The number of brands that have incorporated Instagram into their marketing strategy has increased a lot in recent years. While just over half of US marketers used Instagram in 2016, it is estimated that in 2020 over 75% are using Instagram in their marketing strategies
No wonder: Instagram has a billion monthly active users and an advertising audience of over 849 million.
These tips will help you spice up your Instagram strategy, whether you’re just starting out or already a seasoned pro.
16 instagram strategies you can’t ignore
1. Use a business account
This is the starting point, if you still have a personal account you must first switch to the business account before reading the other tips, here’s how:
- Go to your profile and tap the icon at the top right
- Tap settings , then account and switch to a corporate account.
- Link your account to your Facebook page, if you have one, otherwise you will have to create it.
- Add details of your account
- Tap on done
The business account gives you access to functions and statistics that you cannot have with a personal account , including:
- Instagram insights
- Instagram Ads
- Instagram Shopping
- Contact information and call to button action
The creator account also has its advantages. But for most marketers, a business account is enough.
2. Clearly define your goals
All social platforms are marketing tools . But you can’t use those tools effectively if you don’t know what you’re trying to build.
Instagram marketing can lead to different results based on the type of marketing goals you are building. Would you like to reach
- Increase brand awareness?
- Get new leads?
- Establish your brand as an industry leader?
- Make sales?
You may also want to achieve multiple different results. But if you don’t know where you want your Instagram strategy to take you, it’s unlikely to get there. We have an entire blog post on goal setting to help you decide what matters most to your business.
3. Identify your target audience
A little market analysis can help you figure out who you can reach best using Instagram. For example, industry research shows that:
- The most active users on instagram are between 18 and 29
- The most of users are in the United States
- Instagram is most used by urban residents rather than in the suburbs
But that doesn’t mean you should only use Instagram to try to reach Americans in their 20s, Instead, you need to define your target audience so you can create content that speaks directly to that audience.
Identifying your target audience from the start will make your life easier when it comes to choosing targeting options for your Instagram Ads.
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 who you are and why they should follow your Instagram account.
That’s a lot information for such a small space.
Fortunately, in addition to the bio you have other fields that you can use to make people understand what your brand is about and to be easily found. These include:
- Your name : Up to 30 characters, included in the search.
- Your username : That is your handle, up to 30 characters, included in the search.
- Your website : The only clickable link you can insert in your profile ( after the 10k followers you will be able to insert links in the stories ), you can change it whenever you want and at any time.
- Category : a very useful function that tells people what you do without using space in the bio
- Contact information : Tells people how to contact you.
Here’s an example of an optimized profile :
For more ideas and advice read our article on 200+ ideas for your instagra bio m
5. Choose the right profile photo
For most brands, the Instagram profile photo should be the brand logo. This helps provide credibility and allows users to see who you are at a glance.
Your Instagram profile photo is displayed at 110 by 110 pixels, cropped into a circle with a diameter of 110 pixels. .
If your logo is square, you’ll need to zoom out to make sure everything is visible inside the circle, like Home Depot:
6. Create visually appealing content
Instagram is a visual medium, so your posts just have to look good. You do not need professional photographic equipment, it will be enough that the images are sharp, well lit, well composed and in focus.
More important than the appearance itself is what leaves that image to the end user, you must try to convey an emotion, whether it is positive such as amazement, tenderness or negative such as dislike or anger. Great photos are great, but if they don’t tell a story or excite people, they won’t help you in your marketing, be all right don’t be boring and corny.
Don’t know what to post? Here are some ideas:
- Behind the scenes : Give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your business or production process.
- Instructional posts : Teach followers how achieve a goal or do a certain thing.
- Video : The maximum length of a video post on Instagram is 60 seconds, but you can post longer with IGTV.
Text-based quotes and images : Play with text to create visually interesting content even without photos.
For more ideas and tips read our article on what to post on instagram
7. Establish the “look” of your brand on Instagram
Once you have determined what type of content to post, you need to decide how it will look. As we explain in our article on color in marketing, color influences purchasing choices and brand recognition.
The look of your profile and posts should be consistent and ongoing , get them to follow your style, helping your followers to easily recognize your post in the middle of their feed.
A great example of this is the Instagram account mr .pokee .
The photos have a consistent color scheme and appearance. They are instantly recognizable.
That’s right, we just said that Instagram is a visual medium. But that doesn’t mean you can neglect your captions . The text accompanying your posts is as important as the photos themselves , although they play a different role.
Instagram captions can contain up to 2,200 characters , so you can use them for anything from a quick joke to detailed storytelling. That said, only the first two lines of text appear in the feed without having to tap on “ see more ”
As people tend to pay less and less attention, try to write all the important information in those two lines.
Every social network has an optimal caption length, the range of characters we recommend you use is:
- Organic posts : 138-150 characters
- Instagram ads : 120-130 characters
If you have more to say, go ahead and write some more, but make sure it’s worth it. National Geographic is the classic example of long captions. If you can tell an interesting story or fact, don’t be afraid to write too much.
The caption should be relevant, funny or informative and compelling. For more details, check out our article on how to write great captions on Instagram.
9. Use hashtags wisely
Hashtags are the key to increasing your visibility on instagram
You can use up to 30 hashtags in one Instagram post. But, realistically it’s best not to.
We recommend that you use between five and nine hashtags per post. Excessive hashtags can seem like a spam tactic that makes you lose credibility in front of your followers.
Worse still, if you use irrelevant or repetitive hashtags, users who follow those hashtags can choose not to show your content in their feed and report it as inappropriate use.
To get the most benefit, choose hashtags that:
- Are relevant
- We are specific to your niche
- They don’t encourage followers or likes (for example # like4like or #followme)
We have a complete guide with the latest hashtag strategies for Instagram if you want to learn more.
If you want to increase the engagement of your Instagram account, you need to interact too. Posting quality content is great, but if you ignore comments and never interact with other people, they’ll lose interest in your account.
At a minimum, respond to comments from your followers. But also look for popular accounts in your niche, follow them, like and comment on their posts. Make yourself visible but don’t spam your account.
11. Don’t neglect Instagram stories
Half of the companies on Instagram use stories, and they get excellent results: a third of the most viewed stories are published by companies . Stories are a key part of a good Instagram social media marketing strategy
Instagram Stories disappear after just 24 hours. Followers expect them to be more real and raw than your feed. They offer a great opportunity to connect with followers and build relationships.
In our article on how to increase Instagram Stories views we explain some effective strategies including:
- Be interactive : Use features like polls and questions.
- Aim to connect with your audience : Stories are a huge direct driver that helps to retain followers.
- Tell something : Think of a message and communicate it using this format
- Use calls to action : Don’t just write “swipe up” to drive traffic to your link, use some extra text to tell people why they should do it.
- Be consistent : As well as the your Instagram feed, your stories should align with your business communication and your brand aesthetics.
12. Use story highlights and covers to enhance your bio
We covered all the components of your Instagram bio in point 4 . But there is a bonus component that we have not mentioned: highlight covers.
You can create albums of your stories, so they don’t disappear after 24 hours. Highlight albums are shown below your bio, and you can create custom covers for each.
Used effectively, these add an extra component to your bio, giving potential followers much more information about about you and why they should follow you on Instagram.
For example, Rocky Mountain Soap Company uses highlight covers to share some of their core values.
13. Try Instagram shopping
Remember that at first we advised you to switch to a business account? Here’s another reason why you should do it: access to Instagram Shopping. This feature, which isn’t available for personal accounts, allows you to sell products directly from Instagram posts and stories.
Not being able to link is a big deal problem for brands and ecommerce, that’s why there is the instagram shopping function, here is an example of a post with purchasable products:
14 . Post at the right time
Did you know that the best time to post on Instagram varies by industry?
Hootsuite analyzed 258,956 posts from 11 different industries and found that there really is the best time to post on instagram, even if the feeds are no longer in chronological order.
Here are the best times to publish for each sector we have analyzed:
- Travel and tourism : Friday, from 9:00 to 13:00
- Media and entertainment : Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 12 to 15
- Food and drinks : Fridays, 12 hours
- Professional services : Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9am to 10am
- Non-profit : Tuesday, 10am or 4pm
- Non-retail ecommerce : Thursday, 4pm or 9pm
- Pharmacy and health : Wednesday and Sunday, at 9:00
- Personal care : Thursday and Friday, 13, 14 o 15:00
- Technology : Monday and Tuesday, 14:00
- Education : Thursday, 16:00 o 17:00
Retail : Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, at 12pm
15. Expand your audience with Instagram Ads
The best way to put your content in front of new people is via Instagram Ads . Two million businesses are already using Instagram ads. And they work, as 96% of US marketers on instagram already use Stories Ads and I intend to continue doing so.
In Tip 3 , you have defined your target audience. You can now use that information to set up your ads based on:
- Location : state, province, city, country, and so on
- Demographics : such as age, gender and language
- Interests : like the other accounts they follow and the apps they use
- Behaviors : both on and off Instagram
You can also upload a custom audience of people who have already interacted with your account to create lookalike campaigns.
You can advertise in the Instagram feed or in Stories.
17. Refine your strategy with analytics
No matter how good you are already at instagram marketing, you can always improve. The best way to do this is to learn from what you’ve already done and study all the information available in Instagram Insights.
Constantly keep an eye on your account performance and refine your content based on what brings more interactions and followers.