How to do Instagram Marketing in 5 simple steps only

Having a good Instagram marketing strategy is now essential for doing business and promoting oneself effectively. Social networks exert an ever-greater influence on consumers’ purchasing decisions and represent an opportunity to get noticed and communicate.

Doing Instagram marketing means positioning oneself in a continuously evolving and growing market. Some data useful for faithfully capturing the business growth of the preeminent visual social network:

  • Over 800 million monthly active users;
  • 50% of them state that they connect to Instagram once a day, 35% several times a day;
  • 25 million business profiles on Instagram;
  • 50% of Instagram users follow at least one company, and 60% declare having learned about a product or service through the platform.

Instagram has clearly become a very important commercial asset. A global platform that allows brands to humanize content, showcase products, inspire their audience, and connect in an authentic and friendly way.

The very nature of the social network, acquired years ago by Facebook, encourages its users to explore. An invitation that is accepted: 70% of Instagram users have spent time researching a brand on the platform, and half of them follow at least one. In short, Instagram marketing is increasingly a “must-have” and less an option to consider in one’s marketing mix.

In this mini-guide, you will discover, step by step, how to use this social marketing tool to promote your brand in a professional, high-performing, and winning way. Join our Instagram Marketing Course and discover strategies to enhance your profile, engage your audience, and turn followers into customers.

Social Media Marketing in the US and around the world

Instagram made its debut in 2010 and is still owned by Facebook, a platform that continues to appeal to users.

Since the recent data were recorded recently, in America not fewer than 120 million active users are witnessed this year as a favorable percentage compared to previous years.

how to do instagram marketing examples

Instagram Marketing in the US: reflections on success and strategies

In the US, Instagram is widely used by young generations as most users are aged between 18-29 years. Interestingly, older generations also join Instagram in the USA on a wide scale. Users older than 50 are also getting out of their shells on the platform, meaning that Instagram’s reach spans generations.

However, females slightly prevail in the group of American Instagram users implying that the gender gap is quite minimal and implies equal distribution between genders. This balance creates an expansive diversity of options that companies can tailor their marketing strategies to suit a wide clientele base.

Instagram vs. Facebook: a comparison

Instagram possesses a complement of young users, but this is not the case within the US. The audience that finds Facebook more appealing is the mature group, which means this new generation has become popular among older generations. Even though it also becomes popular with older groups of people, Instagram is still a favorite service among the younger generation.

Implications for Marketing Strategies

These patterns are vital for US firms and marketers to comprehend to devise effective strategies on Instagram. It is crucial to understand age distribution, gender trends, and the changes in users because of this platform. Strategies must be as flexible and varied to match an audience that keeps changing.

To summarize, Instagram in the US is a constantly changing and evolving world of digital marketing. The constantly developing large and diverse user base provides adequate opportunities for companies to interact with the audience. With a growing number of users on Instagram, strategies to leverage this platform should also change with time, and in doing so constant innovation is needed for businesses to remain relevant.

What does it mean for a business to do Instagram Marketing?

The strong engagement being created (even among companies) demonstrates how, for a company planning actions on social networks, Instagram marketing represents an interesting opportunity. This is particularly true for brands operating in sectors where visual communication is instrumental to the success of their strategy.

As can be easily understood, the sectors most present (and which have the most opportunity to benefit from Instagram marketing) are those that are “more photogenic“, and those where “emotional” visual language can make a difference. This is why this platform has been more successful in the fashion and beauty sectors, in the fields of food and wine, and not least, in the travel and tourism sectors. Sports and wellness also enjoy very high consensus.

Of course, this does not mean that companies operating in other sectors (or producing goods or services with lower visual impact) cannot use Instagram to promote their brand (if you want to see some examples of how to do it, click here).

Thanks to Instagram if you can tell the company or its products in a creative, engaging, and captivating way, it is possible to achieve good results. In this case, the goal is achieved through the creation of visual content (visual content marketing) capable of capturing the attention of your brand just as effectively as an advertising campaign.

 

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Marketing with Instagram: how the platform works

Like every social network, Instagram has specific characteristics, which are necessary to understand to be successful.

how to do marketing on instagram strategy

The characteristics of Instagram

  • Completely mobile: Instagram is a social network that was specifically designed to be used on mobile devices. This fact assumes particular importance considering the overtaking of users on smartphones and tablets compared to those using a PC. There is a desktop version, but its use is marginal.
  • Visual content: the core of the message is an image. Through appropriate Instagram marketing, well-conceived and conveyed visual content acquires a particular strength. Through images, it is possible to communicate with users in a much more direct and immediate way. The content strategy on Instagram must reflect all this.

The importance of hashtags on Social Media

As is known, the term hashtag (graphically represented by the symbol #) has now become common in everyday language.

how to use hasthag on instagram

In digital communication, however, this concept fulfills a specific function: creating labels, and topics associated with one or more keywords to facilitate and optimize thematic searches within a social network or a blog. Each social network has a different use for them.

Hashtags can relate to a brand (so-called branded hashtags: these are linked to the company or business name. They serve to promote, for example, advertising campaigns).

Or they can refer to a community or an interest (the community hashtags connect all users around a specific theme). The most popular hashtags are the simplest, composed of a single word. However, it is not always useful to resort to overly generic or popular terms.

Hashtags on Instagram

On Instagram, inserting a hashtag in the description of the images to be published makes the photo visible (and therefore the account) to other users who have searched for that particular hashtag, connected to a specific topic.

It is therefore a very important function that cannot be ignored if you want to do Instagram marketing correctly. Each post (whether an image or a video) must be accompanied by a description and a certain number of hashtags related to the theme you want to communicate. This allows users to find the content they are looking for and the company to communicate.

Often these tools are used inappropriately. The most common mistake is to use them in large quantities. On Instagram, it is indeed possible to use up to thirty. However, this is not the best way to achieve the hoped-for goals. When it comes to hashtags, always adhere to one principle: quality over quantity.

Our goal is not to obtain as much generic visibility as possible: the aim of every company can and should be to show itself to targeted users. To those people who are looking for themes, products, services, and inspiration that concern our business.

Hashtags for Instagram Marketing

Here are some tips on how to use hashtags for Instagram marketing (effectively applying hashtag marketing strategies):

  • Hashtags used must be specific and relevant to the photo (or video) being posted;
  • It is advisable to use a few hashtags (at most one or two) in the description (i.e., caption): this makes the image cleaner and more appealing. The remaining can be inserted in the comments: this way they will still work, but, at the same time, a greater enjoyment of the image will be ensured;
  • Do not use overly popular hashtags: their effect fades quickly and, with them, the visibility that was hoped to be achieved. Better to search for less inflated ones. Similarly, too generic hashtags do not add anything from a descriptive point of view and are considered a source of penalty;
  • Create your custom hashtags to use when you see fit.

4 steps to promote your brand thanks to Instagram

Instagram has become an effective marketing weapon. We are going to show you the step-by-step solutions that can help you promote your brand on this vibrant platform.

No matter if you’re an aspiring startup founder or someone who is running a successful brand, these four steps will serve as your guide to leverage the power of Instagram marketing in reaching out to your audience and strengthening their perception of you while also creating meaningful engagement.

Let us guide you through the process of making Instagram your centerpiece in digital marketing.

1. Establish basic objectives

Try to understand the reason that drives you to do Instagram marketing in simple words, that is how to use Instagram to promote your brand. And, in particular, ask yourself:

  • What does Instagram allow (would allow) you to do more than other platforms;
  • Who is your target audience and who among them is active on Instagram? Only after verifying that your typical customers belong to the user groups active on this social network, can you consider the idea of reaching them through this tool;
  • How to integrate the actions you will take on Instagram into an overall social media marketing strategy. In the digital world, the key to success is integration (between various tools, various social networks, various marketing strategies, and online and offline).

2. Open a business profile

Opening a business profile is an essential element for an effective Instagram marketing strategy. For those who have a business, switching to a business profile allows for several benefits:

  • Including contact information in the profile (phone number, email address, your website) allows customers and potential customers to reach you, and also makes the company recognizable and trustworthy to users.
  • The Insights function is enabled, i.e., it is possible to access statistics and have more information about your followers. This way, you can better understand who are the people interacting with your company on Instagram. You can also understand which posts and stories generate more engagement among the audience, and which ones are more liked.
  • Thanks to the business profile, it is also possible to create promotions to advertise your products or services through Facebook’s business manager platform.
  • Finally, you can link the Instagram business account to your Facebook business page, thus allowing you to convey visual content on the latter as well.

3. The 3 actions to be taken immediately

When adding info to the business profile, some precautions are necessary.

  • Profile image: it’s the first thing people notice, so it is advisable to use the company logo (or another image familiar to users). This choice indeed allows you to be immediately recognizable by the public. On Instagram, the profile image (displayed in the top left) is circular. The optimal dimensions vary from 110×110 to 180×180 pixels. On average, therefore, to ensure impeccable viewing, the format should be 160×160 (recently, however, the possibility to insert images in horizontal and vertical format was also introduced).
  • The company bio: is part of your showcase, so it must be written at its best. Explain succinctly (you have 150 characters available) and creatively who you are and what you do, what your company culture is. Describe through an effective pay-off the personality of your company and its products.
  • Company data: as already mentioned, the contact information entered in the profile (phone, email, website) plays a fundamental function, creating trust among consumers and offering a service to those who need to communicate with it. It’s an opportunity not to be wasted.

4. Develop a specific content strategy for Instagram

As with every single social network, it is essential to understand which content to publish and which not to. For effective Instagram Marketing content, it’s not enough just to post photos, but it must be done according to specific criteria:

  • First of all, it is necessary to carry out preliminary research on the habits of the market segment to which you are addressing. In this phase, it is necessary to know the interests of your target and try to understand what types of visual content they might like.
  • Moreover, it is indispensable to develop an editorial plan in which to schedule activities.
  • Act in accordance with your values: the posts published must respect the ethics that the company has set for itself and that it wants to transmit to its audience.
  • The content must also be consistent in style. To do this, it is better to adhere to guidelines that have been previously established and refer to all elements that help the public maintain a vivid image of the brand. For example, by setting up a pre-established color palette consistent with the company logo.

 

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Use the right colors

Colors are fundamental in Instagram marketing. They turn the image into a silent persuaded, capturing attention, defining and showcasing the product, and differentiating it.

Here they should be chosen both based on the emotions they aim to convey, and on the characteristics of the brand.

For example, blue is often used for an institutional website; whereas, for promoting a “young” brand, Instagram marketing should be characterized especially by bright colors.

social media marketing for business

In general, however, colors in the spectrum are associated with two types of emotions: warm colors (red, orange, yellow, and all their shades) are more suitable for stimulating the emotional component (they convey passion, excitement, dynamism, and curiosity).

Conversely, cool colors (green, blue, and their derivatives) have a greater impact on the rational component (they are also used to instill a sense of peace, tranquility, stability, and loyalty).

Finally, not-colors (black and white), are generally associated with an idea of perfection (peace, elegance) but also of extremization. Regardless of the chosen tint for communication, it is however necessary to remember that, depending on the contexts (including geographical ones), a color can have different meanings (for example, in Eastern cultures, white symbolizes mourning).

Pay attention to the images

Images are the pivot of Instagram marketing. Although it is true that, on this platform, everything that is associated with an idea of spontaneity works better, it is necessary to convey positive, evocative feelings.

importance of images on social media

Photos must therefore be beautiful, captivating, and well-made. They must present the product or service in a way that induces the user to imagine the sensation they will feel using that particular product or service.

For instance, in the tourism sector, the most successful photos are those depicting locations in all their beauty and magnificence, in a way that makes the viewer desire to be there.

Describe the photos

The textual description (i.e., caption): Instagram is not Twitter. On Instagram, there is enough space to accompany the photos with texts that can be more or less lengthy depending on the goal you wish to achieve and the style of your communication.

It’s an opportunity that must be seized. Adding something (relevant) to the photo will allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors (if you want some guidance on the differentiation strategy, you can consult this mini-guide on differentiated marketing).

In any case, the content must enrich the user, there must be a value added. For example, some use this space for microblogging, or to insert captivating texts to attract users.

Choose the frequency of posting

Publish posts with a constant frequency depending on the level of engagement you want to achieve (one post a day or, for high engagement with users, even two or more). However, do not overdo it.

Even in Instagram marketing, the general rule applies: if you have nothing significant to communicate, it is better to refrain. The frequency of posting should be planned consistently, with regularity, and the choice of the time slots preferred by your target segment should be taken care of.

Be part of your community on Instagram

Respond to your followers and invite them to interact with your content. Include a call to action in your posts (ask, for example, to share them). Engage them. Mark the photos of your followers and their comments with the “like” symbol. 

instagram marketing strategies

Every post you create is an opportunity to increase your visibility, to grow your community, and to increase the loyalty of your customers.

Monitor and measure results

After launching an Instagram marketing campaign, it is necessary to periodically check the results to understand if the chosen strategy is working. The Insights function (available in business profiles) serves this purpose and provides information on:

  • Total profile views for a certain period: this data refers to the total number of times the profile has been viewed;
  • Insights for individual posts: highlight the views of the posts;
  • Statistics on followers: include some demographic data and activity times. It is also possible to apply filters to obtain more precise information.

Instagram marketing & Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a way companies do marketing through influencers of the network, bloggers, or individuals who have social positions through which they can expand their commercial communications.

instagram marketing influencers

Connecting with influencers and making them ambassadors of the brand or a single product or initiative can produce very interesting results in an Instagram marketing plan.

These figures, bloggers, vloggers, and influencers of various kinds, are perceived by the public as neutral subjects and, at the same time, particularly authoritative in their reference sectors.

Not surprisingly, 70% of companies in an early-year study stated they were willing to allocate budget to these activities and even 85% of companies that have already conducted influencer marketing will support similar projects again.

A clarification is needed. Influencer marketing, except in rare cases of promotions linked to the use of particular discount codes, does not aim to produce direct sales. The benefits are in terms of awareness, first of all.

If you want to increase sales quickly, there are more suitable activities; if the goal is instead to do branding, it is, numbers in hand, one of the strategies capable of producing the best results.

The activities of Digital PR and Influencer Marketing consist of designing communication strategies based on the creation of relationships between brands and active users who operate online (opinion leaders, bloggers, influencers, etc) through the use of the web and particularly of social media.

They must therefore increase awareness (and only later conversions) through the involvement of influencers and their followers in projects that have the final purpose of making them protagonists in the co-creation of the brand’s values.

This means ensuring that the brand speaks with the voice of those who are considered influential online. The difference with traditional communication is that it is no longer the company itself speaking to the target audience.

It does so through third parties considered influential and “transparent” bearers of the values and messages that the company is interested in conveying for itself.

How to increase interactions

  • Create stories: through this type of storytelling, you can effectively promote even goods or services that, at least a priori, do not perform well visually. You could, for example, tell the story of the product and the company through shots that portray your employees, or a craftsman at work. Show through the stories how much attention you dedicate to your activity, and how carefully your products are made.
  • Get help from your followers: for example by promoting their content and incorporating it into your communications. Tag them if you are resharing their content. This stimulates interactions.
  • Social sharing: remember, for example, to share Instagram posts on Facebook and other social networks. In this way, your visibility increases.
  • Geotag: location tags can also be useful for getting noticed. Geolocating posts (adding the location) indeed allows for optimizing search and geographic targeting. This action is particularly recommended in the case of hospitality businesses (like hotels, restaurants, or bars).
  • Instagram stories: are content that, after 24 hours, is no longer available. They are ideal for promoting live events.

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Are you passionate about Social Media and want to make it your job? Here is our Online Social Media Marketing Course. You can also focus on a vertical specialization in the social area with our Social Media Specialist Course (and Certification).

If, however, it is Instagram in particular that interests you, here is our Instagram Marketing and Influencer Marketing course.

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