Instagram Marketing

The Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing for Business

500 million social media users use Instagram every day. They publish over 250 million photos every day. These are serious numbers. It doesn't matter who your audience is - Instagram has it.
Therefore, we will immediately ask: how to promote your business on Instagram?

How do you differentiate your business from other photos and videos? How to go on Instagram if you don't have a full-time professional photographer? Let's deal with you in order.

Why does a business need to run its own Instagram
The potential of Instagram for a marketer is huge. But it is expressed in user behavior, not in specific numbers.

Users contact the brand
Research shows that a brand has benefits:

for a business account the engagement rate is 4%, while in social networks it hovers around 0.1%;
70% of users tell on Instagram about a new found brand;
62% of users are subscribed to company accounts on Instagram;
Only 36% of marketers use Instagram for promotion, and 93% use only social networks Facebook.

Social media influences purchasing decisions. If you find the right mix of content, your audience will accept it, get emotional, and buy without a tangible push. A marketer's dream!

This is what foreign marketers are saying.

Mike Hayes, internet marketer at Ben & Jerry's: "As soon as Instagram started working, it immediately showed its suitability for use in marketing. It is a communication channel where you can tell visualized stories."
Jessica Loria, Director of Brand Relations, Chonobani: "Instagram is a great platform for us. It allows us to show how people use our products and inspire new people to buy."
Rachel Joe Silver, SMM Specialist and Content Strategist, Birchbox: "This social network shows sky-high engagement rates compared to other media."

The formula for success
The success of companies leading Instagram lies not only in beautiful photos, but also in:

  • clear strategy, understanding of the audience;
  • correctly chosen frequency of publications;
  • communicating with the audience;
  • creating your own style.
By putting all the elements together, you will achieve success.

Here's an example of a foreign company Madwell: 716,000 subscribers, from 7,000 to 10,000 likes for each post.

A very short but succinct message. The target audience of the store will definitely hear it. The store focuses on young customers and speaks to them in their language - the words of rebellion, nihilism and disobedience to the framework of society. Thus, the brand inspires trust and those emotions that contribute to spontaneous decision-making.

How to form your own promotion strategy on Instagram

Select targets
Do not spray. Just formulate no more than 2 points of what you want to achieve. For example:

  • show your products, talk about services;
  • create a community;
  • increase brand confidence;
  • show the value of the company, corporate culture;
  • advertise the product to potential buyers;
  • increase brand loyalty;
  • tell about company news.
To understand what to look for, answer these questions:

  • How do you use Instagram?
  • How will it help you achieve your marketing goals?
  • How much time are you willing to spend?
  • How much budget can you spend?
  • How will your profile be different from profiles on other social platforms?

Using the foreign company Buffer as an example, I'll show you how planning works.

The priority goal is to build a community around the brand. Literally, marketers want to build a loyal follower. For this, specialists have developed a separate section. In it, they show the work of 4-6 employees per week. This sets up a connection with the audience.

The second goal is to increase audience engagement per post. Currently, the figure varies within 1.75%, which is slightly higher when comparing other profiles in the subject of the company. To achieve the goal, there are strict criteria for the quality of the content.

Demographic data

Here's the data sourced from the Web App Development:

Facebook usage in Belgium from Web App Development statistic one day

Marketing is about delivering the right message at the right time to the right people. Therefore, we will repeat the phrase that you constantly meet everywhere (including in our blog): you need to understand the target audience. Not convinced? Then take another look at Sintenzia's profile. It is unlikely that a person over 30 will buy such clothes. However, the brand is growing and developing. The point is that marketers understand the audience and the goal.

And here's the data from  Web App Development:

Do you already know the target audience of your product? Then it's time to correlate it with the data and find out which customers you will find on Instagram.

Profile optimization
This is your brand's homepage. On it, indicate brief information about your business. A good description is one that allows you to get some of your traffic back to your site.

Make sure your description is representative.

Here is an example of the profile header design for a job aggregator. Conveniently, if a person is interested in the brand itself, he can easily find an account through a search. At the same time, if the user is interested in job, he will also find the company profile.

Marketers recommend:

include a slogan, brand name (for example, like Nike) in the description;
add information - who you are and what you do.
Large companies also mention a branded hashtag. Here are some examples from abroad:

This is the best way to showcase your branding. Make your profile recognizable to different people (including those who happened to be in it by accident). Therefore, we use:

  • logo;
  • trade mark;
  • mascot.
For example, Vindazo uses the logo:

Unlike other social networks, you cannot add links in every post. At your service - only a description of the profile.

Many companies use it to redirect traffic back to the site. Use it wisely. Maybe it's better to use a specific commercial page on the site?

For example,  MoneyPreneure, every time a new material is published on the site, makes a corresponding post and says that the link is in the profile header.

If you add contact information, you will get another communication channel and reduce the likelihood of losing a person. Since 90% of users use their smartphone to view Instagram, it is easier for them to call you.

You can use the service to generate a link to a page with all your contacts so as not to clutter up the description with phone numbers.

Content strategy

How to set directions for different types of content
Content is the heart of your account. 95 million photos posted daily is the reason over 300 million users open the app multiple times a day. Therefore, content is the centerpiece of your Instagram marketing.

What to write about?

Before thinking over the visual style of presentation, let's decide on the type of publications. For example, Nike Running often talks about their running shoes:

Last time is very popular thematiek quotes. With quotes you can provide valuable content and many people like to say something in comments. This way you can engage more with your public or customers.

We at Web App Development studio run Instagram to show the life of our studio, to give it a human face. We talk about our employees, about local memes.

Digipolis has a separate tag,  #digipolis, where authors talk about the life of the company and publish customer stories.

Despite the fact that Instagram is focused on short texts, you can publish long reads as well. In this case, captivate the reader with the first words of the description - start by talking about the problem that you will help solve.

Here's an example of a architect and photographer. We take into account the text: it is aimed at the target audience - those who are interested in Architecture and promotion on Instagram. The first sentence is a direct description of what the person will receive after reading it - advice from a current Architecter with cool shots as bright and attractive.

Even here (despite the fact that the content is visual) people appreciate the teaching materials.

We build a publication plan

The basics of any content strategy are in business processes. These are a kind of river beds, separate thematic columns or sections.

Any business has the potential for developing a profile. Use your employees' stories, cultural events, your products to find ideas and themes for photos and videos.

For example:

  • Backstage.
  • User Content.
  • Product story / short demo.
  • Training.
  • Corporate culture.
  • Entertaining content.
  • Customer stories.
  • Getting to know your employees.
  • Memorable moments from the life of the company.
Open your notebook right now and drop in some ideas. I am sure you have them. Start with some core values ​​that apply to your company and then write whatever comes to mind.

Recorded? Fine. Now look at the resulting list, and try to combine similar records into clusters. Give everyone a name. This is the main idea of ​​each direction, heading.

3 examples of ideas for content abroad

Saturday Night Live's Instagram is an analogue of our "Evening Urgant". They work in two directions: they show what is happening behind the scenes of the studio and publish unique videos. When fans check Instagram, they see either a favorite artist or an interesting piece of behind-the-scenes life - something that is not included in the mainstream on television.

Instagram Stories

Stories appeared in August 2016. How can a brand use it? To begin with, I will say that 33% of all stories that a user sees come from brands. 1 out of 5 stories gets an organic response from the audience.

What stories can be used for
  • Useful or funny content
  • Polls.
  • Live broadcasts.
  • Interesting facts and information.
  • Checklists, short step-by-step tutorials (can be split into several pictures).
  • Work schedule, schedule of events.
  • Announcements, important news.
  • Hot vacancies.
  • Announcements of events.
  • Selling materials
  • Photos of goods.
  • Useful material with a link to the product.
  • Offer of the day.
  • Selling story.
  • Product overview.
  • A video on how your product works.
  • Favorable promotions, discount coupons.
  • Festive goods.
  • Targeted advertising.
  • Social proofs
  • Customer reviews.
  • Product preparation / creation process.
  • Success stories.
  • Photos of employees, office, shop.
  • Photo report from the event.
  • Also in stories, many SMM managers publish calls to action - to go to the site, to subscribe, to send a message to direct.

Features of storytelling

You can upload both a photo and a video. The maximum story length is 15 seconds.

If we are talking about a picture, then marketers recommend using high-quality images of 9:16 format, 1080x1920 resolution. Please note that the orientation of videos and pictures in Stories is portrait.

For video, the extensions .MOV, .MP4, .gif are used, the minimum resolution is 720p. The maximum video file size is 2.3 GB.

If you have 10,000 followers, you can embed links in stories.

Content plan: 7 steps to success
After finding ideas for content, it's time to draw up a unified publishing plan. The content plan will help define style, aesthetic appeal, posting frequency, and more.

1. Style

The style ensures consistency in all materials used in marketing.

Therefore, think about how your content distribution and business promotion sites are similar, and how they differ. For each piece of content, decide how to present it:

  • composition;
  • color palette;
  • filters;
  • fonts;
  • quotes;
  • hashtags.

2. Composition

Composition is the placement, arrangement of objects in a photograph. It's about art, not marketing. Plus, not every marketer is a professional photographer with taste.

Therefore, here are 3 universal tips for any occasion:

  • Solid background color.
  • Compliance with the rule of thirds.
  • Free space in the center or top of the picture for an inscription.


3. Color palette

Choosing permanent colors is a sign of consistency. And consistency is the key to mastery. If you have your own palette, cool. But this does not mean that you cannot use other colors or must use only these. We're not at Nike.

It's just that people will become more accustomed to associating your brand with certain colors. For example, write in the comments what color do you associate Web App Development with?

The largest fruit drink brand in India, for example, has this colorful and fresh profile. Juicy!

4. Fonts

When labeling images, keep the fonts consistent. Use the ones that are consistent with the brand and used on the sites in your emails.

This is how Headspace does it. It maintains matching fonts in every photo.

5. Filters

It is they who make the picture look like it was taken with a professional camera, and not with an amateur soap dish. If you don't have expensive photo equipment, filters will help you.

This is a way to improve your photo with a few taps. Filters can radically change a photograph, both for the good and for the bad. Therefore, we adhere to moderation and choose a few basic filters that perfectly emphasize the value of the brand.

For example, for a coffee shop, Sunrise is great, giving your photos a warm, cozy tone.

6. Signatures

On Instagram, they are limited to 2200 characters. If the photo description is stretched more than 3 lines, they are truncated with ellipses.

This is an opportunity to complement your content. Someone uses this to share stories, tell their events. And for some it is just a heading to a picture. One way or another, this is an opportunity to create a trigger for the targeted action that you expect from the audience.

7. Hashtags

On many social media platforms, this is a way to organize a lot of content. Instagram is no exception. With their help, the user can find either your profile or specific entries.

Track Maven research has shown that posts with more than 11 tags are becoming more popular.

However, the same principle plays a role in the social network as in search engine promotion. In the first place - user-friendliness, a pleasant-looking design of each publication.

Tips for using hashtags:

  • Do not use swear words, words related to violence and immorality. Such tags are blacklisted, and posts with them rank poorly.
  • Don't imitate girls in bikinis who just walked on nails - don't write tags in solid text. You are the face of business, be more serious.
  • Don't use tags inside the text, it will annoy readers. Better put them after the description to the photo.
  • Brevity is the sister of talent, so it’s better to # not write long hashtags together.
  • There are services for tracking popular tags and analysis: - in addition to being able to use the service as a full-fledged desktop application, you will also see statistics on popular tags, profiles, and you can analyze your own account.

Time and frequency of publications

In fact, now the posting time does not play a decisive role. Smart feeds appeared on social networks - algorithms that select for you those posts that will be of interest to you. You can find both a fresh post and one that the author published a day ago.

Because of this, the importance of posting content at the right time decreases, and the ability to get into the heart of the target audience becomes even more important.

The ranking algorithm for Instagram posts is based on how quickly your post collects views and likes. Therefore, the issue of publication time cannot be completely ignored. Here are a couple of tips.

Consistency and frequency will help your subscribers know when to post next time from you. Union Metrics has done research on major brands. It turned out that large companies make 1-2 publications daily. Moreover, those companies that made more than 2 posts a day did not receive negative feedback from the audience.

The main idea is this. Try posting once a day and test additional posts.

Now time is just one of the factors that the publication ranking algorithm takes into account. As a marketer, the following information is important: Publish content at a time when it gets the most engagement from your audience.

For analytics of the best time, use the services:

  • Popsters.
  • Hootsuite.
  • Peakfeed.
The question is also about the type of content you post. For example, on Monday it is better not to post anything important or complicated. We have all just returned from trips, bars and restaurants and have begun to sort out important cases. We spend the least time on social media, and inspiring longread photography will not be successful.

The middle of the week is the best time for important announcements and messages. And if you still have something funny or entertaining, save it for Friday.

4 Tips: How to Increase Followers and Engagement

1. Use UGC content
Become a content curator. The stories told by your followers, customers, customers will inspire other people to share your content.

The easiest way is to use comments, testimonials, and user experiences.

The content will help you find a reason for the next publication, and will serve as social proof for the audience.

2. Take pictures of people
Georgia Tech analyzed 1.1 million Instagram images. They found that the image on which the face of a real person is present:

collects 38% more likes;
attracts 32% more comments.

3. Share posts on social networks

In particular, on Facebook. BuzzSumo conducted its research on 1 billion messages from more than 3 million brands. We found out that if a post on Instagram was shared in the community on Fb, then it received a higher engagement rate.

4. Paid impressions

This is targeted advertising. You are addressing your advertising message to interested people. The more successful you choose the audience for the display, the more benefit you will get.

We will not stop here. Our blog already has:


So, celebrities have the opportunity to record long videos without forcing the audience to go to other venues. Over the past year, video content has become several times more popular than the previous one.

54% of users prefer video to other content formats (up from 23% last year).
57% of smartphone users watch videos 30-40 minutes long until the end.
This means that you have the opportunity not only to attract a person, but to interest him and captivate with your content.

Requirements for videos
Format - MP4.
The format is 4: 5, the recommended is 9:16.
The maximum size for a 10-minute video is 650 MB.
The maximum size of an hour video is 5.4 GB.
You can add a cover for each video.

What content can be published on IGTV
For example, you can post an hour-long video of eating a burger and collect 1 million views, as Netflix did.

But seriously, I'll repeat a familiar phrase again: what the target audience needs.

To do this, answer 3 questions:

Who is viewing your profile? You can find similar profiles on your account and see what competitors are posting.
What is the subscriber's profit? Will you be able to keep the user's attention for an hour? This is possible if your video solves the user's problem.
How will the video fit into your content plan?

We repost all content for Youtube in Instagram but in short variant.

Instagram Marketing Analytics

As with any promotion, there is nowhere in Instagram marketing without efficiency analysis. Question: what to analyze?

  • Profile indicators
  • The number of subscribers.
  • Total impressions.
  • Reach is the number of unique people who have seen your posts.
  • Profile views.
  • Follow the link in the description.
  • Clicks on calls and emails - how many clicks were on links to contact you.
  • Posts - the number of posted posts in the profile.
  • Mentions - how many times your profile has been tagged by third-party users in photos and descriptions under the photo.
  • Brand Tags - How many times users have used your branded hashtag.
  • Publication rates
  • Impressions - the total number of views of the entry.
  • Reach - how many people have seen a particular post.
  • Number of likes.
  • Number of comments.
  • Number of Saves - How many users have saved your post.
  • Engagement - how many unique users have reacted to your post - like, comment, save.
  • Story metrics
  • Impressions - how many views the story has received.
  • Reach - How many unique people have seen the story.
  • Outputs - how many people covered the story.
  • Answers - How many users responded to a specific story.
  • I will not confuse you with formulas for calculating other composite metrics. There are a lot of them. And if you use services, some of them use different ratios.

For convenience, the calculation of indicators and collection of statistics can be entrusted to special tools.

Analysis services is a tool for analyzing several profiles at once, which collects data on user activity, post statistics. There is data on demographics, distribution of subscribers by region, engagement rates, popularity of hashtags. - in addition to analytics, you can use the tool to reply to comments, post new posts. Can be used to track the popularity of posts and build a content strategy. - Suitable for analyzing all social networks. You will find out which of your subscribers is the most active, you will see your best posts, the most popular hashtags.

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