Instagram Marketing 101: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Business on Instagram
Instagram is an incredibly lucrative and powerful platform for businesses and brands to market on, with over 1.16 billion users. Unfortunately, many business owners and novice marketers don’t really understand how to properly use the platform to advertise their products and services.
It definitely doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve put together a massive in-depth guide to Instagram marketing that any business in virtually any niche can use to boost their engagement and grow their revenue.
We’ll break down exactly why you should be using Instagram, how Instagram can benefit your brand, how to set up your account, and how to grow your new business page. Whether you’re a novice or intermediate user of the platform, we’ll help you figure out exactly how to set up your page the proper way.
Getting a Handle on Instagram Marketing
Before you start the process of setting up an Instagram page for your business, it’s important to understand exactly why it’s worth marketing on Instagram. Instagram can offer a lot in visibility alone, including an audience of over 1.16 billion users – 90% of which follow at least one brand. Even B2B brands have an advantage with Instagram platform, as over 36% of key decision-makers at companies use the Instagram platform to search for solutions and products.
But why exactly should you be using Instagram? Is Instagram really that beneficial as part of a marketing campaign? In this guide, we’ll break down all of the benefits of using Instagram marketing, as well as how the Instagram algorithm works.
Why Is This Step in Instagram Marketing Important?
When it comes to any form of marketing, it’s very important that marketers understand the use cases for a particular channel. When it comes to Instagram marketing, not every business out there will significantly benefit from using this channel to market their brand. However, we recommend giving Instagram marketing a shot just to see if the platform ends up benefiting your brand.
To put it simply, Instagram is an incredibly powerful platform for businesses and brands who want to advertise their products and services while also connecting with their target audiences. Over a billion people use Instagram daily, which presents a huge opportunity for marketers to access a wide range of audiences. For businesses who want to target the global market, Instagram is a great place to start, as 88% of the platform’s userbase is located outside of the U.S. The platform is split almost 50/50 between genders and each of Instagram’s daily users spend an average of 30 minutes per day on the platform. This presents a huge opportunity for marketers to find their target audience and connect with them while they are using the app. And, of course, Instagram’s users actually want to be found.
Approximately 91% of users use the platform to research products and services, and over 130 million users tap on shopping posts and advertisements on the platform each month. This is why Instagram marketing is so important for marketers and brand owners who want to advertise on the platform. You simply won’t find stats like this on other social media platforms.
Why Should You Be Using Instagram?
There are many reasons why businesses should be using Instagram marketing:
- Instagram is completely centered on the storytelling aspect of social media. Storytelling is an excellent way to connect with your audience emotionally and gain their trust.
- Visual content, which is Instagram’s main form of content, is extremely important for marketing strategies. You won’t get very far with digital marketing if you only have copy to circulate. Instagram makes sharing visual content, such as photos and videos, extremely easy and aesthetically pleasing.
- Instagram has over a billion users. You can certainly reach a significant amount of people by advertising and marketing on Instagram!
- Due to Instagram’s unique framework and layout, one can engage with their customer base community with ease. It’s very easy to follow users, leave comments, and tag users in the content you create. Not every other social media platform makes this easy or possible.
- Instagram offers useful analytics, feedback, and insights into how well your marketing campaigns are doing.
- It’s a top-notch platform for keeping an eye on your industry competitors.
With these benefits in mind, you’re probably ready to get started with Instagram marketing! Before we get to that step, let’s quickly break down what exactly Instagram marketing is.
What is Instagram Marketing?
Instagram marketing is the process of using Instagram to market your business, brand, or products. Instagram offers a legitimate business account where business owners can post regular content like a personal blog, and also create sponsored advertisements.
To put it simply, Instagram marketing is simply the process of advertising and engaging with prospective customers with the platform.
The Instagram Algorithm: What It is and How It Works
Are you still a bit confused about how Instagram works? The Instagram algorithm may seem complex, but it’s actually pretty easy to understand.
Let’s look at how the Instagram algorithm works for feed posts specifically, as these will be the main form of marketing you’ll be using on Instagram. There are four factors to consider that influence how Instagram’s algorithm interacts with your profile:
- Post information – Is the post a photo or video? When was it posted and what number of likes does it have?
- Poster information – How often do users actively engage with their content? What makes them relate to certain users?
- Poster activity – Do your followers tend to watch videos? What type of content do your followers tend to consume on the platform?
- Interactions and engagements – How often does your brand comment on or like various followers’ posts?
Using this information, the algorithm will determine how likely it is that a person will want to directly interact with a post. This process is called “score of interest” and it will determine which posts will be displayed in your followers’ feeds.
Instagram will also take into account a number of other key interactions to determine whether or not your post shows up in someone’s feed. These interactions include the amount of time the follower spends on your posts, how often they like your posts, their comment history, whether or not they save your post, and if they tap on your profile after reading a post.
To put it simply, you need engagement in order for the algorithm to work in your favor. The best way to get that engagement early on is by using effective hashtags and creating excellent content.
Tips for Success
- Take the time to explore the Instagram platform, either with a burner personal account or a burner business account. This will give you a decent opportunity to get a feel for how the platform works and work along with the in-app starter tutorial. Nobody wants to jump into a new marketing channel that is in completely unfamiliar waters!
- Remember that your customers expect you to market on Instagram. Many users will use this platform to research new products, services, and brands. A lead who has already touched a point in your marketing campaigns may look you up by name or via hashtags on the platform. Even if you don’t plan on being extremely active on Instagram it’s still a good idea to have your account set up and easy to contact from the perspective of a potential customer.
- Setting up a business account on Instagram lends an element of reputability and trust to your brand. It makes your business appear transparent and human. This is especially the case if your company works online exclusively. Having a great social media account where your customers can get to know you on a visual level is quite good for brand awareness, as well.
How to Launch an Instagram Business Account
The easiest (and often most fun) part of Instagram marketing is getting the chance to create an Instagram business account. Setting up a personal account is quite simple to do, and setting up a business account is similarly simple with just a few added steps. It’s important to have your business account set up properly from the get-go to ensure a smooth, problem-free marketing campaign with the platform.
In this Instagram guideline, we’ll explore each and every step needed to create an excellent Instagram business account. Just as well, this part of your Instagram marketing journey is free to do. First, let’s break down why this initial step is important.
Why Is This Step in Instagram Marketing Important?
In order to properly use Instagram for marketing purposes, you’ll need to use an Instagram business account. There are a number of notable benefits to using a business account over a personal one. To start, your business account will provide lead generation tools as well as analytics tools for measuring audience insights.
Just like a personal account, you can use your business Instagram account to post content, view profiles, and engagement with your followers. A business profile is also public, which makes it much easier to reach new audiences and increase your brand awareness. Plus, setup is a breeze. So, why not give it a shot?
How to Create an Instagram Business Account
If you’re wondering how to create an Instagram business account, you’re in luck! Creating your new account is quite simple if you follow these steps:
- To start, create a personal Instagram profile. Instagram will guide you step-by-step through this process.
- To convert your account into a business account, navigate to your profile and tap the three horizontal lines in the upper right-hand corner.
- Select “settings.”
- Select the “switch to professional account” link, which will be situated right at the top of your settings page.
- Select “account.”
- Select “switch to professional account.”
- Select “continue.”
- Select a business category for your brand, and then select “done.”
- Select “OK” to confirm your decision.
- Select “Business.”
- Select “Next.”
- Enter your contact details and then select “next.” We recommend doing this from the get-go.
- Follow the included steps to connect your Instagram business account with a Facebook page if your brand has one. This isn’t necessary, but if you do market on Facebook, the process of posting can be much easier with an integration.
- Select “X” to exit the setup process.
How to Optimize Your Instagram Business Account
Now that the basics of your account are set up, it’s time to start optimizing your page to prepare it for posting, engagement, and followers. To start:
- Navigate to your profile.
- Select “Edit profile.”
- Navigate to “Profile display” under your Public Business Information.
- Choose whether or not you’d like to hide your category name and contact information. We recommend leaving this public.
- Select “done” and return to your profile.
From here, there are a few optimisation options available. To start, ensure that your profile is optimised for SEO and search within the platform. Instagram is very similar to Google when it comes to keywords, so relevant accounts and hashtags will pop up under relevant search terms. Instagram has noted that your account’s likeliness to show up in keyword searches depends on the accounts you follow and your connections. Keywords in your posts will also be critical in popping up in relevant search terms.
The easy way to boost your SEO before you start posting on Instagram is to determine your keywords and then add them to your profile. Be sure to avoid keyword bloating. For example: If you are a cosmetics company, your profile name should be “ABC Cosmetics and Beauty Supplies” instead of “ABC Cosmetics Supplies Beauty Hair Makeup Company.” You can also wiggle a few keywords into your profile biography, as well as a hashtag or two.
In addition to the above best practices for optimising your Instagram profile, you’ll also need to consider your bio and your profile picture. Your profile picture should not be too busy and should always be relevant. For a vast majority of brands, the best profile picture you could use would be a high-quality image of your company logo. Just as well, your profile bio should be as helpful and relevant as possible. It should include a short statement of what your business is, what you do, and any applicable contact information. Relevance is key here.
We also recommend keeping your push notifications instead of turning them off, as they make it easy to respond quickly to comments and messages as they come in.
Tips for Success
- Be sure to take advantage of Instagram’s analytics tools when using your business account. We’ll explore how to use research and analytics to measure the success of your marketing campaigns on Instagram in a later article.
- When you create your business account, be sure to add your contact information immediately. Instagram also makes it easy to include a “contact” button on your profile so users can get in touch with you quickly. In the “public business information” section of your profile, fill in as much as possible, from your email address to phone number to your physical address if applicable.
- While the business account for Instagram offers so much more in terms of analytics, it does tend to lack when it comes to profile customisation options that the personal Instagram account option offers. Because of this, be mindful of what profile content you use. Your description copy, contact information, and profile photo should align perfectly with your brand.
How to Start Posting on Instagram
If you’ve never used Instagram personally or professionally, it’s natural that you might be a bit confused about how to use Instagram for business or how to start posting on the platform. Luckily, posting on Instagram is actually quite easy and intuitive to do.
If you want to learn how to create sponsored Instagram posts and start using Instagram for business, check out our handy guide below! To start, we’ll break down why posting on Instagram is a core function of the business account and how it can be used for Instagram marketing purposes.
Why Is This Step in Instagram Marketing Important?
Posting on Instagram is the best way to reach your target audience. Sure, you could simply use Instagram to comment on other people’s profiles and farm followers. But you won’t be able to really take advantage of what the Instagram business account has to offer without posting stories, content, and the occasional sponsored content.
Posting is very easy to do, and setting up your content for advertisements is also quite intuitive and simple thanks to Instagram’s wealth of advertising tools and analytics. If you have great content (which we’ll explore in more depth later on) then you’d benefit quite a bit from posting on Instagram!
How to Post on Instagram
Posting on Instagram is as easy as pie:
- Select the “+” symbol at the top of your phone screen.
- Select the type of post that you would like to share (post, story, reel, live)
- Select a photo or video from your phone’s library or shoot a photo or video directly through the app.
- Crop the media to your liking.
- At this point, you can choose to create a carousel post. This type of post involves uploading consecutive images in a row that can be viewed by swiping left. If you’d like to create a carousel post, simply select each of the photos you’d like to include and organize their order.
- Pick a filter that is cohesive with the other photos and videos on your account.
- Edit your photo as needed. Instagram allows users to sharpen, brighten, darken, and do many other things to your photos. It’s worth noting that you should invest in an excellent camera instead of over-editing your content.
- Type your caption. This should be full of keywords, make sense, and be relevant or valuable to your audience.
- Use hashtags for overall post optimization. You can use as many hashtags as you want, but we recommend keeping about 5-10 or even less per post.
- Tag friends, followers, or anyone who might be relevant to the post to boost your reach.
- Add your location where relevant. If you’re simply showcasing a product, this step may not be necessary
- Play around with emojis, as they can add a fun, human element to your posts.
- If you’d like to share your post on other social media platforms, be sure to do so by selecting the relevant slide bar next to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
- Select “share” to submit the post or “save draft” to save it before posting.
Different Types of Instagram Posts
Instagram is a pretty diverse application that offers a number of different ways to post content. The current types of Instagram posts include:
- Posts – This is the most basic function of Instagram. Posts, or feed content, are photos or videos that are uploaded directly to your account and appear on your followers’ feeds.
- Instagram Live – Live videos are another great feature offered by Instagram. If your goal is to communicate with and engage with your account’s followers live, then these types of posts can be a lot of fun. They present an opportunity to connect with your followers, answer questions, and show your target audience that your image isn’t always edited and perfectly curated.
- Reels – Short video content is all the rage now, and you can take advantage of the trend with Instagram reels. Reels allows you to create short fifteen-second multi-clip videos with effects, editing options, and audio. These videos are different from stories as they do not disappear after a day. Think of Reels as Instagram’s response to TikTok.
- IGTV – Instagram TV is a feature that allows users to share and view videos. The format of this feature is a lot like Instagram stories and reels, but you can upload longer videos that are up to an hour long and won’t disappear after a day. If you plan on filming behind-the-scenes videos and mini-documentaries about your business, IGTV is definitely worth trying.
- Stories – Instagram’s response to Snapchat was definitely stories, and this feature took off. Stories are short videos or images, complete with captions, stickers, and links, that a user can post outside of their account’s feed. Stories are known for getting a lot of views. In fact, stories are used by over 500 million users daily and over a third of all of the most view stories on the platform are from brands. In general, stories are great for quick ads, short-and-sweet engagements, polls, surveys, etc. And because stories disappear after a day, you can really experiment with what you put out there.
- Carousels – An Instagram carousel is a post. The only difference between a carousel and a regular post is that carousels include multiple photos or videos within one post. Users can simply swipe through each photo or video within the post. As with any post, you can use alti-image text, tags, hashtags, captions, etc. within the post. Carousels are great for showcasing products or behind-the-scenes footage of your brand in a way that reads like a magazine, making it easier to connect with your audience.
There are a few different types of Instagram style posts that you can choose to upload. Here are a few common ideas that span multiple industries:
- Viral giveaway posts
- Product placement posts
- Testimonials, comments, and review posts
- Sneak peek or product launch posts
- Instagram stories
- Lifestyle posts
- Open-ended question graphic posts (great for engagement)
- Behind-the-scenes videos and snapshots
- Meet and greet posts.
- Fun facts about your company in infographic form
- Promotional or sponsored posts
- Brand stories and mission statements
- Video content
- Instagram poll posts
- Instagram contest posts
- Shopping or shop-connected posts or stories
- Limited-time sales or pop-up sales
Editing Instagram Photos
At any point, you can easily edit your Instagram posts. Navigate to the post in question and select the three dots on the upper right side of the post. From here, you’ll be able to edit your post captions and a few other features, but you won’t be able to change the visual post. If you need to completely delete your post, select those three dots and then select “delete.”
How to Add Filters and Edit Photos
We mentioned how to add filters and edit photos in the initial step-by-step section, but what exactly can you do when it comes to using Instagram to add filters to your content and edit photos?
After you’ve selected a photo to upload, Instagram will present you with a carousel of filter presets. By double-tapping a preset, you can choose how vivid or mild you’d like it to be. No matter which editing choice you make, be sure to note the number levels for each edit so that you can apply the same type of filter to your other future posts. Once you’ve made your filter choice, select “edit” to view the photo editing page. In total, you can do the following photo manipulation techniques with Instagram:
- Adjust position
To save your editing choice, simply select “next” to move on to your captions.
The key to using filters and editing your photos is to take a mild approach. Your filters should be subtle and not overwhelming, but they should be cohesive across your other photos and videos. As we’ve mentioned earlier, businesses and brands with consistent filter and color schemes on their grid tend to be more successful on the platform. Give your followers something pretty to look at!
How to Write Instagram Captions
Writing Instagram captions is fairly intuitive. But how can one write Instagram captions in a way that boosts engagement and pulls in followers?
There are many ways you can give your Instagram captions the SEO boost they need. To start, do your keyword research ahead of time and use as many keywords as possible in your caption without bloating the post. Also, it helps to provide valuable or important information upfront in your post to hook the reader. Just as well, asking questions and using relevant hashtags is a great way to increase engagement on your posts. And, as always, each and every Instagram caption you write should be finished with a clear and actionable call to action.
How and Why You Need to Use Hashtags on Instagram
There are two ways you can use Instagram hashtags. You can create your own unique hashtags that aren’t used by anyone else as a keystone for your account and overall brand. The second way you can use hashtags is by doing SEO keyword research to determine the most lucrative keywords for your brand, niche, and industry and using those keywords as hashtags. You can insert hashtags into your profile description, stories, and feed post captions.
Instagram hashtags are very important for marketing purposes. They can be used to expand your audience and improve your reach. Your posts will appear on the hashtag pages for your chosen keywords. This means that not only can you reach people who are following you or searching for your profile, but you can also access people who are browsing relevant hashtag pages.
Tips for Success
- Make sure the look and feel of your Instagram posts are cohesive and have similar setups or color schemes. If your grid isn’t aesthetically pleasing, your visitors may lose interest in what you have to offer.
- Remember that the photos and videos you post on the Instagram platform should do one (or all) of these three things: Provide a solution, encourage engagement, or educate your audience. Your posts must have intention and not simply be flashy ads in order to really get the most out of Instagram marketing.
- Keep your captions short and sweet. Open with the most valuable information you have to share first and foremost, and always close with a Call to Action that encourages your audience to engage with your content. This can include a CTA to sign up for something, shop your newest sale, like and comment, etc.
- Use a third-party app along with Instagram to improve your editing and scheduling needs. We recommend using Fanbooster, Sendible, Sprout Social, VSCO, and Snapseed.
How to Draft and Create Instagram Content for the Best Content Strategy
When creating a marketing campaign for any social media channel, it’s vital to have a top-notch content strategy in place. This is no different for Instagram. Since this platform is a very visual one, visual content is going to be a key part of marketing on Instagram. Luckily, putting together an excellent Instagram content strategy is an engaging and exciting part of Instagram marketing.
This article will detail all of the steps needed to create a top-notch Instagram marketing strategy, from conception to implementation to content management. Let’s start by exploring why creating an Instagram content strategy from the beginning is worth the effort.
Why Is This Step in Instagram Marketing Important?
When creating content on any platform, one can’t really jump into it with the occasional blog article or curated content. There needs to be intention behind the content you post – namely, your content should somehow benefit or offer value to your target audience and customers.
Just as well, your content will need to be regularly scheduled at peak times for the most engagement possible. Doing all of this requires a solid Instagram content marketing strategy that can be implemented quickly and adjusted as your business account gains followers and traction.
Identifying Your Goals and Objectives
This step is very important. What exactly do you want to do with Instagram marketing? We’re not talking about things like boosting engagement or getting as many followers as possible. We’re talking about business revenue, sales, and client acquisition goals. Decide how much you’d like for Instagram to offer you in terms of lead generation, nurturing, and acquisition.
Set Your Goals for Instagram
Before launching your campaign, make a list of your major and minor goals. Your major goals should be the ones we mentioned above that involve tangible return on investment.
Your minor goals, however, will relate to those larger goals but will center around Instagram. Such goals can include a set number of followers, an increase of followers, better engagement, more diverse engagement, gaining influencer credit, becoming an authority in your niche, and more. Have these goals in place to reference when creating your content strategy in order to determine if a content choice aligns with your goals in the long term.
Determine Your Instagram Target Audience
Your audience is one of the most important aspects of Instagram. Your target audience is your ideal customers – they share similar interests and have a problem that your product can solve. Before creating your content strategy, be sure to really investigate your market and create your ideal potential customer. That will be your target audience, and it’s worth noting that your target audience may change as your company and industry grow and evolve.
Conduct a Competitive Analysis
A competitive analysis is a process in which you will identify who your biggest competitors are on Instagram. To do so, you would have to go to a competitor’s page, press the arrow next to the Message/Email button, and a new section named “Suggested for you” will be revealed – these are similar accounts and possible competitors.
You’ll need to research their profiles, products, services, strategies, and sales to really get a feel for what they are doing correctly and what you should also be doing. Luckily, Instagram makes it super easy to study competitor profiles and track who is leading in specific keyword searches.
Configure an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is a type of calendar that outlines when your content should be posted throughout any of the four quarters. It’s important to use one because it allows you to do market research on keyword trends throughout the year and mark when your content should reflect that relevance. Just as well, after you’ve done research on when your followers are the most active, you can schedule your posts via your editorial calendar to align with your posting needs.
An editorial calendar is so much more than just trending keywords. A content calendar makes it possible to create a structure for your content planning. With an editorial calendar, one can properly identify important and relevant holidays to create content around. One can also plan and schedule upcoming campaigns, key sales periods, and other features of long-term scheduling that will keep your content organized and relevant. Not using an editorial calendar could lead to serious issues with disorganisation, so it’s best to start your calendar early on. We recommend using Canva to create your editorial calendar easily.
Build a Consistent Brand on Instagram
The way your content strategy is set up to build your brand successfully and consistently on Instagram depends on a few factors. Your industry, niche, and product offerings will influence how this is done. In general, though, the following practices can directly lead to building a consistent brand on the platforms:
- Make sure your profile is completely filled in and keywords are used correctly
- Make sure that each and every post has a killer caption, a good amount of relevant hashtags, emojis, and a clear CTA
- Use third-party tools to schedule and edit your posts (more on that later)
- Design a cohesive and predictable style pattern for your account
- Take advantage of video and live streaming tools, as these forms of media are only becoming more popular on Instagram
- Post regularly, and on a schedule that aligns with your followers’ activity – posting once every few weeks will simply not work
- Set your content up for engagement – ask questions, post quizzes, and do whatever you need to do to ensure that followers or hashtag browsers will interact with your post.
Best Practices and Tips for Success
Need some social media marketing tips? Follow these practices for success when building your Instagram content strategy:
- Always keep an eye on engagement frequencies. This is quite easy to do. Simply log into your business account, navigate to “insights”, then navigate to “audience.” Scroll down to see which days of the week and hours of the day your followers tend to be the most active on the platform, as well as when your posts tend to get the best engagement. With this knowledge in mind, you’ll be able to quickly create a content calendar that is perfectly timed for the best engagement possible.
- Ensure that your content strategy involves your post themes. Such themes will include color palettes, copy themes, overall post goals, and more. Consistency is key when it comes to marketing on Instagram, and your posts need to reflect that. Approximately 60% of Instagram’s top brands will use the fame filters and color schemes across their posts.
- Create a few different brand hashtags. When formulating your content strategy, you should note which hashtags should be used for various posts in your campaign. These hashtags should be as unique as possible to your brand. You don’t even need to necessarily use your brand’s name as a hashtag – get creative with it!
How to Boost Your Instagram Engagement and Follower Count
Engagement is key when it comes to Instagram marketing. Without likes, comments, and other engagements with your content, your brand may not be able to reach its intended audience. There are so many ways to boost engagement on this platform, and many of them are very easy and inexpensive to implement.
Keep reading to learn why boosting Instagram engagement is a vital part of part of Instagram marketing, how to get more Instagram likes, and how to get more Instagram followers!
Why Is This Step in Instagram Marketing Important?
Every marketer or business owner that uses Instagram for marketing does so to gain more Instagram followers, boost content engagement, and reach as many prospective customers as possible with the platform. You won’t really get anywhere with Instagram marketing without engagement and followers, even if you don’t plan on using Instagram as your main form of digital social media marketing.
Thus, focusing on engagement and follower-boosting techniques is the way to go. And there are so many great ways to improve your account’s engagement with Instagram!
How to Increase Engagement on Instagram
For clarity, “engagement” on Instagram refers to a wide range of metrics, including comments, shares, likes, saves, followers, overall growth, mentions, tags, branded hashtags, click-through links, and direct messages. All of these metrics are part of your account’s overall engagement, and the goal is to boost your engagement as much as possible. Ideally, a good engagement rate is somewhere around 1-5% or more. Anything less may not be lucrative enough. We recommend using an engagement calculator to get a better idea of what your unique engagement rate should be.
There are so many ways that businesses in all niches can increase engagement on the Instagram platform.
We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating – use Instagram’s analytics tools to discover when your followers are engaging the most and how they are engaging. This will determine when the best time to post is, which will significantly boost engagement.
Just as well, the process of regularly testing and analyzing new types of content is vital in increasing engagement. We’ll explore the testing and analytics aspect of Instagram in our next article, but it’s worth noting that this is very important.
Don’t be afraid to use longer captions on your posts. Because Instagram is a very visual platform, the focus is primarily on the photos and videos you post. If someone doesn’t want to read a long caption, they can simply not do so. However, ensure that the first paragraph of your caption includes the key information and possibly even the CTA so less engaged viewers will still get the gist of the post.
In addition to these major engagement boosters, here are a few key tips for boosting your engagement:
- Always be as authentic as possible. Your content should be honest and very relatable, rather than picture-perfect.
- Always use high-quality images and video. Use platforms and editors like Canva to ensure that your content looks great to the eye.
- Use a diverse range of content, including posts, carousels, stories, reels, etc. A diverse range of content will capture the interests of different types of users, making it easier to touch all of your target audience bases.
- Post video content often, and ensure that your film is high quality and relatable. Videos will get you about 38% more engagement than regular photo posts, so it would be a waste to not invest some time and money into video to boost your engagement.
- Try to use the full length of your captions, which includes 2,200 characters.
How to Increase Followers on Instagram
Increasing followers starts with following people yourself. Identify your existing brand ambassadors and fans immediately after signing up on the platform. Look at who is dominating your keyword pages – including competitors. However, you should also be following your fans and creating a follower base as well.
Do as much hashtag research as you possibly can. Hashtags are your SEO keywords on the Instagram platform. Your hashtags will directly connect you to your target audience, so make sure that you’re using the right ones.
Just as well, collaboration is key when it comes to boosting your Instagram followers. Whether it’s through a partnership or influencer campaign, you can collaborate with a similar or very different brand that offers access to an entirely new group of people that could be interested in your brand offerings. It’s a mutually successful technique that can open up different audiences and customer bases to each of your brands.
In addition to these hefty and effective ways to increase your followers on Instagram, you can also try to boost your follower account with these tips:
- Experiment with your brand voice. If you have been posting Instagram content for a while but have yet to pull in followers, then you might need to work on your brand’s overall vibe. How do you talk to your users through your posts? What’s the mood of your brand? Instagram is a great place to experiment with your tone and play around with different ideas.
- Find your brand voice and stick to it. Once you have established a brand voice that users vibe with, be sure to stick to that voice and stay on brand. Consistency is key and will make it easier for your followers to understand what you do, who you are, and why your brand is special.
- Be active as much as possible. Every day, you should be liking photos, commenting on user posts, and tracking your brand hashtag content. Try to post one piece of content per day, but try to avoid over-posting, as your account may be flagged as spam by Instagram’s algorithm. Plus, you don’t want to overload your followers’ feeds.
- Avoid talking too much about your products or services and why they are the best. Your target audience won’t follow your account just so they can be fed promotional content. Rather, they want to see the human side of your brand and what makes your brand authentic and relatable.
- When organizing your editorial calendar, be sure to plan content in a timely way. When holidays or days of special relevance come up, create content that is relevant to those days. Use current affairs, new trends, hashtags, etc.
Tips for Overall Success
- Schedule your Instagram posts ahead of time. In our previous article, we noted that finding out your followers’ most active timeframes on Instagram should align with your own posting schedule. Naturally, logging in multiple times per day to post can be a pain. Luckily, you can schedule your Instagram posts in advance – Sprout has a great ViralPost feature that makes this process as easy as possible.
- Look into partners and possibly brand advocates. Try sponsoring different user-created content in order to wiggle your brand into your target audience’s feeds. Also, Instagram contests can be an excellent way to turn casual followers into die-hard brand advocates. It all comes down to creating social proof that translates well with your followers.
- Don’t invest time or money into getting fake Instagram followers. The key here is to have organic follower growth – not to deceive your target audience and be stuck with no return on investment. It’s much more lucrative to actively work towards getting real Instagram followers.
Measuring Performance for Instagram Marketing Campaigns
When it comes to digital marketing in all of its forms, it’s vital to be able to measure exactly how well different marketing campaigns are doing. When it comes to Instagram, marketers and business owners will need to be able to understand how their campaigns are going. Is a certain campaign receiving an adequate amount of engagement? What’s the tone of the engagement on certain campaigns – are followers commenting positive or negative things?
There are many different ways to monitor and measure the performance of an Instagram marketing campaign, and this guide will break down all of the most lucrative ways to keep an eye on your current campaigns. First, let’s explore a bit why analytics and reporting are so valuable to Instagram marketers.
Why Is This Step in Instagram Marketing Important?
No matter what type of marketing you do, you must always measure the results of your marketing campaigns. How else are you supposed to know whether or not a new form of content or a whole marketing campaign is directly resulting in sales and customers? There are many analytics tools out there – some of which are built into Instagram’s business accounts – that can significantly help you measure the quality of your campaigns.
In general, the metrics and insights that you can gain from Instagram Analytics can help you with some core functions of your marketing strategy. To start, tracking your engagement can provide some insight into which posts or content are doing well. For example, Analytics lets you see the number of likes, comments, saves, replies, and overall engagement rate per impression for a post. If one of your posts has a notably high engagement rate, then you’re doing something right with that post. These insights will allow you to identify your top performers and provide an opportunity to mimic those posts for future content. Just as well, these insights can tell you if a post has a notably large number of comments – which would mean a post is controversial and may need to be taken down or clarified to avoid negative brand engagement.
Just as well, hashtag analytics let you see which of your brand hashtags are performing well and which ones are just not reaching the right audience (or any audience at all.) By collecting this data, you can focus on using your high-performing hashtags and retiring your not-so-successful hashtags. The most traffic your hashtags generate, the more opportunities you will have to reach new audiences.
How to Measure Performance with Instagram Analytics
Instagram Analytics might be a bit overwhelming at first, but it is extremely helpful for properly marketing your business. Follow these steps to use Instagram Analytics the right way:
- Navigate to your business profile.
- Select the “Insights” tab below your profile description. You can alternatively select the “Insights” link under the menu in the upper right corner of your page.
- You’ll immediately be shown your insights for the last seven days, as well as recent overall insights such as content interactions. This page will also show you how many accounts you’ve reached, your content interactions, and your total followers.
- You will also be able to view impressions, overall account activity, top posts, top stories, and top IGTV videos.
- Navigate to the “accounts reached” page located under “account activity” to see the overall amount of profile visits in various timeframes.
- Under “account activity” select “website taps” to see how many times your business profile links have been clicked.
- To track content engagement, go back to “recent highlight” on the main Insights page and select “content interactions.” This will show you how your content is doing when it comes to engagement. Likes, comments, saves, shares, and replies will be listed.
What Information Can Instagram Insights Give You?
Instagram insights can offer you quite a bit in terms of research and analytics tools. You can explore data on your content, your follower demographics, and the overall when/how of your profile’s engagement.
The Instagram Insights tool can provide some very helpful insights into your content and follower demographics – these include:
- Accounts reached
- Overall impressions
- Account activity, such as profile visits, website taps, etc.
- Follower demographics such as age, location, online times, and gender
- Profile views
- Analytics for specific posts, stories, or overall engagements across your account for a specific amount of time
All of these analytics are important when it comes to marketing on Instagram because they provide insight into which of your account actions are resulting in more followers and thus, more customers. Instagram Insights can help you identify which posts or stories are getting the most engagements and which demographics are flocking to your profile. With this knowledge, you can tailor your content to fit these demographics and further your reach.
Just as well, if a post is not doing well and you’ve been losing followers, Instagram Insights can give you insight into what, when, and where something went wrong.
How to Track Posts and Adapt Your Content Strategy
You can track your posts’ performance via Instagram Analytics by tapping “Insights” on your profile’s main page. However, if you just want to see how a specific post is doing, you can simply select that post and take a quick peek at the comment count and like count.
Tips for Success
- While Instagram’s built-in analytics tools are great, it may also be worth it to use third-party analytics tools to really gain insights into your engagements and followers. We recommend using Hootsuite Analytics, Creator Studio, or Iconosquare.
- Keep an eye on metrics that you might not think are that valuable. For example, customer comments, engagements per follower, and overall reach can offer significant insight into how well your Instagram marketing campaign is doing.
- Use all of what Instagram’s analytics tools have to offer. These include profile analytics, stories analytics, IGTV measurements, Reels measurements, and general audience analytics.
How to Improve Your Content Strategy with Instagram Marketing
We previously explored exactly how to create an excellent Instagram marketing content strategy. Many business owners and marketers that are new to the platform may not know how important it is to continuously update and improve their content strategy on a long-term basis. Instagram marketing is not just a “set it and forget it” form of digital marketing. In order to continuously bring in engagement and new followers, your content strategy will need to be revisited regularly.
We’ll look into why revisiting your Instagram content strategy is so important, how to improve your existing marketing strategy, and some tips for long-term success.
Why Is This Step in Instagram Marketing Important?
When you create a content strategy, that content strategy is designed to be continuously changed. When we say “change”, we don’t necessarily mean an entire overhaul of your campaign. In fact, there may only be a few downfalls in the Instagram marketing campaign you’ve been using for months.
In such cases, only minor changes based on user feedback and analytics need to be made. In other instances, your current content strategy could be failing miserably and will need to be scrapped completely. This is a very normal part of having a content strategy. Consumer whims come and go, as well as marketing styles and trends. The best way to ensure your content strategy is holding up is to monitor and change it regularly.
Understanding Influencer Marketing and How to Find Influencers for Your Niche
Influencer marketing is the process of partnering with an affluent internet figure to promote your brand and products. An influencer is someone who is relevant to your brand or involved in your niche. If they mention your products or brand in any of their posts, your brand is now exposed to a massive audience. Many Instagram influencers have millions of followers.
If influencer marketing interests you, you can absolutely set up a plan with an interested influencer. Typically, your brand would need to pay the influencer for their promotion and send them free products to review or showcase in their posts. In return, you’ll be able to enjoy a steady stream of engagement and new followers. When your influencer uploads their post, they are required to note that the post is sponsored, thus linking their post to your Instagram page.
How to Promote Your Content with Paid Instagram Ads
Ad posts, which are basically Instagram’s version of paid ads, are a great way to reach your audience. While you should definitely focus on overall engagement and connecting with your target audience, it is a great idea to diversify your marketing strategy on Instagram by rolling out a few advertisement posts.
To get started, follow these steps:
- We recommend using Ads Manager, Facebook and Instagram’s advertising platform, to post your advertisement on Instagram. You’ll need to connect Facebook to your account to do so, which we’ve outlined in an earlier post.
- Navigate to Ads Manager.
- Select “create.”
- Choose your objective of choice and tap “continue.”
- Fill in all of the details you’d like for your advertising set.
- In placements, select “manual placements” and select Instagram to launch your ad on the platform. You can alternatively select “automatic placements” to place your ad on a variety of platforms and banner ads across the web and Facebook.
- Select “continue”.
- Fill in all of the details about your ad format and necessary links.
- Preview your ad before submitting it.
- Your ad will take a bit to be approved, but that should take less than a few hours.
Tips for Success
- Don’t be afraid to repurpose content. If your customers have shared images or posts showcasing your product, consider reposting them and tagging their account with a great “thank you!”. This shows your audience that you care about your customers and don’t mind giving them some attention with Instagram.
- Consider posting regular product teasers to encourage your followers to buy your products. We’ve mentioned throughout this series that direct advertising may not be the most effective way to use Instagram’s platform. Rather, one will usually be more successful at increasing sales by creating brand awareness and an excellent relationship with your followers. With this in mind, keep product teasers and sales posts rare– but don’t completely omit them. It’s all about diversifying your Instagram content.
- Use your best product photos and aesthetically pleasing posts for your Sponsored Ads.