The Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Marketing
Even with TikTok dominating the short-form video space and Facebook reigning supreme with the most active monthly users, there are still 2 billion active users on Instagram every month. And while many of those users are private accounts, there are still over 1.3 billion users you can reach via Instagram marketing and advertising.
All you need are the right tools and a little preparation. That’s why we decided to create this beginner’s guide to Instagram marketing. In this guide, we’ll offer step-by-step instructions to help you maximize your Instagram marketing and take advantage of the billions of active users who call the platform home.
A Comprehensive Guide to Marketing on Instagram
Creating and maintaining a social media presence on Instagram is not just highly recommended, but in today’s social media-obsessed world, it’s almost required. Here’s a step-by-step guide to marketing on Instagram, plus tips to help enhance your profile, increase conversions, and boost your brand awareness.
Step One: Create Your Account
Before you can do anything else, you have to create your Instagram account. To do that, go to Instagram’s website or download the app and follow the setup instructions. And while you set up your account, remember these tips:
- Pick a name that best represents your business but also might come up in search results. If potential customers search for your services in the search bar, you want to ensure that your account pops up for them.
- The same goes for your bio section. Write a short, descriptive bio filled with relevant keywords that will help your account come up in search results. If your brand is funny, make it funny. If your brand is more buttoned-up, make it buttoned-up. This little bit of text is one of the first things people will see when they visit your page, so it should be relevant.
- Pick a profile picture that matches your brand. As a business, you should use your logo or a piece of your logo. As a solopreneur, you should use a professional photo that fits your brand and image. Regardless of your choice, the image should be clear, high-quality, easy to make, and relevant to your brand.
- Switch to a “professional account.” This will grant you access to analytics (Instagram Insights), plus the ability to schedule posts ahead of time, tag products in your posts, and add links to your stories.
Step Two: Research Hashtags
Hashtags are invaluable tools that you can use to increase your post reach and add organic traffic to your page without spending a dime. But you shouldn’t just throw random, high-performing hashtags onto your posts and call it good. Just because some hashtags get a lot of traffic doesn’t mean it’s the right traffic for you.
The hashtags you use should be relevant to your business, your services, and your brand. The Instagram Creators account recommends only using 3 to 5 hashtags per post because more hashtags won’t increase distribution. But, of course, you are allowed to use up to 30 hashtags per post, and we’ve found that you may still appear in all those extra feeds.
So, consider testing out a different amount of hashtags and see what works best for your business.
Step Three: Create a Content Schedule (and Stick to It)
Gaining followers isn’t easy, and the second your followers feel like you aren’t active anymore, they’ll drop off. So, if you want to have an effective and reliable presence on Instagram, you must create a posting schedule and stick to it. When creating your content calendar, try to keep these tips in mind:
- Post Regularly and Consistently. Experts recommend that you post between 3 and 7 times per week. This kind of regularity will not only prove to followers that your account is active, but it will also increase your reach and give you higher chances of achieving virality.
- Prioritize Reels. Instagram has confirmed many times that its algorithm prioritizes Reels. So, if you incorporate high-quality, relevant reels into your content schedule, you’ll increase your likelihood of getting seen, and your follower count will explode.
- Create Sharable Graphics. Sharable content is another hack many overlook because they don’t know how to do it. But it’s as simple as throwing a funny or relatable quote into Canva and adding an eye-catching background to get people to share your posts. If your content is shared, more people will be able to see your posts and follow your account.
- Use Customer-Created Content. Do customers share images with or related to your products or services? Do you have well-worded or hilarious 5-star reviews? If you do, you can repurpose that content on your Instagram feed. Not only will it give you valuable content, but it’ll also show potential customers what others think of your products/services.
Step Four: Start With At Least 9 Photos
After you’ve set up your account, researched your hashtags, and decided what sort of content you want to post, it’s time to fill up your page. We suggest posting at least nine photos quickly because that will fill out your grid. It also allows new visitors to scroll just a little bit on your page, which looks a little more established than a blank or semi-populated feed.
While that may not be a lot of content, it’s enough to show potential customers a glimpse of what your page is about and the type of content you’ll share. That way, when they visit your profile, they can make an educated decision about whether or not to follow you.
Of course, these shouldn’t be wasted posts. No matter what you post, you should always employ the same strategy, using keywords that fit your brand and high-quality images/videos.
Step Five: Create an Instagram Story Strategy
Now that you have a set content strategy, it’s time to focus on another aspect of Instagram that is super important – Stories. Instagram Stories are little video or picture clips that appear at the top of the app, giving followers an insight into your daily life or operations.
Many users spend all their active time on Instagram scrolling through Stories and never spend time on their feeds. So, it’s a good area to dedicate some of your time and attention. It’s also an excellent place for follower interaction because it allows you to strike up conversations based on their specific content.
Experts say you should post between 2 and 10 stories per day. As Instagram users, we recommend keeping it in the middle (between 4 and 6 per day) and focusing on quality. After all, you don’t want people to skip your Stories. If you have too many and the user doesn’t find them interesting, you could lose them as a follower.
Step Six: Build Your Follower Base
After you set up your profile and create your content strategy, it’s time to start thinking about your follower base. Here are some quick and easy tips for gaining followers on Instagram (that we haven’t already mentioned):
- Follow accounts related to your industry.
- Follow accounts that create content you can reshare and post.
- Follow and interact with influencers in your industry.
- Create eye-catching visuals that pull people in.
- Engage with your followers and the accounts you’re following.
- Host contests and follower giveaways.
- Take advantage of location-based tags and hashtags.
- Leverage any influencers in your industry.
Warning! Do not post like-for-like or follow-for-follow posts. Also, do not buy followers. When you’re in the early grind of building your Instagram following, these might seem appealing, but those empty follows will most likely never convert to actual customers. Don’t be lured into the trap of vanity metrics. Instead, focus on interacting with your followers and posting quality content. The rest will come naturally.
Step Seven: Create Ad Campaigns
Once you’re established and moving like some well-oiled social media machine, it’s time to create an advertisement campaign. Advertising is the only sure way to increase your reach and hit your specific target audience, especially early on. While this may seem like an unfortunate part of the digital marketing process, we try to see it more as a valuable opportunity that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
That being said, we have some tips and tricks for creating a successful advertising campaign on Instagram. And while no marketing is foolproof, this is a surefire way to jumpstart your Instagram presence and give your digital marketing some legs.
- Keep it as simple as possible, especially in the beginning. Start simple and build on things that are proven to work.
- Create a marketing budget and do not overspend, no matter how appealing it might seem. Consistency and longevity are the keys to great digital marketing.
- Advertise high-performing posts with a clear brand message or CTA (call-to-action). This could be as simple as a brand-related post, a newsletter signup, a page follow, or a link to buy a product.
- Split-test your ads. And if you aren’t sure what that is, it simply means that you should try different ads, marketing language, and imagery to see what performs best for your followers. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will help you create better ad campaigns in the future.
- Advertise exclusive offers and giveaways.
- Run advertisements with influencer-created content.
- Take advantage of your analytics. If something isn’t performing, change it. If something is performing, figure out why and duplicate it.
Start Using Instagram to Land More Customers
Instagram marketing can be a powerful tool for promoting your brand, products, or services, and the process is a whole lot simpler than you might’ve imagined. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can transform your Instagram account into a high-performing lead generator for your business or brand. Be sure to take time to use all of Instagram’s useful features – like their new lead form feature.
Don’t miss this opportunity to build your Instagram account the right way from the very beginning. After all, if you set it up properly and put time into creating high-quality content, you have the potential to create an incredibly successful Instagram presence that will help you achieve your business goals.
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