Instagram is the second most accessed network after Facebook. The popular social medium sees over one billion active monthly users in 2020 and 500 million daily Instagram Stories. Users browse for an average of 53 minutes per day.
Instagram marketing is a type of social media marketing in which marketers use the Instagram platform to promote their business. Instagram marketing can involve a number of different strategies and tactics, used to accomplish all kinds of goals a business might have. There are several ways to use Instagram for marketing:
- Unpaid strategies, like creating organic content like posts, Instagram stories, reels, and comments, as well as interacting with other users' content.
- Paid strategies, such as advertising and influencer marketing.
This article focus is mainly on unpaid strategies. At the end of the article you will find a few tips for paid campaigns. Typical business goals might include selling your products or services, getting more followers and engagement, building relationships with potential customers and other brands, and generally boosting a brand's reputation.
You don't have to be a master of the Instagram algorithm, but a basic understanding of it can help you achieve your goals faster. The goal - like any other online algorithm - is to deliver relevant, entertaining, and engaging content to each user.
Algorithms do this by carefully studying the activities and behavior of their users and then using that data to make educated guesses about what those users would like to see in the future. If your content passes the "test", you're teed up for success. The main takeaway is that you should always focus on creating quality content that really provides a benefit for your audience.
Spam posts or comments and content just to create something are damaging for your campaign. Be thoughtful and strategic while constantly asking what your audience wants and how you can serve them through your efforts.
Finding perfect Instagram usernames (that are still available) can be tough! And as more people use Instagram to search for brands and products than ever before, it's essential that your account is easy to find - and one to remember.
PRO TIP: Choosing a new Instagram username may seem like a small decision, but finding the right one can really set the tone for your brand identity and help people to understand your mission right off the bat. Your username also provides the easiest way for people to look up your brand on Instagram, and as we've mentioned before, your Instagram profile is the new homepage for your brand. So if your Instagram username isn't memorable, or it's difficult to spell, then you're already on the back-foot when it comes to your social marketing strategy.
Highlight Your Brand's Offering
With over 1 billion active users, the chances of your brand name still being available on Instagram are pretty slim. However, this can be a great opportunity to add in an extra keyword that hints at the values, products, or services your brand provides.
When it comes to your Instagram username, it's worth making it memorable. Memorable usernames are more likely to be searched for, which can directly impact your engagement levels and follower count. One way to make your Instagram username more memorable is to use a play on words.
Before you decide on your Instagram username, it's a good idea to check it's also available on all the other social platforms you want to use to promote your brand.
Instagram usernames can contain letters, numbers, periods, and underscores, but you might not want to include all of those. The bottom line? The easier your username is to spell, the easier it is to remember and search. So with this in mind, it's worth keeping your username free from tricky words and complex combinations.
As we've already covered, highlighting your brand's offering in your Instagram username can be a great way to boost awareness of your values, products, or services. However, it's important to keep your long-term business goals in mind. If you plan on diversifying your product range in the future, don't tie yourself to just one product in your Instagram username. Instead, opt for more generic terms that give you the freedom to grow in the direction you're aiming for.
The profile picture is your first impression on new visitors. For this reason, keep your image consistent with your branding and visual markers. Consider using your logo or another familiar image. Instagram profile pictures are automatically cropped into a circle, so leave room around the corners of your image.
Instagram bios have a 150-character maximum, so your goal here is a direct, concise summary of who you are and why people should follow you. Tell your audience about your business using a hint of personality. Instagram bios aren't searchable, so don't worry about keywords or hashtags. In your bio, you can encourage users to take a specific action, such as using a certain hashtag or visiting your website.
PRO TIP: Your bio is the only place where you can feature a clickable URL and drive traffic to an external site (landing page).
Landing pages are where you convert visitors to customers. A beautiful landing page can be linked from your Bio or elsewhere in the content you create. Everything about landing pages you can read here.
Organic content is an umbrella term that describes any unpaid content that you post, like photos, videos and stories. These posts should be at the heart of your Instagram marketing strategy, because it'll be much easier to make those sales if you can keep your audience interested organically.
Instagram offers the following content types:
The most common post on Instagram is an image post. When posting images, share a variety of photos. Variety will show your brand is diverse and engage your followers in different ways.
PRO TIP: Look for interesting perspectives
People are used to seeing the world from eye level. To create interesting and fresh photos, use shots from different perspectives. Change up your shooting perspective to capture a bird's eye view or worm's eye view. Experiment with different angles to find new perspectives on common sights.
It's also important to remember that Instagram users are looking for genuine posts from brands - not blatant advertisements. Try to capture your company culture with lifestyle shots and behind-the-scenes looks. Avoid posting too many photos of your product.
PRO TIP: Use meaningful and exciting images
Images that carry emotions and convey feelings are best to use as psychological triggers. An meaningful image can speak "louder" than thousand words.
Use different hashtags for each post. Put hashtags right in the caption. Make hashtags from some words in sentences in your comments or stories to give "organic" feel and gain wider reach.
PRO TIP: The importance of HASHTAGS
Instagram makes it simple and easy for users to find tagged content. When you search a word or phrase, the search results page shows you four parts: Top, which displays the top Instagram accounts, hashtags, and locations that include your keyword (typically accounts that are popular or that you're following).
Instagram feeds are always changing, which makes sense considering that 95 million photos are shared everyday. With that much content, it can be difficult for your account to get noticed. This is where hashtags are used. On Instagram, hashtags aggregate posts from a wide variety of users into a single feed, although only public accounts can be shown when searching hashtags.
BIG NO NO! Do not overload or spam your posts with hashtags. Too many hashtags can result in you getting banned. The trick is to use a few generic and a few niche specific hashtags for your campaign, to give you the best reach. Just make sure they are always relevant to the photo, video or story you’ve posted.
Instagram Stories allow users to post at a higher frequency without overposting and clogging up their main feed. Stories usually feature less-polished, more organic images and videos. Like Snapchat Stories, your Instagram Story disappears after 24 hours.
Stories are all about authenticity. While your Instagram feed should feature polished photos, Stories can be a little more experimental. Use the feature to give a behind-the-scenes look at your brand or showcase your company culture.
Just as the name suggests, Instagram Live is a feature that allows you to engage your audience in a real time "live broadcast" format. This is an especially helpful feature if you're attending an event or discussing anything timely or urgent.
The cool thing about Instagram Live is that your story will show up first in your followers' Story feed, and they'll also get a notification that it's happening when they open the app. But with great power comes great responsibility: don't use this feature unless you have some truly good content to share, or you might push users away for wasting their time.
A new way to create short, entertaining videos on Instagram. Inspire your audience with short, entertaining videos about your offer. Reels usually grab better attention than posts or stories.
While each Reel can only be 15 seconds long, IGTV was made especially for long-form videos. These can be 10 minutes, or up to an hour for accounts with more followers. You can think of it as Instagram's take on YouTube.
IGTV allows users to search for videos that pique their interest, and also makes recommendations based on their past behavior and activity. This helps make sure that audiences are connected with content they'll like. If you're just starting out, IGTV may not necessarily suit your needs or goals. But if you're a media company, or otherwise produce long videos, it can be a useful tool for getting your message across and engaging your audience.
Growing your following takes serious time and energy. You may be tempted to take the easy way out and buy followers … don’t do this! Purchasing followers won’t actually drive engagement, which is really what you need to ensure your posts are being seen. (Also, Instagram's recent API changes will automatically delete those followers!)
PRO TIP: Focus on building followers the right way.
Once your profile is optimized, start posting. It’s a good idea to populate your feed with 10 to 15 high-quality posts before you really start engaging people. If users visit your profile and find it empty, they probably won’t follow you. Then, start following accounts that interest you and relate to your business. Think of Instagram like a community and look for other businesses in your area or influencers who might enjoy your product or service. As you follow accounts, Instagram will also suggest related ones that you can follow.
These profiles do not belong to an active user. They follow everyone. There are several ways to spot fake followers. The first and most obvious tactic is to visit the follower’s page. Many fake followers have just a couple posts (often none at all) and don’t appear to be very active. Fake followers usually don’t use pictures of real people in their profile pic or posts. If they do use pictures of people, they’ve taken them from somewhere else. You can perform a Google image search to see if a picture exists elsewhere.
The recently opened accounts on the social network are closely observed and the level of activity observed. It's about profiles that are up to six months old. New users can have up to 30 subscriptions per hour and up to 720 subscriptions per day. If you try more subscriptions, you can be blocked. On average, the block is valid for a period of 24 to 72 hours. There is a total subscription limit of 7500.
PRO TIP: Interact, respond, comment, engage in conversation!
After you follow an account, interact with their content. This is the most natural way to draw attention to your own Instagram account without being spammy. When you follow or interact with an account, the account owner will get a notification. This could prompt them to check out your account and start following you. Always appreciate your followers by responding to their comments and engaging with their content. Encourage others to share your content. Invite brand ambassadors to share your account or collaborate with similar accounts.
You can put 1.5 times more likes than the number of standard subscriptions per day. If the user subscribes to 400 pages per day, 600 likes are allowed. Best strategy would be to tag three posts with each new subscription. This way you can increase the likelihood of mutual subscriptions.
Cases where content creators on the social network have been blocked from leaving comments have rarely been noticed. In the event of a gross violation of the rules, you can go into the ban. It is not recommended to leave more than 250 messages per day. This is considered the maximum, and must be achieved gradually.
The limits and official rules for sending messages through Direct are set. They look like this: New Pages - up to 30 messages for 30 users; Old Profiles - up to 60 posts to 60 users. This form of restriction is intended to protect account holders from intrusive advertisers and users who are similarly trying to get subscribers by viewing Story Instagram.
The above information is provided without guarantee and can change in time.
With "promote" you can turn any of your posts and stories into an ad instantly. Choose who sees your ad and how much you want to spend.
You can publish your ad directly via the Instagram app or via the Facebook ad manager. Either way you need to pair your Instagram account with your Facebook account.
Instagram is an absolute powerhouse in the social media world. For brands there’s a virtually infinite amount of untapped potential to get attention, stimulate engagement, build strong relationships, and cruise past those annual goals.
If you start your Instagram marketing strategy with a growth mindset, you’ll find that it gets easier and more lucrative as you go. It also gets pretty fun, if you play your cards right.