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Think Instagram is just a place to post selfies? Think again. With more than 1 billion monthly active users — that's more than Twitter and Tumblr combined — this social media super platform is one of the powerful weapons in your digital marketing arsenal. Use it to drive sales, generate more clients, and increase the visibility of your brand online. If you still haven't incorporated Instagram marketing into your business model, now's a good time to do it.

1. Use Instagram Stories

In 2016, Instagram launched Stories — a feature that lets you upload photos and videos for 24 hours. Research shows that Stories is great for engaging with clients (60 percent of people on the platform use this feature). Upload a short video to your Stories, and you can expose your services to a global audience.

Need some content ideas? Fill your Stories with brand announcements, how-to guides, product demos, or discounts — click-worthy content that will resonate with your followers.

2. Use the Right Hashtags for More Exposure

Hashtags are really important for promoting your business on Instagram. Use the right ones, and a potential audience of millions will see your content. Instagram posts that incorporate at least one hashtag receive 12.6 percent more engagement than posts that don't, according to one study.

Using a combination of popular and less popular hashtags will ensure more users see your content in Instagram's photo feeds. Check out trending hashtags before you post to boost engagement with users on the platform. Alternatively, create hashtags of your own — the name of your brand, for example — to make it easier for people to find your content.

3. Post Often, But Not Too Often

The key to success on Instagram is driving engagement. Posting content on a regular basis will boost the chances of your posts going viral. If you want to increase the number of influencers, experts, and potential clients who follow you on Instagram — without annoying your existing followers — post content 1-3 times per day. (Big brands, on average, post 1.5 times per day.) Use a combination of photos and videos to keep things interesting.

Don't advertise your services in every single post, though. Instead, create compelling content that will encourage people to tap on the Follow button.

Instagram provides you with a powerful marketing platform for your business. Use it to target clients in your niche and drive traffic to your website. Want to optimize your Instagram marketing in 2019? Follow the three steps above for killer results. For more social media insights, check out our blog.

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