Every time you go about your daily Instagram catch-up, you come across posts that don’t relate to the accounts you follow. Promoted content and Instagram promotions have become normalised on social media platforms such as Instagram. Most of the time you’ll scroll past them, but sometimes you’ll actually click on the attached links and check out whatever product they’re offering.

How can you make use of Instagram to promote your business as an entrepreneur? How does Instagram promotion work and what factors do you need to consider? In this article, we will focus on what Instagram promotions have to offer and why they’re worth investing in.

What Is Instagram Promotion vs. Instagram Advertisement?

Before we can get into the details of Instagram promotion, we need to differentiate between promotion and advertisement first. You may find or use both on social media platforms, but this article focuses on promoting your content.

Advertising on social media is a long-term way of selling products or services to users. Usually, this entails specific ad campaigns just like businesses will use in other print or digital media. In terms of Instagram, that means spending money on this promotional strategy to further establish your brand image and boost sales of your products. These original posts will include links to their websites to encourage users to browse through and buy their products.

In contrast, Instagram promotion is a more short-term boost of the content your business shares on the app. If your Instagram account for your business reached a significant spike in engagement for a certain post or story, promote this post to gain even more traction. The goal with Instagram promotion is to spread awareness and visibility. This will then, in the best case scenario, boost your sales as well. Promoting content is a quick and effective marketing tool rather than a campaign to boost sales long term.

How Does Instagram Promotion Work?

Assuming your account is eligible for promotions, there are two main ways to promote your content on Instagram. They’re in accordance with the app’s two main features: posts and stories.

As mentioned before, you can choose to promote a specific post that has already gained some user attention. If you want to capitalise on organically heightened engagement rates, select those posts to increase the content boost temporarily. Sponsored posts like these will then appear on more users’ timelines and thus create more visibility. Set a goal and target-specific demographics and audiences so that your promotion reaches the most relevant users.

The same principle applies to promoting Instagram stories. Use story posts from your current story from the past 24 hours. Alternatively, choose a story from the highlights feature or archive to promote. These stories will then appear as sponsored content while users are swiping through the stories of accounts they are following. Even though stories are limited to the one-day timeframe, you have the option to extend that duration for promoted content.

There is also the general “Promotions Button” on your business profile on Instagram. If you are looking to promote some of your content but aren’t sure which posts or stories to choose for this temporary boost, use this option to get a recommendation from Instagram. The algorithm will then choose a post that looks the most promising to promote.

As a general rule, there are several ways you can then use to add user engagement options to your sponsored posts. “Sign Up,” “Shop Now” or “Learn More” are three of the most common functions you will see on Instagram. They serve as calls to action for users in order to capitalise on the increased visibility and awareness that your promoted post or story has generated.

Which Type of Promotion Is Best?

After you have made the choice between Instagram promotion and advertisement, you come across the next problem: Which of the two types of Instagram promotions is the better option for your business? Posts or Stories?

In simple terms, it depends on your creative skill set as well as the time and effort you have to put into your promoted content. It is easier to simply promote an Instagram photo or video post that has already proven its worth. Don’t edit an already successful post but rather just seek to increase visibility with a few simple clicks.

When it comes to Instagram stories, however, you may have room for creative improvement before promoting them. Most likely, you will create an Instagram story with the thought of using it for promotional purposes already in mind. Given its short lifespan on the app, plan it out in a different way than your regular posts. Instagram stories also have different styles, designs, and filter tools that you can use to create the best possible content boost.

What Are the Costs of Instagram Promotion?

This is not an easy question to answer in generalised terms. When you first set up your promoted post or story on Instagram, determine how much money you want to spend. After that, set the duration of your promotion in the menu. Depending on those two parameters, Instagram will calculate a prediction of how well your promoted post will perform during that timeframe. The app will consider profile visits and the reach of your sponsored content in rather vague estimates. 

Tips and Tricks For Instagram Promotion

We want to highlight three main tips to consider before you take advantage of Instagram promotion as a tool to boost your business on the platform:

  1. Choose Your Post With Authenticity in Mind

Users on Instagram are used to the shiny and expensive advertisement campaigns of bigger companies. Sometimes they will see the same ad multiple times per day because advertisers spend a lot of money on maximising their reach. However, when it comes to Instagram promotions, focus on authenticity and organic content that matches the style of your account. Don’t go out of your way to make the post you’ll promote different or more clickbait-oriented than you normally would. Consumers will respond differently to authentic content than the ad format they are used to.

  1. Create Promotions for Mobile Devices

With 1.1 billion users globally, Instagram is an application primarily designed and used on mobile devices. There are certainly users who use the desktop version of the website but it can be a less enjoyable user experience due to bugs and display issues. Your business account profile itself may look good in desktop mode as well but promoted stories and posts risk not being displayed correctly. They may also feature links or filters differently and decrease engagement rates. Therefore, be sure to create your promoted content with mobile users in mind.

  1. Choose Your Target Audience Carefully

When setting up your promoted posts or stories, you’ll be asked to provide a target audience. Instagram may pick an automated audience based on your followers. You can also choose the local option and target geographical locations. The third and final option is to customise the target audience with specific locations, demographics, or interest groups as the main factors. This process is individualised and depends on what you want your Instagram promotion to achieve. Thus, choose your target audience wisely and in accordance with your business. Spreading your content in randomised age or gender groups, for example, will likely not yield the anticipated impressions and engagement boosts you seek.


In short, Instagram promotion can be a simple and effective way to boost your business on the social media platform. It’s a straightforward set-up that you can personalise to make it work for your specific interests. Rather than spending significantly more money on advertisements, count on more visibility and engagement with your content through Instagram promotions.

If you want to learn more about social media marketing in general, be sure to check out “The Greatest Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing.”

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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