The Complete Instagram Marketing Guide for Your Business in 2021



As you know, creating a website for your business or blog is the most crucial step to your online success. But there's still a lot left to do after publishing your site, such as bringing in traffic and targeting the right people.


To reach your audience, you'll want to get in front of users where they're already spending a lot of their time - social media. One of the most popular social media channels is Instagram, which has over a billion active monthly users. There, people come to get inspired, discover new content and learn about new businesses and brands like yours.


Wix users reported that sharing content on social media platforms, including Instagram, increased their website traffic by over 2X. But Instagram isn't just beneficial for driving clicks. With the help of tools only available to business accounts, Instagram marketing efforts also enable businesses to achieve brand awareness, promote their products and services and drive sales.


In this Instagram marketing guide, we'll discuss all the ways you can use the channel to meet your marketing goals, including setting up an optimized Instagram business account, creating solid content pillars, knowing the best times to post, partnering with influencers and more.



Instagram marketing in 5 steps


  1. Create an Instagram business account

  2. Develop a strategy

  3. Strategically use all of Instagram’s formats

  4. Build robust content pillars

  5. Instagram marketing tips



01. Create an Instagram business account


“The secret of getting ahead [on Instagram] is getting started,” said Mark Twain. If you don't have one yet, the first thing you need to do is to create an Instagram account through the mobile app or website. Once your account is set up, you'll need to convert your profile to a professional account. This will grant you access to premium features such as advertising, analytics and shopping posts.


Here is how to get a professional Instagram account:

  1. Sign up.

  2. Go to Settings > Account > Switch to a professional account.

  3. Connect to Facebook: You will be asked if you’d like to link your account to your Facebook business page. This is recommended because it will allow you to easily share posts on both channels and find relevant people to follow.

  4. Update your settings:

  • Set your profile to public so that non-followers can see your posts and interact with your brand.

  • Allow for comments and messages from users in order to open more channels of communication.

  • Turn on notifications to stay up to date with activity on your account.





02. Develop a strategy


Instagram's funny memes and "Throwback Thursday" (#TBT) photos sure are entertaining. But to turn Instagram into an instrumental marketing channel for your business, you'll first need to work on developing a solid strategy.


  1. Set clear Instagram marketing goals

  2. Identify your Instagram target audience

  3. Conduct a competitive analysis

  4. Build a solid optimized profile and bio

  5. Decide on a consistent Instagram aesthetic



Set clear Instagram marketing goals


The most critical part of any marketing strategy is setting clear goals. Understanding why you’re on Instagram will help you better measure success. Begin by outlining a primary and secondary goal that defines what you’re hoping to accomplish with your efforts. Also, give some thought to how much time and budget you are willing to invest to meet those goals realistically.


Some of the most common Instagram marketing goals include:

  • Showcasing your products or services

  • Building brand awareness

  • Increasing sales

  • Sharing important company news and updates

  • Driving brand loyalty and trust among users

  • Fostering an engaging community



Identify your Instagram target audience


If your audience is everyone, your audience is no one, so make sure you're in tune with whom you'd like to be reaching and what’s important to your target group. Decide on an ideal customer persona across different categories:


  • Demographic: Age, gender, location

  • Persona: Interests, pain points, motivations

  • Instagram behavior: Hashtags they use, what they care about/post about, which brands they follow etc.


An excellent place to locate an ideal target audience is your competitors’ followers list. Because these users already have shown interest in your product category, they will likely be interested in your offerings too.



Conduct a competitive analysis


When marketing on Instagram, remember to "keep your friends close and your enemies closer." You can do so by running an audit on what has or hasn't been working well in your space. You should also follow your favorite brands, visit your competitors and companies you look up to, and take note of these patterns:


  • Hashtags: Which hashtags are they using? Are there repeating hashtags in your industry?

  • Captions: What type of language is used to communicate with your audience?

  • Content and visuals: Which images and type of content seem to resonate most with your target market based on competition posts' likes and engagement?


While you shouldn't copy their same Instagram marketing strategy, noticing patterns happening in your industry will provide you with direction for getting started.

After your competitive analysis, you’ll have seen plenty of relevant Instagram business profiles that you can use as inspiration. Now it's time to craft your own.



Build a solid optimized profile and bio


Just like you’d look your best and wear business casual at your job interview, your company’s Instagram should also look professional and presentable. From deciding what you write in your bio to selecting the image colors in your Stories, your profile should represent the look and feel of your brand.



Write an insightful bio


As much as we’d like to think of ourselves as not quick to judge people, first impressions are inevitable. Therefore, you should have a catchy, on-brand Instagram bio, as this is the first section people see when they land on your page. In this space, you have 150 characters to showcase your brand’s personality and the value of your service or product.


Include these details in your bio for an optimized profile:


  • Name: This can be the same or different than your username. Since your name is searchable, consider adding keywords that describe your service to increase your chances of being found by users. For example, Wix user Kaekoo added the keyword “pillows” to her Instagram name to help users identify her product.


  • Category: Choose which type of industry your brand falls into to help visitors quickly understand which services you offer.


  • Description: In just a few words, describe what your business does. Follow the example of Kaekoo, who clearly outlines that her company provides handmade textiles and shelves for the home. You can add emojis, as they often speak for themselves, or even include a hashtag related to your content.


  • CTA: Add a call to action (CTA) that you’d like visitors to take. It can be as simple as “shop.”


  • Contact info: Provide the information users need to get in touch with you. By adding a phone number or email, potential customers will be able to reach out to you immediately, rather than having to visit your site just to find this information.


  • Website link: On Instagram, your bio is one of the only places you can include a clickable link, so make sure to add one. If you wish to direct your clicks to more than one destination, you can do so using a social bio link. Apps such as Elink.io, Shorby, and Linktree allow you to bundle several links in a single webpage to navigate between key landing pages of your choice, such as your online store, blog or other social channels.





Choose an on-brand profile photo


To be easily identified on Instagram, you should use your logo as your profile photo. With a logo maker's help, you can design a clean and powerful image for your business and social channels. Just make sure your image is at least 320 x 320 pixels, and keep in mind that Instagram will crop it into a round shape.


Stay on-brand by using the same logo on your social media platforms as on your website. We’ve followed our own advice and use our logo to ensure we are easily recognizable.





By now, you’ve hopefully caught the attention of your Instagram visitors with your bio and profile photo. The next step is to make sure you keep them visually engaged with a beautifully designed feed.



Decide on a consistent Instagram aesthetic


Designing an Instagram feed is a lot like creating a website. There are numerous colors, fonts, images and layouts that go into successfully sharing your brand message. To combine all these moving pieces, you can use the Ascend social post maker to easily choose a stunning template and customize it to stand out on Instagram.





Here are some ideas on how to beautify your Instagram:



Feed composition


Each row on an Instagram profile’s feed consists of three images. It’s popular to use this tiled layout to alternate between the types of images you publish. For instance, you can create a “checkered” feed rotating dark and light photos.





Or you can follow Ray-Ban’s lead and use a different color scheme in each row.





Sure, some planning ahead goes into yielding such a composition, but Instagram tools like Feed Previewer, Planoly and Plann let you see how your feed will look before posting.



Color palette in images, text and stories


Show your true (brand) colors by picking 3-5 shades that will appear consistently in your photos and text. Honing in on a specific family of shades will create a visually appealing and professional look. In Lexylicious Ice Cream's case, the pink color repeats across the feed for consistency.





To help you keep color shades consistent, consider using filters and presets.



Filters on images


Filters are to photos what makeup is to models: it’s not always needed, but it sure helps create a glamorous effect. You can achieve such a transformation on your photos by using photo editing software such as Wix Photo Studio, the built-in Instagram filters, or Lightroom presets.


Below you can see how the organic tea company, The Tea Story, used filters to achieve consistency in all the orange and red colors across their images to create a stunning business page feed.





Font on images or stories


The fonts you use are part of your brand's language, so make sure it represents you. Fashion legend Chanel has created a signature font that has stayed the same for decades, even on Instagram. If you also want similar branding success, be consistent with the fonts displayed in your stories, images and videos.




Templates


To help you create compelling visual content, you can customize pre-made Instagram templates. They look very professional and are easy to edit to fit your brand and Instagram goals. Templates can save you creation time and assist with achieving a consistent feel to your Instagram account.


Wix offers Instagram templates for social posts about sales, app downloads, new product alerts, reminders, quotes and more. To find the templates for your feed, sign in to Wix.com and navigate to Marketing & SEO, then click on Social Posts.





03. Strategically use all of Instagram’s formats


Instagram is far from being a one-trick pony. Starting with only still images, the app now offers a handful of formats and Instagram features such as Stories, IGTV, Instagram Live, Shopping and its newest Reels format.


Being captivating isn't the only benefit of using more than one Instagram format. The algorithm has been said to reward accounts that use many of Instagram's different products. Let's explore each format type and how you can leverage it for your business.


  1. Standard image

  2. Carousel

  3. Videos

  4. Stories

  5. Story Highlights

  6. IGTV

  7. Reels

  8. Live and Live Rooms

  9. Shopping



Standard image


Standard image posts are still photographs that live on your feed. Since Instagram is such a visual place, many businesses upload high-resolution, gorgeous "Instagramable" pictures. It is good practice to alternate between the types of content you publish, which we will discuss later on as we dive into content pillars.



Carousel


While real-life carousels rotate in circles for amusement, Instagram Carousel posts rotate horizontally across our feed for engagement. This type of post can include up to 10 images and videos, all of which are presented in a single post with a horizontal scrolling feature.


In the image below, you can see how fashion designer Zimmermann perfectly used the Carousel format to showcase a dress from the front, the back and, lastly, in motion through a short runway video. Talk about a 360-degree experience of a product.


Showing products might not be the only benefit of the Carousel format. It’s been said that the algorithm prioritizes content that gets a lot of engagement time. Naturally, scrolling through multiple images rather than one takes longer and can help your post’s performance.




Videos


In the past, TV commercials used to be the primary way to reach consumers with video content. Today, instead of spending thousands of dollars on TV, businesses can use Instagram videos to tell their brand story, show products and new releases. Instagram has seen a lot of success with the video format and reported an 80% Increase in time spent watching videos on Instagram.


To help create a powerful video, you can use Wix’s Video Maker for video editing, sound insertion and overlaying text.





Stories


The idea that something interesting can go away at any moment is quite a nail-biter. This is a feeling Instagram Stories thrive on and has compelled 500M people to interact with stories every day. After 24 short hours, the content shown in the shapes of circles at the top of your screen disappears. Although 15 seconds seems like a short-lasting post, this format is a powerful Instagram marketing strategy, as 50% of people surveyed say they have visited a website to buy a product or service as a result of seeing it in Stories.


Unlike other Instagram formats, Stories show a raw, authentic side of your brand. Instead of a picture-perfect feed photo, you post about the business's day-to-day, the company culture, and behind the scenes. With Ascend Social Posts or apps like inStory and Ash you have custom templates and layouts that help you create quick and engaging visual Stories.


You can keep users lingering longer on each post by not just showing product images and promotions but including informative text, videos and engaging stickers. When it comes to stickers, there are many ways brands used them effectively for their Instagram marketing approach:



Polls


Polls let viewers vote between two customizable options. Use this feature in your Story to let users choose between their favorite product or image to engage in a gamified way.



Countdown and product launch stickers


Countdown stickers allow you to set an end date and time for any upcoming milestone for your business, such as a giveaway, new line release or sale. Users have the option to get alerted once the timeline has finished remembering to come back to your account and take action.


See how Summers Snugglies used a countdown sticker for an upcoming product launch.




Question stickers


Who doesn't like being asked their opinion? Question stickers do just that. They can let you have an interactive Q&A with viewers. You can even take it a step further and use Question stickers for market research.


Quiz stickers


Quiz stickers are multiple-choice questions that, after clicking one, reveal the correct answer. Come up with some witty trivia questions about your industry, product or service.



GIFs


GIFs are moving images that can help bring your Story to life and show your brand personality. There is a search bar on Instagram Stories that lets you find GIFs based on keywords.


In addition to using stickers to make your stories more engaging, you can use "new post" GIFs to promote new content on your feed.



Location stickers


No surprise here, location stickers show your location. You can use it to tell customers your business's physical location, make it easier for them to find you, or highlight an event or special venue you're currently attending. But they're not just informational; according to Omnicore, posts with a location get 79% more engagement.



Hashtags


Use the hashtag sticker to highlight words related to what you're posting about or your brand. Doing so can help your Story get discovered by people who are interested in the given topic.



Clickable “See More” link


The “See More,” also known as the “Swipe up” link, is a valuable Instagram tool available for accounts with over 10,000 followers. This clickable button at the bottom of a Story sends customers directly to any landing page you choose, such as your website, an affiliate link or your Instagram Shop.


In the following image, you can see how printmaker, illustrator and designer Lili Arnold Studios used this feature to send viewers to buy her book.




Mention stickers


Mention stickers allow you to tag accounts in a Story, who are then notified and given the option to share it on their own Stories. You can mention your customers, your employees or even other brands.



Shopping stickers


Use Shopping stickers to tag merchandise in your Story and direct people to your Instagram Shop. In addition to promoting your store, it's also a great way to help identify the items shown in the photo. For instance, H&M used a shoppable sticker to highlight their activewear jacket.





Story Highlights


Some Instagram stories are just too good to disappear forever. Instead of letting them expire after 24 hours, you can save past stories into a permanent location called Story Highlights. These saved stories live below your bio and are viewable by any visitor. While consumers use them to highlight big events like weddings or vacations, brands leverage them to introduce themselves, their products and their offerings.


For example, the wheelchair cover maker Izzy Wheels uses Story Highlights to help visitors easily find different collections such as their Hello Kitty, Barbie and Wedding wheel covers. All Story Highlight cover photos can be customized with images to represent their categories.


To create Story covers, upload an image from your camera roll or choose from a previously published Story. Alternatively, you can use a Story Highlight Cover Maker app or buy them from Etsy designers.





IGTV


Clips between 1min - 60min in length are perfect for the IGTV format that lets you publish vertical video content. These videos can be used for product reviews, interviews or show the behind-the-scenes of product creation. If you have video content from other channels, you can easily convert your video content to Instagram TV. It can be worth creating such content for exposure since Instagram states that IGTV videos appear 4X larger than photos on Explore.


Same as with feed posts and Reels, you can drive people to watch your IGTV content by sharing the video to your Story.


For example, Vivi et Margot, a traditional French homeware shop owner, has a robust IGTV channel with behind-the-scenes shopping videos, home design inspiration and table decorating tips.





Reels


Reels is comparable to the famous dance, comedy and education app called TikTok. Users record and edit up to 30 seconds of multi-clip videos with interactive filters and popular sounds. The trick is that you can start filming, stop and start again and layer on special effects. If your page is public, these entertaining videos can be found in Explore and help your brand reach new followers.


Plantable gifts store Nurturing Nature Cards wrote that Reels helps for exposure and encouraged other entrepreneurs to "do your business a favor and start making reels!"





Live and Live Rooms


Time to get authentic with “real-time” videos called Instagram Live. As a business, you can think of Live as a virtual event. Who's invited to your event? Any followers currently on the app (or have notifications turned on for Live) will receive a message that you’re live and offer an option to watch.


If you're planning to host other users, you can do so with Live Rooms. This feature allows you to live broadcast with up to three people, similar to a webinar where several people interact and the audience listens. In this format, real-time comments and questions come up on the screen that you can address on the spot.


Brands use this format as part of their Instagram marketing strategy in the following ways:


  • Create a live shopping experience where you expose your products and direct viewers to a shopping link to purchase the items you’re showcasing.

  • Host an interview with a customer or influencer.

  • Run a Q&A session by answering common questions.

  • Show behind the scenes of an event currently taking place for your business.

  • Host a tutorial or workshop.


Shopping


With the massive popularity of online shopping, Instagram has jumped onto the opportunity to bring the eCommerce experience to social media. Already seeing huge success, studies show that 130 million accounts tap on shopping posts to learn more about products every month.


Instagram Shopping gives your business a storefront to reach new people through your organic posts, stories, search and Explore. Additionally, on the new Shop platform, consumers can discover products for sale from the brands they follow and other related stores recommended to them. There, you will want to set up your company Shop to display all your products in the form of a catalog. If you qualify as a “Checkout Business,” users can even directly purchase products through the app.


You can also use Instagram Shopping in your Stories and feed. After someone taps your Shopping product tag, they will see the image, price, description and a link to purchase it. For example, gourmet granola brand Les Granolas de Jenny has an Instagram Shop, which users can get to by tapping on “View Products.”




04. Build robust content pillars


As beautiful as your product photos are, you cannot only rely on them for your full Instagram marketing strategy. To truly be successful, you should also include material that educates, informs, inspires or entertains. We recommend building content pillars that fall into these different categories:


  1. User-generated content

  2. Behind-the-scenes (BTS) content

  3. Quotes

  4. Employees

  5. Product promotion

  6. Educational posts

  7. Seasonal posts

  8. Events

  9. Testimonials

  10. News, press and publicity posts

  11. Entertaining or humorous content



User-generated content


User-generated content (UGC) includes images, videos or text that have been made and posted by your users online. This type of content is not only a big timer saver because you don’t have to create it, but also an extremely trustworthy and valuable asset.


Social Media Today reports user-generated content has a 4.5% higher conversion rate. To tap into this content potential, encourage customers to tag you on their photos and reviews and share them regularly on your Story or feed.


Behind-the-scenes (BTS) content


Behind every successful brand, there is a lot of heavy lifting to keep the business afloat. Let users see what it takes to maintain a company like yours, whether it's photoshoots, packaging or making the product. You will connect with users as it shows a more personal, real and exciting side of you.



Quotes


Quotes don't only work well because they allow for a fresh voice to be heard on your page, but also because quotes can often be moving and inspiring. A recommended practice is to try and keep your quotes related to your audience and field. For instance, we shared a quote by Adele Goldberg, a computer scientist, which fits our web building audience.





Employees


A company is only as good as its employees. Show the world the talent your company is made of by featuring yourself and your staff in your posts. Employee photos can also help with putting a face to the brand. According to a study by Backlinko, Instagram posts that include faces receive 38% more likes than those without faces.



Promote your products


83% of users say Instagram has helped them discover new products and services, so it's a no-brainer that one of your content pillars will revolve around marketing your offerings.


As long as you balance promotions with your other posts, they won’t come across too aggressively. You can feature new releases (teaser campaigns), best sellers or promotions. For instance, see how Marc Jacobs features one of their limited edition fragrances in one of their posts.





Educational posts


You don't know what you don't know. Allowing visitors to learn about the purpose or problem you solve can help them better understand what's in it for them. As a result of creating informational content, users can get educated, gain value and trust your business.


You can see how natural candle company Fontana Candle Co. created a post that breaks down all the ingredients in their product in the image below. Their caption elaborates on the difference between using a clean-candle from natural ingredients versus one filled with toxins.





Seasonal posts


Whether it's a seasonal holiday, national celebration or social movement happening, tap into the moment's timeliness and post relevant content around it. Take a look at how waffle company Bubblewrap used World Nutella Day to display their mouth-watering snacks.




Events


Nothing creates FOMO (fear of missing out) more than a hot event you’re hosting or attending. Let your followers know what you’ve been up to by showing sneak peeks from your A-List events.


Testimonials


No matter how good your slogan or elevator pitch is, it will always sound better coming from your customer's mouth. By embedding customer testimonials into your posts, you will help your brand's image and let true stories sell themselves.


News, press and publicity


You've been mentioned in the news and gotten some publicity. Now it's time to "humbly" brag about it. After all, did it really happen if no one knows about it? For example, Brown Girl Jane was featured in Elle magazine and brilliantly posted the article's snippet.





Entertaining or humorous posts


Are there any cliches or trending jokes circulating in popular culture at the moment? It could be a good idea to jump on the wagon and create a related post or meme to help show your brand's quirky side.


After your content pillars are strong and sturdy, it will be time to focus on growing your account.



05. Instagram marketing tips


While there are hundreds of tips and tricks to marketing on Instagram, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 most essential growth strategies:


  1. Understand the Instagram algorithm

  2. Write compelling captions

  3. Use hashtags deliberately

  4. Engage with current and potential customers

  5. Run a contest or giveaway

  6. Partner with an influencer

  7. Serve sponsored ads with Instagram Advertising

  8. Know the best time to post on Instagram

  9. Track and optimize performance

  10. Share and promote your Instagram



Understand the Instagram algorithm


Instagram's use of artificial intelligence and machine learning for its algorithm is still a mystery in many ways. However, some creators found patterns in the algorithm that they used in their favor and, as a result, saw a lot of Instagram marketing success.


The first thing you need to keep in mind is that, rather than being in chronological order, the feed displays posts depending on the type of content Instagram thinks users would be most interested in and will spend more time viewing.


To use the algorithm to your advantage, you must prove to Instagram that people find your content interesting in a short amount of time after posting. Here are some ways to get the algorithm interested in your posts - and boost them as a result:


  • Increase the time people spend viewing your post

  • Encourage saves

  • Get more shares

  • Drive post engagement (comments and likes) immediately after posting. You can leave two comments on your own post within the first few seconds of posting to trigger the engagement momentum.

  • Write an alt text description for your images. The words you choose can help the algorithm choose whom to push your content to based on their interests.



Write compelling captions


Captions are a powerful way to make your brand's voice heard and get the post's message across. While you have 2,200 characters available, after 125 characters your text gets truncated, so the first two lines are key


In addition to crafting informational and entertaining text, it's important to include a call to action (CTA) in some of your captions. Instagram reports there is an 89% chance that campaigns that emphasize the CTA will outperform those that do not.


Some of the most common CTAs ask users to comment on something specific in your post. Other popular CTAs encourage users to check out the link in your bio. See how designer Abby Leighton announced the launch of the Wix online store and directed her followers to "check out the link in my bio."





If you need some inspiration for witty lines, use the caption generator from CapGenius or Preview. Don’t forget to use some emojis and hashtags, as more than half of Instagram captions and comments contain emojis. Pay attention to how Abby Leighton used the heart emoji to thank her followers for their support.



Use hashtags deliberately


Times have changed, and the pound sign (#) is no longer just a button you press when speaking to an automated phone machine. Social media channels use hashtags now as a vital tool for discoverability, increasing followers and relevant engagement. It’s been reported that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement.


It is crucial that you choose Instagram hashtags that describe your business, are specific to your niche, audience, region and purpose of the account. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices to follow for your Instagram hashtag strategy.



Include different size hashtags


You can use up to 30 hashtags in each post. While this number might seem large, it's still important to be strategic with your choices.


Use a mix of big, medium and small hashtags in each post. Hashtags with over a million posts (such as #fitnessmotivation) and niche tags with only a few hundred thousand (such as #fitnessclothes) are equally important. They are excellent for helping your posts show up in relevant feeds and getting found when people are searching for those categories. You don't want to use just huge ones as they're more competitive than niche hashtags. Smaller hashtags help you get discovered, as your post will appear for a longer period of time in the recent post section.


Rotate and change your hashtags


Even if you think the hashtags you've used on the last few posts worked like magic, make sure you rotate them not to miss your chances to reach other audiences that follow slightly different tags. To keep track, make a list of 6 -10 distinct groups of 30 hashtags to copy and paste. Then, all you’ll need to do is alternate between them.


Create a branded hashtag


The difference between a regular and a branded hashtag is that the latter is crafted around your business. It can include your company name in the hashtag like #ShareACoke or mention a product like Disneyland’s #ShareYourEars.


The goal of a branded hashtag is to build buzz around your brand and also to gather user-generated content. To help kick off your branded hashtag, let your followers know about it and encourage them to use it for a chance to be featured.





Follow relevant hashtags


To help you stay up to date with your industry and target audience, follow specific hashtags. Instagram will then show you the top posts each week in your feed for the tags you followed. By following hashtags, you can also more easily engage with your community as the posts come to you.


To assist you with these hashtags tips, you can use tools like the Hashtag Expert and Hashtagify that automate the above steps.



Engage with current and potential customers


There is both a science and an art to marketing on Instagram. You can be creative with your content and captions, but there is also a scientific approach to engagement. The more you engage with other people's posts, the more likely they are to go back to your profile, engage with you, follow you or maybe even come to your website to convert into a loyal customer. Apparently, 2 in 3 people surveyed say Instagram enables interaction with brands.


Here are some practical ways to interact with your audience:


  • Respond to all your comments, or at least the ones written in the first few hours after you post.

  • Leave comments and likes in other accounts. The more meaningful and personal your comment is, the more likely the recipient will connect with your brand.

  • Collaborate with similar accounts. Agree on mutual value exchange actions such as sharing each other's posts on your Story to allow for more engagement from new audiences.

  • Join or start engagement groups that like, comment and save each other's posts. Consistent, immediate engagement triggers the algorithm to recognize your content as worthwhile.

  • Lastly, let’s address your most pressing question, “How do I get more followers on Instagram?” Many marketers recommend the Dollar Eighty ($1.80) engagement method by Gary Vaynerchuk. You need to search for ten different hashtags in your niche, comment on the top 9 posts by leaving your “2 cents” on each post. The secret sauce is $0.02 x 9 x 10 = $1.80.


Sometimes it takes more than a like or comment to get someone's attention, which is why you can also offer a contest or giveaway as part of your Instagram marketing tactics.



Run a contest or giveaway


You'd be surprised just how much people are willing to do for free gifts. Okay, we don't mean selling a kidney, but many people are eager to follow, share, tag friends and heavily promote another Instagram account for the chance of winning an appealing prize.


The ideal outcome is that the cost of the giveaway will be worth the price you want to pay for more followers, reach and customers. Depending on your budget and audience, the reward can be an expensive gadget, a discount sale, or your own product giveaway.


Make sure the contest period is somewhere between 2-5 days, and announce the winner afterward. To help you choose a winner, you can use a comment picker or giveaway picker.


For example, Coal and Canary Candle Company ran a successful giveaway that yielded over 4,000 comments. All the people tagged in the post due to the contest were exposed to the company.





Partner with an influencer


Influencers are people with a lot of followers who can influence purchasing decisions. While some influencers are more like Instagram celebrities, some brands also work with micro-influencers who have a smaller following but still can be valuable brand advocates.


People have become more desensitized to traditional advertising, which is why working with influencers to promote your business is a great way to achieve credibility among your customers. In fact, 55% of shoppers have purchased a fashion item after seeing a creator promote it, and 89% say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.



How to partner with an influencer


Follow these steps to get started with influencer marketing:


  1. Identify an Influencer through research or using a marketplace such as Intellifluence or Tribe that matches you with a fitting person in your niche.

  2. Audit the influencer’s account for authenticity by looking at their engagement to follower ratio. You can do that by using a fake follower checker or manually scroll through followers to see if they look like real people instead of bots.

  3. Contact them to propose a collaboration. In an email or meeting, agree on a price, a content creation vision and a timeline.



Serve sponsored ads with Instagram Advertising


Ads on Instagram come in the form of promoted stories or posts that reach your selected target audience's feeds that don't currently follow you. Advertising can be of interest to you, considering 50% are more interested in a brand when they see ads for it on Instagram.


To make the most of your promotional budget, read our guide on how to advertise on Instagram. Here's a quick look at some of the steps to follow:


  1. Select which asset you want to promote: In your Instagram professional account, you can tap on any post or story of yours and click “Promote.” We recommend using your Instagram Insights and promote the content that has already performed really well organically.

  2. Choose a campaign objective: Determine what your business goals are. Instagram breaks them down into three categories: awareness (reach and brand awareness), consideration (traffic, engagement) and conversion (sales, store traffic).

  3. Define your audience: Instagram can automatically target people similar to your followers, or you can manually create your own targeting by selecting their location, interest, age and gender.

  4. Set a budget and duration: Choose a daily budget you’d like to spend and for how many days you’d like to run the campaign. The Instagram advertising tool will show you an estimated reach with the budget and duration you set.

  5. Optimize for performance: Pay attention to the advertisement’s performance. Did it get any link clicks to your website or landing page? How many impressions did it get? The more impressions, the higher the chance you will see engagement. If you’re happy with your metrics, you can promote similar posts or if you hope to see better results try different captions, targeting or content to promote.



Know the best time to post on Instagram


To build a strong presence, you need to be consistent and know the best time to post on Instagram. Ideally, you want to post 1-2 times a day on your feed and publish 10+ Stories a day.


What time should you post? Hootsuite analyzed over 200,000 posts that yielded performance metrics by industry. It turns out the best times and days to post for the travel industry are Friday at 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Fridays are also a good day to post for the food industry, especially around noon on that day. It makes sense noon is an excellent time to post, as people are on their lunch breaks and can scroll through Instagram guilt-free.


Others see several performance peaks over the week. For instance, in the retail industry, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at noon are all good days. Another sector that sees success over multiple days a week is the professional services that peak on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:00 AM. Trends indicate that businesses should use their most strategic posts on weekdays.



Track and optimize performance


Unlike TV and magazine marketing, digital marketing is much easier to track, measure and optimize. With the help of the many Instagram analytics tools and the built-in Instagram Insights, you can get information on the following areas:


  • Your follower’s geography and age

  • Your increase and decrease in followers

  • Engagements per post

  • On stories

  • Taps forward

  • Taps backward

  • Next Story and exits

  • Swipe-ups

  • Replies

  • Sort your top posts by most followers gained, likes, comments, and more


Use all your data to help you make informed and educated decisions on which type of content to prioritize or replicate moving forward.





Share and promote your Instagram


You’ve done the hard work of learning how to market on Instagram. Now comes the fun part: letting the world see it. First, include Instagram as one of your social media icon buttons on your site to encourage your loyal customers and visitors to stay up to date and follow you.


Then, wow your website visitors by adding your Instagram images to your site with the Instagram Feed tool. This way, your website will automatically sync and show your most recent Instagram posts.






By Lena Sernoff

Digital Marketing Expert and Writer


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