Instagram Marketing

Instagram Marketing for Beginners — A Howto Guide

Instagram has grown tremendously since its launch. In fact, it has now reached over 1.3 billion users and seems set to challenge even Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform.

With numbers like these, it is only fair to view Instagram as a great place to market your business.

It can however seem confusing when looking to market your business on Instagram for the first time. Where do you even start?

Luckily you’ve found the right post to guide you through the ups and downs of Instagram marketing.

Here's what you'll learn in this guide —

We don’t know about you, but we’re excited to jump into the guide. 

Let’s get started, shall we?

Defining Instagram Marketing

Think of Instagram marketing as a type of social media marketing where you will use the Instagram platform to find leads and customers for your business.

A photo of instagram marketing engagement

You can use Instagram to promote your business in two main ways:

The goal of being on Instagram for you will often be selling services and products, creating good relationships with future customers, and gaining a following.

A photo of instagram marketing products

Later on, we will find out exactly how you can do this.

But first…

Grab the Instagram Marketing for Beginners Guide in PDF for Later

Pressed for time?

Download this Instagram Marketing Guide for Beginners to read later on.

What you’ll learn in this guide —

  • How to define your Instagram marketing strategy
  • How to build your Instagram business profile
  • How to gather and grow your following
  • How to use Instagram insights to track your performance

Ready to get started with Instagram for your business? Click the button below to download the PDF for later.

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Instagram Algorithm

A picture of a user doing instagram marketing

If you have had an interest in digital marketing then you may have likely come across the term algorithm. Not that you don’t have to have an in-depth understanding of how it works. However, if you want to be one step ahead in your Instagram marketing then it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of how it works.

The goal of the Instagram algorithm is to provide relevant helpful am useful content to users. This is what makes it such a good ally to use in your marketing.

The algorithm will suggest content to users based on their previous behavior. With this in mind, your aim should be to provide users with quality content that is useful and actionable.

Never create content for the sake of it and always make sure it adds value to users. Some content you may want to consider include:

1. Organic Content

Organic content refers to videos, blog posts, and stories that are unpaid. The goal of creating content is to keep the audience engaged, entertained, and interested.

2. Instagram Ads

For a more direct marketing approach aimed at making sales quickly, you will want to consider Instagram ads. These type of ads include:

The image and video ads feature an image and video respectively. They appear in the user’s feeds and often have a call to action such as shop now, learn now, book now, watch more, listen now.

A photo of Instagram carousel ads for marketing products

Carousel ads, as shown below have more than a single image or video each of which can have a link. let’s assume you have an online store, you can show a few items on sale on the carousel ad with a link that takes the user to your store. Carousel ads will also appear in the user feeds.

A photo of Instagram ads for marketing products

Story ads are considered one of the top and best ways to market on Instagram. Here you will create immersive ads that allow you to play with your creativity. As the name suggests, story ads will show up between Instagram stories. They will come with a call to action button and sponsored tag at the top right.

Note that story adds need to grab attention instantly. This allows you to hook users who are perusing through Instagram fast.

A photo of Instagram shoppable post ads for marketing products

Shoppable posts allow Instagram users to buy items without having to leave Instagram. You can tag products on your Instagram account and when users click on it, they are taken directly to the shopping page of your website.

3. Influencer Marketing
The third way to advertise your business on Instagram is via Influencer Marketing. It is highly popular. Influencers have already gathered a following based on their content and niche. They exist in every niche from tech to finance to fashion.

Influencers can help give your brand a huge boost in recognition. Note that it is critical that you find the right influencers.

Now that you are aware of the different ways that you can market your business on Instagram, let’s get to the meat of it, shall we?

First, we learn what to do and not do when setting up your Instagram account profile.

How to Setup Your Instagram Business Profile

Instagram Marketing Strategy Blog Section Image

It’s easy to think that you can just setup a personal Instagram profile and start marketing. However, to be credible to your audience, and to enjoy extra features such as Instagram insights, you will need an Instagram business profile.

And this is how to create one —

How to Create an Eye-Catching Instagram Business Profile

Consistency is key! This means including the colors that you have on your website as well as the fonts and images. This makes your business more recognizable.

There are two main elements of your Instagram business profile that you need to focus on. 

These are your photo and the bio.

1. Profile Photo
For the photo, it is always a good idea to use your company logo. This makes it much easier for users to recognize the brand.
A photo of instagram business profile setup
Now on to your bio.
2. Profile Bio

Always make the bio about your customers and for the business. Instead of stating what the business offers, I would say what the customers stand to gain.

If you have a current offer, you can use your bio to promote it. Again, remember to make it about what customers stand to benefit from. For instance, you can promote a course on “starting an online business.

You can also use your bio to encourage users to engage with your business and brand. For instance, you can ask them to share ideas for a chance to be featured on your website.

A photo of a user setting up Instagram business profile on a phone

The bio is also where you add a link that allows customers to explore your brand. It can be a link to a company website or a landing page to promote a sale.

Finally, it’s a good idea to add emojis 😀🤩🥳 in your bio. They’re an excellent and quick way to drive a point.

Note that you have just 150 characters to play with, so make use of them wisely!

Instagram Features Your Business Should Be Using

Instagram offers a variety of marketing features and tools that you can use to increase engagement with users.

Let’s take a look at a few of these that you should consider.

1. Hashtags
A photo of instagram hashtags

This is nothing new and hashtags have been around for a long time. In fact, they seem to be used everywhere on the internet nowadays. The main advantage of using hashtags is that you can quickly communicate to users that you have what they are searching for.

The majority of online users will search for content and even products based on hashtags alone. This is why it’s such a powerful marketing tool. If you have content that you are looking to promote, add the associated hashtags to make it easier to find by online users.

2. Instagram Stories
A photo of a user selecting photo to use in a instagram story post

Over half of Instagram users make use of Instagram stories. The popularity of this tool makes complete sense. Stories are an interesting and engaging way to connect with your followers. Instagram stories last for 24 hours and are only 15 seconds in length.

Stories offer businesses an opportunity to relay information that is more in-depth or more timely. There are several ways to utilize Instagram stories such as:

3. Instagram Live
A photo of a user selecting video to use in a instagram live

This tool or feature lets you broadcast live for live interaction with your followers. It is a good feature to utilize when looking to promote something or relay timely information.

With Instagram live, you show up first in your followers feeds. When they open the app they will also get the notification that it’s happening.

One thing to take note of with Instagram Live is that you should only use this feature when you have great content to promote, otherwise you’ll run the risk of losing followers by wasting their time.

4. Instagram Video (IGTV)
A photo of a dog posing in a instagram video post

Instagram Video lets you make and upload videos over an hour long. It is ideal for those who have many followers. This is unlike Instagram stories where the clips are just 15 seconds long.

With Instagram Video, users can search for videos that they’re interested in. The Instagram algorithm will also study user’s pasts behavior and recommend content.

IG Video is great for users that produce long content and videos. However, for first-timers, it may not be necessary to go straight to Instagram Video.

Create a Successful Instagram Marketing Strategy

There are several factors that combine to result in a successful Instagram marketing strategy. First off, you will need to make a clear goal. You will also need to come up with strategies designed to help you achieve that goal. Finally, you need to evaluate those strategies to see the progress and make changes and tweaks where necessary.

1. Identify Your Goals
A photo of instagram goals

Your business goals are going to determine the type of marketing strategy you chose. To determine your goals, the old business acronym SMART comes in handy.

Now that you have set your goals, it is now time to create your Instagram content strategy.

2. Create Your Instagram Content Strategy
A photo of a instagram user creating content

We noted earlier the various posting options that you can use with Instagram. The one you choose will depend mostly on your audience.

You need to understand who your audience is, what motivates them, how do they like being entertained and how they relate with different brands.

Note that you will likely not have all the answers to the above questions instantly. You will have them as you continue to understand your audience better. The more you understand the audience, the better you will be able to create successful Instagram marketing strategies.

Here’s a few actionable tips to include in your content strategy:

How to Grow Your Following on Instagram

Perhaps one of the major questions that anyone who is starting out on Instagram has is “how do I get more followers?

The great thing is that there are tips and tricks that you can use to grow your following on Instagram.

1. Host a Giveaway
Instagram giveaway photo

You can partner with another business and host a giveaway or contest. The idea behind this strategy is that since both of you have a similar niche and audience you will both benefit from this strategy.

During the giveaway, request that those joining should follow or tag.

2. Give Shoutouts

Shoutouts are similar to reposting. Here you will ask other businesses if they would repost your content and in return, you would repost theirs.

Just make sure that you seek out partnerships that are willing to offer mutual value.

3. Repost other Business Content
A group of instagram test users reposting content on IG

An easy and smart way to gain a following is to tag the content of other successful businesses that are in your niche. Chances are the followers of such businesses will notice and become followers of you.

Also, there is a chance that the business may notice and tag you also giving you more exposure. Sometimes, the businesses will also follow you.

While you can repost manually, it is much more efficient to use apps such as Repost for Instagram.

4. Create Great Captions

The majority of Instagram users will scroll through the feeds when looking or entertainment or just as part of their daily routine. It is possible for you to capture such users and turn them into followers by creating an inspiring Instagram caption.

Note that the aim is to convey the feeling behind your image or your video.

If the image or video is a product that you are selling, explain why people should care about the product. The caption should spark interest and explain why people should engage with the product.

5. Reach out to an influencer
A photo of a famous instagram influencer

Here the goal is to reach out to a popular influencer in your industry. The great thing about the strategy is that your brand is exposed to the influencer’s followers.

A great way to find the right influencers for your business is to join influencer marketing platforms. These platforms make it much easier to find and vet influencers. Subsequently, this makes it much easier to develop relationships with the influencers.

Grab the Instagram Marketing for Beginners Guide in PDF for Later

Pressed for time?

Download this Instagram Marketing Guide for Beginners to read later on.

What you’ll learn in this guide —

  • How to define your Instagram marketing strategy
  • How to build your Instagram business profile
  • How to gather and grow your following
  • How to use Instagram insights to track your performance

Ready to get started with Instagram for your business? Click the button below to download the PDF for later.

Instagram Marketing Guide - Cover

The Best Apps for Instagram Marketing

When you are just starting out, you can make use of Instagram features to market your business. However, if you want to take your marketing to the next level, you may want to consider Instagram apps.

While there are plenty of apps to consider, the best ones to use will make your posts memorable and sharable. The apps will help you grab the attention of your audience much more efficiently.

Let’s take a look at the most important and essential marketing apps that Instagram businesses should have.

1. VSCO
A photo of the VSCO instagram app

This is a photo editing app that is a must-have. It is available for both iOS and Android. One of the major features that sets VSCO apart from other photo editing apps is its video editing and movie-like filters. Some of the functions that you can utilize include enhancing skin color, setting contrast, and even darkening edges.

2. Later
A photo of the later app for Instagram

This one is a scheduling app that is also available on iOS and Android. Its main function is to help you schedule the best time to post. Simply access your phone’s media content and select an item. Upload the item into Later’s dashboard.

When the scheduler pops up, add captions, tags, these will help the content become more discoverable.

3. Hootsuite
A photo of hootsuite app for instagram

This is also another app that can help you schedule when to post content. It provides you the option of scheduling manually, saving the content as draft or put it in a queue.

You can also use Hootsuite to find out about various marketing metrics such as follower growth and performance.

4. StoryLuxe
A photo of storyluxe app for Instagram

This is among the most popular Instagram story apps available and with good reason. It offers users a multitude of options to play with such as changing stylish features, templates and even colors for your stories. Many of these options offer cinematic quality.

5. Layout from Instagram
A photo of the Layout from Instagram app

Layout is yet another popular Instagram story app. It offers an image mixer that is super smooth. You can make a collage with up to nine images.

You can either capture photos with the built-in images or use the images in your phone.

Final Thoughts on Instagram Marketing...

As Instagram continues to grow and evolve as a marketing platform, it’s more important than ever for businesses to build effective Instagram marketing strategies. And that means having a thorough understanding of the Instagram marketing landscape and measurable insights into what works and what doesn’t.

At the end of the day, businesses of all types have so much to gain from building a presence on Instagram, whether it’s growing an engaged community, reaching new customers, or even selling your products or services. It just takes a little attention and effort!

If you need help implementing these ideas into your social media marketing strategy, we would be delighted to help, give us a call today at (888) 754-5164.

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