A Complete Instagram Marketing Guide in 2022 [Tactics, Practices, & Tips]

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Back in 2010, when Instagram was first launched, it was a typical app filled with selfies and food pictures. We could claim that the term ‘Instagram Marketing‘ wasn’t invented yet.

The platform is the second most accessed network behind Facebook, and almost everyone is now on the platform, searching and sharing photos and videos daily.

Fast forward to 2022, and we see Instagram trends, updates, and features, including analytics, shoppable Instagram posts, Instagram checkouts, and several other features you can read about in detail. All the changes over the years have made Instagram the number one app for online marketing.

What Is Instagram Marketing?

Instagram marketing is a branch of social media marketing and refers to using Instagram to generate brand awareness and launch new products. With over one billion active users monthly, Instagram is a fantastic way to build your brand and directly connect with your followers. For marketing on Instagram, you can use:

  • Paid tactics like advertising and influencer marketing
  • Unpaid tactics like creating organic content, engaging with other users, etc.

A considerable number of users search Instagram for products they want to buy, and many do shopping on Instagram.

The best part is the Instagram algorithm, which shows your content to people based on their interests and paves the way to reach people who are likely to engage with your brand.

Why Instagram Marketing? 

Instagram is a visual platform with an enormous audience of all ages who are actively using the platform.

Talking about the benefits of marketing on Instagram:

  • The visual format of Instagram enables brands and businesses to showcase their product.
  • Instagram has a higher engagement rate than Twitter and Facebook.
  • Instagram simplifies strengthening relationships with customers, and it makes them more engaged.
  • 72% of Instagram users reported that they have decided to buy the products after seeing them on Instagram.
  • Instagram has made it easier than ever to have online shopping on the platform.

To sum up, Instagram marketing can strengthen your brand and bring you more customers. Still, you must establish a strategy before pitching into the platform, thinking it is perfect for all businesses.

How to Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy 

Instagram marketing, like any other kind of marketing (and online marketing) requires knowledge since every platform offers different opportunities. You can’t conclude that knowing how one platform works will work on the other ones, regardless of how similar they might be.

Every marketing platform needs a well-designed strategy to achieve excellent results; in the following parts, we will walk you through the strategies you need to know about marketing on Instagram. 

1. Identify Your Goals 

Before posting on Instagram, you need to ask yourself questions like, “why are you on Instagram?” “How can Instagram assist you in achieving your goals?” “Why marketing on Instagram, not other platforms?”.

There is no fixed answer to these questions, and you need to have a unique solution for this matter. Some users may post on Instagram to sell their products, some want to build brand awareness, and some may share user-generated content to advertise their products.

 All you need to do for a perfect start is to have a purpose and set a specific, obtainable goal that correlates with your business needs.

2. Determine Your Instagram Target Audience

An essential step to take is defining your target audience; otherwise, all your effort will be in vain. Defining your audience includes their age, gender, location, financial status, job, and interests. Having all this information will probably result in a better marketing Instagram account.

A guaranteed way to avoid mistakes in identifying your target audience is to gain information through related hashtags, and monitor their interactions, such as comments they write, what posts they share, etc.

Another strategy is to research your competitors’ profiles. You can get a ton of worthy information; we’ll discuss it in the next parts.

3. Analyze Your Competitors

Analyzing your competitors’ profiles and checking on their followers can provide you with merit information. You can see who your competitors are, what content they usually post, what hashtags they use, whether they have branded hashtags, how often they run a contest, and any other creative ideas or tactics that your rivals operate.

Monitoring your competitors’ followers is also an excellent strategy to reach a list of people who share your interest and might be your potential future followers. By the way, following your competitors’ followers is not recommended; instead, analyze the information you get to draw their attention organically.

4. Switch to a Business Account

Before starting marketing on Instagram, you need a business or a creator account. You can switch to a business account by following these steps:

  • Go to your profile and tap on three bars on the top right
  • Tap setting
  •  Tap account
  • Tap switch to professional account
  • Tap business and follow the prompts

Instagram Business accounts offer unique features that are unavailable on personal accounts. On a business account, you have access to:

  • Analytics: analytics are critical in digital marketing. You can see which posts reach your audience and which ones fail. You can even get information like how many viewers are your current followers and which ones came to visit via your hashtags; the analytics helps boost or promote your posts.
  • Contact information: on a business account, you can click on the “contact” button and put information like your address, phone number, and email address so that followers can contact you directly.
  • Call to action buttons: a call to action is a prompt on a website or social media app asking users to take some specified steps. CTA can increase engagement, affect the algorithm, and eventually boost your business. This feature is also designed for business accounts.
  • Instagram shopping: on a business account, you can set up an Instagram shop, which allows you to create your own online store, and your customers can tap on posts to see details and purchase on the app. A better feature is the shop tab on explore page, where users can look for new products and see products from their favorite brands.

5. Design Your Content

Content matters the most; both the text and visuals are essential, so Instagram provides a wide variety of content formats. 

You need to see what format fits your purpose and helps you deliver your message; it is wise to make use of all available formats. For example, static pictures and carousels can be good for introducing your product by posting images of its different angles. Stories are suitable for showcasing your product, and IGTVs are great opportunities to build engagement and collaborate with influencers.

You can post more creatively to make your content visually compelling; for example, sharing “behind the scene” posts show parts of your business that people don’t normally see and gives an authentic and unedited look to your business which can build trust among your followers.

Other compelling formats you can use are “text-based images,” “instructional posts,” “videos and Reels,” and “UGC.” posts.

From now on, you can monitor what format serves which purpose better and keep that in mind for your future posts.

6. Build a Consistent Aesthetic

In general, people tend to spend more time on high-quality and eye-catching content with natural light. To draw people’s attention to the desired product, you may want to take advantage of negative space (empty space around the subject) too. To get a step ahead of your competitors, you should make use of the best visuals. A recent study on Instagram images revealed that lighter colors and blueish images receive more likes than darker tones and red images.

But of course, the colors you choose should match up with your business or brand, and it’s better to create a theme and have visual consistency. Consistency will cause a sensation of unity, leading to a more professional and recognizable marketing account.

7. Optimize Your Instagram Profile 

Most marketers are already familiar with the basics of setting up an Instagram profile. You need to choose a search-friendly username, add your contact information, a keyword-research bio description, and a unique, noticeable profile picture. You might want to employ other features to your profile for a better result.

  • Hashtags: like the way it works for posts, you enter a #, and then you write a word or phrase; utilizing a branded hashtag is a good choice and can help with the Instagram algorithm.
  • View Shop Button: with the help of the view shop button, brands can curate a list of shoppable products and showcase their product catalog. Placing a call-to-action button that sends followers to your in-app store can encourage followers to become customers.
  • Hyperlinks: a hyperlink or a clickable profile link is a pasted URL that is added to your profile to direct your browser to a new web page. They can increase your page view, credibility, and usability, improve SEO, and assist the CTA.
  • Highlights: highlights are used to give your expired stories a second life and are placed right above your Instagram feed. Story highlights enable you to provide more information about your products, showcase them, and add UGC to buy your page more credibility.

8. Couple Your Posts With The Right Hashtags 

Hashtags are critical elements for increasing your visibility and engagement; adding the right hashtags to your Instagram posts can clear the way for users to find what they are looking for.

You can indeed use up to 30 hashtags for each post, but you’d better use between five and nine hashtags. Too many hashtags may seem spammy.

Six popular hashtag types that are crucial for e-commerce businesses are listed here:

  1. Branded hashtags
  2. Contest hashtags
  3. Niche-specific hashtags
  4. General hashtags
  5. Entertainment hashtags
  6. Timely hashtags

For the best outcome, have a quick study on these hashtag types and use a combination of them to strengthen your branding or business.

9. Utilize Instagram Stories 

Instagram stories are (to some extent) the most beneficial for brands. To pop some of the benefits up:

  • They are placed at the top of the users’ timeline and are checked daily.
  • You can post images, gifs, Boomerangs, and different videos like rewind videos and live videos.
  • Aesthetic consistency and quality can be less of a concern.
  • There is no limit to adding stories.
  • They are archived in the sequence you have added them.
  • A large number of filters and stickers are available.

As you already know, stories have a life span of 24 hours, and it was considered the first shortage. Still, in a later update, Instagram solved the problem with the highlight feature and left the stories with only one disadvantage. 

Stories are only available on the mobile Instagram apps, not the website, but since most users access Instagram via smartphones, it is not a big thing to worry about.

10. Share User-Generated Content 

As we mentioned above, stories come in handy due to the various features they support. In addition to the previous benefits we discussed, stories can be used to showcase user-generated content to increase discoverability and bring you more organic followers. Typically, people believe that other customers’ recommendations are better than advertised content, and clearly, UGC can act as a powerful social proof.

Encourage your audience to share your posts or branded hashtags and couple them with your original branded content to hit the sky.

11. Post Compelling Product Teasers

Instagram is a great place to advertise your products, but you should make sure your advertising posts are not too much to seem pushy or annoying; you should simply talk about your product, make it look exciting, and encourage people to buy in an indirect way.

For instance, you can share a carousel post introducing some available items to buy and announce a 50% discount. This way, you can receive thousands of likes and shares and expose your post in front of more eyes.

12. Configure an Editorial Calendar

An Instagram editorial calendar is a social media planner that allows you to plan out your posts in advance and post more often and timely. You can fill in your calendar with Instagram post types and your captions, hashtags, and posting time beforehand. An editorial calendar is likewise an incredible spot to record any critical occasions to feature on your Instagram account, for example, new product launches or unique offers. In addition, you can look out for real-time opportunities as opposed to scrambling for last-minute posts.

13. Check-in on Your Instagram Analytics 

You have free access to the analytic tool Instagram Insights on Instagram business accounts. You can also use some analytical tools for faster and easier tracking and evaluation. You can use either of the tools to see when your audience is online, what posts they like the most, and your account’s reach.

Bringing more advantages into the shed of light, evaluating the analytics help you to:

  • Target the right audience
  • Post frequently enough
  • Post at the right time
  • Drive relevant visitors to your profile
  • Receive mentions for future partnerships
  • Face opportunities for brand engagement

The information you obtain will help you improve by getting more credibility for your business.

14. Set up an Instagram Shop 

Product tags and product stickers are now available for business accounts to facilitate Instagram shopping for users.

Product tags are mainly used for feed posts, providing you with details such as the producer’s name, pricing, and a link to purchase it. 

By the same token, product stickers are designed for stories, and tapping on them will lead you to the purchase site.

After setting up an Instagram shop, you can make the most of shoppable posts and stories, influencer tagging, in-app checkout, and explore tab shop. 

15. Instagram Influencer Marketing

Instagram influencers are well-known people with a reputation for being good at a specific niche and are highly trusted by most users. An organic way to expand your Instagram marketing is to find relevant influencers or affiliates and ask them to share your posts or your company’s branded hashtags. More attractively, you can ask them to use your products in a tutorial video or do an unboxing. 

Some influencers do the advertising for a free product or service, and some will ask for money in return.

Choosing the right influencer is crucial; For instance, if you market kitchen supplies, food bloggers or kitchen interior designers are the perfect influencers to expose your business to interested users.

16. Affiliate Marketing

Since it might be confusing, we will start with the difference between affiliate and influencer marketing.

Affiliate marketing is the technique of earning a commission by advertising a product and recommending it to others to earn a percentage of each sold product. It means affiliate marketing is performance-based, and the company pays the affiliates for the customers they bring in. They might be able to bring only a couple of or hundreds of customers in a month. They get paid according to the number of people they convince; in contrast, influencer marketers share a post to advertise your product or service and have no direct responsibility for the number of customers they bring. Their job is done after introducing your product or service; In other words, companies pay influencers per referral and affiliates per promotion.

Affiliate marketing has some advantages over influencer marketing; for example, the high number of followers is not as severe as in influencer marketing, and since affiliates are paid per promotion, they seem to be more responsible for the content they share and its consequences.

17. Convert Followers Into Customers

You need to apply some strategies to turn your followers into customers. The most famous ones are publishing promotional posts, showcasing your products in the best possible way, advertising, using hyperlinks, offering discounts, and taking advantage of CTA.

Making use of new Instagram features on the latest updates will keep you ahead of your competitors, so have your Instagram up-to-date and try to use different formats such as feed posts, stories, IGTVs, and Reels on your shopping posts.

At the time your marketing strategy is ready, daily monitoring of the effectiveness of your strategy and your followers’ performance will start. It will help you make changes at required times and boost your account’s productivity.

Instagram Marketing Tips

In addition to the above-mentioned strategies, you will see the best Instagram marketing tips for your business in the following paragraphs.

Instagram Marketing Tip #1: Hire an Instagram Manager

An Instagram manager is an experienced person you hire to grow your business and account on your behalf. They know how to apply all the mentioned strategies in the most efficient way to grow your page in the shortest time.

Instagram Marketing Tip #2: Utilize Instagram Marketing Service

Instagram marketing services are professional services that are used to create and implement marketing campaigns on your behalf. Instagram marketing services are supposed to help with choosing the right audience, interacting with followers, monitoring your account, creating and publishing content, increasing the audience, and preparing a report.

Instagram Marketing Tip #3: Advertise at The Right Time

Instagram advertising can boost your account’s growth by showcasing your brand and providing a natural way to increase engagement and brand awareness. Still, knowing the best time to start advertising is vital. You should first create an account, gain some followers organically, promote your posts, and advertise when your account is well organized; otherwise, users will come and leave without following your account.

Instagram Marketing Tip #4: Trickle Your Followers’ Curiosity

Another great strategy to increase engagement is using features that make people more curious. For example, you can add a “countdown” to your story to notify an upcoming event. Followers can subscribe to the event and receive a reminder for the time the countdown is complete, or you can post a small part of a new product and add a “coming soon” sticker and make them guess what the new product is.

Instagram Marketing Tip #5: Buy an Instagram Page

Getting organic followers is a time-consuming and challenging process; you need to spend months on growing your account and building trust among your followers; on the contrary, buying an Instagram account with followers makes your page look old without any effort and at little cost.

It clearly seems tempting, but it is against Instagram rules, and Instagram will always know the creator of your page as the owner. Other disadvantages are “having unreal and fake followers” who never become customers, losing engagement rate by 70% after changing username, and probably decreasing your brand credibility in the long term.

Instagram Marketing Tip #6: Design Your Account Yourself to Lower the Cost

You can increase your Instagram growth by advertising, hiring a manager, and collaborating with influencers and affiliates, but they might cost a fortune, especially for newer brands.  

You can go through the strategies we mentioned earlier and learn to manage your account and advertise your brand yourself to lower the costs.

Instagram Marketing Tip #7: Review Your Growth Strategies 

From time to time, review your growth strategies to make sure you are:

  • Cross-promoting your content
  • Using the right hashtags
  • Collaborating with influencers
  • Engaging with followers
  • Hosting giveaways and takeovers
  • Running contests and promotions
  • Boosting your posts with advertising
  • Creating Instagram Gifs and AR effects

This review can help you consider what strategy you need to work more on.

Instagram Marketing: The Conclusion 

Surviving in the world of Instagram marketing may seem mind-blowing, but employing some strategies will help you get the best of it and provide outstanding outcomes for your brand awareness. Make sure you are utilizing all the strategies we listed above, and keep an eye on your metrics to monitor your posts constantly for the best result.

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Cyrus Nambakhsh

Cyrus is a serial entrepreneur, product-led-growth expert, a product visionary who launched 7 startups. He has built scalable platforms to help businesses and entrepreneurs. Visit my profile here: https://brandid.app/cyrus ==> For Guest Posts and Links Contact: [email protected]