Instagram marketing is one of the hottest social media marketing trends today.

And it’s no wonder why – With over 2 billion monthly active users as of Q4 2021, Instagram is a goldmine for businesses and marketers looking to reach a large and engaged audience.

But what is Instagram marketing exactly? And how can you use it to achieve your business goals?

In this guide, I’ll dive deeply into all things Instagram marketing, answer all of your questions, and provide you with a detailed guide to success.

You can learn everything you need to create, grow, and use an Instagram account for business growth. Let's get started with the basics.

Disclosure: This content may contain a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a free photo and video-sharing app designed for both Android and iPhone users. Anyone over 13 years of age can create an account for free and start sharing content immediately. This includes photos, videos, Stories, Carousels, Reels, and Live videos.

Just like several other social networking apps, this platform also offers a variety of features, including filters, photo editing tools, location tags, and hashtags.

But what sets Instagram apart from other social media platforms is its focus on visual content. This could be anything from a photo or video of a product to behind-the-scenes content, infographics, or even just motivational quotes.

While the platform originally started out as a way to share personal photos with friends and family, it has since evolved into a powerful marketing tool for businesses and brands of all sizes.

In fact, 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform, and nearly 2 in every 3 active users say Instagram allows them to build meaningful relationships with brands.

This makes it one of the best places to connect with potential customers and grow your business.

Now that we’ve answered the question, “what is Instagram?” it’s time to move on to the next logical question: what is Instagram marketing?

What is Instagram Marketing?

Instagram marketing is the process of using this social media platform to build relationships and interact with potential and current customers, and, ultimately, achieve various marketing and business goals.

This could include anything from growing your brand awareness and reach to generating leads, driving traffic to your website, or even boosting sales.

But no matter what your goals are, the key to successful Instagram marketing is creating content that resonates with your target audience and then actively engaging and interacting with them to build relationships.

This interaction can take many forms, such as:

  • Providing valuable content
  • Answering customer questions
  • Running promotions and giveaways
  • Posting behind-the-scenes photos and videos
  • Sharing user-generated content
  • And more!

Remember, the goal of Instagram marketing is to turn potential customers into raving fans. Fans who not only buy your products or services but also help promote your brand to their friends and followers.

In other words, you need to use the platform’s various features to your advantage to connect with your target audience on a deeper level and build relationships, not just sell products.

This may sound like a lot of work, but don’t worry – I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about Instagram marketing, step-by-step.

Why Should Your Business Be on Instagram?

By now, you may be wondering: why should my business even be on Instagram?

After all, isn’t it just a place for sharing photos and videos?

The answer is a resounding yes!

Not only is Instagram one of the most popular social media platforms (with over 2 billion active monthly users as of Q4 2021), but it’s also a powerful marketing tool for more than 200 million business accounts that people visit every day.

If you’re not using Instagram for your business yet, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reach your target customers.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of using Instagram for business:

  • Increased brand awareness: Instagram is one of the best places to reach a large number of people and increase your brand awareness. 44% of people say they strongly associate this photo-sharing app with discovering small businesses.
  • Higher engagement rates: Engagement rates on Instagram are about six times higher than those on Facebook, making it the perfect platform for building relationships with potential and current customers.
  • Build customer relationships: Instagram is the perfect platform for building relationships with your target customers. By actively engaging with them and providing valuable content, you can turn them into raving fans who not only buy your products or services but also help promote your brand to their friends and followers.
  • Showcase your products or services: Since Instagram is a visual platform, it’s the perfect place to showcase your products or services in all their glory. This is especially useful if you’re in a visual industry, such as fashion, food, or travel.
  • Generate leads and sales: By including relevant calls-to-action (CTAs) in your posts and Stories, you can encourage users to take specific actions, such as signing up for your email list or making a purchase.
  • Improved website traffic: You can include links to your website in your Instagram bio and in your Stories, which makes it easy for users to find and visit your site.
  • More in-depth customer insights. Instagram Insights provide valuable data about your followers, such as their age, location, gender, interests, and more. This allows you to create more targeted and relevant content that resonates with your audience.

Now that we’ve answered the questions, “what is Instagram marketing?” and “why should you use it?” it’s time to move on to some of the most important aspects of the platform – The Instagram algorithm and how it works.

The Instagram Algorithm & How It Works

If you’re new to Instagram, you may be wondering: What is the Instagram algorithm?

In short, the Instagram algorithm is the set of rules that determines which posts users see in their feeds. In other words, it’s what decides which posts show up first, second, third, and so on, in a user's Instagram feed.

The algorithm takes into account many factors, such as the user’s past behavior, interests, and interactions with other users.

This means that the algorithm is constantly changing and evolving, which can make it difficult to keep up.

However, there are a few general principles that you can keep in mind to help ensure that your content is seen by as many people as possible. In my personal experience, it helps to:

  • Post quality content. The algorithm favors posts with high-quality images and videos, as well as interesting and engaging captions.
  • Be active. The more often you post, the more likely you are to be seen by the algorithm. This doesn’t mean that you should post multiple times a day, but try to be consistent with your posting schedule.
  • Interact with other users. The algorithm also takes into account your interactions with other users. This includes likes, comments, and shares. So, be sure to like and comment on other users’ posts, as well as share their content in your Stories.
  • Use relevant hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to get your content in front of a larger audience. However, it’s important to use relevant and specific hashtags so that you don’t end up in the wrong feeds.
  • Use Instagram ads. If you really want to reach a larger audience, you can use Instagram ads. They help ensure that your content is seen by people who are actually interested in what you have to offer but they cost money.

How to Create an Instagram Business Account

If you want to use Instagram for business, you need to have a business profile. This is different from a personal profile on Instagram.

To set up an Instagram business account:

Go to and log in with your username and password.

Tap on the profile icon at the bottom of the screen. Tap on the three horizontal lines in the top right corner and then tap on “Settings.”

instagram settings

Then click on “Account” to access account settings. When you scroll down a bit, you'll get an option to “Switch account type.”

switch account type on instagram

Tap on that and then select “Switch to business account.” A pop-up will appear to confirm that you want to switch your account type. Click on “Switch.”

switch to a business account on instagram

You'll be taken to a screen where you can pick a category that best describes your business. Once done, select “Business.”

pick a category for your instagram business account

Enter your contact details, including your business email address, phone number, and physical address.

add business contact details to your instagram account

Instagram will also give you an opportunity to link your business account to a Facebook Page. This will allow you to take advantage of Facebook's powerful advertising tools. However, it's optional to do so and you can also choose to skip this step.

link your instagram account to your facebook page

You're all set – you've got an Instagram business account. Now it's time to complete your profile using the tips below.

  • Use a business name that is recognizable and easy to search for.
  • Choose a profile photo that is on-brand and easy to recognize.
  • Write a clear and concise bio that tells people what your business is all about and what you are offering to them.
  • Include a link to your website in your bio. You can also use a service like Linktree to include multiple links in your bio. This could include links to your products, blog, newsletter, etc.
  • Make sure your business contact information is up-to-date.
  • Use relevant hashtags in your bio to make it easy for people to find your content.
  • Use Instagram Stories Highlights to organize and showcase your best Stories.

Just look at how clearly my Instagram profile defines my expertise and what I offer:

I've used Linktree to share links to all important resources on my website. This helps users find the type of content they're looking for without having to search through my entire website. It could be my ebooks, the latest blog posts, or my favorite digital marketing tools.

linktree links on instagram

Along with helping users find the content they want, it also helps me drive targeted traffic to specific pages on my website.

Another thing to notice here is: How to organize Stories into Highlights. This helps keep your best content front and center so that new visitors to your profile can get an idea of what you're all about.

My Instagram Highlights include Stories related to my course, podcast, blog posts, events, even unfiltered conversations (Shane uncut), and more.

how to organize stories into highlights

Now that you've got a business account and have optimized your profile, you're ready to start using Instagram marketing for your business. Let me tell you how.

How to Use Instagram for Business

Whether you're just getting started with Instagram marketing or you want to step up your game,  I've got you covered with everything about how to use Instagram for business.

Build Your Brand on Instagram

One of the key benefits of Instagram marketing is that it allows you to build your brand on a visually-oriented platform.

Since visuals are so important on Instagram, using high-quality images and videos is key to attracting attention and building trust with your audience.

You can use Instagram to share images and videos of your products or services, behind-the-scenes footage, customer testimonials, and more. By sharing valuable and interesting content, you can help build strong relationships with your audience and establish yourself as a credible source of information.

Grow Your Audience on Instagram

Instagram allows you to reach a large and engaged audience. With over 2 billion monthly active users, it offers a huge potential market for your business.

But simply having a large audience isn’t enough – you need to focus on targeting the right people. That’s why it’s important to understand who your target customers are and what they’re interested in.

You can use various tactics to grow your audience on Instagram, including:

  • Post content that is interesting and valuable to your target audience.
  • Use hashtags relevant to your post, products/services, and brand.
  • Tag other users and businesses in your posts.
  • Run contests and giveaways to attract more followers.
  • Share user-generated content (UGC) to show your audience that you value their input.
  • Cross-promote your Instagram account on other social media platforms and your website.
  • Partner with influencers to reach a larger audience.
  • And more.

By using a mix of these tactics, you can reach more people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

Drive Sales & Conversions with Instagram Marketing

While Instagram is a great platform for growing your brand and audience, you can also use Instagram to drive sales and conversions for your business.

There are a few ways to do this, including:

  • Include a call-to-action (CTA) in your bio.
  • Post product photos and videos with links to your website.
  • Use CTA buttons in your posts and Stories to encourage people to visit your website or shop online.
  • Run ads with CTA buttons that link to your product page or landing page.
  • Partner with influencers to reach even more people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

By including the right calls-to-action (CTAs) in your Instagram content, you can encourage your audience to take the next step in their buyer’s journey and become paying customers.

So there you have it – a brief overview of Instagram marketing and how it can benefit your business. Now let’s dive into each of these topics in more detail.

Building a Complete Instagram Marketing Strategy

To be successful with Instagram marketing, it’s important to have a strategy in place. Without a plan, it will be difficult to measure your success and track your progress.

In this section, I'll guide you through the step-by-step process of building an effective Instagram marketing strategy for your business.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

The first step in any marketing strategy is to define your goals. Without clear objectives, it will be difficult to measure your success and track your progress.

Some common goals for Instagram marketing include:

  • Build brand awareness.
  • Increase website traffic.
  • Generate leads.
  • Make sales.
  • Increase customer loyalty/satisfaction.

Think about what you want to achieve with your Instagram marketing campaign and choose goals that align with your overall business objectives.

Step 2: Research Your Target Audience

The next step is to research your target audience. This will help you determine who you should be targeting with your marketing efforts.

To learn more about your target audience, you can use various market research methods such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups. You can also use social media listening tools to track what people are saying about your brand online.

Once you have a good understanding of who your target audience is, you can start creating content that appeals to them.

Step 3: Create Compelling Content

Once you know who you’re targeting and what kind of content they’re interested in, it’s time to start creating compelling content for your Instagram account.

Some tips for creating great content include:

  • Only pick high-quality photos and videos that are interesting and also relevant to your brand.
  • Use attractive visuals and captivating headlines.
  • Tell stories with your content to connect with your followers on a deeper level.
  • Provide value to your followers by sharing tips, advice, and helpful information.
  • Experiment with all different types of content formats, such as images, videos, Carousels, Stories, Reels, and Live videos.
  • Post regularly and be consistent with your content calendar.
  • Share user-generated content to show that you value your customers.
  • Run contests and giveaways to promote engagement.
  • Create interactive content. For example, you can use Question stickers or Polls on your Instagram Stories to get people talking.

Creating great content is essential to your Instagram marketing success. If you can’t capture people’s attention with your content, you won’t be able to achieve your marketing goals.

Step 4: Choose the Right Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to reach new people on Instagram. When used correctly, they can help you connect with people who are interested in your products or services.

To choose the right hashtags, start by brainstorming a list of relevant keywords that describe your business. Then, use a hashtag research tool like Hashtagify to find popular hashtags that are being used by your target audience.

Use a mix of popular and niche hashtags to reach a wider audience. And don’t forget to use relevant hashtags in your posts and Stories.

While Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post and up to 10 hashtags per Story, I  recommend using a more modest number to avoid looking spammy.

In most cases, using 3-10 hashtags per post or Story should be enough to help you reach your target audience.

Step 5: Use Instagram Ads

In addition to all organic content, you can also use Instagram advertising to reach your target audience.

Instagram ads are a great way to promote your products or services to people who are interested in what you have to offer.

And the best part?

You can target your ads to a specific audience, so you know that your ads are being seen by the people who are most likely to convert.

To get started with Instagram advertising, you’ll need to create an ad campaign using Facebook Ads Manager. Once your campaign is created, you can start creating individual ads.

There are a few different types of Instagram ads that you can use, including:

  • Static image ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Story ads

When creating your ads, make sure to use high-quality visuals and compelling copy. And don’t forget to include a call-to-action so people know what you want them to do.

Step 6: Sell Directly on Instagram

If you’re selling products, you can also use Instagram to sell directly to your customers. And with 70% of shoppers looking to the platform to make their next purchase, selling on Instagram makes perfect sense.

Instagram offers a few different ways to sell on their platform, including:

  • Shoppable posts 
  • Product tagging
  • Instagram Shopping

To get started, you’ll need to create a business profile and connect it to a Facebook Page. Once your business profile is set up, you can start creating Shoppable posts.

When creating a Shoppable post, simply upload an image or video of the product you’re selling and tag it with the relevant product details. When people see the post, they’ll be able to click on the product and be taken to your website to purchase it.

product tagging on instagram

If you want to take things a step further, you can also use Instagram Shopping. This feature allows you to tag products in your posts and Stories, so people can easily view products’ details and purchase them without leaving Instagram.

To use Instagram Shopping, you’ll need to have a product catalog set up. Once your catalog is connected to your Instagram business profile, you can start tagging products in your posts and Stories.

Step 7: Engage with Your Instagram Community

Building a community on Instagram is essential to marketing success. When you engage with your followers, you build relationships that can lead to future sales.

There are a few different ways you can engage with your followers, including:

  • Reply to their comments on your posts or Reels.
  • Like and comment on their posts.
  • Share their content on your Instagram Stories.
  • Repost their content.
  • Send them direct messages.

When engaging with your followers, make sure to be genuine and authentic. Don’t just like or comment on their posts for the sake of it. Take the time to read what they’ve written and offer thoughtful feedback.

And when you share their content on your Stories, make sure to tag them so they get credit. This is a great way to show your appreciation for their content and help them grow their own following.

Step 8: Analyze Your Results

Once you’ve been using Instagram for a while, it’s important to analyze your results so you can see what’s working and what’s not.

Instagram offers a few different insights that you can use to track your performance, including:

  • Impressions 
  • Reach 
  • Profile visits 
  • Website clicks 
  • Mentions 
  • Hashtag searches

To access your insights, simply go to your profile and click on the “Insights” tab. From there, you can view all of your metrics and see how your content is performing.

Check out my detailed guide on using Insights to adjust your Instagram strategy and grow your account.

The Best Instagram Marketing Tips

As with any other form of marketing, successful Instagram marketing requires a strategic plan. You need to identify your goals and target audience, develop creative content, and find ways to reach and engage your audience.

Here are some tips that can help you get the most out of your Instagram marketing campaigns.

  • Always be relevant. You need to post content that your target audience will find interesting and useful. That means posting content that is relevant to their interests, needs, and concerns.
  • Be creative. Instagram is a visual platform, so make sure your content is visually appealing. Use high-quality images and videos, and be creative with your storytelling.
  • Be engaging. You should be active on the platform and regularly interact with the content that other users post. That way, you’ll start to build a rapport with other users and potential customers.
  • Be consistent. Inconsistent posting will make it difficult for your followers to connect with your brand. Try to post regularly, and stick to a content calendar so that you can plan ahead.

Instagram marketing can be an extremely effective way to reach your target audience and achieve your business goals. But it takes time, effort, and strategy to make it work. By following the tips above, you can start to see success with your Instagram marketing campaigns.

Start today and see the amazing results for yourself!

I’ve talked about these tips and more in detail in another post on my blog. You can find it here for more awesome Instagram marketing tips and tricks.

How to Measure Instagram Results

Instagram provides some great built-in analytics that can help you measure your results. To access them, just click the “Insights” tab at the top of your business profile.

There are four main sections in Instagram Insights:

  • Posts: See information about the reach, impressions, and engagement of your individual posts.
  • Story: Learn how many people have seen your Stories, and which ones performed best.
  • Audience: Get insights into your followers, including their location, age, and gender.
  • Promotions: See how well your ads are performing.

To get the most out of Instagram Insights, start by taking a look at your posts. For each one, you’ll be able to see how many people saw it, how many people engaged with it, and what the overall reach was.

You can also see what time of day your posts got the most engagement, and which days of the week are best for posting. This information can be really useful when you’re planning your content strategy.

In addition to posts, you can also measure the performance of your Stories. Instagram Insights will show you how many people have seen each of your Stories and which ones got the most views.

You can also see what time of day your Stories got the most views, and which days of the week are best for posting. This information can be really useful when you’re planning your content strategy.

For a more detailed analysis, I recommend that you find the right Instagram analytics tool for your business. There are a few different options out there, and the one you choose will depend on your specific needs.

Some of the most popular Instagram analytics tools include:

You can read about these and other Instagram analytics tools here and also find out what each of them offers.

Instagram Marketing Ideas and Examples to Help You Get Started

Instagram marketing is one of the most efficient and effective ways to connect with potential customers and grow your business. And there are many brands and creators proven this right.

Let's take a look at a couple of successful Instagram marketing examples that can inspire your next campaign. Here you go:

Daniel Wellington's UGC-Driven Contest

To increase user engagement and brand awareness, Daniel Wellington, a Sweden-based watch company, ran an Instagram contest with the hashtag, “#DWPickOfTheDay.”

The campaign encourages users to share a picture with Daniel Wellington's watch and their branded hashtag, “#DanielWellington.”

The brand featured the best photo of the day on their official Instagram account and also collaborated with many users to offer special discount codes on their watch collections.

Their feed has a good mix of user-generated content, influencer content, and branded content, all thanks to their Instagram marketing strategy of building and nurturing relationships.

The results?

They received tons of user-generated content (UGC) that they could repost on their feed as well as their website. Plus they got an influx of new followers.

Also, the brand was able to sell $228M in watches, or 1 million watches, and become famous.

What you can learn from Daniel Wellington?

  • Leverage UGC to fuel your marketing campaign, it will help you increase brand awareness and reach new potential customers.
  • If you can, offer a prize or discount as an incentive for users to participate.
  • Go the extra mile to develop good relationships with your community of consumers as well as influencers.

Airbnb's “Experience” Campaign

In an effort to connect with their target market and increase brand awareness, Airbnb, a home-sharing platform, launched the “Experience” campaign.

The campaign was simple.

They created a series of videos highlighting different experiences that people could have while using Airbnb. The videos were then posted across various social media channels, including Instagram.

Many users participated in the activity by sharing photos and videos that highlighted their passions and their life and experiences as a local at various possible travel destinations for other users.

Here’s one such post that Airbnb posted on their Instagram account to encourage travelers to indulge in paddleboarding around Ortigia Island:

The results?

The videos received millions of views and helped the brand increase their reach and awareness. The campaign also helped the company solidify their position as a travel and lifestyle brand.

On Instagram, you can find over 200K posts tagged with their branded hashtag, “#airbnbexperiences.”

What you can learn from Airbnb?

  • Use video content to connect with your target market and tell a story that resonates with them.
  • Post your content on various social media channels to reach the maximum number of people.
  • And lastly, focus on highlighting the experiences that your brand can offer. This will help you position yourself in the minds of consumers.

As you can see from these examples, Instagram marketing can be a powerful tool to help you reach your business goals. Now, it's your turn to use it to your advantage.

Instagram Marketing Tools

There are various tools and apps that can help you with your Instagram marketing efforts. These tools can help you with tasks such as scheduling posts, analyzing your followers, and tracking your progress.

Some popular Instagram marketing tools include:

  • Buffer: You can use it to schedule and publish your Instagram posts. It also provides you with insights into the performance of your posts.
  • Later: Later lets you plan your Instagram content, schedule posts, and track your performance. It's a great tool for anyone who wants to get serious about their Instagram marketing.
  • Combin: Combin is an app that helps you grow your Instagram following organically. It provides you with tools to help you find and engage with potential followers.
  • Heepsy: Heepsy is a tool that analyzes your Instagram account and provides you with insights into your followers. It also gives you suggestions on who to follow and how to improve your engagement.
  • HashtagsForLikes: This tool helps you find the best hashtags to use for your posts. It also provides you with insights into your hashtag usage.

There are many other great tools out there that can help you with your Instagram marketing efforts. If you're serious about making the most of this platform, it's worth taking some time to explore the options and find the tool that's right for you.

You can find some of the best Instagram marketing tools in the industry here. Be sure to check it out to learn more about the features they offer, their pros and cons, and what other users have to say about them.

Instagram Marketing FAQs

1. How can Instagram be used for marketing?

To use Instagram for marketing, you need to:
– Create a business account.
– Build a strong profile.
– Post engaging content.
– Use hashtags and geotags.
– Set up an Instagram shop.
– Create Shoppable posts by adding product tags to your photos and videos.
– Run ads.
– Partner with influencers.
– Use Instagram insights to analyze and adjust your marketing strategy.
– Engage with your audience.
– Respond to comments and messages.

2. Is marketing on Instagram free?

You can market your products and services on Instagram for free. However, to reach a wider audience and achieve better results, you should consider running ads or partnering with influencers and other content creators.

3. Is Instagram a good platform for marketing?

Yes, definitely.

With over 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. It’s a great platform for visual content and allows you to reach a large audience through hashtags, geotags, and ads.

4. What are some common Instagram marketing mistakes?

There are a few common Instagram marketing mistakes that you should avoid:
– Not using a business account.
– Not optimizing your profile.
– Posting low-quality content.
– Not using hashtags or geotags.
– Not engaging with your audience.
– Not analyzing your results.

Ready to Grow Your Business with Instagram Marketing?

Now you know the answer to the question of what is Instagram marketing. You also know that Instagram marketing can be a great way to promote your business or products. But it’s important to remember that success takes time and effort. If you want to see results, you need to be strategic in your approach and consistent with your content.

Do you have any tips for marketing on Instagram? Share them in the comments below.

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