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Ultimate Instagram Marketing Guide

Instagram is home to countless brands, small business owners, and creators that are connecting with customers, growing their audience, and showcasing what’s for sale, in a non-salesy way. The key is a concrete marketing plan to keep you intentional and on schedule.

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What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo and short video-sharing social media app with roughly 1 billion monthly active users. For brands looking to capture wide audience attention and convert curiosity to sales, Instagram tops the list of places to be. As a mobile app, users post and view content in the palm of their hands. Together with quality captions and relevant hashtags, eye-catching photos with a primarily upbeat vibe fill user feeds. What is more, in recent years, Instagram has stepped it up for brands and is now a place where people can shop.

Why Use Instagram For Your Business

Having evolved into a fully-functional social commerce space, there are more reasons than ever before for brands to use Instagram. In fact, a whopping 70% of shoppers report they are looking to shop via Instagram. And what is more, 90% of people on Instagram follow at least one business. Beyond sales, being present on Instagram helps brands build an engaged online community which can lead to brand loyalty. With features such as Instagram Badges, Stickers, Shops, and Product Tags, brands have numerous creative and fun ways to reach, grow and nurture engaged followers. 

What to Post on Instagram: Content Types

There are various different types of content that can be published on Instagram. When developing your marketing strategy, you’ll want to include a variety of different content types to keep your audience engaged.  No matter which content type you do choose, make sure you’re working video into the mix!

Grid Posts

Instagram posts are laid out as a grid with stacked rows of three images or videos. Beautiful grids can be curated using the right colors consistently so it all flows as one. When posting videos to your grid, keep them short and sweet as they have a max length of 60 seconds.

IGTV Posts

IGTV content are videos that can be longer than Stories and are a great way to showcase your brand’s personality. Popular videos include promotional videos, product reviews, tutorials/how-tos, and more! Unlike Stories, IGTV videos must be created outside of the Instagram app and uploaded.

Reels Posts

Reels are a great way to post pop culture trending video content. These high energy and entertaining short videos are capped at 60 seconds. With the ability to cut and edit your video on Instagram directly, Reels are both easy and worth the time investment to capture your audience’s attention.

Improving Your Reels Game

Deja Foxx is a 20 year old activist, strategist, and future POTUS.  She is the founder of GenZ Girl Gang, a student at Columbia University, and a Digital Creator with Ford Models. At just 19, she worked for Kamala Harris as the Influencer and Surrogate Strategist and became one of the youngest presidential campaign staffers in modern history.

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Instagram Account Types

When setting up your Instagram account, you’ll want to be sure to pick the right account type to meet your brand and content goals.

Personal Account

Personal accounts are the default everyone is set to when they sign up. They are perfect for people who may want to keep their content private and approve who can follow them. These accounts offer a more intimate, controlled audience with access to many of the same content features as Business accounts.

Creator Account

The newest account type, Creator, is best suited for public figures, producers, artists, and influencers. This account has unique features such as message filtering and more in-depth analytics available. Currently, Creator accounts are not available for Planoly auto-posting as well as some third-party platforms.

Business Account

Designed for brands and influencers who are actively growing a public following, business accounts provide numerous beneficial features. Access to Insights and the ability to launch paid ads are two big benefits of business accounts. Other benefits include contact buttons, Stories link functions and the ability to add paid partnerships.

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How to Market Your Business on Instagram

Before you can successfully market your business on Instagram, you’ll need to pull together your strategy. Don’t be intimidated by the steps or details that go into a successful marketing plan; it’s definitely doable for everyone. We’ve got you covered and break it down in easy-to-understand and apply steps right here.

Creating an Instagram Marketing Strategy

A well thought out Instagram marketing strategy will include several factors including identifying your target audience and planning content that resonates with them. Then, you will want to map out the types of content pieces you will post, create them in batches and schedule them for consistent publication. And don’t forget that when it comes to planning your content, everything you post should relate to your overall big picture goals. Quick tip: Even though Instagram is a visual platform, you’ll want to add some text content to your Instagram posts to help them perform better. 

Branding Your Business on Instagram

When deciding how to position your brand on Instagram, there are several considerations such as your profile photo and username. Not all logos display well in the small size of the profile photo so you may decide to use a photo. If you choose to feature your face, you can incorporate your brand with color and background. And when it comes to your username, you’ll want to make sure it’s easily identifiable with your brand and consistent across all social channels. Quick tip: Avoid numbers, symbols, and clever spellings that may get mispronounced or misspelled.

Using Instagram Shopping for Your Business

With the e-commerce feature, Instagram Shops, brands can create digital storefronts within the content they share – turning every photo and video into shoppable moments all across the app. Benefits of using this feature include the ability to easily promote products and sales, increase product awareness, and best of all, instantly convert likes into sales. To get started, you’ll need to have a website where items are sold, and link your Facebook business or creator account to your Instagram. Quick tip: There’s no set-up fee and you only pay a percentage based on actual sales.

Learning About the Instagram Algorithm

Beyond strategizing your engaging content and keeping with a marketing plan, understanding how Instagram works behind the scenes will further leverage your content. When you think about its algorithm, think about Big Thoughtful Energy. Instagram’s focus is to keep users in the app consuming valuable content. So keep your content REAL - relevant, engaging, authentic and likable – and it’s likely to end up prominently in your audience’s feeds. Quick tip: Instagram prioritizes current features and right now that’s Reels. Incorporate Reels into your content strategy and you’ll likely see a boost in your performance.

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How to Measure Instagram Success

Creating targeted content that resonates with and grows an audience is just one of the steps for brands utilizing Instagram. Brands also need to be tracking social media metrics with Instagram Insights to ensure the content is meeting the company’s objectives. To get started measuring Instagram success, you’ll first need to set some benchmarks – a starting point of where you are now. Then, write down your goals and map out a plan to achieve them in a reasonable time. After some time has passed, mine the data and analyze it. Don’t be intimidated! It’s really quite simple to access and understand all of the data in Insights. Information on followers’ demographics, their actions and engagement with content, and overall content performance are some of the analytics available. Specifically, Instagram success is measured by looking at post impressions (how many times a post is seen), referrals (how many people click on links in bios to see more about the business), and engagement rate (we’re talking about likes, shares, saves and comments on posts and Stories). With an understanding of Instagram analytics comes the benefit of saving time by knowing what works and what doesn’t so you can produce more of what has the highest return. This ensures you are delivering what your audience wants and keeps them coming back for more.

Improving Your Instagram Performance

Once you have the data from Instagram Insights, you’ll need to know what to do with it. This involves optimizing your content and utilizing the tools right there in Instagram to improve post performance. And don’t forget about incorporating paid Instagram ads into your strategy to boost reach, expand revenue, and drive engagement with your audience.

Optimizing Your Instagram Content

Posts with hashtags generate at least 12% more engagement than those without and when done thoughtfully, they are an effective way to grow your Instagram following. Best of all, a larger following can lead to more clicks, sales, and partnerships. One reason why hashtags remain relevant and important is because they are a powerful discovery tool for people who are interested in your content but don’t yet know you exist. For them to work properly though, you’ve got to have a hashtag strategy.

You can optimize your Instagram content by using the right hashtags for your brand. Research what’s trending and popular, but not overused or overly generic, in your field. Then, create a list of 4-5 hashtags to use for a balanced mix. You’ll want a variety of brand-specific, niche, location-based and product-specific hashtags. And remember, hashtags work best when you use them in your first comment, not your post caption.

Using Instagram Tools for Success

It’s important that your content reaches your target audience. To do this, you’ll want to plan and schedule content to publish at optimal times to ensure more eyes on your posts. PLANOLY quick schedule is your BFF here and allows you to customize your presets based on your specific audience. So when’s the best time to post? It’s different for everyone! The best time to post is when most of your followers are on.

And don’t forget about the power of paid ads. Instagram ads help increase post reach which in turn increases followers and engagement. Before launching an ad, analyze your followers’ behavior to determine what they like most, Posts or Stories as well as with photos or videos. Then, tailor your ad based on your audiences’ interests. Instagram has various types of ads to choose from including Stories Ads, Photo Ads, Video Ads, Collection ads and ads in Explore. Use one, two or all, depending on your strategy and budget.

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