Wondering how to promote on Instagram?
Look no further. I’m walking you through 22 steps to a successful Instagram strategy.
You can also watch this video if you like, where I talk about how I got my first 10,000 followers.
What We’ll Cover:
- Create a business profile
- Leverage hashtags
- But don’t overuse them
- Follow accounts relevant to your industry
- Tell your brand’s story
- Set a consistent posting schedule
- Share Stories regularly
- Use a mix of images and video
- Relate to followers while staying on-brand
- Share only quality posts
- Find the best time to post for your brand
- Promote everywhere
- Track and measure your efforts regularly
On the surface, Instagram may seem like the go-to app for sharing perfectly lit selfies, lifestyle photos, and laugh-out-loud memes.
However, since the photo and video-sharing platform launched in 2010, Instagram has become a goldmine for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
As Instagram continues to grow as a major player in the marketing world, brands across the board are taking notice. From community-building to social selling and everything in between, it’s no wonder consumers and businesses alike have adopted Instagram as one of their main revenue-generating tools.
And as a marketer, it’s more important than ever to be creative and learn how to promote your business on Instagram.
Instagram By the Numbers
As you continue to hone and refine your social media marketing strategy, one of the first steps you’ll need to take involves researching who’s already on each platform.
Just like you want to find out who is using your products and services, uncovering who’s on which network can help you make sound advertising and marketing decisions.
Are the users within your ideal target audience active participants on Instagram? If so, what type of content encourages engagement?
Social media demographics can teach you how to promote your business on Instagram and help you create marketing personas so you can better understand your audience in greater detail.
Here are some high-level Instagram statistics to keep on your radar:
- Instagram has amassed over two billion active users since its founding, with over 1.3 million global active users today.
- 47% of American adults are active Instagram users.
- Of the total Instagram users, 52.2% are male and 47.8% are female.
- Gen Z LOVES Instagram! In fact, many of them prefer it over any other social media platform.
- 61% of 12 to 17-year-olds log into Instagram, at least, weekly.
- The average American user spends 30.1 minutes per day on the platform, accounting for 17% of all time spend on social media daily.
- You don’t have to post every single day. Even the most active brands only post 17 stories per month.
- Reels are a popular way to reach your target audience! Most people say Reels take up 30% of their time on the platform.
- Reels are also extremely sharable. They are shared through DMs over 1 billion times per day.
- Instagram is also a great place to sell things, considering 35% of users will make a purpose through the platform in 2023.
- With 249 million users, India has the most active users in the world, followed by the United States (147 million users) and Brazil (117 million users).
Now that you have a grasp of just how influential Instagram is in the marketplace, we’re going to break down some of the top tips and strategies you can use to take your Instagram game to the next level and successfully grow your business online.
1. Create a Business Profile
Before you overhaul your feed entirely, you need to first convert your account into a business profile.
Doing so gives you access to a slew of handy tools, including the native analytics app, extended contact information, and click-to-buy buttons.
Plus, it gives users more information about your products or service.
With a business account, you can receive real-time metrics on how your promoted posts and Instagram stories perform within a time period. You can also gain insights into your followers and how they engage with your posts and stories.
Additionally, you even have the option to add information about your company, like business hours, location, and phone numbers.
2. Leverage Hashtag Campaigns
Hashtags have been instrumental in the social media ecosystem.
To use hashtags effectively and efficiently, you need to conduct the proper research, as it involves much more than just adding a pound sign in front of words or phrases that merely seem relevant.
It’s easy to add a hashtag to your posts, but it’s far more difficult to create one that drives new customers and boosts your brand’s awareness.
A good place to start is by analyzing your competitor’s strategy and learning about trending topics in your industry. From there, you can start brainstorming ideas after looking at the traction of existing hashtags on Instagram.
You’ll also want to enlist the aid of some hashtag-specific tools like Hashtagify to help uncover the most popular hashtags in each industry.
While a winning hashtag varies from industry to industry, a universal rule of thumb is to keep it short and sweet, preferably three words or less. It’s tough enough to type on a tiny smartphone keyboard, and a longer hashtag is far more susceptible to misspellings.
The great thing about hashtags is that they appear across other social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
3. Don’t Overuse Hashtags
Too much of anything is too much. And that’s true for hashtags.
So don’t go overboard. Doing so can be detrimental to your hashtag strategy. According to a recent post on Instagram’s @creators account, you should only use between 3 and 5 hashtags per post.
With Instagram becoming an increasingly crowded social media platform, keep in mind that one of the best ways to cut through the noise is by artfully curating and creating branded hashtags to increase your reach.
4. Follow Accounts That Are Relevant to Your Industry
Your target audience is likely already active on Instagram–you just have to know where to find them.
One way to do that is by engaging with the very people they’re already following.
Think about the businesses in your industry that have an established presence on the platform and begin your search. Follow their accounts and interact with relevant posts by liking them or adding a comment.
These accounts may follow you back and help you define your initial audience.
5. Tell Your Brand’s Story
Because Instagram is a visual medium that boasts features such as Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, and video uploads, it provides the perfect opportunity for your business to convey a clear voice and connect with your target audience.
Start by crafting a killer Instagram bio. From there, you need to build a strategy based on telling your brand’s story.
The part of your brand’s story you want to share and the format you choose to share it in is up to you. But, to stand out from the competition, the more creative you can be, the better.
Don’t be afraid to be bold and make a statement. However, your story should be cohesive from post to post.
6. Share Posts on Instagram Consistently
Domination Media CEO Johnathan Long, notes that “you want to post often enough that your brand stays relevant,” while also advising, “you don’t want to post so frequently that you overwhelm your followers and they unfollow your account.”
One of the most frequently asked questions about Instagram is how often a brand should post new content. The Instagram algorithm is ever-changing.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri recommends “a couple of feeds a week, a couple Stories per day,” he said.
I recommend starting small and increasing to posting 3x/week, with an emphasis on Stories. If engagement rates stay high, and you have the time and resources, post more often, and monitor results. If engagement drops off, you’ll know it’s time to back off.
If you want to download Instagram videos, you can use various online tools and apps available for this purpose.
7. Use the Instagram Stories Feature Regularly
Stories began as a novelty, and have since morphed into a staple on Instagram. Now, there are a variety of ways to promote your brand via Instagram Stories.
Think of Stories as a type of secondary, select feed of content for your most dedicated followers. Unique elements such as creative captions and overlays make Stories completely different from traditional posts.
When establishing how to promote on Instagram using Stories, consider integrating static content that you may find on your camera roll with in-the-moment content.
You can also use strategies like joining forces with other Instagram accounts and taking over their stories to reach a wider audience.
For more on how to effectively use Stories in your Instagram strategy, check out this article.
8. Use Both Images and Video Content
As a marketer, you don’t want your users just to be active—you want them to be engaged.
One way to ensure that they remain loyal followers and customers is to include both video and images in your content marketing strategy.
Hootsuite’s Dara Fontein recently shared that “Instagram videos see twice the engagement rate of photos,” revealing that video content is a smart investment for brands looking to capture the attention of their audience.
As consumers become increasingly digitally savvy, Instagram users are looking for authentic posts from brands. Try to avoid posting blatant advertisements and instead work on capturing your company culture with lifestyle shots and behind-the-scenes videos.
Sharing images or videos that inspire users to tag their friends is a key element to driving engagement and building a devoted following.
9. Relate to Your Followers While Staying True to Your Brand
Having an Instagram feed that accurately reflects the image and purpose of your brand is vital.
At the same time, you always want to put yourself in the mindset of your target consumers. By this point, you’ve likely already established a few buyer personas and have a clear idea of who your audience is. But take some time to consider why they’re on Instagram and how you can improve their experience on the platform.
By showing people using, trying, and enjoying your product or service, your brand comes across as human and relatable.
10. Share Quality Content Consistently
When posting your content, your target audience and buyer personas should be top of mind.
What types of content do they want to see? What kind of posts tend to generate the most engagement? How will your brand solve a problem for them?
Granted, coming up with new concepts and finding the right visuals to accompany your content is easier said than done. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as you think.
You can easily create your own Instagram content using templates and branded hashtags. It doesn’t all have to be 100% original, either. Feel free to repost content from other brands within your niche.
If you notice something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board. Social media allows you the opportunity to experiment and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
11. Know When to Post
Unlike Instagram’s predecessor Facebook, where posts can hang around and show up days or weeks later, the Instagram algorithm favors timely posts.
This means that your Instagram posts have a finite shelf life, and knowing when to share is critical for success.
Generally speaking, the best days to post are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. By Wednesday, people are seeking a virtual escape from their workweek, and they often turn to social media.
This may explain why the latter half of the week is the most popular time for scrolling through Instagram. During the weekend, users tend to avert their attention toward spending time with family and unwinding.
12. Promote Instagram Everywhere
Instagram may be one of the newer social channels, but you need to leverage this platform in the same way you do your other social networks.
For instance, do you have social icons on your homepage or product pages that connect visitors to your social channels? If it’s not there already, an Instagram icon needs to be added as well.
When creating your Instagram account, you should first connect with Facebook to attract your friends.
Start running Instagram campaigns across your social networks and sending reminders to employees, brand ambassadors, and anyone else who’s established a positive relationship with your brand.
Encourage them to use branded hashtags, as well as other hashtags that are relevant to the marketing campaign you’re currently running.
13. Track and Measure Your Efforts Constantly
Consumer attitudes and behaviors change regularly, which means that your Instagram followers are prone to alter their preferences.
Pay close attention to the content that yields the highest results and investigate why sudden surges in likes, comments, and shares occurred.
Metrics to keep an eye out for include engagements per follower, follower growth, comments received, reach, most engaged hashtags, and referral traffic.
14. Use Reels and Live
If businesses want to learn how to promote a business on Instagram, Instagram Reels, and Live are equally important to use as they gain more exposure.
Instagram Reels enable users to create fun and engaging videos that are up to 60 seconds long. You can create videos using edited videos or photo sets and add music to them.
Reels offer a great way to incorporate video content into the Instagram experience. They give businesses the ability to be more creative and go beyond traditional Instagram posts with visually engaging content.
What separates Reels from other Instagram content is that users see Reels from every Instagram account via the Reels tab, as opposed to only Reels from accounts they follow.
In addition to Reels, consider using Instagram Live. This feature gets you in front of many people through live-streaming content.
15. Appeal to the Instagram Algorithm
The Instagram algorithm determines which content experiences the highest level of visibility on the platform. Instagram actually uses a combination of multiple algorithms, processes, and classifiers to help choose which content people see.
Ultimately, the algorithm helps decide which posts appear at the tops of newsfeeds and their corresponding rankings, which posts show up in the Explorers tab, and the rankings for Stories, Reels, and Live videos in people’s feeds.
In appealing to Instagram’s algorithm, there are some steps you should take.
First, it’s important to respect Instagram’s community guidelines, as the platform restricts the visibility of content that violates them. This means you should avoid posting any political or otherwise controversial content, and only upload high-resolution media.
Again, Reels are an invaluable asset if you want the algorithms to favor you. Instagram is still promoting Reels, meaning that you can maximize your visibility by making use of them.
Another way to get the algorithm to benefit you is to time your posts just right. By scheduling your posts to appear in front of the right people at the right time, you’ll make sure people see you.
These are just some ways to get Instagram to place your content above competitors.
16. Share YouTube Videos on Instagram
YouTube videos are a staple for video marketing. You can get even more from your videos by integrating them into your Instagram experience.
If you don’t have a copy of your video saved, you can start by downloading your YouTube video using a YouTube video downloader, which will enable you to download videos to your iPhone, Android, or desktop.
You can then optimize your video to prepare it for Instagram by making sure it’s under 60 seconds.
To connect Instagram with your YouTube profile, you should also link to your original upload to drive traffic to it. Your Instagram videos would then function as previews that encourage more people to view your YouTube videos.
17. Run Ads
Like any other social media platform, you should run ads on Instagram.
One way to get the most from your ads is to add the text “Follow @AccountName” at the beginning of the ad’s text in a post. People will then click on your profile and follow it.
This is a great way to boost traffic to your profile and increase your following.
18. Create Engaging Content
The content you post should always be highly engaging to connect with audiences.
You can create content that engages users in several ways, such as:
- Asking questions inside of text
- Using Stories
- Continually engaging with audiences
- Posting multiple Stories per day
These are just a few of the ways you can consistently engage audiences and keep them invested in your brand.
19. Run a Contest
Running a contest is another way to get people more involved with your brand.
By running a contest, you’ll drive engagement while further encouraging people to follow your profile.
There are many ways to use contests. For example, the steps for entering a contest may include liking your initial post, following your profile, and performing another action to enter the contest such as creating another post with a contest-exclusive hashtag.
20. Use Influencers
Influencers offer the chance for brands to expose themselves to even larger audiences.
For anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, you can get influencers to give you a shoutout on their channels.
When people see that shoutout, that influencer’s audience is likely to visit your account and follow it.
After gaining some traction with your influencer campaigns, you can stop them and allow for more organic results.
21. Promoted Posts
When it comes to harnessing the power of Instagram, promoted posts may go further than you think. For one reason, you can boost any post, not just specific ads. So if you happen to create a really great post organically, you can boost it right from your profile. This applies to any of your posts so don’t leave your Reels and Stories out!
There are also a variety of budgets and duration periods that you can select for your promoted posts, which means that this can work for anyone – regardless of how much time or money you have to spend.
To get started, simply click the button at the bottom of your post that says “boost this post” then select your goal, define your audience, and set your budget and duration.
22. Profile Optimization
Getting people to your Instagram profile is half the battle and the work doesn’t stop once they’re there. Instagram SEO is a real thing!
Be sure to optimize your profile by following these steps:
- Convert your profile to a business profile.
- Include a primary keyword in your name and/or username.
- Include your selected keywords in your bio. For example, if you want to rank highly for bridal gowns, use “bridal gowns” in your bio. Also include secondary keywords such as “wedding”, “events”, or other related words.
- Don’t forget to include keywords in your photo captions!
- Always include alt text on all of your images. Not only does this help make your profile more accessible but it also boosts your SEO.
- Tell your audience to feel free to tag you. Redirect their traffic back to you.
- Always have a link to your website (or wherever else you want to direct your traffic) in your bio. When you make it easy for them to follow through, they will. If it’s too hard to find your site, they won’t do the work.
These tips to optimize your profile will go a long way when you’re using Instagram as a promotion tool.
So, there you have it! Now you have 22 different strategies you can start using right away to promote your Instagram account.
Keep in mind—that the main goal of Instagram is to entertain, educate, and keep users happy.
And these days, there’s no shortage of ideas you can come up with to create great experiences for your followers—which will benefit your business tremendously.