16 Actionable Tips to Instagram Marketing

16 Actionable Tips to Instagram Marketing

Let’s be honest here, Instagram is a pretty huge image and short-video sharing platform these days. With such a huge user base, you don’t want to miss out on the marketing opportunity here.

But before we start diving into the secret recipes of Instagram marketing, here’re an interesting statistic for Instagram.

Distribution of Instagram users worldwide as of January 2020, by age and gender - Statista
Distribution of Instagram users worldwide as of January 2020, by age and gender – Statista

The Instagram user base is consists of mainly the 25-34 age group followed by the 18-24 age group.

Based on the statistic above, is your target audience belong to any of the age groups? If so, how is the percentage? This is a great way for small brands and businesses to determine whether to invest money and time on Instagram.

Anyway, let’s cut the introduction and go straight away to our main stars today, the 16 best approaches to Instagram marketing!

1. Turn to Business Account NOW

The business account is what shows that you are a business on Instagram. In fact, it’s free to start a business account with just a few clicks. The business profile is free and also comes with some of the best features that can upgrade your Instagram marketing game.

  • Access to Instagram Insight
  • Add CTA button to bio
  • Advertise and setup promoted posts
  • Set up Instagram Shopping

The best thing is that a business account on Instagram is not just limited to brands and businesses, you can apply it as a public figure or blogger.

If you are a public figure or global brand, Instagram also allows you to have a verified blue badge to prove the authenticity of the account. It’s still unknown what’s the exact criteria for the blue badge, but you can still submit your account for the verification process.

H&M Verified Blue Badge - Instagram
H&M Verified Blue Badge – Instagram

2. A Compelling Bio

Do not look down upon the power of a decent Instagram bio. Instagram bio is probably the first thing users see when they clicked on your profile. Below are some ideas for eye-catching bio.

  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Brand hashtag or relevant hashtag
  • Brand slogan
  • Newest brand promotion
  • The highlight of the brand or business (free shipping etc.)
  • Short link to your website/promotion page
Baskin-Robbins's Catchy Bio - Instagram
Baskin-Robbins’s Catchy Bio – Instagram

3. Don’t do “Followers for Followers”

You might hear of the old saying of followers for followers. However, it’s not recommended for a brand unless you are having (literally) zero budget on marketing on Instagram.

Low-quality followers for followers not only degrade your brand reputation by following more users than your followers. It also gives a false impression to users that you might be a spam account.

As your brand grows you will also be having a hard time deleting the unnecessary users from your following.

The one that you should follow is industry-related accounts. It can be publications, or cooperations or any public figures that matter to your brand. You can also ask your friends or colleagues to follow your account.

4. Make Use of Instagram Insight

Instagram Insight - Instazood
Instagram Insight – Instazood

With business accounts, you can also access Instagram Insight which provides metrics about how your posts and stories performed. And it helps create better content for target demographic based on the performances of previous posts and stories.

The better the content, the more users interact with it, resulting in better user engagement on Instagram.

The tools will also help you determine the best posting time according to the users’ interaction with posts that are posted at different times, without the hustle of accessing separate third party services.

5. Add CTA button

A business account also allows you to add a CTA button on the bio. The CTA buttons are located at the bottom of the bio with bolder texts next to the blue follow button.

Message and Email CTA Button at Olive Garden - Instagram
Message and Email CTA Button at Olive Garden – Instagram

This indicates that the users can easily spot the CTA buttons and reach out to you with just a simple click. Thus, increasing the conversion rate.

Certain CTA buttons include booking, reserve, and get tickets which require you to have an account in one of their CTA button partners as listed here. And other buttons such as call, text, and email will need your business contact info.

6. Stories Under Bio – Story Highlights

Those who had been Instagram for quite a while will notice that some accounts have a list of stories underneath the bio. Apparently, that’s what Instagram calls it as Story Highlights.

It’s basically stories that don’t disappear after 24 hours, placed underneath the bio, which is great for creating CTA buttons since you can edit the cover photo to suit your brand.

This feature is disabled by default. To enable it, you will need to go to Setting > Privacy > Story to enable the save to archive first. And then click Story Highlights below your bio and add stories to Story Highlights.

UNIQLO's Story Highlights - Instagram
UNIQLO’s Story Highlights – Instagram

You can use the Story Highlight as CTA buttons to various types of content and here’re some ideas.

  • Stories that linked to website page (For example, a Story Highlight named About Us, which user taps and can swipes up to brand’s website About Us page)
  • Promotion
  • Catalog and magazine

7. Post Consistently (And Multiple Times)

With a social networking platform dominated by new things every now and then, you need to stay relevant. Post consistently helps to build brand awareness for the lesser-known brands.

A great piece of advice of posting multiple times in a day is to recycle content. Imagine you have a newly released makeup palette. Instead of posting a photo of the palette itself, try posting pictures of different models using the same palette on several occasions in a day.

Another tip is to reposting other users’ content if someone is using your product (makeup for example) and they are loving it and post the resulting picture on Instagram. Ask their permission to repost their images on your account and then credit them.

You can use free tools such as Buffer to organize your posts and schedule them to post accordingly. Buffer also offers awesome analytic on how your posts perform and you can also determine the best posting time as well.

8. Post at The Right Time

So, how do you make sure that your posts will be seen on user feeds and not flooded by others? The right posting time helps your post to reach more users that saw your posts in their feeds or search result pages.

Best posting time for brands might vary from target audiences and locations so make sure you test each one out.

A great way to determine the posting time is to make use of the tool, Instagram Insight offered by the business profile. Or if you’re not planning on getting a business account yet, Buffer is the next great thing you can make use of.

Both offer great analytic features with Buffer going extra miles of having a post scheduling feature. But Instagram Insight saves the time of having to access a third party service.

9. Like, Comment and Shoutout

Like, comment and shoutout is a great way to engage with users. If there are users who hashtag and shoutout to your brand after using your product, make sure to like and comment to show your appreciation to them by liking and comment.

In the previous section, we did mention reposting other people’s content, tag them, and give a shoutout to them.


For example, a makeup brand reposting a post by a talented small makeup artist. The artist used the brand palette and created a stunning makeup look.

The post showed how great the eyeshadow palette looked on the eyes and eventually become a great marketing material that shows the quality of the palette.

Makeup brand asked the permission of the makeup artist to repost the content with appropriate caption and hashtags as well as give a shoutout to the makeup artist.

It is a win-win situation where the brand gets better product recognition and the artist also gets the deserving exposure.


Photo by @moriadror used by Natasha Denona - Instagram
Photo by @moriadror used by Natasha Denona – Instagram

Heck, you can even repost your users’ content like reviews and testimonials and give a shoutout to them. Besides reposting it as posts, you can also post it as stories or videos on IGTV with their permission.

10. Hashtag

Never. Forget. Hashtag.

Hashtag plays a major part in reaching out to your audiences on Instagram, marketing without hashtags is especially hard for small brands with a limited budget. People click on hashtags to find the content they like, and that’s how people discover your feeds.

Hashtags are particularly useful if your brand is based on trends. By posting at the right time, you can easily show up on most users’ hashtag search results page. With an eye-catching image or video, people are sure to click on the post.

Hashtag #Makeup #Lipstick used in Urban Decay’s post – Instagram

And also don’t forget to use hashtags in comments when interacting with others!

11. Promoted Stories & Posts

Stories are a short video that appears at the TOP of the users’ feed when they tap into the app. While posts are photos or videos that appear on the users’ feed.

Although stunning visuals and attractive captions alone can earn a few likes, it’s not enough to reach for more audiences. But since our primary goal is to increase the conversion rate with Instagram marketing, you need people to KNOW about your product and then BUY it.

That’ why Instagram allows the business profile to create ads that appear on feeds and Explore.

Advertising on Instagram - Forbes
Advertising on Instagram – Forbes

The ads can be either the photo or video format. It also comes in the carousel format where people can swipe for additional photos or those extra boosts on the conversion rate.

The Instagram posts and video ads also have this CTA bar that changes color based on the primary color of the ads. Which coordinates better with the visual aspect of the ads to grab the user’s attention.

Business accounts can also run stories ads that reach out for more customers, which users can swipe up to access the website.

Instagram Feed and Instagram Stories - WordStream
Instagram Feed and Instagram Stories – WordStream

For those who are interested in the CTA bar and swipe-up of the paid-promotion but doesn’t keen on running ads. According to Here’s How to Add a Link to Your Instagram Story [Pro Tip] by Caroline Forsey in HubSpot, you can also add links to stories by getting verified or by having 10,000 followers.

12. Brand Image in High-Quality Posts

Incorporate brand image in posts and stories to increase brand awareness. Reinforce brand identity provide better brand recognition. Prominent brand identity also helps to build a loyal fanbase.

Consider changing up some visual elements to match your brand identity. Colors and fonts are a great start for better branding recognition.

Use high-quality, visual-appealing photos that match brand personality as frequently as possible. Since Instagram is a photo-sharing social network, visual appeals are extremely important to grab the viewers’ attention on the Explore page or the feed.

13. IGTV

For those who never heard of IGTV, it’s basically a video streaming service on Instagram with a video’s length of 1 minute to 1 hour. A great thing about IGTV is that you can customize thumbnail by taking a shot from the video or uploading photos to make it more interesting for the viewers.

IGTV is another great way to engage with users. But here’s the cons of IGTV, people will only see your video on their IGTV page for either of the two reasons: your video is super popular or they are following you.

Well, here’s the tip. Tease your IGTV video in your posts along with the relevant hashtag with the “post preview” option. If you are posting a tutorial with your brand’s product, post an interesting short teaser to feeds.

People who are interested in the visual in the Explore or search result page will surely click on it. If they are fascinated by the content, they will click and redirect to IGTV video. Voila! Instagram marketing with IGTV!

Here are some of the ideas you can post on IGTV.

  • Funny behind-the-scene
  • Interesting information about your product
  • Infomercial industry-related news or event
  • Tutorial on how to your products

14. Contest and Giveaway

There’s never a better way to gain more followers than content and giveaway. Content and giveaway with lucrative prizes attract more contestants. The prizes can be anything from cash to expensive gadgets or you can even include your brand’s products in it for a sneak peek.

With proper hashtag and promotion or advertising by influencers, you can imagine how many audiences your brand can reach with the awesome prizes. I would say that contests and giveaways are definitely the icings on the cake in Instagram marketing.

This is a great way to encourage participants to interact with the brands and raising brand awareness. However do keep in mind that there are rules and regulations if you want to administer a promotion (giveaway and contest), so make sure you understand the guideline!

15. Influencers and Collab

Influencers are the Insta-famous. They are the celebrities on Instagram with a decent amount of fans, in which most of them have belonged in the same demographic. The endorsement of these Insta-famous can help your brand reach the target audience in no-time.

You can also have collaboration with other influencers mainly in merch, which is also a great way to market your brand in the name of other famous influencers. In the world of Instagram, marketing your product with ultra-famous influencers is considered the power move.

16. Instagram Shopping

Instagram really provide a great platform for brand that provide e-commerce features. A function namely Instagram Shopping allows brand or eCommerce businesses to add product tags or product stickers to influencers’ endorsement posts, paid ads, and stories.

Instagram Shopping - Instagram
Instagram Shopping – Instagram

The tags or stickers are eye-catching, make it easier for users to spot. Brand owners also don’t need to leave a link on the description which is harder to spot with limited information about the product compared to product tag.

The tags make shopping easier with better handling with the product’s brief information, users are more inclined to click on the tag. Thus, you can see the increase in conversion rate.

In order to set up Instagram Shopping for your brand, you need to have an Instagram business account, and the account needs to be connected to a Facebook Catalog.

Afterward, you need to go back to the Instagram app to sign up for Instagram Shopping, in which the sign up/approval process might take days. After getting approved, you can start tagging your posts and stories!

The functions are available in the countries listed here and Instagram also offered Instagram Checkout (only available in the US) which allows users to checkout without leaving the site.

Summary

Instagram marketing isn’t as easy as it seems but as one of the social sharing apps with one of the largest user bases all around the world, your brand will certainly find a place there.

Other than Instagram, marketing on other social media platforms can be added to your digital marketing schedule as well. If it’s done right, we can definitely see a surge in the conversion rate.

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