There’s a good chance your labor of AR love can go unnoticed without a proper distribution strategy. Here are 21 ways to distribute your Instagram AR effects once they're approved to maximize visibility:
1. Create original content using your AR effect
Some of the most prolific AR influencers such as @icceeeberg (see below) use their own effects consistently in Stories. This is a great way to continually build awareness for your effect and more importantly, establish a behavioral norm for others to follow suit.
Mix up the stories by experimenting with different situations and formats - video, boomerang, image, live stream, etc. The key here is to keep it natural and not come across as spammy or sales-minded.
2. Enable "View Effect" swipe-up link
Along with creating original content, don't forget to use Instagram's special Story swipe-up link --- "View Effect". You can add this to any photo/video you create using your effect (even if you have less than 10,000 followers) Here's how to use it:
- Tap the link button on the top of the screen once you’ve recorded your video
- "Add Swipe Up Link" screen will open with all of your filter icons in a row—simply tap the filter you want to promote.
- For branded filters, you can now tag your business partner (i.e. Brand Ambassador or Influencer) with a label that says ‘Paid partnership with’ and the partner’s name. Your partner will also be able to see the metrics for your story.
3. Notify your followers via Instagram Post / Story
Let your followers know about your new AR creation with a clear call-to-action in your post description. Something like "go to the effects tab on our profile" to try our new AR effect. Side note: the effects tab is the smiley face icon below your Story Highlights
4. Update your profile bio
If you have multiple AR effects, you should strongly consider including a CTA like "follow to unlock my AR collection" in your bio. Why? You must be following someone to see their AR effects. Curiosity is a powerful mechanism to drive acquisition of new followers, especially if you have a large collection of effects.
5. Update your profile URL
To make it easier for the less tech-savvy, you may consider updating your bio link (temporarily) to the effect URL. "Link in bio" is a very simple, easy call-to-action. Here's how to get your AR effect link:
- Go to https://www.facebook.com/sparkarhub/
- Under the "Actions" column, click on "Copy Preview link"
6. Create 5 or more AR effects
Based on a study we conducted, Instagram accounts that published 5 or more effects saw a 178% increase in followers between May '19 and Feb '20. That's compared with 37% for those who published 1-4 effects. And how about non-AR accounts? They experienced 22% follower increase.
7. Use relevant #hashtags
Find creative uses to share your AR effect too, such as a #thursdaythrowback post. Just make sure each post is relevant and adds value for your followers. Remember to publish your stories at optimum times of the day to make sure your target audience will catch them.
Here are some popular hashtags specific to AR effects:
- #instaeffects - 492K
- #instafilter - 486K
- #filterfun - 347K
- #snapfilters - 184K
- #instagramfilters - 152K
- #filterselfie - 141K
- #instafilters - 141K
- #newfilter - 71K
- #filtermania - 35K
- #instamask - 28K
- #bestfilter - 26K
- #facefilter - 26K
- #filtersnap - 22K
- #sparkar - 19K
- #facefilters - 14K
8. @mention AR curators
They can feature you in a post, use your effect in a Story, and include you in one of their collections. Here are a few top Instagram AR curators:
9. Send DM's to AR curators
You can always be a bit more conversational and DM curators. Building a relationship can prove to be more fruitful, especially if you take the time to understand what type of effects each curator is looking to share with their audience.
Some curators may require payment, but you should try asking first.
10. Reach out to AR developers
Developers love sharing other AR creations! The Spark AR community is quite supportive and more often than not, you'll be met with encouragement vs. critique.
Here are a few Instagram AR developers who consistently curate AR effects.
11. Ask influencers to use your effect
Another great idea is to reach out to influencers and brands that you feel will enjoy using your AR effect. For example, if you’ve created an effect featuring cool sunglasses, you may want to reach out to fashion bloggers or brands as these are the people who are more likely to use your effect and share it with their followers.
The more people that use your effect – especially the influential ones – the more it will be adopted by people who don’t follow you. Here are some top celebrities using AR effects.
12. Pay influencers to use your effect
You can always pay an influencer to use your effect, which in comparison with traditional influencer packages, can be a relatively cost-effective way of gaining exposure. AR effects are still quite new and influencers have yet to define what their "rates" are for using AR effects.
13. Create a contest
If you have the budget, you can create a contest asking people to use your effect in the most fun and creative way possible for the chance to win a grand prize.
One notable example is HBO's Watchmen Mask Off, where they invited Spark AR creators to participate within the guidelines and toolkit they laid out.
14. Post in the Spark AR Facebook group
Facebook's Spark AR Community is a ground zero for all the latest updates & happenings for Instagram AR. Posting your latest AR creation is common and a great way to not only get awareness, but also feedback.
If someone really likes your filter, they’ll use it!
15. Reach out to Spark AR blogs
Promote your brand by reaching out to Spark AR blogs, or who have the interest in Social Media/Technology. Your email should be short and sweet, with a brief description of the effect and ideally, the permalink to your effect.
Try these blogs to start:
16. Get listed in the Effect Gallery
Instagram’s "Effect Gallery" is a place where people can browse effects by exploring different categories and seeing effects from the accounts they follow.
One of the big upsides is being included in the main tab of Instagram’sEffect Gallery. Currently, there are 13 categories for you to choose from. If you have a business account, your effect is considered promotional and will not appear in the main tab.
To see the Effect Gallery:
- Open the Instagram camera
- Tap the effect icon
- Tap the effect name
- Tap Browse Effects
17. Cross-platform promotion
If you have a large following outside Instagram, use it to your benefit! Share your new effects via other social media platforms you use frequently, such as Facebook and Twitter.
If you run a blog, share the link to your website too or create a post around it. The more places you share the news of your Instagram effect, the more people it will reach.
18. Email marketing
Many brands and influencers send out regular news via an email list they’ve created. If you have a mailing list, then featuring your AR effect in the next newsletter or even creating a focused email for it is a great idea to drive engagement.
19. Share user-generated content
When someone uses your effect and @ mentions your account, you will receive a notification. You must download it within 24 hours (it disappears). This provides further reinforcement for your followers to use your effect, which in turn help drive organic reach.
20. Instagram Story ads
If you have a creator account, you can use the URL - which can be thrown into your "website" field of your profile then you use the "Your Website" option. The CTA can be "Learn More". If you have a business account you can promote any URL you want - in which case you use the filter URL.
Outside of those two differences, the best way we've seen it done is to create a video post of the effect, then promote that post that leads to the filter via the URL.
21. Get featured by @sparkarcreators
This one's a long shot but has a tremendous upside.
Instagram’s official Spark AR account regularly promotes effects made by the Spark AR community. Getting listed takes persistence though. Our recommendation is to start a 1-on-1 conversation with a moderator in the Spark AR Facebook group to cut through the noise.
BONUS - Instagram AR ads
AR Ads are just a rumor at this point, but you can still use paid ads to get your effects noticed.
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