Marketing on Instagram is a non-negotiable aspect of digital marketing for many brands.
The visuals-first social media platform boasts more than 1.16 billion users, and about 90 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business.
While the success of any brand on Instagram involves high-quality images and videos in the feed and authentic visual content in Stories, don’t be intimidated if your business doesn’t lend itself to obvious visuals. Just check out what Staples is doing on Instagram based on office supplies.
If you are trying to reach a younger audience, see our guide on evaluating the value of marketing on Instagram versus Snapchat versus TikTok.
Also dive into the challenges and opportunities of Instagram for small businesses.
The following are 16 Instagram marketing tips you should know about to boost the impact your brand can make on the platform.
Marketing with an Instagram business account
It’s important to use an Instagram Business account when marketing on the platform.
You can check that you are (and switch if necessary) by going into your Instagram profile and tapping on the menu icon at the top right. Then, tap on “Settings,” “Account,” and then opt to switch to a professional account.
By using a business account, you’ll have access to Instagram Insights, ads, Instagram Shop, primary and secondary messaging inboxes, contact information on your profile and a call-to-action button on your profile.
In other words, this type of Instagram account gives you more tools in your marketing toolbox.
Determine your Instagram goals
Just with any marketing tactic, you must set your goals to best define your approach and strategy.
Ask yourself what you want to accomplish by marketing on Instagram. Some examples include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Get new leads
- Establish your brand as an industry leader
- Create an alternative selling method
Or, of course, you could have a combined goal, but the simpler the goal, the better. That makes it easier to set a timeframe and stay focused on a limited number of metrics that tie into your goal.
To keep it simple and help prioritize, consider what you’d like to accomplish first above all else.
Understand your target audience
First, the following you have (or can grow) on Instagram is going to be different than any other social media platform. Second, you must determine whether this syncs up with your target audience, or if there is some work you must do to better align your Instagram content to the wants, needs and interests of your target audience.
While Instagram users tend to skew younger, that doesn’t mean the overall users of the app aren’t diverse.
Dive deeper with our seven tips to help determine your target audience.
Optimize your Instagram profile
No detail is too small when it comes to your Instagram profile. Other than your posts, this is your first impression for countless users who come across your content for one reason or another. This is where users purposefully go to find out more about you. Don’t leave them disappointed or confused.
Some points to consider:
- Be personable and as detailed as possible in your 150-character Instagram bio.
- Be clear in your name, where you are allowed 30 characters
- Your username (or handle) should also make sense.
- Include your website link in the URL field (but know that you can change that out as often as you like).
- Choose a category for your business.
- Maintain up-to-date contact information.
- Take advantage of available call-to-action buttons.
- Choose the right profile photo that bests represents your business (often your logo).
Create and post visually engaging content
Because Instagram is a visual-first platform, your posts and Stories have to be eye-catching to say the least.
While professional photography equipment (and skills) may not be available to you, that’s OK. Focus on photos and videos that are in focus and well-lit. Any infographics (or other illustrations) should be easy-to-read and crisp.
Of course, it’s not enough to have well-composed photos. There needs to be a story that you’re conveying in every post to encourage engagement. Compelling posts can include:
- Behind-the-scenes content
- Regrams of user-generated content
- How-to explainers
Ideally, you’re striving to publish Instagram content that’s worthy of sharing and commenting, not just liking.
Keep in mind that your content doesn’t just have to come from you. It can be sourced from your fans, customers and/or other users as well.
Consistent Instagram look and feel
More than any other social media platform, brands must consider what the look and feel of their overall Instagram presence.
We mentioned Staples earlier. You’ll notice their branded red throughout their posts in addition to the same branded fonts and other bright, bold colors. Their images are all very clean and clear.
Your look and feel should reflect your brand overall and be recognizable in your followers’ news feeds, but give yourself a little latitude to play. It’s all about being consistent.
Don’t underestimate the power of your captions
Because Instagram is a visual medium, it’s easy to overlook the opportunity you have with your captions. Your brand’s voice is just as important as your brand’s look. Again, you want to be consistent here.
There is a lot of flexibility in what you can say since you have up to 2,200 characters available to you. Just keep in mind that only the first two lines of text will automatically show in a news feed, without tapping the More button.
In other words, while you can say as much as you like, you’ll want to lead with the most important information in those first couple of lines.
As far as ideal caption length on Instagram, strive for between 138 and 150 characters on organic posts and 125 characters on ads. You can go longer. Just make sure it adds value to your content.
Be smart about your Instagram hashtags
Hashtags are a viable way to increase your discoverability on Instagram. You can use up to 30 hashtags in a single Instagram post, but to be fair, it’s not recommended to use all 30.
Instead, identify about a half dozen relevant hashtags to include with your post.
Dive deeper with our six tips on mastering Instagram hashtags.
Don’t just broadcast, engage
Just like with any social media platform, success is not based on only publishing the best content. It’s a mix of factors, one of the biggest being your brand engaging with other users and accounts.
Definitely respond to comments on your own posts and direct messages sent to your account. But you also should invest time liking and commenting on other posts that are relevant to your brand for whatever reason.
It’s those small actions that add up to building a true online community, not just a one-way broadcasting platform.
Embrace Instagram Stories
While only half of businesses on Instagram use the Stories feature, about a third of the most viewed Stories are posted by businesses.
In other words, you have a great opportunity to engage with your audience through Instagram Stories.
Because Stories content disappears after 24 hours, followers expect Stories to be less polished and more authentic than your Instagram feed.
When considering what to publish in Stories, remember that this is a visual storytelling opportunity, where several Stories can work together to tell a story. So, you want to:
- Have a message you’d like to convey in mind.
- Use multiple “scenes” (image or video) to string together.
- Include a call-to-action that is very clear to viewers
- Keep your brand identity (look and feel) consistent
You can also reshare others’ Stories that tag you into your own Stories. Just act fast because the opportunity to reshare disappears after 24 hours.
Stories can also be saved longer than 24 hours and categorized into Highlights on your Instagram profile. Cover images are recommended for your Story Highlights as well to maintain brand identity.
Go live on Instagram
To connect with your audience in real time, you’ll want to go live. Of course, even though the expectation on Instagram Live is raw, authentic content, you can still go in with a plan. Some options:
- Go behind the scenes at a product launch or an event.
- Host a Q&A.
- Lead a workshop or tutorial.
- Go live with an expert, employee, customer or influencer by using the “Add A Guest” feature.
Consider Instagram Shop in your strategy
About 130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts every month.
With a professional account on Instagram, you can create your own online store inside of Instagram. Doing so makes a “View Shop” button appear on your Instagram profile.
In addition, with a “Shop” tab on the Explore page of Instagram, having an Instagram Shop will make you more discoverable.
Instagram Reels worth experimenting with
Another content feature on the visual-first platform is Instagram Reels, which are multi-cuut videos (similar to TikTok).
Just as you would play with content on Instagram Stories, the same should happen with Reels. Not sure where to start? Watch some Reels, whether they’re from within your industry or not, to get a feel for different approaches.
Explore an influencer partnership
Influencer marketing is only growing, and Instagram is one of the best platforms for it.
Of course, a partnership doesn’t just happen. You’ll want to do your research and analyze the value of working with possible influencers. Often, a simple Instagram takeover is a common tactic to start with.
Dig deeper with our seven tips to know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.
Go beyond organic reach with Instagram ads
Based on your target audience, you can better reach them by running Instagram ads, which can be created through Instagram but also by using the Facebook Ad Manager (since Facebook owns Instagram).
You can target by location, demographics, interests and behaviors to best reach the people who will most likely be interested in your business and what you offer.
Monitor performance with Instagram Insights
Tracking your metrics is an important aspect of any digital marketing campaign, whether it’s on Instagram or not.
Regularly checking on your performance in Instagram Insights will show you what is working and what’s not. Then, you can pivot your strategy quickly to do more of what performs and less of what doesn’t.
See our guide on Instagram metrics.
Not sure if Instagram is the right social media platform for your brand, check out our breakdown of how to determine which one is.
As you’re working through your Instagram marketing strategy, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.