The worldwide user base of Instagram is getting past 400 million-mark by 2015. It was the best news for online marketers around the world. Initially started as an app to share photos of pets and selfies, Instagram has now become the communication tool for businesses to connect with target audience. This amazing transformation led Instagram to generate more leads than even Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter combined.

Instagram marketing trends

With a new year, here comes a new set of challenges and a new content calendar as well. When social media is changing so quickly, it has become difficult for marketers to stay ahead of the game or just keep up with it. In order to get creative with content in 2016, here are the top trends for Insta-marketing.

1. Using GIFs

The emergence of Apple’s Live Photos and GIF-like apps will definitely trend this year to move photos on Instagram. Some of the reputed apps like DSCO by VSCO and Boomerang by Instagram are tremendously growing and are going to be the major Insta trend for the marketers in the year 2016.

Combined with different apps converting Live Photos to GIFs, along with the new feature which loops videos, we are going to see brands and users add creativity with motion.

2. Influencers

According to most marketers, working together with influencers is likely to be the next big trend in marketing. There are hundreds of brands doing it well. Influencers are actually the users or bloggers with thousands of followers.

According to a survey by eMarketer, around 9 of 10 brands used this kind of marketing witnessed a huge rise in their web traffic and brand awareness.

The best benefit is using call to actions in their bio. Large brands have successfully driven more engagement, traffic and sales with this technique.

3. Using Branded Channels

There are several popular brands like Nike, Everlane and Starbucks that have their official branding channels to improve interactions with followers.

For example, Nike uses @nikesportswear, @nikewomen, and @nikesb, Starbucks uses @frappaccino, and Everlane, the mainstream retailer has @EverlaneStudio in order to promote its existing and new products.

This is known as targeted marketing as you focus on meeting the needs of customers from various locations. Be sure to run targeted marketing programs for the business by considering the likes and dislikes, age and location of target audience.

Targeted marketing

4. Experiment with Instagram Advertising

Instagram ads are supposed to be strategically curated at the price of over $200k per ad, until this social platform enabled all advertisers to promote at the end of 2015.

The quality of a lot of ads was the best and users were disappointed with spam pictures in their feed. But experience comes with time.

We have seen brands and marketers experimenting with Instagram ads in 2016 to figure out what works best on the platform and what not.

5. Sponsored Ads

Instagram introduces advertising for the brands and businesses around the world that were available formerly just for native brands. It was the best news for the Instagram marketers of the platform last year.

Do you have a shot on Instagram advertising? You can get the most of Marquee placement and the clickable “Buy Now” buttons in order to improve your Instagram marketing results much faster than before.

We are aimed to put your ads on your Sponsored Ads. It can really be the best option to meet this goal naturally.

6. Stock Photography

For marketers, gathering content is such a huge challenge on Instagram and finding best quality content is getting even tougher. Luckily, there are new players in stock photography who understand the needs of top quality Instagrammable pictures at best price.

You can easily get high definition images from any segment from the relevant stock photo stores. So, it is something with which you can get more likes and get the most of your followers.

Startups like Stocksy are the best examples. They provide stunning stock photography from most popular photographers. Flashstock is yet another brand which combines brands with photographers across the world.

Today, marketers have more options in order to outsource their content for a low fee. If you are running out of budget, you can easily look for awesome content and then repost it.

7. Managing Several Instagram Accounts

As Instagram grows, brands are expected to become even more targeted with creating several Instagram accounts for various customers or verticals like @nikewomen, @nike, and @nikerunning.

Curated feeds are growing in popularity and the entire accounts are devoted to repost content from other users on a niche topic.

There is a brand “I Have This Thing with Floors” which is engaged in showing pictures of feet on beautiful floors. Their hashtag has been used around 200,000 times and have around half a million followers.

8. Linking to Your Content

The ability to click link in the caption is known to be a dream for most marketers and Instagram is expected to bring it to us this year. If not, you should hope to get more creativity from influencers and brands because everyone looks to get followers to visit a website from Instagram.

We are seeing it already from services like Like to Know It and from “Buy Now” buttons on Instagram. This way, your Instagram feeds can become shoppable.

Link building

9. Involve in Good Cause to Improve Your Brand Value

We have found a few brands which take a different approach to their posts by sharing and promoting their involvement with their followers.

For example, SweetGarden, the hottest favorite lunch spots for soups, salads etc. prides itself to serve organically sourced and local ingredients from trusted partners and farmers.

We should be proud of their business decisions. And they are also partnered with FoodCorps, a non-profit organization. This partnership seamlessly aligns with healthy-living values of the brand as they are aimed to help children make healthier choices for food.

It truly demonstrates their tie-up with FoodCorps and it shows how they value good social cause and what their company is known for.