Instagram Marketing Tips

Top 10 Instagram Marketing Tips16 min read

Instagram Marketing has become imperative as it is the largest image sharing social web services, with 800 million users

Instagram Marketing has become imperative as it is the largest image sharing social web services, with 800 million users worldwide as of September 2017, up from 600 million in December 2016. When Facebook bought it for a billion dollars in 2012, it only had 30 million users. It is one of the ten most popular mobile phone applications in the world and its ever-growing popularity is the reason why businesses from the world over are looking for a piece of the pie. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are seizing the opportunity to use Instagram as one of their main marketing channels for brand awareness. Instagram marketing is, therefore, the new way of brand storytelling and marketing outside of the boardrooms.

Image sharing networks like Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram can give businesses access to demographics that are not easily accessible on other networks. Studies have shown that around 90% of Instagram users are under 35 years of age, and more than half of the users are female. Hence, it becomes an excellent platform for pushing products that may appeal to the millennials like fashion, entertainment, jewellery. Here are some tips you should include in your marketing strategy on Instragram:

1. Have a Business ProfileInstagram marketing - have a business profile

It is essential to have an informative and alluring bio description. Tell your followers the mission or philosophy behind your products and concisely let them know about your brand and products. Give Instagram users a reason to follow you and not others in the same field. There should be, at all times, a link in your bio for people to visit your website. You don’t want your followers to just look at the photos you post; you want to drive the traffic back to your website to your Instagram profile.

If you have accounts on other social media platforms, put up the same profile picture on all of them to maintain consistency across them and to ensure instant recognition. A grave mistake would be following more people than follow you. Even if you’re new Instagram marketing, keep your following list on the lower side. Follow only those who are absolutely essential for your brand. You can also make your profile private if you need some time to set it up and gain some followers. However, be sure to make it public once you’re satisfied with the progress.

2. Instagram Photos

Instagram’s appeal lies in the fact that it lets you share your life and experiences with friends and others through a series of pictures captured with a mobile device or any other camera. Instagram users don’t use it for lengthy, descriptive copy writing. They use it to look at pictures that perfectly capture a moment and are able to evoke emotions in them. Hence, the fundamental rule of Instagram marketing is delivering excellent photos.

Instagram marketing Photos

There are a lot of things in a photo that someone can respond to, to promote conversation—then you get a wonderful interaction out of it…that’s what’s beautiful about being able to relate to photographs.”
Zachary McClune, Instagram Researcher

Here are some cardinal rules for uploading photos on Instagram that you should consider:

  • Ensure that the resolution of your photo is twice the recommended size. This way, when it gets compressed, the photo does not get pixelated and still looks great.

  • Image size should be 1280×1280.

  • Keep in mind the square orientation of the photos when taking them.

  • If you want to use a non-square image without cropping it, use an app like Instasize to properly size it for Instagram.

  • Good lighting is the key difference between a poorly received photo and a photo that looks like it was shot for a magazine cover.

  • It is not enough to simply post your product photos. You must follow them up with lifestyles photos where you showcase your products in use. This will provide your followers with some context and allow them to imagine using it themselves. All your photos should not look the same. Shoot your products with different backgrounds. At times post content that is not directly linked to your brand, but is relevant to your followers.

  • Never post selfies with your products. Your followers are not here for you, they are here for your products. Hence, if you are a products based company, you should stay away from selfies. Reposts of customer selfies, though, are allowed and encouraged.

Instagram marketing photo2

  • Instagram provides the option to add filters to your photos. There are 17 different filters that add predetermined layers to your photos and give them the desired effect.

  • Turn on the monitoring location tag while uploading photos. It allows users to see all the photos at that location. This increases visibility and your presence on Instagram.

  • Add a caption with a call-to-action. Or ask a question to spark debate on a relevant subject. URLs are not clickable, so don’t forget to also add them to the bio.

Instagram marketing Photo3

3. Utilising Instagram’s Most Recent Updates

Like any other social media platform, Instagram keeps tweaking its user interface to provide its users the best possible experience. It also keeps adding new features to its app in order to engage the users. It would be ludicrous to not make use of those features.

  • Instagram Stories – Though Snapchat pioneered the “in-the-moment” idea, Instagram, with its Instagram Stories feature, garnered a lot of interest in it. It has become one of the most used features of Instagram with major brands like the New York Times, United Nations Foundation and Nike using it to keep their followers updated on a 60-second video. The drop off rate of Stories is the lowest when they are well constructed, suspenseful and interesting. When you update a new Story, your profile picture has a ring in Instagram colours around it. This lets your followers know that you’ve shared a new Story with them.

  • Instagram Videos – Getting to post videos has been a nice change and is quite refreshing on a platform earlier flooded with photos. These can be anywhere from 3 seconds to 60 seconds long. Posting them separately or along with photos in a carousel format is something well accepted by users.

  • Instagram Live – Instagram Live is the new Instagram Stories. It is the latest addition to the app and has some qualities that make it more important than Instagram Stories. Unlike Facebook Live, Instagram Live stories disappear once the broadcast is over. Hence, they are short-lived and take precedence over Instagram Stories. This is why Instagram Live stories will be featured first in the Instagram Stories line-up.

4. Contests for Online Marketing on Instagram

The idea of contests is not to give away freebies, but to enhance your product’s visibility through those freebies. It is vital that the contests are clear, direct and engaging so that they draw the attention of the users towards the quality product that you’re showcasing. On one hand, contests engage the community that you have created and on the other, they grow that community by attracting more users. They also help you build influencer relationships and turn followers into customers.

Instagram marketing

There are two ways to run successful contests:

A. Using Your Own Audience

  • Determine a Prize – The prize should be something that identifies your brand when the item is used in public, preferably something with your logo on it. It is important to note that merely a t-shirt or a coffee mug would not be enough to generate interest in the contest, and people would be encouraged to enter only if you offer something appealing to them. A gift card or a gift hamper along with the token item is generally well received by the users.

Instagram marketing Give Away

  • Take a Photo – This should be related to your brand as a whole in general and the contest you are running in particular.

  • Rules and Guidelines – These will not only help you streamline the process but will also increase your visibility.

  • Post Image and Guidelines on Your Account – Post the photo with contest details. Follow it up with a reminder with a different content a few days later to keep people engaged and aware of the contest.

Instagram marketing Giveaway Reminder

  • Choose a Winner – From those who enter the contest, pick a winner who you think is the best and repost their photo when you declare the results.

  • You should include the following rules:

Instagram marketing Celebration

  1. Contestants must ‘like’ the photo; this way their followers can see it as well.

  2. They must comment on it and tag a friend OR post their own photo using your designated hashtag; this allows them to spread your content to people who are not yet doing it.

  3. They should also follow your account; this will keep them updated on your latest posts and other contests in the future.

B. Using Your Influencer’s Audience Instagram marketing Influencer

  • Find Influencers – Look up influencers who are in the same industry as you. Find their email address or message them directly on their social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Let them know that you would like to collaborate with them. Explain to them how working together would expose the two of you to the other’s audience, thereby increasing your individual reach.

  • Work Together – If and when you find someone willing to collaborate with you, you should both discuss the guidelines for the contest, come up with pictures and relevant hashtags to post together.

  • Post the Same Photo – Besides following all of the guidelines for the contest when using your own audience, both the parties must post the same photo on their profiles and should encourage their followers to follow the other.

5. Turn Followers into Paying Customers

Although social media is not generally used for direct marketing, it is increasingly becoming a place for businesses to lure more customers their way by offering sweet deals and special discounts. You can convert followers into customers by making shopping on Instagram hassle-free, quick and direct.

  • Link in Bio – Harness the power of the Instagram link in the bio. Update and change your bio link to correspond with your latest posts. You should also mention in the post that you have provided a link in your bio, so your followers know about it. You should also provide a link to the product pages or a place with more detail that are relevant to the products your are promoting in your recent posts.

Instagram marketing followers to payed customers

  • Offer Exclusive Instagram Discounts – To keep the followers from hitting the dreaded unfollow button, you have to continue to add value to your profile. A simple, yet powerful way to do this is by offering discounts exclusively to your Instagram followers. This builds brand loyalty and encourages interaction between you and your audience. Additionally, this also helps in determining as to how many of your followers are actually using your products and services. You must not, though, forget to time frame your discounts so they are used incisively, and not abused indefinitely.

Instagram marketing followers to paid

  • Share Your Followers’ Content – One smart way of digital marketing is sharing your followers’ content. It’s a win-win situation. When you post your followers’ content, not only do you save the time it would take you to create another perfect post, you also create a personal rapport with them. In giving them the spotlight, you strengthen your business by engaging your followers. In doing so, you let them know that their contribution to your brand is welcome and appreciated.

Instagram marketing 3

  • Shoutout to Your Partners and Collaborators – You can also increase awareness about your partner brands and collaborators by encouraging your followers to follow them. You could give them @shoutouts or comment on their poss or even repost them. This inspires them do the same and creates a spirit of healthy competition amongst people in the same industry. Aim to interact specifically with, but not limited to, brands in the same industry that have similar audience as you. This way when they do give you a shoutout, their followers would be inclined to follow you, and maybe later even make a purchase.

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  • Recruit Influential Ambassadors – This isn’t a novel idea; it has been around for centuries. Ambassadors have soft power that they use to influence the decision of people who like them. Although having eminent ambassadors for your brand is not obligatory on Instagram and many brands do very well without them, there is no shame in using your aces.

Instagram marketing nike

6. Linking Social Platforms

Instagram is a rather segregated social application and it, therefore becomes important to link it to other social media platforms. You could choose to link your Instagram account to your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare, Mixi, VK and Weibo accounts. Each time you post a photo to your Instagram account, you have the option to post it to each of the accounts you’ve linked, or none of them. If you choose not to link any other account to your Instagram account, your photos will be viewed by only those who follow you on Instagram. It is encouraged to link all or some of your accounts to Instagram though because not everyone uses every single social media website. When you post your Instagram photo on, for instance, Facebook, those who follow your on the latter, but not the former would be able to view your content. This way you increase your visibility over all channels and ensure that your content reaches your audience across all platforms.

7. Hashtag Instagram Marketing

A hashtag is a tag or metadata used on social media platforms to find a particular content. They help people look for media that have a common theme. It enables users to discover posts on an all-round searchable subject. The end-goal of using hashtags is to cast a wider, but specific net for a particular subject. To create them you need to place # character before a keyword, or a phrase that you want to trigger when someone looks for something similar on the result pages. Hashtags like #yeswecan and #metoo had spread like a wildfire in the past.

Instagram marketing Hashtag Marketing

Here’s how you can unleash the power of hashtags to reach your marketing potential:

  • Use Brand Specific Hashtags – Create a unique hashtag for your brand that is both appealing and short. More than four words and you’ve lost the interest of your followers. The slogan or phrase should be something that is emblematic of your brand. The more jingoistic the hashtag, the better. Incorporate them in most of your posts related to business.

Instagram marketing hashtag marketing 2

  • Combine Popular and Less Common Hashtags – While you do need to use popular hashtags to come up in searches, you should also include some uncommon ones. The downside of using popular hashtags is that everyone uses them, and you would drown in a sea of hashtags. However, using less common hashtags would ensure your survival in the search items; you would live longer. This is not an either-or situation. You would get the best possible result by fusing the two and using the amalgamation together.

Instagram marketing unfoundation

  • Create a List of Hashtags – You could make a note of your favourite or most-popular hashtags. Separate the lists on the basis of genre, set them with your main hashtag, and then just copy and paste the entire list to save typing time.

Instagram marketing 6

8. Eyeing Your Competitors

Putting out quality content is important for your business, and so is staying vigilant. Keep a close tab on your competitors. Be aware of the kind of content they are putting out and how well it is being received. Investigating your competitors’ profiles will give you some ideas about the substance that you could include in your Instagram marketing strategy.

What do your competitors post and when? You should take inspiration from the kind of content your successful competitors put out and try to do something similar. Analyse their profiles to see if photos, videos (in carousel style or otherwise) or Instagram stories work best for them. Find out when you should post what, and the kind of captions you should include for best engagement opportunities. Remember that the users are very sharp and would spot a blind copy infraction of a second, and would then probably go on to publicly criticise you. The best way to avoid this is to take inspiration, but not blindly copy your competitors’ work. Add something of yourself to the idea and try to make it your own.

9. Editorial Calendar

To reap the benefits of marketing on Instagram, you must bear in mind your business’ short-term and long-term marketing goals. You should always post strategically and with purpose, and an editorial calendar comes in handy in doing so. Having an editorial calendar for your posts creates consistency for your strategy and adds value to the purpose of which you post. It also helps you in maintaining a high level of organization for your marketing on social media and in ensuring that the representation of your enterprise’s personality is consistent and strategic.

If multiple people are posting on your Instagram account, having an editorial calendar would mean that everyone is aware of their own individual tasks and there is no confusion regarding timelines, content and strategy. Enterprises with a large following with several social media accounts should also consider using outside services which cater to the automation of managing social media accounts like scheduling posts, providing backlinks, and responding to customers.

10. Optimise Your Instagram Marketing Strategy

If you want to know what’s working for your brand, you must analyze your social data. Therein lie all the answers to the questions that keep you up at night. By analyzing your data, you’ll be able to quickly identify the content that is performing best. You should continue delivering such content, and in the meantime also tweak others that are not performing well.

  • Experiment with Segmented Analysis – Segmented analysis allows you to accumulate specific types of posts together and analyze them as a group. Categorise the groups by, for instance, media type (videos, photos, and links), or products (pitting one against the other to see which performs better). Compare the performances of the groups and learn which posts are creating most engagement and visibility. Thereafter, take an informed decision and make appropriate changes to your marketing strategy accordingly.

  • Partner with and Regram Influencers – Try to partner with influencers who matter to your target demographic, and regram photos from the most influential of them. This is a great way to source organic, dynamic content and amplify the brand’s Instagram feed.

  • Understand What Engages Your Target Audience the Most – To be successful on Instagram, you should find out what captures your target audience’s attention and keeps it there. Post the kind of content that your followers are most likely to like, regram or comment on.

  • Determine Social ROI – Find out the return on investment on all the investments you are making. Then assign budgets to each digital channel for maximum ROI accordingly.


Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms and has gained immense popularity over the years. If used properly, Instagram can be a great marketing tool for all sorts of businesses, whether you are selling a product or a service. The mobile nature of Instagram provides your organisation with the opportunity to get noticed on the go. On the flip side, it also makes the opportunities transient. So seize them when you can.



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