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Instagram marketing: ways to update your strategy

Instagram is currently one of the most-used social media platforms with over 2 billion monthly active users. It’s hard to believe that an app initially created for random snapshots and selfies has become so popular with consumers and businesses alike.

The reality is that Instagram is an absolute goldmine for businesses of all shapes and sizes. However, it’s no longer about silly photos with filters and borders. Instead, you need to have a perfectly curated and visually appealing feed to stand out. Many brands struggle to grow or adopt Instagram as part of their social strategy and we totally understand why.

You can’t afford to “wing it” on Instagram. You need a clear-cut, actionable Instagram strategy if you want to grow a presence and attract customers.

We’ve broken down an Instagram marketing strategy guide to help you get started on the platform and understand the best practices for growth.

What is Instagram marketing?

Why use Instagram for marketing?

How to create an Instagram business account

6 Ways to create an Instagram marketing strategy

Instagram analytics and tools

Get started with Instagram marketing

What is Instagram marketing?

Instagram marketing is a social media marketing strategy that refers to the use of Instagram and its features to build a community and promote your business. Brands enlisting Instagram marketing will need to create content for the platform, build out a cohesive plan for said content, engage with their target audience and more to see success.

Why use Instagram for marketing?

Social media marketing is a wildly popular strategy as there are nearly 5 billion social media users worldwide. Instagram is one of the most popular social networks, having been the most-downloaded app at the end of 2021. Not only that but 59% of Instagram’s 2 billion users log into the app daily.

With a pretty solid distribution of ages and genders on the app, you’re likely to find at least one segment of your target audience on the app.

Instagram is a visual platform with a heavy focus on photo and video. This means that product-based businesses can easily showcase their product in action as a way of selling. But don’t discount the benefits of Instagram for B2B brands as well—videos and graphics are great educational tools for teaching and selling to your audience.

The platform also boasts a number of features that allow you to promote your business in different ways, creating an engaging marketing strategy overall. Some features include:

Carousel posts

Instagram Stories

Story highlights

Instagram Reels

Instagram shopping

Paid partnerships for influencer campaigns

Instagram creates a revenue stream for e-commerce brands, helps build a community of loyal customers and can be a great way to increase brand awareness.

How to create an Instagram business account

Ready to get started with your own Instagram business profile? It’s easy to create one and start sharing content immediately. Let’s walk you through the process.

Download the Instagram app onto your smartphone. While there is a desktop version, the app is mobile-first and most tasks are easiest to complete on the mobile app.

Input your business email address and choose a password. Follow the instructions until you’re taken to your new profile.

Begin your visual branding. Upload a profile photo and input all necessary profile information—your business name, a bio, a profile link, a CTA button, etc.

Tap the hamburger menu at the top right corner of your profile to access Instagram settings. Go to the Account menu in order to change your profile to a business profile to get access to tools specific to Instagram for business.

From here, you can easily get started posting photos, videos, stories, reels and so much more.

6 Ways to create an Instagram marketing strategy

Now that we’ve outlined why you should be marketing on Instagram and how to create a business profile, let’s get to work in creating an Instagram strategy.

1. Define your Instagram marketing goals

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you need to be able to answer exactly why you want to have an Instagram presence in the first place. What’s in it for your business? Do you want to generate leads? Build a community? Increase brand awareness?

Setting social media goals is an essential step in any strategy. These goals determine everything from your content strategy to how much time you need to spend on the platform to accomplish them.

There’s no “right” or single goal you have to commit to, either. It’s going to fully depend on your overall business goals and what you’re hoping to achieve. And your ROI from Instagram really boils down to these goals.

For example, Crate and Barrel is a shining example of a retail brand whose Instagram strategy is laser-focused on social selling. Their entire feed centers around showing off their products and encouraging followers to check them out as well.

Meanwhile, beauty brands often focus on highlighting products while also building a community by constantly going back-and-forth with followers.

Local, brick-and-mortar businesses want to keep customers in the loop on their latest promotions while simultaneously building relationships. Notice how Dixie Dharma takes the time to respond to their customer comments in addition to showing off their mouth-watering breakfast offerings.

And many B2B brands use the platform as a means of education. Creating branded graphics can go a long way in providing visually appealing information for your audience, like we see here from Leadpages.

The beauty of Instagram is the sheer amount of creative freedom available to you. Either way, deciding on the Instagram tactics you’ll use starts with your goals.

Dig through Instagram yourself to help inspire your business’ strategy.

Follow some of your favorite brands. Follow some competitors, too. Experiencing the platform as a user is the best way to understand how businesses and consumers interact with each other.

If you’re still in need of some inspiration, here are some common goals that businesses use for their Instagram marketing strategy:

Increase brand awareness via followers and reach

Generate engagement via comments and shares

Improve website traffic via link-in-bio and stories clicks

Ramp up sales via clicks or social sales

2. Optimize your Instagram profile

Here’s some good news: in terms of setting up your profile, Instagram is relatively straightforward. However, there are a few small details to watch out for as you put together your profile.

Before you worry about creating content for Instagram, make sure you’ve ticked the following boxes. This rings true for new profiles and brands looking to fine-tune their Instagram marketing.

Convert to a business profile

We covered this earlier, but it’s a big one.

Because Instagram business profiles give you access to features like analytics, paid partnerships, CTA buttons and more, you need to make sure that you’ve switched your account. Doing so also allows you to highlight additional information such as your industry, location, phone number and email address as part of your Instagram bio.

A screenshot of an optimized Instagram profile by The Sill.

Additionally, Instagram business profiles have access to analytics to help you see how followers are interacting with your account. Of course, we recommend that you go beyond base-level metrics with the help of Sprout Social (but more on that later).

Decide on your brand creatives

Although they’re easy to overlook, your brand creatives are integral to your Instagram marketing strategy.

Specifically, your hashtags and bio.

The process of creating a hashtag doesn’t have to be daunting. For example, most hashtags are either a brand name or slight variations of a brand name.

The purpose of having a hashtag is to encourage followers to tag your brand and enable you to do the same. Hashtags serve as a call-to-action to encourage customer photos and stories. You can also include your branded hashtags within your bio to encourage even more usage.

A screenshot showcasing branded hashtags in an Instagram bio.

In turn, you and your followers can see who else used your tag and shared their snaps.

Craft a compelling Instagram bio

Despite being only 150 characters, your Instagram bio is invaluable real estate.

This is your brand’s first impression with customers and potential followers. It represents an opportunity to highlight what your brand is all about and encourage followers to take action.

And it’s the only place where you can funnel Instagram traffic to your promotions or website.

As part of your Instagram strategy, make sure that your bio includes the following.

A clear, concise description of what your business does

Hashtag(s) related to your business

Some sort of call-to-action

A trackable link in bio to monitor the behavior of your Instagram traffic

For example, Whole Foods’ Instagram manages to achieve all of the above.

Screenshot of the Whole Foods Instagram bio.

Upload your profile picture

Your Instagram profile picture is confined to only 110×110 pixels.

Therefore, sleek, minimalist and high-res is the way to go. And in order to increase brand recognition and make sure your Instagram looks legitimate, it’s best to keep this to your logo—or as much of it as you can reasonably fit in.

For example, Casper includes only the first letter of their stylized brand font for a bold profile pic.

Screenshot of Casper's Instagram business bio that shows clean branding, a concise bio and website URL.

Meanwhile, BarkBox manages to include its entire name with clean, legible text.

Screenshot of the BarkBox Instagram bio that shows consistent branding, a branded hashtag, link in bio and a fun description.

3. Pinpoint your target audience

Before you start creating and publishing content, you need to know who your target audience is. Which of your customer segments have a presence on Instagram? Make sure you understand Instagram’s overall demographics and have a customer profile or persona filled out so that you can align the two.

This way, you can make sure that your content strategy is only geared toward people who are actually interested in your product or service, rather than marketing out into the void hoping that something resonates to anyone.

4. Create your Instagram content strategy

Now let’s get into the meat of your Instagram strategy: creating content.

Here we’ve highlighted some specific Instagram marketing tips that showcase the types of content that crush it based on best practices. Although these aren’t the only types of content you can publish, consider these post types to be cornerstones of your Instagram marketing.

Eye-popping imagery

Stylish snapshots.

That’s exactly what put Instagram on the map.

Photos featuring some sort of striking creative trademark, whether it be a stunning setting or bright color scheme, are the types of posts that reel in the likes and comments.

Thankfully, most modern smartphones have features baked into them to take compelling photos of just about anything, without relying on professional photographers.

Also, there are plenty of Instagram apps that include filters and style options to step up your photos.

People-centric photos

Social media is social.

That means centering your content strategy around people. Specifically, highlighting the humans who support your business.

For example, user-generated content and customer photos are staples of Instagram. Sharing such snapshots allows you to show off your satisfied customers and put your products in a real-world setting.

Don’t forget about showing your team some love, too. Going behind-the-scenes and celebrating your colleagues is a simple yet effective way to humanize your brand.


Video content is among the most popular and shared around social media, Instagram included.

If you’re not a professional videographer, don’t panic. Many brands share bite-sized promos in lieu of big productions.

And yes, you can create video that sells with little more than a smartphone.

Screenshot of a Whataburger Instagram video post.

Looping videos and time lapse videos are insanely popular and can be put together in a matter of seconds thanks to third-party apps.

Memes and image macros

Not everything on Instagram needs to be staged or come from a camera reels.

Memes are perfect for humor or inspiration.

In fact, memes and image macros are a way to break up the monotony of your feed and engage your followers on a personal level. Even screenshots of Tweets have made their way onto Instagram.

Jokes? Tips? Inspirational quotes? If you’re strapped for ideas, such posts can do the trick. Use tools like Canva and Visme to create these engaging posts.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are also an incredibly popular content type and have a great reach rate.

Why? For starters, Stories enable you to “skip the line” in your followers’ feeds by putting your account at the front of their Story queue. Furthermore, time-sensitive content taps into your customers’ sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).

Furthermore, 50% of Instagram users have visited a website to buy a product or sign up for a service after seeing it in Stories.

Great for deals, company updates or just plain playful content, Stories are something you should strive to create on a daily basis.

5. Publish content consistently

You have your content ready to publish. Simply posting at random isn’t going to do you any good.

As part of your marketing strategy for Instagram, take note of the following before you put out your next post.

Craft compelling captions

Each post you publish should have a unique caption. Even the seemingly smallest details of those captions can impact your engagement rate and whether or not your post is discoverable.

With 2,000+ characters to work with, you certainly have creative freedom. However, you’ll notice that many businesses take a “less is more” approach to their Instagram captions.

No matter what you’re saying or selling, make sure that you include a combination of the following in your captions.

A call-to-action (a question, “check out our bio,” etc)

A touch of personality (use emojis, take up a conversational tone)

Hashtags (including your branded hashtags)

Pay attention to timing and frequency

When and how often you publish your content matters when it comes to engagement.

Most brands publish daily or on a near-daily basis. But don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity.

Also, the timing of your posts impacts how likely your followers are to see them. For reference, here are the best times to post on Instagram based on V.I.M


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