Instagram Marketing: The Ultimate Guide
Instagram landed on the social scene in 2010 when software genius Kevin Systrom had the clever idea to create a space for people to showcase photos from their smartphones.1 Since its inception, Instagram has become the third highest-grossing social media platform in the world and one of the most popular marketing channels for businesses large and small.2
Instagram’s widespread popularity is well-known. What may be less clear? How you can use its powerful reach to your brand’s advantage. (Because you definitely should be.)
It’s time to scroll through your ultimate guide to Instagram marketing. In this feed, we’ll bring to light the benefits of both organic and paid Instagram marketing, strategies on leveraging Instagram’s algorithm to grow your brand, and how to get started.
Why choose Instagram marketing?
Instagram has tremendous reach potential, allowing your brand the chance to reach thousands, if not millions, of new target audience members. With paid Instagram ads, you can also zero in on exactly what types of consumers see your content.
To date, Instagram boasts:
- 500 million daily users3
- Two billion monthly active users globally, projected to grow to 2.5 billion in 2023,2,3
- A primary audience (70%) of users under the age of 35 with Millennial buying power3
With the help of Instagram story, reels, posts, and more, creating an instagram marketing strategy can be beneficial for you brand. In other words, the social media platform offers businesses an excellent chance to gain tremendous exposure.
The benefits of Instagram marketing
A quick glimpse at Instagram’s beginnings demonstrates IG’s star power:
- Its debut in 2010 drew in 25,000 users in a single day.
- Its growth has been called “exponential” by the likes of Forbes.4
- Before it turned three, Facebook scooped Instagram up for $1B in stocks and cash.
How does this help brands? Instagram’s inherent nature is what made it instantly attractive: it’s first and foremost a visual platform.
This lends itself well to marketing, whether you’re a salon that specializes in invisible hair extensions or a nonprofit that focuses on saving the oceans. Case in point, visual content generates 650% more engagement than word-filled, text-based content.5
Aside from its visual prowess, Instagram can:
- Promote brand exposure – Brand awareness is one of the golden tickets to a thriving business. Instagram facilitates exposure and recognition—not only because of its exceptionally high number of users but also because 70% of IG users turn to the platform to get inspo for their next purchase.6 A perfect way to reach potential customers and grow your audience.
- Improve shopability – Instagram released shoppable posts in 2018, allowing brands to include prices and other product info on their product images. In as little as two clicks, a consumer can procure a product or service from your Instagram shop. That’s a whole lot of ROI waiting to happen.
- Increase brand relevance – Brands that keep up with trends and stand up for positive social change on social media have the chance to develop an emotional bond with their target customers.7 Maybe you support Black Lives Matter (BLM). Perhaps you strive for #diversityandinclusion in the workplace. Whatever the case may be, Instagram gives you the opportunity to join the conversation and express your core values to attract consumers that resonate with them.
- Elevate engagement – From direct messages (DMs) to story Q&As, Instagram fosters relevant, real-time engagement between you and your target customers. Instagram can simultaneously increase your engagement quantity and quality by paving a pathway for consumers to connect with you early, often, and genuinely.
As an example, take a look at the luxury makeup brand Ogee. They draw viewers to their IG posts by featuring stunning models who provide short makeup tutorials. Viewers communicate directly with the company to inquire about application techniques, the right shade for their skin, Ogee’s return policy—you name it. This doesn’t just expedite communication; it humanizes your brand and deepens your connection with consumers.
How do marketers use Instagram?
From Instagram reels to ads and promoted posts, There is an exciting wealth of opportunity for brands to leverage Instagram’s massive user base and eerily observant algorithm. So what’s the best tactic for your brand? It all depends on what your goals are. (But if you ask us, employing a combination of all tactics can generate some seriously impressive growth metrics.)
If you are ready to learn how to use Instagram advertising and marketing in favor of your business, you can start by understanding the strategies used on the social media platform. Some Instagram advertising strategies can include:
- Organic Instagram marketing – Organic social media strategy is the cornerstone of effective, long-term brand growth on Instagram. Posting value-adding Instagram content directly (and freely) to your feed can help build brand loyalty, increase shared reach, drive brand awareness and attract invaluable customer feedback.
- Paid Instagram ads – Paid Instagram marketing is a branch off the pay-per-click tree that allows you to show your content only to people in your target demographic. This can help you minimize wasted ad spend while growing your following and customer base. You’ll also have access to more exhaustive performance metrics like the number of users your content reached and how many times your ads were clicked.
- Affiliate Instagram marketing – Affiliate marketing, or more commonly known as influencer marketing on Instagram, employs influential users to do the legwork of promoting your brand for you. As a brand, you can partner with a popular user to plug your products or services into their content to catapult your reach, market share and traffic. You can learn more about Instagram influencer and affiliate marketing strategies to better understand their benefits for your brand.
- Instagram Shopping – Instagram Shopping is an eCommerce engine built straight into the Instagram platform. It allows brands to set up a “shop,” similar to Amazon storefronts or your own eCommerce website, and tag product images with prices and convertible links. Users can complete purchases directly within Instagram shop to remove conversion barriers and move the needle on your revenue KPIs.8
Show me the way: how do I get started with Instagram marketing?
Half of Instagram users follow a business.9 This alone might suggest that jumping on the Instagram marketing bandwagon is a no-brainer. This is especially true if your brand is sitting on some high-quality content assets like photography or videos. Why not leverage these and turn over even more profit while expanding your brand footprint?
If that all sounds like your cup of tea, here’s how to get started with Instagram marketing:
#1 Get clear on your target audience
One important Instagram marketing tip that will have a significant influence on your efforts is understanding your followers and audience. You can’t reach your target audience if it’s not clear who they are. Before spending ad dollars or content-creating resources on Instagram efforts, make sure you and your marketing team are aligned on the persona you’re aiming to reach.
At minimum, decide on audience specifications such as:
- Geographical region
- Income bracket range
- Lifestyle and interests
If you’re unsure about who you should target, start by analyzing your existing customer data. What does your typical customer look like? How do they behave? What products do they love most? Odds are there are more people like them who could benefit from your brand, too.
#2 Get acquainted with your competitors
You can learn plenty from your competitor’s successes (and their failures). Examine their accounts to get a general feel for their strengths and weaknesses.
Start by answering these questions:
- When do they post, and how often?
- What type of content garners engagement? What does not?
- Is their audience more responsive to photos, Reels, or Stories?
- Which of their posts have attracted the most likes, shares, and engagement?
The more Instagram insights you can glean, the more clarity you’ll carry into your own marketing plan. Just be sure to showcase only original ideas on your own Instagram feed, as consumers these days are smart and can spot cloned content from a mile away.
#3 Create an Instagram business account
After those strategic planning steps, the rest is easy. Instagram offers complimentary business accounts. If you already have an Instagram account, switching over to a Business Account is a cinch:
- Navigate to “Settings” in your current Instagram account.
- Select “Switch to Professional Account.”
- Elect the business type that most closely matches yours.
- Complete your profile. Use an instantly-recognizable photograph or your logo, create a brief, punchy bio (in 150 characters or less), and include the link to your website.
Your profile should be informative, accessible and eye-catching. It should also capture your brand’s personality and stand out from your competition. Spend time on this step: Instagram has over 200 million businesses and you don’t want to get lost in the noise.10
Which brings us to our next point…
#4 Build an authentic Instagram presence
It’s estimated that consumers are subjected to as many as 10,000 ads per day.11
In a space like Instagram teeming with ads, it’s vital for brands to show up authentically to cut through the clutter. Most consumers can immediately spot a brand that screams inauthenticity—which often results in taking their business elsewhere.
To design a meaningful Instagram presence that resonates with your target audience, consider these tactics:
- Develop your desired tone of voice – Is your company courageous and outspoken? Inspirational? Witty? Your tone of voice should mirror your products and/or services—and utilize language that’s in your target audience’s vernacular.
- Ensure brand consistency – Nothing can inflict consumer doubt like a company that lacks cohesion and consistency online. Consumers repeatedly rate brand consistency as one of the most important things they look for; it also has the potential to increase revenue by 33%.12
- Be transparent – Whether you use a certain ingredient in your company’s body butter or don’t offer complimentary shipping, be upfront about it. Honesty is synonymous with integrity, which goes a long, loyal way with today’s consumers.
Your long-term success on the platform will also depend on creating an editorial calendar, growing your followers, and practicing social listening, among other tasks—which you can tackle yourself or hand over to an expert social media agency like Power Digital.
Harness the power of Instagram marketing with Power Digital
Instagram marketing can be a boon for your business, broadening your exposure and facilitating deeper bonds with your customers that ultimately lead to more sales. Partnering with a growth marketing firm can also help optimize your Instagram marketing efforts.
Power Digital can help you flourish on Instagram and beyond. We work at the junction between consulting, marketing, and data intelligence to help new and established brands exceed their potential. With our social media marketing experts, you’ll have a proactive partner by your side to help your brand collect more likes, followers, and sales than you ever thought possible.
Check out our social media marketing agency services today and drop us a line to get started.
- Investopedia. Instagram: What is its, its history, and how the popular app works. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/102615/story-instagram-rise-1-photo0sharing-app.asp
- Search Engine Journal. The top 10 social media sites & platforms 2022. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/social-media/biggest-social-media-sites/
- Business of Apps. Instagram revenue and usage statistics https://www.businessofapps.com/data/instagram-statistics/
- Forbes. The best of social media: pros and cons of each platform. https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2020/07/20/the-best-of-social-media-pros-and-cons-of-each-platform/?sh=22a5e1f21a3a
- Inc.com. 16 eye-popping statistics you need to know about visual content marketing. https://www.inc.com/larry-kim/visual-content-marketing-16-eye-popping-statistics-you-need-to-know.html
- Oberlo. 10 Instagram statistics you need to know in 2022. https://www.oberlo.com/blog/instagram-stats-every-marketer-should-know
- Forbes. Brands need to embrace social change: here’s why. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2021/01/19/brands-need-to-embrace-social-change-heres-why/?sh=20731bd18328
- Instagram. Instagram Shopping helps you reach new customers. https://business.instagram.com/shopping
- Instagram for Business. Hitting 500,000 advertisers. Hitting 500,000 Advertisers | Instagram Business Blog | Instagram for Business
- Instagram for Business. Getting started on Instagram for business. https://business.instagram.com/getting-started/
- Forbes. Finding brand success in the digital world. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/08/25/finding-brand-success-in-the-digital-world/?sh=2950f91d626e
- Oberlo. 10 branding statistics. https://www.oberlo.com/blog/branding-statistics
- The Source. Consumer values, brand expectations change in 2020. https://source.wustl.edu/2021/05/consumer-values-brand-expectations-change-in-2020/