Step 2: Create a winning Instagram strategy
Define your target audience
Research Instagram’s audience demographics to get a sense of who uses the platform. For example, 25-34-year-olds represent the largest ad audience on the site. Identify the key segments that overlap with your customer base, or hone in on active niches.
Knowing who’s in your audience puts you in a better position to create content. Look at the type of content your customers post and engage with, and use these insights to inform your creative strategy.
Set goals and objectives
Start with your business objectives and identify how Instagram can help you accomplish them. We recommend applying the SMART framework to ensure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Track the right performance metrics
Create a content calendar
With your audience and goals defined, you can plan to publish on Instagram with purpose. A well-planned social media content calendar ensures you don’t miss important dates and allows you to allot enough time for creative production.
Start by plotting out and researching important events. This may include periods such as holiday planning or Black History Month, back to school or tax season, or specific days like Giving Tuesday or International Hug Your Cat Day. Look at sales data to see when your customers start planning for specific occasions.
Look for opportunities to develop themes or regular installments that you can build into a series. “Content buckets,” as some people call them, allow you to check certain boxes without having to overthink creation. The more planning you do upfront, the better you’ll be able to produce regular content and respond to last-minute or unplanned events.
4 paid ways to promote your Instagram
You may want to take your Instagram marketing to the next level and promote your account with a little bit of budget. There are some easy and cost-effective ways you can do that. Here are four paid ways to promote your Instagram to get more followers.
1. Do exciting giveaways and contests
Giveaways and contests are a great way to get people to engage with your business and draw attention to it as a result. For example, you could do an Instagram giveaway that requires people to follow and tag a couple of friends to enter.
Imagine how much exposure your business could gain in a short time with this method. And beyond just being seen, you’d also have future opportunities to build relationships with your new followers, which could then turn into sales!
2. Try influencer marketing
What’s more powerful than self-promotion? Being promoted by others. Especially when they already have the attention and trust of the people you want to connect with via Instagram. This highlights the value of working influencers, which can dramatically accelerate your growth on IG.
The great thing is that you don’t need to partner with a megastar like The Rock to succeed with influencer marketing. Research has shown that micro-influencers—those with less than 100K followers—have much higher engagement rates than people with millions anyway.
Plus, micro-influencers tend to have more focused content, which attracts a dialed-in, highly interested audience. As a result, if your business aligns with what an influencer stands for and who they create content for, their audience is likely to respond positively to learning about you.
3. Run paid promotions
If you have the budget to run paid promotions through Instagram ads, go for it! That is, if you know your audience well enough to create an attractive ad that’ll get you a return on your investment. (If you can’t use Instagram’s ad targeting options to get your promos in front of the right people and/or can’t execute on the creative side of things, you run the risk of losing money.)
4. Promote your Instagram in print
Don’t just let people know that you’re on Instagram. Make it as easy as possible for them to check you out and follow you. For example, create an Instagram QR code that people can scan to go directly to your profile.
21 Instagram marketing tips for business that you can’t afford to ignore
1. Use a business account
A creator account has its own set of benefits for influencers and content creators. But for most marketers, a business account is where it’s at. Hop back up to the top of this post and convert your account if you haven’t already done so.
2. Clearly define your goals
3. Know your audience
But that doesn’t mean you should only use Instagram to try to reach urban Americans in their 20s. Instead, you need to define your target market so you can create content that speaks directly to that audience.
4. Optimize your profile
In just 150 characters, your Instagram bio needs to make a great first impression, convey your brand personality, and tell people why they should bother following your Instagram account.
5. Choose the right profile photo
Your Instagram profile photo displays at 110 by 110 pixels, cropped to a circle with a 110 pixel diameter. However, it’s stored at 320 by 320 pixels, so you should upload a file that large to make sure it still looks good if Instagram changes how profile pics are displayed.
6. Create visually compelling content
Instagram is a visual medium, so your posts have simply got to look great. You don’t need professional photography equipment, but your photos and videos do need to be sharp, well-lit, well-composed, and in focus, at a minimum.
Beauty Brand Glow Recipe uses IGTV videos to showcase skincare routines for different skin types using their products. They post previews of the longer videos to news feed, so followers always know when a new tutorial is ready to watch.
Keep in mind that compelling content can extend your reach if people are inspired to share your newsfeed posts to their Stories. So, when thinking about how to market your business on Instagram, focus on creating content that’s worthy of a share, not just a quick like.
7. Establish your brand’s “look” on Instagram
8. Write great captions
True, we just said that Instagram is a visual medium. But that doesn’t mean you can neglect your captions. Your brand voice is just as important as your brand look. Like your visuals, it should be consistent across posts.
Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters long, so you can use them for everything from a quick quip to detailed storytelling. That said, only the first two lines of text appear in news feed without tapping more.
9. Use hashtags wisely
We recommend using between five and nine hashtags per post. More than that can look like hashtag stuffing, a spammy tactic that turns followers off. Worse, if you use irrelevant or repetitive hashtags, users can choose not to see your content for that tag.
If you want engagement on Instagram, you have to engage, too. Posting quality content is great, but if you ignore comments and never interact with any other profiles, you’ll have a lonely existence on the network.
At a minimum, respond to comments users post on your feed. But also seek out popular accounts in your niche, follow them, and like and comment on their posts. Make yourself visible in a non-promotional way.
11. Make the most of Instagram Stories
Half of businesses on Instagram use Stories. And they’re getting great results: A third of the most viewed Stories are posted by businesses. Stories are a key part of a good Instagram marketing strategy.
Instagram Stories disappear after just 24 hours. Followers expect them to be more real and raw than your curated Instagram feed. They provide an opportunity to connect with followers and build relationships.
If fans tag you in their Stories, you can reshare the content to your own Story. This can be an easy, seamless way of sharing user-generated content while giving a nod of thanks to your top fans.
12. Use Stories highlights and covers to boost your bio
You can create highlight albums to preserve your top Stories content, so it doesn’t disappear after 24 hours. Your highlight albums appear right under your bio, and you can create custom covers for each.
Used effectively, this adds a whole extra component to your bio, giving potential followers loads more information about your business and why they should follow you on Instagram.
Post at the right times and avoid overposting. Post one to two times every day and check out when your followers are most active. Schedule posts to go live during those days and times.
He is the co-founder of NP Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.