Instagram marketing: The ultimate guide

With over 2 billion monthly users, Instagram is the leading and most popular social media platform on the market, which means it’s never been more important to have a 🔥 Instagram marketing strategy. 

The app has changed a lot since its launch in 2010 where taking random shots and applying them with borders has long disappeared. Nevertheless, over the last decade, Instagram has become a really powerful marketing tool for businesses and consumers alike, with an estimated 71% of US businesses using Instagram as part of their marketing strategy. 

For brands, Instagram is a gold mine – with the average user browsing for approximately 53 minutes a day. It’s no wonder businesses jump at the opportunity to target consumers and promote their products here. But it’s not as easy as you might think. 

To succeed, businesses must adopt a clear and structured Instagram marketing strategy to grow their presence, attract new customers, raise brand awareness, and strengthen their reputation. 

We reveal all in this ultimate guide to Instagram marketing. 

First things first, what is Instagram marketing?

Instagram marketing is essentially a social media marketing strategy for Instagram. It specifically focuses on how you can use the app and its features to promote and grow your business, as well as increase brand awareness and build a community.  

Instagram is pretty diverse when it comes to audiences. With a healthy distribution of ages and gender across the platform, you’ll more than likely find your customer base on the app. 

Although Instagram is very visual, it doesn’t mean that businesses that aren’t design or product-heavy will be disadvantaged. Successful Instagram marketing all comes down to strategy and each business is different. Adopting a strong Instagram marketing strategy will not only keep you on the right path but also focus on the right audience for your brand – allowing you to grow.

Build your Instagram marketing strategy in 7 easy steps

  1. Define your Instagram marketing goals 

Before you get started, it’s important to ask yourself the question: why are you on Instagram? And what do you want your business to achieve through Instagram marketing? 

This will form the foundation of your Instagram marketing strategy and will help align with your goals as a business. For example, some of the reasons companies promote their business on Instagram are: 

  • Generate engagement and increase brand awareness via followers, reach, and comments 
  • Increase sales via clicks and promoted ads
  • Increase website traffic via Instagram links 

Whatever the goal, it’s important to define it and invest your time, energy, and money into achieving that goal. If you need the help of an expert to get started, there are hundreds of Instagram marketing specialists available on PeoplePerHour.

  1. Maximise your Instagram profile 

As a business, it’s essential to have a business profile on Instagram. 

Business profiles are different from personal accounts, and give you access to invaluable business features such as data analytics, paid partnerships, and Call-To-Action buttons that you don’t get on a normal account.

The “bio” of the profile is also really important, and a great way to maximise and promote who you are as a brand and business. This, along with your profile picture is the first thing customers will see when they visit your account and so making a good first impression early on will keep them interested. Information such as your industry, a description of what your business does, a call-to-action, and a trackable link in bio is a good place to start. 

  1. Identify your target audience 

You want to make sure that the content you’re creating and promoting is directed at the right people. This is so that you’re optimising your resources and not reaching audiences who aren’t interested in your business. 

Before you begin Instagram marketing, it’s therefore vital to determine your target audience. First consider your audience’s age, location, income, hobbies, and motivations – how can the content you create resonate with them? 

Top tip: check out who your competitors’ followers are too if you’re not sure!

  1. Graphics, graphics, graphics 

When it comes to being seen on Instagram, having strong graphics goes a long way. As a visual social media platform, your posts need to be eye-catching, attractive, and professional to draw in your target audience.

Although this seems daunting if you’re a small business and don’t have an in-house graphic team – you can hire a freelance graphic designer, photographer, or illustrator that can help give your posts that needed boost.

There’s also a variety of templates on platforms like Canva that are free to use and can help you look like a professional social media graphic designer.

  1. Make the most of Instagram Reels and Stories

Instagram reels a.k.a video content that is short, addictive, and highly engaging. 

Using reels helps increase your reach, which is important for brand awareness. From a consumer perspective, reels are very accessible and several can be watched in a very short space of time! 2 billion people interact with reels every month making it hard to ignore if you’re a business owner using Instagram as part of your marketing strategy. 

You can also use reels to create relatable content and sell products too. You don’t need to be a video editing expert to create a viral reel either – the more you do it, the easier it’ll become. 

Stories are different from Reels. They’re temporary and only last 24 hours, whereas Reels are there to stay! Using Stories as part of your Instagram marketing strategy is a great way to reach your followers faster. Consumers will essentially “skip the queue”  and view your Story before your Reel. They are very popular, and a great way to highlight “behind the scenes content”, as well as the people behind the brand too – making your business more personable and human. 

  1. Be at the heart of the community

At the end of the day Instagram is a social platform, and responding to comments, direct messages, and tags is a great way to engage with your audience and show that you’re listening to them!

Be active with your audience on Instagram so that if there are any problems, they can be addressed quickly and enhance the customer experience – meaning more engagement and brand awareness.

  1. Be consistent 

This is where all your hard work pays off. Being consistent is key to successful Instagram marketing. Posting at random times of the day whenever you remember to do so will not be beneficial to you or your business. 

The solution? Creating a content calendar will help you plan ahead so that you can make sure you’re posting the right content at the right time. 

How to increase your Instagram following 

Growing your following is hard work and won’t happen overnight. Here are a few things to think about to speed up your follower growth: 

  1. Use a recognisable username that can be easily searched and found.
  2. Make sure your bio is descriptive and attention-grabbing, you want new followers to know who you are and what you do!
  3. Fill your feed up with posts – if consumers visit your profile and see no or little posts, they’re unlikely to follow you. Start with 10-15 posts to fill that grid up nicely. 
  4. Follow other accounts that are related to your business and/or interest you.
  5. After following an account, interact with them and their content – this is a natural way to re-direct attention to your own Instagram profile. 
  6. Invite brand ambassadors to share content and collaborate – you could also trial affiliate marketing, which is a great way to reach your target audience and increase your following.