Does your Instagram marketing strategy work? Or do you even have an Instagram strategy?
As of 2022, Instagram is home to over 1.393 billion monthly active users. This means it continues to be one of the most powerful, wide-reaching, and fastest-growing social media platforms.
What makes Instagram special isn’t just its reach, of course, but its phenomenal engagement levels. Around 90% of Instagram users are already interacting with one business.
It’s not just the B2C companies that benefit either. Around 36% of B2B decision makers turn to Instagram to research services and products too.
Simply put, if you don’t have a strong Instagram marketing strategy, you’re missing out.
Fortunately, we’re here to help.
What is an Instagram Marketing Strategy?
An Instagram marketing strategy is essentially a plan of how you’re going to promote and publish content on Instagram. Your entire strategy can cover a number of factors, including how you plan on generating follower growth, how you’re going to engage with your Instagram followers, and how you’ll schedule your content to achieve the best engagement.
While the exact components of your Instagram marketing strategy will vary, it usually includes:
- A content creation plan: Insights on the kind of content you’re going to create (Reels, videos, quote posts, and Instagram Stories).
- A posting schedule: A complete calendar of how you’re going to publish your content and when you’re going to start certain campaigns.
- Goals and metrics: Your plan will outline goals you want to achieve (like increasing website traffic) and metrics you’re going to measure.
Ultimately, an Instagram marketing strategy gives structure to your social media efforts. It ensures you know exactly what you need to do to connect with your audience and helps you to prepare ahead of time for important campaigns. Used correctly, your strategy will:
- Keep teams aligned: Your plan will ensure everyone in your marketing team knows when content needs to be produced, how it should be shared, and what your marketing goals are.
- Increase ROI: Rather than just posting content at random, you can use analytics and insights to determine the best kind of content for generating certain results (like engagement).
- Help you target the right audience: Planning will help you evaluate your audience and reach the right people at the correct time.
- Align your marketing goals: A good plan will help you align your Instagram marketing efforts with other campaigns, like content marketing, paid ads, and email marketing.
- Improve brand consistency: Your plan will help you stick to important brand themes, colors, and tones, so you can create a more familiar presence online.
22 Instagram Marketing Tips
Now that you know why you need an Instagram marketing strategy, let’s dive into some of the most important strategies you can use to make your campaigns a success in 2022.
Tips for Your Instagram Content
1. Create Visually-Compelling Content
First, Instagram is a visual platform. That means whether you’re promoting standard newsfeed photos, Instagram Reels, or Stories, you need to make sure your content looks great. While you don’t necessarily need professional photography equipment, you do need to take a few extra steps to get the most out of your content, such as:
- Following photography best practices: Make sure you take photos in a room with plenty of natural lighting. Experiment with angles and choose the camera with the best possible resolution you can get your hands on.
- Editing your content: There are tons of great tools out there to help you edit your content, from Photoshop to VSCO. Find a tool you can rely on to help with things like removing red eye or improving the clarity of your images.
- Use media wisely: Make sure whatever media you add to your Instagram channel like stickers, quotes, and text look crisp and clear.
Remember, it’s important to ensure your content doesn’t just look good but tells an important story. Just check out some of the compelling photos shared by @NatGeo for inspiration.
2. Experiment with Content Types
Instagram is an ever-evolving platform, particularly in 2022, when social media competition is everywhere. Even though keeping your feed packed full of beautiful photos is a great way to capture your audience’s attention, don’t be afraid to experiment.
Consider looking for new ways to showcase your brand with different types of media in your Instagram content strategy. For instance, video is one of the most powerful tools on Instagram right now as platforms like TikTok gain popularity.
You can post standard newsfeed videos or get creative with IGTV and allow your videos to go as long as you choose. You can also channel the TikTok medium with Reels. These brief snaps are great for quickly capturing customer attention.
Not sure where to get started with creating different kinds of content? Here are some quick ideas:
- Behind the scenes: Showcase the people behind your business.
- Regrams and UGC: Share user-generated content to draw attention to your audience.
- How-Tos and Instructional posts: Take advantage of the “Guides” section on Instagram to showcase your knowledge and provide followers with valuable insights.
As you experiment with different content types, pay attention to your engagement levels and feedback from your audience. What kind of content do your followers like best?
3. Create a Consistent Look
Having a consistent Instagram “theme” is still one of the best things you can do to turbo-charge your Instagram marketing strategy. People like seeing company profiles that have a sense of aesthetic unity or balance. With that in mind, plan your content in advance around a consistent theme.
Your theme will identify the kind of content you’re sharing online, such as how-to content, videos, and photos. However, it should also establish a familiar look – something your audience can instantly recognize. For instance, @MindfulChef maintains a vibrant, high-contrast aesthetic with all of its photos and videos to make its food stand out.
You can use Instagram filters to help with your look, but it’s also worth looking into presets and other third-party image-editing tools. There’s a good chance you’ll want to spruce up the appearance of your images a little before loading them onto Instagram.
4. Stop Overlooking Captions
Instagram might be a visual medium, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore everything but the images. Your brand voice is just as important as how your content looks. Like your visuals, your voice should be consistent across all of your posts and excellent at telling engaging stories.
Your captions are valuable to your Instagram content strategy in a number of ways. They can help you boost brand awareness by capturing the attention of a wider audience with #hashtags. They can also leave a lasting emotional impact on your customers.
A great example of what captions should look like for your Instagram marketing strategy comes from Airbnb. This home-sharing company always includes impactful captions on every post to tell you more about the property you’re seeing and the host that owns it.
These captions give us an insight into the wonders of Airbnb and make the concept of spending a day or two in someone else’s home seem a little less worrying.
5. Leverage Instagram Stories
Above, we mentioned the importance of exploring a range of Instagram marketing ideas with different types of content. However, while not every company will necessarily want to post videos or memes, every brand should be taking advantage of Instagram stories.
Half of the businesses on Instagram use Stories, and a third of the most viewed Stories on Instagram are posted by companies. Ultimately, Stories give you an incredible way to connect with your audience by posting raw, simple footage which requires minimal effort.
Not sure what kind of content to share on Stories?
- Promote a product: Highlight one of your trending products with a quote.
- Provide tips: Offer quick insights or advice on how to use your products or service.
- Ask questions: Host a poll or get people talking about your brand.
- Get involved: Share your thoughts on a trend or a news topic.
Remember, you can also increase the impact of your Stories by adding highlights to your Instagram bio. It’s also a great way to expand the overall appearance of your bio.
6. Provide Real Value
When creating content for your Instagram marketing strategy, try to avoid focusing too heavily on the constant promotion of your products. While it’s important to make your business stand out and drive attention to what you have to sell, it’s also worth remembering people don’t like to see ads all the time. You’re more likely to collect followers by providing real value.
Get to know your audience by building personas based on the research you do into your existing customers and the followers on your competitors’ accounts. Once you know who you’re creating for, ask yourself what kind of content they might like to see.
For instance, rather than just posting endless pictures of cookies, the Oreo brand regularly shares links to recipes for how you can use their treats to create something delicious.
How-to content is an excellent way to highlight your company in a way that doesn’t feel too promotional.
7. Create a Content Calendar
The companies that thrive best on Instagram are the ones with a consistent stream of high-quality, well-planned content. Your Instagram marketing strategy is more likely to be effective if it follows a specific calendar. Creating a content calendar has many benefits as it ensures you can reach your customers at the right time while also:
- Generating consistency: It gives your customers a regular cadence of content to look forward to so they know when to continue checking back on your profile.
- Keeping you top of mind: Consistent content keeps you top-of-mind with your audience so they don’t forget about you in favor of other, more active brands.
- Helps you get ahead of seasonal events: A content calendar means you can get ahead with seasonal content for events like Easter and Black Friday.
- Stops you from running out of content: By planning your content in advance, you can ensure you always have something to share–even if it’s just a meme.
There are plenty of tools out there that can help you build your calendar and even share to Instagram at the perfect time, such as Later or Sprout Social.
Tips for Increasing Instagram Followers
Instagram might be one of the best platforms for connecting with customers and generating attention online, but it’s far from your only option. A great way to boost the number of followers you have on Instagram is to share your content on other channels.
The first and most obvious option is to promote the content you share on Instagram through Facebook. To do this, simply click on the “Share to Facebook” option when you’re publishing on Instagram.
It’s also worth adding your Instagram account to your email signature so you’re constantly reminding customers of where they can find you when they sign up for your newsletter.
You can even add Instagram carousels to your website, where you can showcase user-generated content from happy customers. Or just share your Instagram handle and branded hashtag on your website pages:
9. Invest in Instagram Ads
It’s entirely possible to build a powerful Instagram content strategy and follower base without investing in paid ad campaigns. However, you’ll probably find you have a much harder time initially building your follower count this way.
Investing in paid ad campaigns can be a useful way to give your brand a boost. You can use tools like “Sponsored Ads” to highlight your most appealing Instagram campaigns to your target audience. Since Instagram uses the same targeting tools as Facebook, it’s a great way to focus your attention on the customers most likely to see your campaigns and convert.
Remember, when using Instagram ads, your focus should be on making a lasting impression on your audience. This means you should always:
- Use a compelling call to action: Invite customers to visit your page and follow you.
- Share amazing content: Use the highest-quality images and videos for your ads.
- Monitor and track your campaigns: Learn from the results of every ad you post.
10. Partner with Influencers
Influence marketing is one of the most valuable marketing approaches you can take when trying to build a successful following on Instagram. Influencers are people who already have a strong connection with the customers you want to attract. They’ve earned the trust of your target audience and they can help direct people to your site and social media pages.
Working with influencers is a great way to give your brand more credibility. However, it’s important to make sure you choose the right influencer. Focus on finding someone who:
- Shares the same values as your company
- Matches your brand aesthetic and tone of voice
- Speaks to the kind of audience you want to create
For instance, to appeal to a younger audience, @MeUndies connected with @LivBolish and asked her to help them create a fun poll experience for their audience.
11. Experiment with Instagram Reels
We mentioned Reels earlier as one of the many kinds of content you should be experimenting with if you want to make the most of your Instagram marketing strategy. However, it’s particularly important to consider this content type if your focus right now is on building your follower count.
Reels gets its very own tab on the Instagram Explore page, just like IGTV. However, unlike IGTV, Reels appeals to the younger generation's constant desire for more fast-paced and consumable content. Brands are beginning to use Reels to stand out from the crowd with quick how-to videos and insights.
For instance, @SecondShotCoffee used their Instagram Reels strategy to demonstrate how quick and simple it could be for customers to access fresh coffee at home.
12. Use Hashtags Wisely
Hashtags are probably the most important tool in any Instagram marketing strategy. Without them, you have no chance of reaching your target audience. Hashtags aren’t just an excellent tool to help add context to your content; they’re also how your customers find you on Instagram.
While you can add up to 30 tags to every post–realistically, we wouldn’t recommend doing that. Instead, your focus should be on adding a handful of different hashtags to your posts. Around 5-9 tags are usually a good bet.
For the best results, choose specific hashtags relevant to your niche rather than focusing entirely on trending tags like #TBT or #Love. It’s also worth implementing a branded hashtag from time to time like #Colourpopcosmetics to help generate user-shared content.
13. Engage with other Accounts
If you want to boost your follower count on Instagram, one of the best things you can do is to be active in the platform’s community. This doesn’t just mean publishing content regularly (though this is important). You need to ensure you’re reaching out to people on Instagram too.
Commenting on the posts of people who follow other similar brands in your industry can be an excellent way to draw attention to your company, particularly if you have something valuable to say. You can also like and comment on industry influencer accounts to help spread awareness of your company on the content your audience is looking at.
14. Explore Brand Advocacy and Partnership Options
Similar to working with an influencer to grow your brand, you can also expand your reach on Instagram and earn more followers by getting partners and brand advocates to post your content on their accounts. Teaming up with other companies is an excellent way to draw attention to your business, particularly as part of a giveaway.
You can work with other complementary brands in your industry to create a grand prize for your Instagram followers, asking them to like your page, tag followers, and even like your posts for boosted engagement. For instance, @BalanceMeSkincare and @Nashyofficial partnered on a giveaway for a makeup hamper to gain more attention from shared audiences.
Remember, when working with partners and advocates, it’s worth making sure your chosen advocate already has an impact on your intended audience but isn’t a direct competitor.
Tips on Increasing Engagement
15. Go Live
Part of ensuring your Instagram marketing strategy is a success is finding a way to engage your audience and keep them interacting with your company. The more you can create “social” experiences with your target audience, the easier it will be to form emotional relationships and generate better sales and advocacy for your brand.
One of the best ways to immediately capture audience attention and generate engagement is with Instagram Live. A live-stream video gives you a chance to talk to your audience in real time and answer any questions they might have.
For instance, Matthew McConaughey invited Dr. Anthony Fauci to chat with him on Instagram Live to share information about the pandemic.
The best way to get the most out of Instagram Live is to build hype for your session ahead of schedule. This will ensure you get as many people at your Live event as possible.
16. Collect User-Generated Content
User-generated content is a powerful tool for Instagram engagement. Compared to the content produced by your brand, customers are more likely to see UGC as authentic and transparent which helps build your company’s credibility.
User-generated content is authentic and unpredictable so it directly appeals to your target audience. It also encourages other people to get involved with your business for a chance of being featured in future posts. One company that constantly posts a lot of user-generated content is Mac.
Mac Cosmetics draws attention to the great looks created by its customers using cosmetics. Not only does this make the company appear more authentic and credible, it also shows what their products are capable of.
17. Create an Instagram Shop
If you’re looking for Instagram marketing ideas that can help you to boost engagement and interactions with your target audience, it’s a good idea to focus your attention on finding new ways to help your people connect with you.
One option is to set up an Instagram store where people can successfully buy your products directly within your Instagram profile. This feature is available for business accounts. Having an Instagram shop means, if you happen to inspire anyone with your product pictures and videos, they can buy your items immediately without having to visit your store.
Creating an Instagram shop can also be a great way to stand out on the Explore page because there’s a dedicated “Shop” tab available for those in search of new products. Around 130 million users on Instagram now tap on shopping posts every month. Plus, you can tag your shopping products in Stories, IGTV, posts, and more.
18. Create a Branded Hashtag
As mentioned above, a strong hashtag effort should be an essential part of any Instagram marketing strategy. However, not all of the hashtags you choose need to be niche or trending terms. Sometimes, a branded hashtag can be the best way to generate engagement with your audience.
Red Bull, for instance, has nearly 500,000 posts connected to the “#GivesYouWings” hashtag, and other hashtags have even popped up as a result, like #ItGivesYouWings.
Customers can use this hashtag whenever they want to mention your company or community or grab the attention of your company when publishing user generated content.
Plus, a branded hashtag ensures you can capture the attention of your audience in a new way by giving them something else to search for outside of your brand name.
19. Post at the Right Times
Earlier, we mentioned the importance of creating a good content calendar to stay ahead of the curve with your content. However, if you really want to make the right impact with your target audience, one of the best things you can do is to find the best posting times.
There are a number of different reports and statistics on the market offering unique insights into when the best time to post online might be. According to Later, the best times to post each day include:
- Monday: 10pm, 10am, or 6am
- Tuesday: 9am, 4am, or 2am
- Wednesday: 11pm, 8am, or 7am
- Thursday: 7pm, 12pm, or 9am
- Friday: 3pm, 1pm, or 5am
- Saturday: 8pm, 7pm, or 11am
- Sunday: 4pm, 8am, or 7am
Of course, choosing your ideal times to post may be a little more complex than this. You’ll need to think about exactly what kind of customers you’re trying to reach and when they’ll be online. Your Instagram Insights will give you some useful overviews of when people are available online.
20. Track the Right Metrics
Improving engagement, conversions, and ROI with your Instagram marketing strategy is an ongoing process that requires constant analysis and consideration. You can’t know which posts are generating the best responses or what you need to do to improve your conversions if you don’t have at least some basic analytical insights.
The good news is, there are a number of metrics you can track to help you make better decisions with your Instagram efforts. For instance, tracking follower growth rate provides good insight into whether you’re attracting more people to your profile.
Keeping a close eye on engagement rates, like how many people like and comment on posts or click on the link you share in your Instagram bio, shows you whether your Instagram strategy is having a positive influence on your bottom line.
21. Use Stickers in Stories
We’ve already discussed how Stories can be one of the most powerful tools in your Instagram marketing strategy. However, as new features continue to emerge in the Stories landscape, they can also be particularly useful for boosting engagement.
Instagram stickers, for instance, allow you to add multiple forms of engagement to your Stories, intended to help you interact with customers. You can add:
- Countdown timers to generate excitement about an upcoming launch
- Polls to collect information from your target audience about their favorite products
- Question stickers to get your audience thinking about various topics
GlossyboxUK regularly uses countdown stickers to remind subscribers of when their next box is set to be shipped out.
22. Respond To Your Followers’ Comments
Finally, we mentioned earlier that commenting on the posts of other people on Instagram is a great way to generate attention for your profile and spread brand awareness. However, you can also boost engagement and strengthen relationships with your customers by responding to the comments they leave on your posts.
While you might not be able to respond to everything, an occasional response to a common question can be a wonderful way to capture the attention of your customers.
Outside of responding directly in the comments section, you can also expand your content calendar by turning screenshots of comments into posts for your timeline. This is generally a good idea if you want to answer a common question asked by a number of customers at once.
Check out how @Dunkin’ uses screenshots of comments and reviews from customers to increase their engagement levels.
Best Tools to Use for Your Instagram Marketing Strategy
If you’re struggling to manage your Instagram marketing strategy on your own, one of the best ways to get professional help is to hire an Instagram marketing consultant. Growth Collective has an exclusive network of top marketing talent that can help you develop and implement your Instagram marketing strategy.
Additionally, you can use the top tools developed primarily to help with social media marketing. There are various tools out there offering different services. Some of the top options include:
Kicksta is an Instagram growth tool intended to help Instagram users grow their followers and expand their brand reach in a way that’s both safe and effective. The service works by letting you choose the kind of followers you want to attract by selecting “target accounts”.
Based on these target accounts, Kicksta will reach out to similar followers in your industry with likes, encouraging them to come back and check out your profile.
- Safe and reliable follower growth
- Complete tracking features
- Hashtag tool to boost your campaigns
- Premium support and guidance
- Advanced targeting
SocialPilot is a comprehensive tool for social media marketing and managing your Instagram content strategy. The tool is most commonly used to help business leaders stay ahead of their Instagram schedule by allowing them to queue up content and post to Instagram automatically.
There are various tools to help improve your Instagram marketing results too, like a URL shortener, a brainstorming section for content, and social media reports.
- Direct Instagram publishing and scheduling for your posts
- Social media analytics and reports
- All-in-one inbox for all your social channels
- Content curation feature
- URL link shortener
Buffer is another tool specifically designed to help you grow faster on Instagram with less effort. The service allows you to schedule your content well in advance, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to get online and publish something at the perfect time for your audience.
The service integrates easily with a range of social networks and has an easy user interface. You’ll also have access to comprehensive analytics to enhance your social strategy.
- All-in-one solutions for multiple social networks
- Smooth UX with easy to use tools
- Powerful analytical reports
- Complete content scheduling and posting
- Collaborative features
RecurPost is a social media scheduler with repeating schedules. They are the only ones that can get you newer traffic from your existing content again and again and again. You simply categorize your content into buckets called Libraries, such as My Blogs, Videos, Recipes, Courses, Client 1, etc. and then set time slots for each bucket.
For instance, you can set it to post one video on your Instagram account every day at 9:00 AM and two recipes on your Facebook at Lunchtime and Dinner time. Once everything from a Library has gone out they start sharing from the beginning and hence even if you don’t intervene you will enjoy a consistent presence across all of your social channels. Check them out at https://recurpost.com.
- Direct Instagram posting including Reels, Stories, and Feed
- Advanced analytics and white-label reports
- Social Inbox to quickly read and reply to incoming text
- Repeating schedules for automated social media growth
- Team and client collaboration
- Support for Google Business Profile, Pinterest, and many other popular social platforms
Mastering your Instagram Marketing Strategy
The best Instagram marketing strategy isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it concept. You’ll need to consider not just all of the tips offered above, but new and emerging trends whenever you’re updating your Instagram marketing strategy.
With a little luck, the insights offered above will get you on the right path to success but don’t forget to check your analytics regularly and make decisions about future campaigns based on what you learn.