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
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 Instagram business 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:
Go to Settings > Account > Switch to a professional account.
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.
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.
Set clear Instagram marketing goals
Identify your Instagram target audience
Conduct a competitive analysis
Build a solid optimized profile and bio
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
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. To help you get the dimensions you want, you can use an image resizer tool.
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 Wix's 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:
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.
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 Instagram 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.
Live and Live Rooms
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.
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.
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.
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 Wix 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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 link stickers
Link stickers are a valuable Instagram tool available for accounts with over 10,000 followers. This clickable button added to 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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. This can be a wonderful solution for how to make money on Instagram.
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.”