Instagram is by far the most important social network for most brands. Its user base is growing faster than ever, and its fun factor is higher than legacy social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t believe us? Just have a look at the stats:
- More than 1 billion people use Instagram every month
- 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business
- 71% of American businesses are on Instagram
- 75% of Instagram users take action after seeing a post from a brand
Those numbers are nothing to scoff at, and it paints a very clear picture: your brand—no matter the industry—needs to be on Instagram in 2019. Not having one keeps you out of view of quite literally a billion people, losing their sales in the process.
But if you still don’t have an Instagram presence, creating a new one can seem like an absolutely daunting task. So in this article, we’ve put together our express guide to Instagram marketing.
Here we’ll take you through the process of creating a complete Instagram profile, and then move into discussing content and optimization and special features. Within each of these topics we’ve linked out to more in-depth explainers on our website.
Ready? Let’s get started
Chapter one: creating a pixel-perfect Instagram profile
As the saying goes: every great journey starts with a single step. So, our first step towards Instagram marketing perfection is building profile.
There are a few key components to a great Instagram bio, and each should be handled with extra care. Some of the things you need to include on your bio includes:
- Written bio
- Profile picture
- Bio link
- Story highlights
When creating your written bio, make sure that it gives a good synopsis of what your brand does. This can be your brand’s motto or a call-to-action. Whatever you choose though, make sure that it’s short and sweet as short bios are more likely to be read.
On the profile picture side, we recommend simply using your brand’s logo. This will keep your profile recognizable, ensuring your existing fans will be able to recognize as your brand’s Instagram profile without thinking twice.
Most importantly, though, you need to take advantage of the bio link.
This needs to be done with extra care as—much to every marketer’s dismay—there’s no way to share links in your Instagram posts. Instead, you get just one single link on your profile to drive traffic to your website, blog, or other landing page.
We recommend using a tool like Linktree to make the most of your single bio link. With Linktree, you can create mini mobile-friendly websites that link out to multiple pages on your site.
Finally, you can also use story highlights to show off your best Instagram stories. We’ll go more in-depth on these later in the article, but in short, stories are essentially secondary posts that live above the feed. They stay live for 24 hours, are vertical, and displayed in a book-line manor.
Stories highlights are albums of stories permanently displayed on your Instagram profile, right breneth your bio. You can use these to create look books, tutorials, and other content that tells a story.
Check out our full guide to creating an outstanding Instagram bio for more. There, we’ll take you through the ropes of making an awesome Instagram bio, going in-depth on each and every option.
Chapter two: now, start posting awesome content
Now for the fun part: it’s time to start posting awesome content to Instagram.
As you probably already know, you can post both photos and one-minute videos to Instagram. These posts appear on both your profile and in your follower’s feeds, and your goal is to get as many impressions and engagements as possible.
Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered.
We recommend posting a mixture of both images and videos to your Instagram feed. Videos are said to have quadrupled in popularity from 2017 to 2018, and images give you a quick and easy way to keep your audience up to date.
You can post everything from product shots to lifestyle videos to Instagram. Whatever you do though, we recommend keeping your content punchy and digestible—check out our full article on Instagram content ideas for inspiration.
Here’s how to optimize your content for maximum reach
But there’s more to posting to Instagram than simply taking a picture, editing it, and sending it off to Instagram. Instead, you need to make some key optimizations to play the game right and get the most reach and engagements on your posts.
One of the easiest Instagram optimizations is simply adding a location tag to your posts. We’ve found that adding a Instagram posts with location tags get—on average—79% more engagements than those without, so you can’t afford to miss out.
Why is this? Simple: when you use location tags, your post is added to the location’s dedicated Instagram page. This puts you in front of a huge new audience, expanding your reach.
We also recommend strategically using hashtags in your Instagram posts. Instagram allows for up to 30 hashtags per posts, so add hashtags that both get a lot of traffic and are relevant to your posts. Doing this will help Instagram serve your content in the right search queries, and you don’t want to miss out on that.
Check out our full guides to the Instagram algorithm and Instagram growth hacks for more optimizations. These guides will help you boost your reach and expand your knowledge of the photo-sharing social network.
Make your life easier with a scheduling tool
One common misconception about Instagram marketing is that you need to be tied to your phone all the time. And it’s easy to see why this is: there’s no way to schedule content ahead of time from the Instagram app.
Don’t let that get you down though. Our social media scheduling tool—Social Report—was first to market with innovative new Instagram scheduling tools. With our app, you can schedule both photo and video posts right from your web browser—no smartphone required.
Plus, Social Report offers a suite of other Instagram features like grid previews and a full reporting suite (more on that later). Oh yeah, and we support all of your favorite social networks like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube too.
Chapter three: embrace Instagram stories (because you can’t afford not to)
Like mentioned earlier, Instagram stories are an increasingly important part of any Instagram presence. These temporary, 24-hour posts appear at the top of your Instagram feed and can contain photos, videos, text, and even gifs.
And while these may have seen like a gimmick when first released, they see huge engagement numbers and are an easy way to update your audience on things like sales, announcements, and just about anything else.
To create your first Instagram story, just head over to the Instagram app and click the camera button at the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Then, you can build out your post, and even add things like interactive stickers that let you ask your audience questions, start polls, and more.
Ready to start posting Instagram stories? Check out these 10 awesome Instagram story examples for a quick inspiration boost.
Chapter four: an introduction to IGTV and Instagram Live
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Beyond stories, Instagram has two other key features that you can take advantage of: Instagram TV (IGTV) and Instagram Live.
Instagram TV—commonly dubbed IGTV—is Instagram’s newly launched YouTube competitor. You can upload videos up to 10 minutes long to the social network, and videos can be viewed from the Instagram and dedicated IGTV apps.
But there’s a catch: all videos on IGTV have to be vertical. So before you upload to IGTV, check out our full list of ideas for IGTV content. Use these as a starting point for your IGTV videos, make them your own, and you’ll have a new outlet for video content from your brand.
On the other hand, Instagram Live is Instagram’s super engaging live streaming service. You can use this to broadcast a live feed to your followers, and host things like live Q&As, office tours, and other live content.
Chapter five: track these key metrics and iterate your strategy
One of the most important things you need to do as an Instagram marketer is to track and iterate your Instagram strategy. This often involves pulling key metrics that let you see how engaging and converting your Instagram posts are.
Some of these metrics include:
- Total post reach
- Overall engagement rate
- Audience growth rate
Unfortunately though, Instagram only provides very basic analytics for business profiles out of the box. Oh yeah, and even worse, you can’t export these or view them alongside social media metrics from other social networks and marketing apps.
And that’s where Social Report comes in. You can use the tool to pull metrics from nearly every major social network, letting you find what you’re doing right (and what can be improved upon). You can even view your Instagram analytics alongside your other social networks too!
But don’t worry: we go beyond the basics too. Our suite of proprietary reports include an optimization report that helps you find the best time of day to post to Instagram, and a growth report that lets you track your Instagram (and other social networks) audience growth over time.
And that's a wrap! Thanks for checking out the Social Report express guide to Instagram marketing. Here, you learned how to jumpstart your Instagram marketing efforts to build a pixel-perfect Instagram presence.
In the comments, let us know how your brand uses Instagram—we’re excited to hear from you!
Need an awesome Instagram management tool? Try Social Report free for 30 days.