A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing

Written by Burcin Genc

In its early days, Instagram was used only as a photo-sharing platform. But with the visual richness it offers and the user-friendly features that are constantly being added, it has become a social network that grows and strengthens day by day.

This has enabled Instagram to turn into a profitable social market platform with a high return on investment, where many brands can carry out their marketing activities. 

Why Investing in Instagram?

Instagram is one of the most commonly used and popular social networks. According to Statista, as of April 2019, the platform had over 1 billion monthly active users. This number is extremely high and should not be ignored by any marketing professional. 

Here’s some other supporting statistical data on why you should invest in Instagram:

With those numbers in mind, now you have a clear vision of why it’s a must for a brand to show presence in this platform. But how will you build it?

Here is the ultimate guide we’ve prepared for you that will go through all of the stages from creating an Instagram Business Account to tracking your Instagram Marketing activity results.

Creating an Instagram for Your Business Account

Setting Up Your Instagram Business Account

For your Instagram Marketing activities, first, you’ll need an Instagram Business Account. If you are already using Instagram and want to switch it to Instagram Business Account, you should first have a Facebook Business Page. Then you need to go to your Facebook Business Page and select ‘Page’ from the ‘Create’ tab. 

Next, select your Facebook Page type as ‘Business or Brand’. Enter your business name and select your business category. 

Now you are ready to switch the account that you want to use as a business account. You can simply follow these steps: 

  • Tap the hamburger icon on your profile page
  • Enter Account from Settings
  • Tap ‘Switch to Business Account’
  • Add business details
  • Tap ‘Done’

If you are a brand new user, first you have to download the Instagram App for iOS or Android. After you download, it’s time to sign-up. So here are the simple steps you’ll take:

  • Open the Instagram App
  • Select ‘Sign Up With Email or Phone’ on Android or ‘Create Account’ on iOS
  • Fill in your contact information
  • Create a username and password
  • Enter profile information and tap ‘Done’

Make sure to also make the profile ‘public’, otherwise people won’t be able to see your content. 

Optimizing Your Instagram Business Account

Your Instagram account will be your showcase and will provide the first important impression for new followers. If you optimize your account correctly you have a bigger chance to turn visitors into followers and then convert them into buyers. Make sure that you have an engaging, well organized profile look.

Your Instagram profile picture is the first thing your visitors will check. That’s why you should keep your profile picture consistent with your branding. You can consider putting your logo as a profile picture to also support the improvement of brand awareness. You should keep in mind that Instagram will automatically crop your image into a circle so it would be better to leave some space around the corners. 

The next step is the Instagram Bio which will be a maximum of 150 characters. To be within these limits,  write a direct, conscious bio text on who your brand is with an engaging story. The bio text you’ll write won’t be searchable so you don’t need to worry about using relevant hashtags or keywords. However, using branded hashtags in your bio will be relevant if you want visitors to use and engage with this specific hashtag. 

Keep in mind that the bio section is the only place you can share a link with other users. So if you want to drive traffic to your shop or website don’t forget to place your link in the bio. On the other hand, you can use the link in bio in a more active way. You can change it in line with your recent sharings. And if you have a long URL to share, make sure to shorten it with free online link shorteners like Using URLs in your bio is also a great way to measure the traffic your Instagram Business Account drives.

Why Use a Business Account? 

In addition to the facts we’ve mentioned about the benefits of using a business account, you should also consider the impressive features only a business account can give access to. 

We’re going to give detailed information about each one of these features later in the article, but it will be better for you to understand how effective a business account would be. So here are the other reasons why you should use an Instagram Business Account:

  • Instagram Ads
  • Instagram
  • Insights Insights
  • Contact information
  • Call to action button

Instagram Marketing Tips

If you want to tap into Instagram’s immersive growth, you should do more than just owning a business account. So, take a look at our tips for shaping a successful Instagram Marketing Strategy:

Define Your Main Goals and Audience

It doesn’t matter if you are new to the platform or just want to expand your existing presence, you should first consider your main goals to be able to define your strategy on Instagram. Remember that setting goals will always help you stay focused and keep it clear while creating content that will drive you through your targets. 

To determine your targets, first, ask yourself some questions:

  • Why are you on Instagram?
  • How large is your budget?
  • How much time and effort can you give?
  • How do you think Instagram will help you achieve your goals?

Here are some examples of the goals that are commonly used among brands:

  • Creating awareness of the brand
  • Collecting new leads
  • Making or increasing sales
  • Increasing brand loyalty
  • Showcasing products and services
  • Advertising to the target audience
  • Sharing information about the brand
  • Building a community

Post on Instagram Wisely

Content is king on Instagram, just like any other medium. However, the most distinctive feature of Instagram is that it is a visual medium. That means you should pay attention to the design of your posts as they should be compelling enough. You should also keep in mind that creating content with a strong story that supports the look and creates excitement to engage with your post will drive you to better results. 

Here’s another helpful tip to help you use Instagram more accurately: the visual world you create for your target audience in this medium is much more important than providing them with pure advertising content. No one is in this medium to get exposed to the advertisements of brands. All they’re looking for is impressive content that will inspire them.

500 million people open Instagram daily and 95 million posts are shared every day in video or photo format. Thus, you should also have a clear focus on the content type you’ll be using on your Instagram Business Account. Here are some types of content you can use while posting on your Instagram Business Account: 

Educational Posts

You can educate your followers about how to use your product. You can share tips, give instructions, and instead of pushing them, you can convince them much more creatively to use your product and even think that they need your product. The most common example of this type of content is a quick recipe or makeup videos.

Behind The Scene Posts

How about giving your potential customers a look at your store or your office to strengthen your brand personality? This content will provide a glimpse of what people normally do not see but may be curious about. On the other hand, seeing where these products are coming from will also help them build trust. Try to be authentic. 

User-Generated Content 

User-Generated Content (USC) is more powerful than you think. The reason is clear, people love to see other customers’ experiences and are positively affected if they see that your brand is a loved brand for someone else. They are more likely to get engaged and also consume your products or services after they see a warm interaction between your brand and a reliable customer. Here are some of the results from a study by TurnTo Networks that makes the importance of USC more clear: 

  • 24% of female shoppers consider UGC to be the most influential marketing tool
  • 61% report UGC encourages them to engage with brands
  • 73% say UGC increases their purchasing confidence
  • 63% of shoppers believe UGC creates a more authentic shopping experience
  • Shoppers under 30 report a greater influence of UGC in purchasing decisions versus older respondents. Of those aged 18-29, 97% report UGC has an extreme influence.

Discover The Power Of Stories

Stories are one of the most catchy and fun ways to engage with your customers. The only challenging part of Instagram Stories is that you have to create content that can grab your audience’s attention fast because they are visible at the top of the feed for only 24 hours. 

You can get creative in Instagram Stories and benefit from a wide range of content types. Some examples are:

  • Contests and giveaways
  • Asking questions
  • Creating polls
  • Promoting new posts
  • Showcasing your brand’s achievements
  • Directing to your store or website
  • Setting stories that you want to keep on Highlights 
  • Announcing new products
  • Giving tutorials with photos or videos
  • Using IGTV
  • Going live

Use Instagram Ads

Today more than 2 million businesses use Instagram Ads to expand their reach. Here you will benefit from the work you have done before to define your target audience. Targeting your Instagram Ads with this information will make things easier. You can advertise both in Instagram feed or in stories by determining:

  • Age, gender, and language demographics  
  • The apps they use or accounts they follow
  • Specific behaviours in the digital world
  • Location information such as city, state, or country

For more detailed information, you can check our blog post about Instagram advertising here.

Use Branded Hashtags

Hashtags are the magic of Instagram. You can use them just to categorize your post. Users can make hashtag specific searches on Instagram to find specific posts and profiles that are related to their interest. 

According to research, content with more than 11 hashtags gets more engagement. However, some find it over-exaggerated to put that many hashtags on a post. If you agree, you can also use related hashtags inside the post text to make them a part of your sharing. 

Benefit From Free Instagram Tools

Instagram Business Accounts are just like Facebook Business Accounts. By using Insights, it is possible to track engagement data or impressions. You can even get statistics regarding the demographic characteristics of your followers, including information about age, gender, location, and the most active periods of the day.

Sell Through Instagram Shopping With Product Tags

Welcome to the world of Instagram Shopping! Instagram allows the business accounts to place a product tag or product sticker on the products seen in shared photos. This way, users can easily tap and see the price or other information of the product they have come across on their Instagram feed. Furthermore, they can head to the e-commerce site with just a single tap and purchase the product.

Measuring Results On Instagram

As we always mention, tracking your results is crucial in the digital world. That’s because you can only reshape your strategy meaningfully by understanding how relevant your actions were. 

Thus, if you want to go deeper than observing the followers you gain or likes you take, here are some other metrics you can calculate: 

Instagram Engagement Rate

You can calculate the engagement rate by dividing the sum of the number of likes plus comments, to the number of followers you have. So let’s say that your post reached 300 likes and 12 comments, and you have 11,200 followers, the engagement rate will be:

(300+12) ÷ 11,200 = 2,78%

The better you follow how intensively users interact with your posts, the more relevant you can make your content to increase the interaction and traffic of your page.

As you can understand, Instagram is more effective for B2C businesses, influencers, artists or businesses that can showcase their products. So if you are a B2B software company, you might want to consider being active on other social media platforms.

Bonus: A Useful Tool and a Guide for an Effective Social Media Planning

In order for you to plan and track your social media activities (including Instagram) easily, take a look at our Social Media Marketing Planning Guide and learn how to create a social media marketing plan, the characteristics of the main social media channels, and some tactics for you to use in your social media marketing activities. Moreover, here’s our tool for Social Media Marketing Planning for you to practice and exercise on how to create new plans, execute them, and track them.

Social Media Marketing Tactics

Here’s a wide range of Social Media Marketing tactics we have prepared for you to implement to your growth marketing activities. You can choose the tactics according to your main goals (Brand awareness + traffic generation, conversion, and retention) as well as the difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).

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