Instagram entered our lives in October 2010, and since then, it has become a part of us. It is a platform where we share pictures of our holiday, family, food and pets.

Today, Instagram isn’t just a social media platform on which we share only our pictures, it is also a platform where we shop too. Instagram has become a global stage for brands and businesses to advertise their products.

What Makes Instagram Marketing Important?

Instagram currently has about 1.2 billion users, putting the platform in second place behind Facebook. More importantly, Instagram users like to engage. Instagram says 87% of active users want to visit a brand’s website, follow it, or purchase its products. Instagram offers a high engagement for the users and the sellers on its platform.

Here are some numbers about Instagram marketing:

  • 90% of users follow a brand. Instagram’s users like to see feeds on their timelines about their favourite brands and stay connected with them.
  • In 2021, 17% shopped from Instagram in the US.
  • 9% used Instagram to promote their business in 2019 in the US, and this percentage was higher compared to other social platforms.
  • Instagram has young user groups. 31.2% of users are between 25 – 35 (the largest group), and 31% of users are between 18 – 24.
  • The average time spent daily on Instagram is 29 minutes in the US.

Instagram Marketing Strategy

Instagram’s algorithm takes into account much more than just the number of followers you have when deciding which content to show its users.

The app looks at your posts’ metadata: When did you post it? Did you add a location to your post? If it’s a video, what’s its duration? How many likes did you get? Instagram also tracks how often your followers interact with your content (profile checks, comments, bookmarking). You need to look beyond the numbers of followers and create a strategy for your Instagram marketing.

Think About Your Goals

Ask yourself why your brand should be on Instagram. Do you want more visitors for your webpage, sell your product or service, or advertise the goods you produce? You need to decide which outcome you’re looking for when using Instagram.

Target Audience, Who Are They?

Creating your content, writing captions or deciding your hashtags will have no meaning without first knowing your target audience. Understanding them is essential for your business’s future.

You need to find as much information as possible about your target audience, including age, education level, hobbies, and even marital status. Knowing your target group will help you design your content, language, and tone.

Optimise Your Profile Biography

With just 150 characters, introduce yourself and tell people why they should follow you. Your bio should contain, at least, the following fields:

  • Brand name: Max. 30 characters
  • Username: Max. 30 characters
  • Website: a clickable URL
  • Category: For example, selling shoes, cars, skincare products, etc.
  • Contact information: Information that tells people where to find you. If you have a physical store,  add the address.

Create Your Brand

Your brand will talk with the people you want to engage with. Think about your brand, about its traits. Is it energetic, cheerful, colourful or serious?

Instagram is all about aesthetics, and people like to see consistency on your main page. While creating your posts, always keep your brand’s traits and aesthetic in mind because it helps followers easily recognise your content in their feed.

Random or unconnected content looks unattractive and confuses the audience, and can even make you lose followers. Consistency is key!

Know Your Competitors

Once you know your target audience, start to study your competitors. Check their profiles and see what they post, what attracts their followers, and how they engage with their audience.

Do not only check your biggest competitors in your field, discover small and local businesses as well. Get an understanding of what local customers want.

Build Meaningful Engagements

This step is about building a relationship with your customers. There are many ways to do that on Instagram.

For example, you can encourage them to check out your website by clicking the link in your bio or remind them to share your content in their stories. You can also let your audience know that you’re available via DMs or email to answer any product-related questions.

When used correctly, these actions are more powerful tools than the number of likes or followers. You’re starting to build your trust factor. The trust factor is all the elements that make people buy from you. Once people are continually exposed to your content, have options for one-on-one chats, and receive value from you, they start to trust you and buy more from you.

This trust factor can turn into support by sharing, liking or commenting on your posts, which will help newcomers to engage with your brand.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags will help you to increase your discoverability and visibility. 5 to 8 hashtags will be enough per post. Avoid using unrelated and repetitive hashtags.

You might think about creating a catchy hashtag for your brand and use it in every post. People might not remember your username, but they can remember the hashtag and search for your brand by using the hashtag.

Use Instagram Stories

Stories became an important part of Instagram’s marketing strategy. Stories increase your visibility. Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours; however, it is possible to save your stories and add them to your highlights.

You should consider some key elements while using Instagram stories:

  • Add external links to your stories with “swipe up”. For instance, if you want to advertise your spring sales, you may post: “Don’t miss our spring sales. Up to 50% discount, swipe up now!”. By swiping up, your followers will land on your website.
  • Your followers tag you in their stories and reshare the content in your own story. That will show others that people buy from you. Plus, you engage with your users.

Use Instagram Live

Instagram Live lets you connect with your followers in real-time.  Use Instagram Live to:

  • Introduce new products
  • Organise live events with your followers
  • Share the behind-the-scenes of the production process of your goods.

Evolution of Instagram’s Tooling in the Last Decade

In 2013 Instagram launched sponsored advertising for images and a year later for videos, which means that a photo or video of a brand would show up on your timeline as an ad even if you weren’t following the brand’s account.

Three years later, new business tools to promote posts were launched by Instagram. With the new tools, users can create a business profile and use Insight to check analytics like demographics or most liked images. Besides, these tools offer to turn posts into ads directly by using the Instagram app.

In 2019, Instagram added the checkout option to business accounts. This allows customers to purchase products directly via the app instead of using the brand’s website.


Instagram is an effective marketing tool. The platform has more than a billion users, and you can find your customer base there. Having a plan, understanding your target market, optimising your content based on your audience, and encouraging them to take action will help you to boost your brand’s discoverability and visibility.

If you want to learn more about social media marketing, check out our previous posts about the basics of social media marketing and Facebook marketing for beginners.

About the author

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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