is to use several visual strategies that fit your brand’s needs and that you feel comfortable with.

If you’re using Instagram, don’t skip IGTV; if you’re frequently posting on Facebook, don’t just post images or longer texts, post infographics as well as image quotes. Iif you’re on YouTube, go live every so often!

Suggested Read: Incorporating Memes, Emojis, and Gifs Into Your Social Strategy for Higher Engagement

Yes, users appreciate consistency and continual work and efforts, but they cherish spontaneity too! 

Visuals You Can Use on Your Social Media Platforms

  • Images (both customized and stock) 
  • Videos (both live and recorded) 
  • Screenshots
  • GIFs
  • Memes
  • Pie charts 
  • Quotes (placed on customized images)

Visual content adds value to your written content, helps increase engagement, and provides a more meaningful user experience. 

Suggested Read: 10 Mistakes in Your Visual Content Strategy [+ Tools to Fix Them!]

Incorporating visuals in your strategy can be challenging, but visuals resonate with current marketing trends and they simply are what users prefer. 

Just put yourself in their shoes for a second – would you enjoy any social media platform without  visual variety or image originality? 

People want what’s pleasing to the eye. Your task is to give them what they want. 

3. Influencer Marketing is Still Going Strong

Contrary to popular belief, influencer marketing isn’t dead. In fact, influencer marketing is expected to become a $5-$10 billion industry by 2020. Well, guess what? It’s 2020 already! 

The whole point of influencer marketing is to find influencers suitable for your brand so that they can promote it for you. And this is the key thing when starting your influential marketing campaign – to find the proper influencer(s). 

Don’t get carried away by the number of followers an influencer has, or what they’ll demand as compensation (some pay influencers, or give them a free product, others may do both).

It’s not that these things are irrelevant, it’s just that there’s much more to it. 

Suggested Read: Using Hashtags to Find Influencers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

For example, what if an influencer that you’re considering to propose a collaboration to, has been known to collaborate with competitors, or tends to promote and accept EVERYTHING that is offered to them?

Do you think this would make your brand be recognized, valued or appreciated? 

Or imagine contacting a well-known food blogger – this is obviously someone who frequently posts food images, visits different restaurants and writes reviews on different meals.

But, you’re selling athletic wear and you want to promote a healthy lifestyle and a proper, balanced diet. Do you believe this influencer is the right option for your brand? 

Suggested Read: How to Find Micro Influencers on Instagram to Boost Sales

Remember, influencers should help build trust in your brand, not ruin it.

In an era when influential recommendations are something users highly appreciate, making sure you find the right influencers is more important than ever. 

Besides this, make sure both you and your influencer are satisfied and happy with your collaboration. A successful influencer campaign is when both sides are satisfied with the cooperation. 

Marketing trends are called trends for a reason – they target current popularity, and can garner immediate success.

However, a carefully crafted influential strategy can bring you more satisfactory results in the long run than just complying with ongoing marketing trends. 

Suggested read: Instagram Influencer Marketing: A Start-to-Finish Guide

4. Customer Service is More Important than Ever

Social media platforms are indeed a place for you to promote your content and your brand. They’re also a place for you to interact with your customers and loyal followers. 

And this aspect is becoming much more important over the course of time. Plus, establishing communication with the people following you has never been easier. 

Make sure you read reviews and testimonials – see what people think of you/your brand; what they’d like to see more of, what they dislike, or what they’d expect from you in the future. 

Also, try to answer any messages you might be getting as well as comments – sound professional, yet friendly; approachable, and neutral. 

If you’re interacting one-on-one with a follower, always use their name when addressing them. People love hearing their name or reading their name.

It conveys a more personal tone, and makes it seem as though you’re paying extra attention to them. 

On the other hand, we’re aware you can’t do everything on your own. Even if you have a whole team behind you, you’d still need additional help if your business is expanding. 

Thankfully, chatbots are there to help you.

Did you know that 40% of consumers don’t care if a chatbot or a real human helps them, as long as they get the help they need

Source: Facebook for Business

Chatbot intelligence and algorithms are expected to grow and improve beyond what we consider imaginable.

They’re able to communicate with several people all at once, and if we’re being realistic, this isn’t something that even a whole team of customer support can surpass. 

Suggested read: Instagram Messages: How Businesses Can Engage Their Audience & Tools to Manage Your Inbox

5. Things Are Changing

If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that things change. 

Fast.

And of course, in 2020 we’ll continue to see rapid change. 

So, to remain relevant, you need to embrace the unknown.

Social media platforms have a wide range of algorithms and they’re constantly upgrading, evolving and trying out new things. 

One such example is Instagram deciding to remove “likes” from its platform (they’ll remain visible for you, but others won’t be able to see them). 

Changing “the visibility of the Instagram likes” changes the overall perception of Instagram as a social media platform. This also changes how the upcoming marketing trends and strategies will resume on this platform. 

For example, up till now the relevance of posts, captions or whole accounts in general were calculated based on the number of followers and likes.

The greater the number of likes, the greater the level of validation and recognition. 

This modification changes the game now – without likes, Instagram users will have to focus on providing better content, high-quality photos as well as come up with different strategies to prove their Instagram status. 

And then there’s the rise of TikTok, the video sharing app that is quickly becoming one of the most popular apps among social media users all over the world.

Currently, TikTok’s users are mainly teens and Generation Z. However, given the app’s algorithm which doesn’t require creators to have many followers to receive lots of attention, more and more people from varying age groups are joining every day.

As the app’s popularity grows, it’s only a matter of time before brands start exploring TikTok, just like it happened with Facebook and Instagram.

This only serves to show you that you can never fully master a particular social media platform, as they’re constantly evolving. 

The greatest social media tip would be to never lose the sense of adjusting to what’s yet to come. That’s the ultimate marketing trend that never changes.

Now, let’s talk about… 

The Top Social Media Tools to Consider in 2020

Ever noticed how the appearance of new social media tools impacts which platforms we continue using, which tools we keep and which ones we completely ignore? 

As the social media world changes, the social media tools end up changing too. This in turn modifies how we perceive certain marketing trends in  general. 

Without further ado, here’s a short list of some of the most effective social media tools we suggest checking out: 

1. Keyhole

We’ve built such a comprehensive social listening and analytics tool that you’ll wish you discovered it sooner. Keyhole keeps track of the conversations on all social channels and it analyzes them. It can help you research your market, understand the impact of your campaigns and find top influencers. The best thing? A free trial. 

2. Kicksta

Best for Instagram-focused brands. It helps you build your following way faster by targeting followers of similar accounts. It also assists you in finding better partnership opportunities as well as ways to boost your sales. 

3. Audiense

A great audience segmentation tool. It analyzes and helps you to understand your audience, and enables you to create highly specific audience segments, adapt your targeting and deliver personalized messages, which is great. 

4. AgoraPulse

A great asset to your already existing social media tools. AgoraPulse helps you manage your social media presence. It gathers all your conversations in one place and helps you schedule your posts and create a winning content calendar. It allows you to create audience segments and manage your team too. 

5. Meet Edgar

A social media scheduling tool that helps you post older posts. Recycling your old killer posts increases your traffic and gets you greater exposure.

This is even more relevant if you’ve written a great piece a while ago, and in the meantime your brand has grown – it goes without saying that you’ll expose your content to more readers. 

Keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list. Still, it’s a basic guide to get you started.

Final Thoughts on Social Media Trends, Tips & Tricks

People spend a great deal of time on various social media, and this is nothing new. 

Some of it is productive and with an end goal, and other times it’s just aimlessly scrolling through accounts, and randomly liking specific posts. 

Whatever their reason may be, it’s fine either way. 

What matters, however, is that now you know just the right tips and tricks to make their social media experience much more enjoyable and keep up with the ever growing competition in your industry in 2020. 


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides social media analytics and hashtag tracking for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. Get started for free.

Instagram Messages: How Businesses Can Engage Their Audience & Tools to Manage Your Inbox

instagram messages: how businesses can engage their audience and tools to manage your inbox

There are many ways you can capture the attention of your followers on Instagram (and social media in general), but hardly anything is as powerful as establishing a strong relationship with your followers and potential customers via Instagram messages.

In this post, we’ll give you a clear overview of why Instagram messages are important for your business, the different kinds of direct messages (DMs) you can send, and how you can use this feature to grow your brand.

Let’s begin with a quick intro to Instagram messages. 

If you’re already familiar with Instagram messages, feel free to jump to the next section.

Jump Links:

What are Instagram Messages?
Plain Text Messages
Pictures and GIFs
Video Content
Voice Messages
Video Calls
Group Messages
Reactions

Why Should You Include Instagram Messages in Your Marketing Strategy?

How to Use Instagram Messages to Build and Increase Brand Loyalty

3 Tools to Manage Your Instagram Inbox

What are Instagram Messages?

Instagram has its own private messaging feature, which enables you to have one-on-one or group chats with other Instagram users. 

Instagram messages, more commonly known as Instagram direct messages, or DMs for short, take the communication with your loyal followers and favourite influencers beyond your feed and allow you to develop a stronger connection with your network.

In today’s noisy world, being reachable and responsive goes a long way in building long-term relationships and driving competitive advantage.

There are a few types of Instagram messages you can send and receive:

Plain Text Messages

You can use plain text messages to answer questions and provide support, reach out to a particular Instagram user, and to start conversations.

How to create a basic text message within instagram inbox / instagram messages

Pictures and Gifs

Privately send relevant photos with your followers to let them know of a new arrival in your store, announce an event or raise awareness on an ongoing promotional campaign. 

In many instances, our clients will send you pictures to let you know that they’ve received your product or started seeing results from your service.

If you get consent, you can later use these photos as testimonials and share them publicly on your feed or via Instagram stories.

Video Content

The option to send videos can prove to be incredibly useful if you plan to send demos or showcase close-ups of your products and their attributes/functionalities.

Voice Messages

Instagram recently introduced the voice messages feature which allows you to record and send voice messages to your followers.

Brands tend to use pictures and plain text messages more often than voice messages.

What a voice message / audio message / audio note looks like on Instagram

Video Calls

Instagram supports audio and video chat, but much like voice messages, this is a feature that is mostly used by individual users. 

Group Messages

Instagram messages do not have to be a one-on-one thing. Instead, you can create groups of people with similar interests and share information with the entire group at once.

Reactions

When you “react” to an Instagram story, the reaction will be sent as a direct message. This is a great way to quickly show your support, and it can be an effective conversation starter.

Quick reactions to Instagram stories

You can send messages from four different places in your profile.

1. You can enter the direct messages screen (basically your Instagram Inbox) and search for a user that you want to contact – or simply click on a message you’d like to reply to…

Access your instagram direct messages screen / instagram inbox through the home page feed

2. You can search for a user and click the “message” button on their profile…

How to access instagram messages by navigating from a users' profile

3. You can respond to someone’s story by sending a text, a reaction, a gif, or a photo…

Send an instagram message or instagram dm by reacting or replying to their instagram story

4. You can directly share a post as an Instagram message, by clicking the paper plane button under the post you want to send.

access instagram messages on an instagram post by tapping the paper plane icon to send the post to someone

Why Should You Include Instagram Messages in Your Marketing Strategy?

Now you know what types of messages you can send via Instagram.

But you still might be wondering how you can utilise Instagram’s direct messaging feature to drive real business results.

Here are the three ways Instagram messages can help your brand:

Create Networking Opportunities

Instagram Direct is the perfect place to connect with like-minded people and professionals in your niche, or reach out to industry influencers who have an audience that might be interested in your product line.

Improve Brand Loyalty

You can use Instagram messages to answer to any of your potential clients’ inquiries, offer after-sales support, or show appreciation to your fans and loyal customers. 

Being reachable and available will allow you to gain your followers’ trust and connect them on a deeper level, which will ultimately help you drive more repeat purchases and increase your customer lifetime value. 

Increase Personalization

According to Forrester Research’s VP and Principal Analyst, Sucharita Kodali 36% of shoppers want brands to make more personalized offers.

Similarly, a recent Forbes article outlining the findings of a survey by Segment argues that personalization can drive impulse purchases, minimize returns, increase brand loyalty and ultimately – increase revenue.

And what’s a better way to increase personalization than by talking to your customers one-on-one, where they can ask what they want, and you can give them the information they need? 

Next, we’ll talk about…

How to Use Instagram Messages to Build and Increase Brand Loyalty

Answer Messages

A lot of brands focus on creating new content for their Instagram feeds and stories, but don’t pay as much attention to the reactions or questions they receive in their DMs.

Chances are, you have some unanswered messages in your Instagram inbox right now – if you do, we urge you to take a couple of minutes and answer them as soon as you finish reading this.

There is nothing that will repel your potential clients as much as getting the silent treatment from one of the brands they love.

So, whenever a member from your community reaches out to you through a direct message, make sure that you respond to their message and give them the information they’re looking for. 

Sometimes, your followers will reach out to ask you something about your products – be it where they can find them, or if the product they’re interested in is still in stock, or they’ll ask the typical “how much does it cost” question.

Other times they might raise a complaint or share with you how satisfied they are with their purchase. 

Whatever the case, if you wish to be successful in the long-run, you have to make sure that you handle all these messages the same way: with care and in a timely manner.

Show Your Top Fans Some Instagram Love

Every brand has at least a few loyal fans who are constantly engaging with their content.

Constant engagers are impossible to miss – even if you have hundreds of thousands of followers.

They’ll react to your stories, give you a shout-out whenever you post something new or interesting, join your Instagram lives, participate in your polls, and will like and comment on your photos. 

These people? They’re golden!

They’re practically promoting your brand without you asking (or paying) for it!

So, you need to do everything you can to encourage them to continue engaging with your content.

The easiest way to do it?

Recognise their effort.

Slide into their DMs and thank them for showing you continuous support.

If you’re feeling extra generous, offer them a special discount code.

These people have probably bought from you in the past and are very satisfied with their purchase, or they really like your products but have been postponing the purchase for some reason.

Giving them an incentive like a discount can easily turn their virtual engagement on social media into a sales conversion.

Suggested Reading: What is a Brand Ambassador? & How to Launch a Successful Ambassador Program

Reach Out to People YOU Admire and Would Partner With

You probably already know the power of influencer marketing – nowadays an increasing number of brands partner with individual creators with a huge following to spread the word about their products. 

People that follow Instagram creators are inspired by what these individuals do, wear, and consume, so appearing on their feed will likely help you get on the radar of a wider audience and sell more of your products.

However, the best influencers on Instagram are receiving hundreds of messages from brands that want to collaborate with them.

Getting your targeted influencer to commit to your brand before they commit to one of your competitors requires some work. 

That’s where Instagram direct messages come in the picture.

Establishing a direct communication on Instagram after you’ve engaged with their posts and stories gives you a much greater chance of being considered as a potential partner, than reaching out via email.

Engaging with each others' Instagram stories through instagram direct messages

Remember the story “reactions” we mentioned before?

Instagram messages keeps a history of interactions and reactions, so by sending a message, this influencer you’re contacting will be able to scroll back in time and see that you’ve been following their work for a longer period and that you’re genuinely interested in connecting.

This will give an edge over your competitors.

Suggested Reading: Influencer Marketing: An Expert Guide On Marketing’s Next Big Thing

Drive Sales

You can send or direct people to your Instagram messages using clear CTAs in your Instagram posts and stories. 

Suggested read: Instagram Stories: 16 Killer Tips to Stand Out in 2019

According to a 2017 story by Business Insider, a whopping 72% of Instagram users have bought a product that they’ve seen on the app.

Including adding a simple CTA to your content such as “DM me for more info” will do wonders for your business, and especially your sales.

Once people do contact you, you can give them the extra attention and the tailored info they need to turn to convert into paying customers. 

To make it easier for creators and businesses to respond to direct messages and inquiries, Instagram has rolled out a quick reply feature for its business and creator accounts.

As the name suggests, quick replies save you a lot of typing, by allowing you to use a shortcut in order to load a pre-saved message.

This works well if there is a campaign you’re currently running, you’re launching a new product, or you’re organizing an event – anything where you would need to write a lot of repetitive information, and things that people would like to know the details of.

Here’s how you can add a quick reply.

Step 1. Enter “settings” in your business or creator account.

instagram navigation bar. creating a quick reply.

Step 2. Click “business settings” or the “creator” tab in the menu.

Tap the instagram creator tab in the menu

Step 3. Select ‘Quick Replies’.

Tap quick replies

Step 4. Create your quick reply and add a shortcut.

How to edit a quick reply on Instagram

Remember to include only the repetitive info as part of your quick reply – you’ll still want to personalize your messages by greeting the person who is writing to you in the beginning and adding an appropriate CTA at the end.

Let’s say you’re launching a new organic skincare product. 

In this case, your quick reply should sound something like this:

ORGANIC PRODUCT is a premium blend of INGREDIENT, INGREDIENT, INGREDIENT, which are all known to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. ORGANIC PRODUCT is clinically tested and completely cruelty-free.

And then, let’s say someone has sent you a message asking for the ingredients of this product once you announced it on your feed. 

Here’s what you’d do:

Hi Jane Doe! Thanks for contacting us. ORGANIC PRODUCT is a premium blend of INGREDIENT, INGREDIENT, INGREDIENT, which are all known to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. ORGANIC PRODUCT is clinically tested and completely cruelty-free. (Add by typing the shortcut) Are there any other questions we could answer for you?

Accessing the quick reply feature on Instagram through instagram direct messages
Accessing the quick reply feature on Instagram through instagram direct messages

3 Tools to Manage Your Instagram Inbox

An even easier way to manage your Instagram messages is by using some of the following tools:

The Native Instagram App (Desktop Version)

Using the native Instagram app will allow you to easily track and respond to messages using your desktop computer. The native Instagram app is free and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store.

IG:dm

IG:dm has the same functionalities like the desktop version of Instagram, and some other useful features like quoting messages, disable ‘read’ receipts and viewing unfollowers. IG:dm is compatible with Windows, Linux and MacOS. The basic version of the app is free.

Agorapulse

Agorapulse is a convenient inbox management platform that allows you to manage all your social platforms’ inboxes using a single dashboard. Agorapulse’s plans start at $79/month.

Final Thoughts

Even though Instagram messages are an effective way to engage Instagram users, a lot of brands don’t take full advantage of the Instagram DMs feature.

This is due to several reasons, including: not knowing what Instagram messages are best used for, thinking that one-on-one engagements with followers consume a lot of time, or simply focusing too much on other marketing tactics.

By allowing you to privately contact Instagram users, Instagram messages enable you to tailor your messages to cater to every follower’s interests and their stage in the buyer’s journey.

With DMs, you can create a sense of exclusivity and build stronger relationships with your audience.

Of course, you can expect positive results from your direct Instagram messages outreach if you take the time to tailor the messages. Sending copy-pasted, generic messages doesn’t have any impact – or, worst case scenario, could lead to negative consequences.

Happy DMing!


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free.

Using Hashtag Tracking to Optimize Social Listening Strategy [+ Tools!]

using hashtag tracking to optimize social listening strategy

When many marketers and community managers think of social listening, manually scouring through sets of posts, tweets and messages comes to mind.

But being left with a small relevant dataset is common, even though the process involves keyword research to target what your audience is saying about your brand and competitors.

Adding hashtags to your social media listening strategy can help ease the problem.

By tracking certain tagged topics, you’ll collect more applicable information about what your audiences say and think about you. Your understanding of how to market your brand will improve as a result.

Jump Links:

What is Social Listening with Hashtags?

5 Types of Hashtags to Monitor:
1. Brand Hashtags
2. Your Competitors’ Brand Hashtags
3. Chat Hashtags
4. Event Hashtags
5. Campaign Hashtags

5 Social Listening Tools

What Is Social Listening with Hashtags?

Also called social media monitoring, the goal of social listening is to gain an understanding of how people perceive your brand based on what they say about it online.

Standard social listening involves tracking what consumers say on virtually any digital space, using hashtags enhances the library of data collected on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

It’s a type of data mining.

It revolves around identifying posts that use tagged topics, along with analyzing those posts to quantify metrics such as influence and engagement.

Hashtag tracking plays a key role in social listening because:

  • It’s easier to identify hashtags than keywords, since they’re already somewhat popular
  • Members of your target audiences use industry-related hashtags
  • You can track the activity levels of hashtag trends and conversations, helping you determine how large a crisis is or how popular a positive message is
  • By adding sentiment-based keywords to your trackers, you can measure the general feeling about a given tagged topic

5 Types of Hashtags to Monitor

The scope of your social listening strategy won’t be wide enough if you only track one kind of hashtag.

As you plan and implement the strategy, consider monitoring these five different types of hashtags:

1. Brand Hashtags

Track these hashtags along with positive (fun, great) and negative (bad, won’t) keywords to measure sentiment.

As you identify users with clear opinions one way or the other, reach out.

This could involve asking what they specifically like or dislike, building genuine conversations to earn their appreciation.

As a bonus, these conversations could result in developing ideas to improve your product or service.

Not only should you include your brand hashtag when sharing original content, but encourage your fans and followers to use it too. This is a win-win scenario, because:

  • You’ll have more social content to track and analyze
  • Users will have a clear way to share posts with the community interested in your brand, helping them gain a larger following

Example: #JustDoIt

Under Nike’s famous brand hashtag, people share posts about sports, athletic apparel and motivation.

Keeping tabs on the hashtag gives Nike a clear picture of what their target markets think about the brand’s identity.

2. Your Competitors’ Brand Hashtags

What you can do for your brand, you can do for the competition.

As potential customers use opposing hashtags, track them and use keyword filters to figure out what prospects do and don’t like about other brands.

When you identify a prospect, you may feel the need to gently reach out and explain why you succeed where your competitor fails. This can involve giving a demo or free trial, depending on your industry.

On the flip side, look out for satisfied customers.

If your company doesn’t offer the service or product that made them happy, your team may have a new idea to consider.

Example: #BeMoreHuman

https://twitter.com/RolandGuillot1/status/697737640955768833

By monitoring the Reebok hashtag, Nike digital strategists can figure out which posts:

  • Earn the most engagement
  • Express a clear opinion about the Reebok brand
  • Reveal prospects to follow up with

From there, Nike’s social team can take the approach it wants to when it comes to interacting with users or studying successful content.

3. Chat Hashtags

A quick search using key terms should reveal chat hashtags relevant to your industry and audience.

Popular on Twitter, you can monitor a chat to learn more about users who are interested in the subject matter.

Tracking relevant chat hashtags as part of your social listening strategy allows you to:

  • Make content ideas based on people’s opinions, pain-points and comments
  • Track if your company or competition is referenced during the conversation
  • Connect with new prospects, as many people who may be interested in your company might not know about it

Example: #SoloPR

Your brand stands to benefit as a member of either category. As a public relations team, you can make new contacts.

As someone who targets these professionals, you can stay on top of industry trends.

4. Event Hashtags

As more marketing and public relations teams use social media to amplify events, tracking event hashtags should secure a spot in your social listening plans.

Monitoring activity before, during and after the big day can provide insights about:

  • Any concerns attendees have
  • Which parts of the event were most appreciated
  • When activity around your hashtag rises, and if any spikes correlate with certain parts of the event

Example: #GRAMMYs

It’s not your average event in terms of scope, but social media marketers in the music and entertainment industries stand to benefit from tracking #GRAMMYs on Twitter.

Staying on top of your data feed and tweeting appropriately can boost audience and engagement numbers as moments go viral, users disapprove of a speech or if there’s backlash against a winner.

5. Campaign Hashtags

Not everyone will directly mention your brand when using your campaign hashtag, meaning there’s a clear need to track the tag’s performance as part of your social media monitoring strategy.

The same goes for online campaigns from rival brands.

Similar to brand hashtags, you should track campaign hashtags with and without sentiment-based keyword filters.

Doing so gives segmented looks at how consumers view the campaign.

It’s easier to sort through relevant and irrelevant data – as well as pinpoint issues and action items – as a result.

Example: #ShareACoke

Coca-Cola’s famous campaign never seems to end, as customers keep sharing photos of namesake cans and bottles.

By monitoring this campaign hashtag as a competitor, you can:

  • Develop ideas for future campaigns
  • Learn how to alter your products or make new ones
  • Determine which types of digital content you should be making and encouraging your audience to create

Tracking this hashtag as part of Coca-Cola’s social listening strategy helps its marketers:

  • Repurpose the most popular content
  • Reach out to well-known personalities using the hashtag
  • Study what charged the campaign’s success

5 Social Listening Tools

If your digital team doesn’t already use one, your step after identifying hashtags is finding a tool that collects accurate data.

There’s a library of social media analytics services to choose from, each with features and price points to suite different teams. We looked into 25 platforms in this blog post.

But since not all of them apply to social listening, here are 5 tools that do:

1. Keyhole

demonstrating social listening using keyhole as a tool

But tracking hashtags and keywords, collecting metrics to improve your social listening approach, is a reason why users love us.

You can compile Twitter and Instagram content in real-time, displaying data such as reach, impressions and activity numbers on a shareable dashboard.

Plus, you can rank influential posters and track demographic metrics such as gender and location.

If you happen to miss monitoring an event or campaign, we’ll get historical social media data for you.

2. Social Mention

Think of this tool as a social search engine. Entering a hashtag will generate pages of user-generated content from more than 100 platforms.

Social Mention tracks traditional metrics such as reach and sentiment, making it useful for listening to discussions around brand and campaign hashtags.

But it also displays unique metrics such as passion – the likelihood that users will post more than once about your brand.

3. Hootsuite

A popular platform management tool, you can also use Hootsuite for social listening.

After you identify keyphrases, create a stream for each one.

You’ll get a grid of social content, showing basic engagement data. Hootsuite also lets you flag posts and assign team members to address them.

What’s more, you can restrict the stream results based on data such as location.

4. Twubs

Twubs is a hashtag directory, fit for basic social listening on Twitter.

Typing a hashtag into the home page’s search bar will generate a live stream of tweets, also giving you an option to access limited historical data. Within Twubs, you can reply to tweets and post new messages with the given hashtag.

5. Twitter Advanced Search

Twitter Advanced Search - 5 Tools for Social Media Listening with Hashtags

Don’t overlook Twitter itself for basic social listening.

You can use the advanced search function to refine your queries, identifying posts that use any given hashtag.

The range of filters for dates, sentiments, locations and keywords helps you zone in on specific audiences. And since you’re operating on the platform itself, it’s easy to engage with people.

Segmenting Your Audiences

Dividing the audiences you identify through social listening into sub-categories can help you develop content to better meet their diverse needs and interests.

In this case, social market segmentation starts with sampling messages that use a monitored hashtag.

Depending on the popularity of the tag, this could involve looking at 10% to 100% of the posts.

By examining profiles and other messages, divide the posters into groups based on data such as:

Look for themes and prevailing opinions within each group. For example, you may notice a segment of your audience expresses a common concern. Another may frequently post about a topic related to your brand.

Regardless, developing these consumer personas is an exercise in better understanding your markets and knowing how to communicate with them.

That’s the goal of social media monitoring, after all.

Comments to Reflect On

Optimizing your social listening approach with hashtags and select keyword filters can generate a library of relevant data, providing more information about your online market.

And by monitoring different types of hashtags, you may even unlock an audience you didn’t know you had.

That, in itself, could take your marketing strategy in a new direction.


Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free.

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