How To
33 min read

How to Use Instagram for Marketing: Everything You Need to Know

Mariana Krasteva

July 28, 2022

Starting as a platform for simply sharing the latest selfie and photos of favorite dishes, Instagram has grown into a supreme marketing stage where every business should make its appearance.

Instagram Marketing refers to all marketing activities that take place on the platform. Close to a third of marketers report achieving the highest ROI from Instagram, and almost three-quarters of U.S. companies use it as a marketing tool.

Have you started considering or leveraging this opportunity, too? Knowing how to use Instagram marketing will help you benefit from its potential. Your #1 priority is to understand how the Instagram algorithm works so that you can make sure your campaigns will make it to the right audience. 

The truth is, the Instagram algorithm takes a great lot of criteria into consideration when deciding what content and in what order to show to each of its more than a billion users. Important factors are the user’s behavior and interests, their interactions with your brand, content relevance, type, timeliness, and more. Getting to know the nuts and bolts of the platform’s algorithm can be quite tedious and time-consuming.

That’s why we’ve set out to help you by providing tested and practical guidelines to make sure you reach your best audience. We’ll walk you through the whole process – from creating a marketing strategy to implementing it, to building a robust and thriving brand on Instagram.

First things first.

Why Use Instagram for Marketing?

Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular social media platforms for marketing your business. With the right strategy, Instagram can be an effective tool for building trust and credibility with your audience while increasing brand awareness and sales conversions. Here’s why you should consider Instagram for marketing:

Instagram Has a Large and Diverse Audience

With more than 1.4 billion users, the platform allows you to reach relevant audiences at scale, as well as build an authentic relationship with your customers. More than three-quarters of Instagram users are aged between 18 and 44 years old. This social media platform features high engagement rates making people spend a lot of time on their phones each day. 

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Users currently spend about 145 minutes every day on Instagram. This increases your chances to get enhanced exposure to audiences who are likely to be interested in your products or services.

Instagram’s Visual Nature Makes It an Excellent Platform for Showcasing Products

With its photo-centric culture, Instagram allows you to showcase your brand and your products in an authentic way that resonates with customers. What’s more, 54% of Instagram users are likely to make a purchase after seeing a product or service. The platform offers many features that make it easy for businesses to share their products and service-related content and boost brand awareness. 

For example, if you own a hair salon or spa, Instagram is an ideal place to post before and after photos of hairstyles and facials. The potential clients can get a better idea of what they will look like after getting those services done. If you own a retail store, Instagram can be used to showcase your product line and show off your latest inventory additions. With that being said, Instagram is the key to B2C and eCommerce success.

How to Build an Instagram Marketing Strategy

If you want to get the most out of your Instagram marketing efforts, you need a plan for engaging with your customers and prospects. This means you should have a goal in mind for each post you create and an idea of how that post will help move the needle on your business goals.

So, how do you get started with your Instagram marketing strategy and why does it matter? There are several steps involved in building a successful Instagram marketing strategy, including:

Setting Your Instagram Marketing Goals and Objectives

This is an essential step you shouldn’t overlook as it will help give direction to your efforts. Making the expected outcomes clear will ensure that your time spent on social media is worthwhile. So, what do you want to achieve with your Instagram marketing activities?

There are two types of goals:

  • Long-term goals, which are the final outcome you want to achieve. It's what your company is striving to be and what you want to accomplish. The longer they are dated, the more flexibility you have in achieving them. An example of a long-term goal is growing a 50k following or increasing engagement in two years’ time. 
  • Short-term goals, which are smaller milestones that help drive towards larger ones. Short-term goals are usually related to sales targets, service levels, or other key performance indicators (KPIs). These can be reviewed on a monthly or quarterly basis, as well as annually as part of your budgeting process.

Here are a couple of the common Instagram marketing goals you can find relevant to your business.

Enhance Brand Awareness

This is the usual reason for launching a business on Instagram. You can establish a full-blooded presence on the platform letting your followers know more about your company values, life, and atmosphere. Instagram allows you to create and target a brand message that can make audiences see the people and the ideas behind your business.   

Increase Your Following

Attracting new followers will increase your following base and will enable you to reach more potential customers.

Let Audiences Know About Your Products and Services

Instagram offers an additional channel where you can make your products and services seen by your existing and potential customers. You may aim at making your followers sense and want your product or service. With the right content, the platform allows you to create a vivid and appealing picture that can ultimately drive sales. 

Sell Your Products/Services

Your Instagram marketing goal can also be to increase sales, which means that you’ll have to streamline your audience’s buyer experiences by providing them with the option to make the purchase directly within the platform. This is the goal of most of the B2C eCommerce brands on Instagram.  

Increase Engagement

Instagram engagement is measured as the total number of audience interactions with a post. There are three main types of Instagram engagement: likes, comments, and shares. Shares are particularly valuable because they increase your post's exposure and can attract new followers. When someone likes or comments on your post, it gains increased visibility in users' feeds.

Having set your goals, go further by specifying the particular parameters associated with their accomplishment. For example, if you want to increase sales, set the specific numbers and amounts of sales you’re aiming at and the time allocated to achieving them. Clearly identifying your goals for Instagram will keep you focused and motivated when working on the platform. 

Identifying Your Target Audience

It’s a critical step in developing an effective marketing strategy. It's important to understand who you're trying to reach and how they differ from other groups of people. Here are some questions that might help you define your target audience:

What Are Their Demographics? 

Age, gender, race, income, and education level all play important roles in defining an audience. For example, selling luxury lady’s jewelry involves engaging with a completely different audience from the one you’ll have to attract if you sell cheap electronics.

What Are Their Interests? 

Do they like reading or watching movies? Do they love cars or sports? What kind of music do they listen to? Answering these questions can help you create content that resonates with your audience. It can also give you ideas for additional products or services that cater to their interests.

Where Do They Live and Work? 

What communities do they inhabit during their free time? The details will help you determine where your business should locate itself and how best to reach customers through advertising or public relations campaigns.

As an example, let's say that you've invented a new type of shoe laces. It's important to know who would be interested in buying these laces. You may think that everyone would want them, however, this isn't true. You need to find potential customers who might need or want your product before going any further with development or marketing. 

Create an Instagram Content Strategy and Calendar

An Instagram content strategy is a plan for creating a consistent and interesting stream of content. 

To create an Instagram content strategy, start by identifying what type of posts you want to share on the platform. Let’s say you're in the footwear industry. It may make sense for you to post photos of people wearing your products or offer tips on how to style shoes in different outfits. Then, think about what kind of photos/videos/comments people typically like on the platform and try to incorporate those into your posts as well.

Nike, for instance, offers a combination of product-related and lifestyle content, including useful tips on how to keep, dye, or glue your shoes.

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Next, create a calendar. This will help you stay on track with your strategy and make sure you don't miss any important deadlines.

Plan How to Establish a Consistent Brand Image on Instagram

Since the platform is so visual, it’s important that you have a consistent brand image both on Instagram and across all of your channels. This means that your Instagram profile should match the style of your website and other social media accounts. Also, use the same logo and color scheme in all of your photos. It's often the first thing people will see when they search for your business.

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What’s more, consistency helps viewers associate your brand with a certain style of photography or video production. Make sure that every post follows the same style. That way, people will know it's from you when they see it pop up in their feed, even if there isn't any text associated with it. 

Identify Strategies to Grow Your Instagram Following 

Once you’ve determined how to build a consistent brand on Instagram, it’s time to grow your Instagram following base.

Focus on the possible ways to build a social media following, such as engaging with audiences consistently, offering fun and useful content relevant to your customer profile, and using reels.

Choose the Right KPIs for Your Instagram Marketing Strategy

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the metrics that you use to analyze the success of your Instagram marketing efforts. There are some KPIs that work better for different types of businesses. It's important to choose the right ones for your business and then track them consistently.

The most important thing to remember about KPIs is that they should be specific to the goals of your business. In other words, you can't just choose any old KPI and expect it to help you become successful. You need to pick one that will help you measure how well your Instagram marketing campaign is doing at achieving the goals that are most important for your business.

We’ll discuss analytics and metrics in greater detail later on, so stay tuned.

Establish Your Brand On Instagram

If you don’t have an Instagram account yet, you can download the app from the Google Play Store or App Store

How to Create an Instagram Business Account

The first step is to sign up. You can sign up with your phone number or email, or log in with Facebook. If you select the email option, make sure to choose your business email. 

Next, enter your business name under the Full Name section. This name will be displayed on your Instagram profile. Then, pick a recognizable username. If you don’t like your username, you can change it later.

After that, go to Settings, Account, hit Switch to Professional Account, choose Business, select your category, and hit Done. That’s it! You now have an Instagram business account.

How to Optimize Your Business Account to Build a Consistent Brand 

It’s not rocket science and you can do it in several easy steps:

Select a Consistent Branded Color Scheme

Color is a powerful tool that can be used to convey a wide range of emotions and feelings. A brand's color scheme can help people instantly identify your company, or it can make your logo dull and easy to forget.

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The key is to select a consistent branded color scheme that matches the overall tone of your brand and makes an impactful first impression on consumers. 

Select a Clear and Recognizable Brand Profile Photo

The Instagram profile photo is one of the most important elements of your Instagram presence. It’s the first thing Instagrammers see when they land at your profile. 

Choose an eye-catching branded profile photo that reflects the look and feel of your brand so it can represent your company in a way that grabs their attention.

Build an Instagram Bio That Speaks for Your Brand

Username 

There are a few different ways to come up with a username for your Instagram account. You can use your company name, your brand name, or even just pick something that is easy to remember and makes sense for your business. 

A good Instagram username will make your feed look more professional and will help you get more followers. It should be short and easy to remember, but also unique so that it stands out from all the other accounts.

While you can change your Instagram username at any time, there are a couple of reasons why you might want to pick a good one from the start:

  1. It makes your brand easy to be found by people. If someone searches for your business or brand name, they'll be able to find you easily if it's included in your username.
  2. It helps build trust with new customers. If people know who you are before they reach out to you, they're more likely to take action and engage with your content.

Services and Hashtag Links

The bio section is one of the most important parts of your profile. Listing the services in your Instagram bio will help people find out more about what you do without having to ask you directly. It also tells them what types of projects they can expect if they work with you. That's why it's so important that you make sure it's written well, clearly, and accurately. This can be as simple as having a link to your website. 

Also, use hashtags in your bio to make your brand more searchable and discoverable.

A Website Link

Including a website link in your Instagram bio is a great way to drive traffic back to your site. It’s intended to encourage people who see your profile picture or bio link to click through and learn more about you or your business. Use tools like Bitly, or Linktree to keep your profile from looking cluttered by a long and hard-to-decipher website URL. 

Contact Information

One of the most important things that you can add to your Instagram bio is contact information. Include your email address or phone number in case people want to reach out to you directly without having to message you through social media. This way, when someone finds your profile and is interested in working with you, they'll have an easy way of getting in touch with you.

Introduce Your Brand Through Instagram Stories Highlights

Instagram Stories Highlights are a great way for new users to introduce themselves or their brand to other users. These highlights can include anything from videos and photos to text and links. They also have their own dedicated section in the Instagram app so people can easily find them. 

Share your best content. You want people to know who your company is and what it does. If you have great photos or videos, they can be repurposed through the highlights feature. There are different ways to achieve that.

  • You can highlight your products and services by regularly posting content related to them and their features. 
  • You can opt for another tactic – attracting prospects’ attention by sharing entertaining, visually appealing, or motivational content that resonates with your audience. You can simply try and make their day.

This is a way to make your brand known and engage with potential customers without being over and purely promotional. Adding relevant hashtags will let you better target your posts and attract new followers that match the specific demographics or interests. 

Take a look at the following example. The Blurt Foundation uses a combination of motivational quotes, interactive quizzes, and educational content to build brand awareness.

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When you have a strong brand presence on Instagram, people will start to recognize your name and associate it with high-quality products or services. This can build trust between you and them as they will feel comfortable buying from you. As a result, this will lead to more sales.

You can also use Instagram Stories highlights to share: 

  • Exclusive content that might not fit into your feed, like behind-the-scenes photos from an event or product demos
  • Upcoming events or sales at your business by highlighting them in the Instagram Stories highlights section of your Instagram profile. This will help people find out about them even if they don’t follow you on Instagram

Remember, it’s important that you keep these stories short and sweet.

Arrange Your Content Pieces Including User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is any form of media that has been created by consumers. Interweaving it in your posts brings a number of benefits to your business:

  • Your followers will feel part of the community and of the brand story, which will boost engagement 
  • People tend to believe other customers that have already tried using a product instead of just taking your word for it 
  • Using user-generated content will help build an image of a consumer-centered brand that cares about its customers
  • Your posts will be seen by your user’s followers and will thus gain better visibility.
  • You’ll be able to offer more diverse content

Airbnb does really great in incorporating user-generated content in their Instagram posts.

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This strategy helps Airbnb encourage interactions of their followers with their content, driving more engagement and building trust. 

Also, remember that the followers of my followers potentially are my followers, too. So, don’t miss the opportunity to expand your following by incorporating user-generated content. What other options do you have for this purpose?

How to Grow Your Instagram Following

Instagram is a great place for connecting with your audience and building relationships. It takes time and effort to get the word out about your brand and create new customers. Here are some of the most popular strategies you can use to grow your Instagram following:

Create Valuable Content

 

If you’re just starting out on Instagram, the best strategy to grow your audience is by offering something of value to them. You can create useful, informative, and entertaining content. Whether it’s an article they can read, an image they can look at, or a video they can watch, people will want to follow you if they get something out of it. The more engaging your posts are, the more likely people will want to learn more about you and follow you on Instagram.

Once you have established yourself as someone who offers value and provides enough content that people want to see every day, then it becomes easier to grow your follower base.

Post Consistently 

Posting regularly is a great way to keep your followers engaged and interested in. Ensure consistency and avoid losing momentum over time.

Help Your Potential Followers Discover Your Brand More Easily

In the overcrowded Instagram landscape, it’s essential to get seen by the right users. Make sure to facilitate them by including hashtags in your content. 

Also, tag other businesses and users whose followers are likely to be interested in your products or services as well. If you sell footwear, for instance, it makes sense to tag a business that offers bags or hats. Or, imagine you’re running a spa center. Tagging a gym or a hairdressing salon in your area can potentially bring new followers to your business. 

Encourage Followers to Interact with Your Content

Using Instagram story stickers is one of the effective strategies to encourage audiences to interact with your content and drive engagement.

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The question sticker works really well. It allows you to talk with your followers in an engaging way. They can ask you questions on a certain theme or you can let them ask about anything they need to know.

Another way to boost engagement is using memes. They're also a fun way to spread your brand's message and get more eyes on your content.

Memes are a great means to convey a message or show your personality. The best thing about memes is that they make people laugh, increasing the chances of shares. So, the more people that interact with your posts, the higher your Instagram engagement rate.

Engage with Your Active Followers 

Engage with your active followers by interacting with their content and comments. This will show them that you care about what they think and the fact that you are taking the time to engage with them.

Showing your appreciation of their support will encourage them to stay loyal and become your brand advocates. And this is one of the most effective ways to increase brand awareness and expand your following. 

Posting Marketing Content on Instagram

The content you post to Instagram is one of the most important things to help you grow your business. What’s more, it's also one of the easiest ways to get people involved with your brand and create a community around it.

Types of Instagram Content to Post

Here are some of the most popular types of Instagram content:

Photos

People love sharing photos on Instagram. Pictures are great for connecting with other people and brands. The key is finding a way to make these images look natural while still promoting your brand's message. 

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Consider:

  • Posting high-quality images to attract more followers and grow your business
  • Promoting your products and services with beautiful images 
  • Showcasing your expertise and knowledge through tutorials or tips 
  • Sharing behind-the-scenes insights into your business operations 

Videos

Instagram videos allow you to be more creative and tell a story in a captivating way. Post videos to show how your products work. 

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For example, if you sell shoes, you can create a video showing the shoe being worn by different people with different body types. This helps people visualize themselves wearing this shoe and makes them feel connected to it on an emotional level.

Carousels 

Carousel posts are a great way to show off more than one thing making it easier for people to consume your content without having to scroll endlessly. 

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You can use them to highlight products, services, events, and more. They help you create more engaging visual content that will draw your audience's attention.

Shopping Posts

Buying products on Instagram is easier than ever. Did you know that 44% of the surveyed people on Instagram shop weekly using the product tags feature? What’s more, 50% of Instagrammers use Instagram to explore new brands, products, or services. 

Anthropologie, for example, publishes shopping posts to sell products and to boost their sales. 

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Use the shopping posts feature to promote your products. You can showcase your latest collection, featuring new products, or give people the option to shop directly from your account.

How Often to Post

Once you've identified what types of posts you'll be sharing, think about how often each one should be posted. However, keep in mind that overloading your followers with too many posts can weaken their interest.

Posting too frequently can also turn off some users who don't want their feed filled with too much content from one user only. Once or twice a day is usually a good balance for most businesses. 

Instagram Stories for Marketing

Instagram stories provide businesses with an opportunity to connect with customers on their terms. Instagram Stories is a feature that allows you to share photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. What’s more, you can engage with your followers by sharing relevant content and responding to their questions. Let’s start with the basics. 

Why Market with Instagram Stories

As of January 2019, it was reported that 500 million Instagrammers used Instagram Stories every day. This is a huge opportunity to engage with potential customers. 

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Instagram stories make it easy for you to share your brand's personality, showing behind-the-scenes action and encouraging interaction between the reader and your brand. You can also use Instagram stories as part of a contest or giveaway campaign, where you offer prizes or coupons to users who follow through on certain actions within your story.

Note that Instagram stories can only be 15 seconds long and disappear after 24 hours. However, you can make them stay permanent if you post them as Instagram Stories Highlights.

How to Use Instagram Stories for Marketing

Instagram Stories are a great way to create an engaging and interactive experience for your followers. You can showcase products, services, and more. To create an Instagram Story, hit the

and select Story.

From there, you have two options: 

  1. You can choose a photo from your gallery 
  2. You can take a photo 

Then, tap the Next button. You will see a share option. You can share the Instagram Story as a message, with your close friends, or just share it with everybody.

If you want your Instagram Story to become permanent, tap Add to highlights, New, Add, and Done.

Insta stories also have plenty of features that make them an effective marketing tool.

Location Stickers  

You can add location stickers by tapping the sticker icon in the bottom right corner of your screen. A panel will open up with all kinds of location stickers, including landmarks and restaurants. People who view it can see where you are at that moment.

Tap on one and then move it into place by dragging it around. You can also change the size of the sticker by pinching or expanding it with two fingers.

Hashtag Stickers 

Another great new feature is hashtag stickers. These tags are searchable by anyone who is following you on Instagram, so they can find out more about what they mean if they want to.

When you tap on the sticker icon, you'll see a panel with different hashtags to choose from. If there's one that fits your photo well, tap on it and then drag it into place on top of the image.

Clickable Links

You can also add clickable links that take users directly to your website or the product page. This is an excellent opportunity to drive traffic and promote your products and services.

In addition, the See More CTA that appears with clickable links is small and people may not see it. It’s a great idea to use arrows or other features to make the CTA stand out.

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Polls

Instagram polls are a great way to get feedback from your audience, whether that’s in the form of votes or comments. Brands can choose which type of poll they want to use: list, yes/no, or multiple choice. The results will appear as a tally at the end of the poll, so you can easily see how many people voted for each option.

You can use polls to poll your followers or ask specific questions. They can be used as an alternative way of driving engagement with your post or just a fun way to get your audience involved in the conversation.

Emoji Sliders

Emoji sliders let you ask questions about things like travel plans, food preferences, and more by using emoticons instead of words. 

They’re easy to use and give your followers an opportunity to express themselves visually.

Question Stickers 

Question stickers are a fun way to engage with your followers and customers. You can use them to ask questions, announce giveaways, or just solicit feedback on a product or service.

The Question sticker has two parts: the question text, which is displayed on the sticker itself; and the answer field, which is set automatically based on the question's text but can be edited manually if necessary.

Countdown Stickers 

Countdown stickers are a fun way to add a countdown to your photos. You can customize the text, color, and font. Once you've chosen your design and entered the desired date, you can share it on Instagram.

Countdown Stickers are also a great way to create excitement and generate interest in your product or service. When someone taps on the sticker, it'll show them how much time is left before your big event.

Basically, the above-mentioned stickers are best for marketing purposes. They help you be creative, think out of the box, and achieve your marketing goals.

Market with Instagram Live

Instagram Live is an interactive feature that allows you to broadcast live videos to your followers. You can see who's watching and read comments from your followers while broadcasting. Instagram Live is perfect for engaging with your followers and boosting your brand awareness. 

What’s more, Instagram Live creates a sense of urgency as it lasts for only 24 hours from the moment you stop recording. This is a great fear of missing out (FOMO) marketing technique that may urge your followers to watch your Instagram Live video. 

Need some more details on how to go live on Instagram? Check out our dedicated blog.

How to Use Instagram Live to Market

The Instagram Live feature is a great way for your business to interact with your followers. It also gives you an opportunity to show people behind-the-scenes footage and answer their questions in real-time.

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If you're running a sale or discount, for example, go live on Instagram and tell people about it. If you want them to buy something, show it off and describe the features. 

If you run a clothing company and have new clothes coming out in two weeks, go live on Instagram and show them off! This is a great way to tease your audience and make them look forward to the moment they’ll be able to order. Also, people love to see behind-the-scenes stuff. So, let them take a look at the way that upcoming fancy jacket is being designed in your atelier.

You can also use Instagram Live to show people how something works or answer questions about your product or service.

Here are some tips for using Instagram Live for your business:

  • Plan ahead. Know what you want to say before you start broadcasting, so that you don't have to worry about finding something to talk about while you're live.
  • Keep it short. Some people might not want to watch a whole hour-long live. They may tune in and out during the broadcast or just watch the first 30 seconds and then leave. Keep your broadcasts short — no more than 10 minutes at most — so that these people don't lose interest or feel like they're being forced to sit through too much content at once.

Use Hashtags to Market on Instagram 

A hashtag is simply a word or phrase that is accompanied by a hash mark (#). When someone clicks on an individual hashtag, they will see all of the posts that have used that specific hashtag. This is an easy way for people to find photos on Instagram that relate to specific topics or interests.

The use of hashtags has become an important part of marketing on Instagram. They allow businesses to reach a wider audience and get in front of people who might not otherwise know about them or their products. But which hashtags should you be using? What are popular hashtags? How do you make sure that you're using them correctly?

How to use Instagram Hashtags

You can use hashtags in the caption when you upload your content or in the comment section. The process is quite easy and straightforward: 

  1. Upload a video or photo.
  2. Hit Write a caption and write # and the desired text immediately after the hash mark.
  3. Tap Done (if you’re using an Android device) or Share (if you're using iPhone).

Make sure each photo has at least two (and up to thirty) relevant hashtags at the end of the caption. Also, special characters and spaces won't work. What you can do, however, is to use the free Instagram Hashtag Generator to help you write the best hashtags for your post.

Create a list of relevant hashtags from which you want to draw attention. Remember to use as many relevant hashtags as possible when posting photos of your products or services. They help users discover content related to their interests or current events. 

How to Choose Instagram Hashtags

You can use hashtags on Instagram to get more engagement, increase your following and grow your business.

Take some time to research popular hashtags related to your industry and competitors. Look at what’s already being used. 

You can choose the right hashtags by doing a simple search in Instagram's search bar or by looking at the top posts under each hashtag. Once you've found some popular ones that seem relevant, add them to your photo captions and see how they perform over time.

Use IGTV for Marketing on Instagram

What is IGTV

The Instagram Television application (IGTV) was launched in June 2018 to enable users to share hour-long videos on the platform. In October 2021, Instagram announced the unification of feed videos and IGTV, which doesn’t exist as a separate functionality and format anymore.  

Why to Market with Instagram Video (formerly IGTV)

 

Unlike Instagram Live, Instagram Video enables users to edit their videos and fine-tune their message. Business account users can upload videos up to 1 hour long from mobile devices and desktop computers. 

Video is the most sophisticated visual storytelling medium that allows businesses and creators to make content that stands out, inspires, and converts. 

How to Use Instagram Video (formerly IGTV) for Marketing on Instagram

The platform enables you to upload a video or record a new one using your Android or iOS device. Also, you can share a video on instagram.com from your computer.

How to upload or record an Instagram Video in the Instagram app for iOS and Android?

To benefit from the marketing potential of video content, follow these steps:

  • Open your Instagram app and select
create new
  • Select the video you want to share from your phone library or record a new video by tapping and holding
  • above the library section. You can switch between the rear-facing camera by hitting
  • Lift your finger to end recording.   
  • Hit Next in the right top corner and edit your video by applying a Filter or selecting a start and an end by tapping Trim.
  • Hit Next and tap on the video preview to choose a cover image by sliding at the bottom, selecting a photo from your mobile by tapping
create new
  • and Add from gallery (for Android) or Add from camera roll (for iPhone).
  • You can then add a caption, tags, and location. You can also add the video to a series or create a new series.
  • You have the option to Boost your video and selecting it will let Instagram set up your ad.
  • You can tap Add reminder and enable your audiences to turn on reminders for an upcoming event announced in your video. 
  • Indicate whether you want to share your video on Facebook by switching the option on or off.
  • Hit Share and let your audience see your video.

How to Upload an Instagram Video on The Website from Your Desktop Computer

Instagram enables you to not just watch other users’ videos on your desktop but also upload your video content. To do so, take the steps below:

create new
  • By clicking Select from computer, you can choose, drop, and drag an mp4 or quicktime video file. Choose the size and adjust it to the feed and grid.
  • Select Next to set a cover image by sliding or uploading a photo from your computer. When you’re ready, locate Next in the right top corner and click it.
  • Now, you can add a caption and your location. Selecting the Advanced settings will enable you to hide like and view counts and disable commenting on your video. Click Share, and your video will appear in your feed.

Note that video previews are 60 seconds long, and in the case of video ads, the preview will be 15 seconds. Also, you can boost only videos that are up to 60 seconds long. 

Combining IGTV and video formats simplifies producing and sharing video content and lets businesses and creators cross-post it in direct messages and Instagram Stories, providing multiple ways to engage with followers.

8 Effective Instagram Marketing Strategies with Inspiring Examples

  1. Host an Instagram Giveaway or Contest 

An Instagram contest is a great way to get people interested in your brand and the products you sell. Hosting an Instagram Giveaway can be one of the best ways to make sure that your followers are engaged and excited about your account.

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For example, if you're hosting a giveaway for a popular product, it is likely that your followers will share their experiences with their friends and family on social media. As a result, you’ll see enhanced brand awareness and increased sales.

If you're hosting a giveaway or contest on Instagram, here are some tips to help you create a successful promotion:

  • Choose your prize wisely. The prize should be something that will appeal to your target audience. 
  • Make sure your prize is relevant to the theme of your contest. Also, the giveaway should be easy to ship, if applicable.
  • Choose a reasonable deadline.
  • Use hashtags when posting about the contest. This will increase the visibility of your post and allow others to discover it through search results.

  1. Use Affiliate Marketing 

Affiliate marketing is a great way to enhance your reach and generate extra profit without investing extra resources. What’s more, affiliate marketers often have existing relationships with potential customers that are likely to be interested in your products. So, this is a WIN-WIN-WIN strategy that offers benefits for you, your affiliate, and customers alike. When you have an affiliate program, you can get new customers without having to do any of the legwork yourself. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that it’s used by 80% of businesses.

The advantages of starting an affiliate program are:

  • The cost of running an affiliate program is low and the setup is simple.
  • You don’t need any technical knowledge or experience to set it up and run it.
  • It’s easy to recruit affiliates who will promote your product on their websites and social media accounts.
  • You don’t have to worry about customer service issues – all sales are handled at the merchant’s end of the transaction.

Affiliates can help with the hard work of promoting your products or services. They'll put in the time and effort to spread the word about your brand, driving more traffic to your website. The most common affiliate program is Pay-per-Sale. It’s performance-based and pays affiliates after closing a deal. The affiliate commission can vary significantly across products and industries, ranging between 3% and 70% of the sale price. 

Finding the right affiliates that can promote and sell your product could be challenging. To attract potential affiliates, create an announcement of your program. You can set it up as a paid ad and target the users that will see it. To be able to identify the one that is most effective for your product, you have to narrow your search by specifying your niche using Instagram Insights

In the example below, the for-profit social enterprise Alison has shared their affiliate program announcement specifying their target audience and the steps to take to become part of their program.

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To increase the efficiency of your effort, use appropriate hashtags. This will make your program more easily discovered by influencers looking for affiliate marketing opportunities.

  1. Let an Employee or Influencer Takeover

Opting for an Instagram Stories takeover will help diversify your content while ensuring consistency of posting. You can take over your Instagram to an influencer, employee, or even a partnering business.

Influencer marketing, for example, is a powerful way to gain exposure and increase brand awareness. With $5.78 earned for every US dollar invested, it’s a great way to use Instagram to boost your profits. An influencer can promote your brand through their Instagram account and drive traffic back to your site or landing page. They can also do it from your account.

Also, this strategy works great with businesses swapping stories. Take a look at the example below, where the Il Salviatino hotel in Florence took over the Instagram Stories of @travelandleisure

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Another option is to turn your eyes to your team and have them create an Instagram story. The Shona Project has established the consistent practice of letting their employees take over their Instagram under the “Welcome to our team!” initiative. 

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To encourage more followers to view and interact with your guest-hosted story content, make sure to announce the turnover in advance.

  1. Set Up a Marketing Campaign with a Partner

You may be surprised by the great potential of partnering with other brands. Reach out to a business offering products that would go perfectly with yours and discuss the opportunity. Also, pick up a date or an occasion that can be particularly relevant to your campaign.

An excellent example is provided by Ryobi Tools USA and Pelican Professional. They have come up with a Father’s Day giveaway, featuring a Lawn Mower Kit, a Bluetooth Speaker, and a Wheeled Elite Cooler as an award. Just within an hour after its launch, the campaign received more than 2k likes and more than 20 participants. 

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This strategy involves finding a potential partner with a similar customer profile so both brands can benefit from the partnership by gaining an additional quality following. Set prize eligibility conditions and ask users that enter the event to perform certain actions, such as like the post, follow both partners, tag other users, etc.

Do you want to further enhance the impact of your campaign? Launch it as a cross-platform campaign and run it simultaneously on other Meta social platforms like Facebook. Take a look at our comprehensive step-by-step guide to setting up a Facebook giveaway and get some useful tips and inspiring ideas.

  1. Give and Ask for Instagram Shoutouts

An Instagram shoutout is when another user posts an image or video and mentions your username in the caption or comments section (starting with @). This allows their followers and viewers to click on the shoutout and go straight to your profile page without having to search for you first. 

Shoutouts are a great way to gain exposure. In the following example, the creator @lesleyannemurphy mentions the Electrolit USA, encouraging users to visit its page.

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This strategy is particularly beneficial for new businesses. You can ask for a shoutout in a DM (direct message) and offer to return the favor by giving a shoutout, too.  

  1. Repost Viral Content from Other Brands and from Your Audience

Reposting other brands’ content has become a great way for businesses to diversify their content and gain more exposure on Instagram. 

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Reposting other brands' content can help you gain new followers and build relationships with companies that are relevant to your business. 

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Share content posted by different brands weekly or monthly. This will give you more variety in the types of content that get shared in your profile. Just make sure to select posts that are likely to grab your followers’ attention and remember to credit the original poster. 

  1. Use Paid Instagram Ads

Paid ads on Instagram can be a great way to get your content in front of new eyes and drive action from new people who don't yet follow your brand on social media. You can use them to promote your campaigns and sales or to increase your website or landing page traffic. 

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Paid Instagram ads give you access to various targeting options such as location and interests, which can help you reach out to specific audience segments. You can choose to target people based on their age, gender, and location or even use hashtags related specifically to your industry with paid Instagram ads. So, it's easy to focus your campaign on a specific type of customer and ensure cost-effectiveness.

The platform supports short and long-form ad content. Using Instagram In-Stream video ads (formerly IGTV Ads), you can engage long-form video fans. Such videos can be up to 60 seconds, with a 15-second preview.

  1. Use Stories and Instagram Live to Post Teasers for New Products and/or Services

The platform provides an excellent way to spread the word about your new product launch, evoking excitement and enthusiasm among your audiences. You can go Live and let potential customers see and feel the product and answer their questions in real-time. You can use a photo, carousel, or video and add an enticing product description. 

Man Arden offers a great example of drumming up excitement around their new product and boosting engagement by including a quiz and the opportunity to win a prize.  

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Note that you shouldn’t tell everything about your upcoming product at once but rather tease the audience by sharing some new detail every two-three days or every week, for example. You can even combine that with a discount code, coupon, or gift card for the first person to claim it. This will help you keep your prospects warm and create a fear of missing out.

Tips and Tricks to Level Up Your Instagram Marketing

Work Smarter with AI-enabled Tools

Catchy copy is one the most important elements of your Instagram marketing efforts. Using sophisticated tools can make your life much easier and your Instagram campaigns far more successful. 

With the free Instagram caption generator, you can create copy that your audience will love without even signing up. It's the first thing people see, and it can make or break your post. Captioning your Instagram posts is an excellent opportunity to make your content resonate with your audience. 

Keep it short and sweet! Shorter captions tend to work better than longer ones because they're easier for users to scan through quickly when scrolling through their feeds. Take a look at the other free Copy.ai tools and use them to get valuable inspiration to craft your Instagram Bio and come up with catchy hooks, product names, and mottos.

With its full suite of Social Marketing Tools, Copy.ai can be your game changer and can help you achieve your Instagram marketing goals without spending a fortune and investing tons of hours and effort.

Create Beautiful and Aesthetically Appealing Posts for Your Feed

Instagram is the best place to show off your brand's visual identity. Remember that it’s overflowing with stunning photos and videos. How can you stand out and grab users’ attention? It’s important to make sure that you’re using high-resolution images. 

Also, choose a specific theme for each post so your followers can easily recognize your posts. This can be anything from a specific color palette or style of photography to a certain type of photo styling.

Partner with an Influencer

Let’s say you own a restaurant and you want to promote it. You can hire an influencer who has a huge following in the food industry and get them to promote your restaurant. They might post a photo of their delicious meal at your restaurant with a caption that says something like, “Had the best dinner last night!” The more people who see that post, the more likely they are to visit your website or make a reservation at your restaurant.

You can also hire an influencer to post about how much they love your product or service. So if you sell high-quality cosmetics, ask an influential makeup artist if they would be interested in promoting your products on Instagram. Not only will this get your brand out there and spread awareness about what you sell, but it will also help establish trust among potential customers who follow these influencers.

Put Your Followers in the Spotlight

Your customers are your greatest asset. Focus on them by regularly sharing content delivered by them and expressing your gratitude for their purchases and participation in your marketing campaign and events. Posting on Instagram can be an easy way to show your customer appreciation. 

Take advantage of Stories as they are one of the best ways to reach new audiences and engage with them in real time. Make sure your content is consistent with your brand image and voice as this is a primary factor for building a distinct business identity that stands out.

Engage with the Content of Users Relevant to Your Industry

Regularly check out the posts of people and organizations relevant to your industry and engage with them and their comments especially if they are industry thought-leaders.

In this way, you’ll gain visibility and you are likely to attract the attention of their followers who can easily visit your page and become your followers, too.  

Schedule Your Instagram Posting for the Time When Your Audiences are Most Active

Scheduling your Instagram posts allows you to plan ahead of time what you're going to post and when you're going to post on Instagram. This can be extremely useful if you want your content to reach a specific audience at a specific time, without having to worry about posting manually when they might be online or offline.

For example, if you're planning on posting three times per week, the best days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

This will help you get the attention your posts deserve.

How to Track Your Instagram Analytics

Instagram Analytics is a powerful tool that allows you to track important metrics about the performance of your account and the content you share. You can find out how many followers you have gained or lost over time, how many people have viewed and interacted with your content, and much more.

How to Use Instagram Insights to Track Your Audience

You can gain valuable insights into your audience, which will help you think of the most efficient strategies to engage with them. Here’s how Instagram helps you better understand your potential and current followers.

You Know Where Your Audience Lives

Instagram gives you a breakdown of where your followers are located. This is useful for local businesses looking to target customers in specific cities or towns.

You could potentially increase your sales by offering new products or services where people live. Tracking this information will also help you decide where to host events or hold webinars.

Instagram Allows You to See the Age Range and Gender of Your Followers

This useful feature helps you understand what kind of content will resonate with them. For example, if you have a lot of female followers, but they skew older than your ideal customer base (say, 30+), then you may want to consider targeting younger women in your marketing efforts.

What’s more, knowing the age of your audience can let you identify and focus on content topics that are likely to appeal more to them. This will enable you to target your ads more effectively and strengthen relationships with customers. 

Gender is one of the basic demographics that can be tracked in Instagram Analytics. It gives you a good idea of how to market your products.

How to Use Instagram Insights to Track Your Content Performance 

With Instagram Analytics, you can track which of your content is working, so you can make sure your time on the platform is well spent.

Go to your profile and tap Insights under your profile picture. This will take you to Instagram's Insights dashboard. Now, under the Content You Shared section, you’ll find a lot of information about the effectiveness of your content, such as the number of viewers, interactions, etc. Let’s take a closer look at the metrics you can get for each type of content.

Posts

The following data will help you understand which posts are most successful:

  • Impressions - The number of times your post has been viewed by other accounts on Instagram. It doesn’t include direct views from your own account (including the repetitive views from one and the same account).
  • Reach - The number of unique accounts that have seen your content (excluding the repetitive views from one and the same account). Reach includes impressions and direct views from your own account.
  • Engagement rate - This measures how well the Instagram users resonated with your posts by showing the number of likes, comments, shares, saves, website taps, call and email button taps, and other interactions. You only need to select the metric you need to track, and you’ll have the figures at your fingertips.

Stories 

Instagram has unique metrics for the Story feature. There are: 

  • Taps Forward - This is the number of times a user has tapped the right side of their screen to view your next story.
  • Taps Backward - This is the number of times a user has tapped the left side of their screen to view your previous story.
  • Exited - It reveals how many viewers left your story before it ended. 
  • Next Story - It’s the number of times an Instagram user jumped to the story of the next Instagram user.
  • Link Clicks - It tracks how many times an Instagram user has swiped up on an Instagram story to follow your link. 

Reels

Instagram Reels collects data such as

  • Plays - It’s the number of times when an Instagram user has played your Reel (including the repetitive views from one and the same account).
  • Reach - It reveals how many unique Instagrammers viewed your Reel (excluding the repetitive views from one and the same account).
  • Saves - This is the number of times when a user bookmarked your Reel

Besides the above-mentioned metrics, Reels also have Comments and Likes analytics.

Live Videos

With Instagram Analytics, you can track the performance of your videos:

  • Peak Concurrent Viewers - It tells you the maximum number of Instagram users who watched your video live at any given time.
  • Comments 
  • Reach

Empowered with all these valuable figures, you can know the effectiveness of all your Instagram marketing efforts and adjust them accordingly. As a result, you’ll be able to optimize your strategies. The insights you’ll gain are particularly useful when it comes to running paid ads as you can easily calculate their ROI and keep your spending under control.

Conclusion

Marketing on Instagram is an excellent way to build your brand, connect with customers, drive sales and achieve your goals.

While each strategy appears simple on the surface, they all require considerable thought to be effective. 

Before you start your own Instagram marketing campaign, it's critical that you understand who your target audience is. The more refined your messaging is, the better chance you have of standing out and capturing their attention. Done right, an Instagram marketing campaign can help your brand grow.

The takeaway? Do your research, be consistent, and use all the features Instagram offers. Remember that quality matters over quantity. 

So, get out there and make Instagram marketing work for your brand.

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