The Quick Guide to Using Instagram to Market Your Business

Whether you are considering adding Instagram to your social media marketing efforts or want to know how to boost the effectiveness of your existing Instagram account, you’ve come to the right place. The social media marketing pros at have put together a quick guide to help you build an Instagram presence that really works for your business.

Before You Instagram

Like any other social media platform, creating and maintaining an Instagram account will take work. So, before you dedicate countless hours compiling, editing and posting photos and videos, take some time to consider:

  1. Is Instagram right for your business?In mid-2018, Instagram reached one billion users and is steadily growing, but the presence of millions of daily active users alone does not mean that Instagram will be the best social media marketing channel for your business.

    Instagram is a visually-driven platform, which is ideal for businesses that:

    • Can generate a lot of visually attractive content, for instance:
      • Clothing designers and retailers
      • Food growers and distributors
      • Restaurants and eateries
      • Car dealerships, auto body shops and customization garages
      • Adventure sport sponsors, retailers and event venues
    • Can dedicate the time and human resources to take, compile and edit the images and videos needed to maintain an active, attractive Instagram account.
  2. Who is your target audience?Instagram user demographics cross every age group, income bracket, level of education, etc. However, the majority of Instagram users are:
    • Ages 18-34
    • Educated (have at least some college, although most have a degree)
    • Urban or suburban dwellers

    Men and women use Instagram pretty evenly.

    User demographics indicate that Instagram is a good choice for businesses targeting Millennials who live in or near big cities and are likely (tech-)savvy consumers.

  3. What results do you want to see from your Instagram marketing efforts?Before you spend your time carefully selecting, editing and captioning your images and videos, know what you want viewers to do in response to your posts. Define goals for your Instagram account, such as:
    • Raise awareness of your brand
    • Drive more traffic to your website
    • Generate more sales
    • Attract new talent

    Having clear goals will help you determine how you can effectively measure your Instagram account’s success as well as how to adapt your posting strategy to improve performance.

Branding on Instagram

To make Instagram work for your business, your business has to be recognizable on Instagram. Considering the sheer volume of visual content that bombards users every time they open their app, this is a challenge. To help Instagram users quickly distinguish your posts from competitors’ or random “noise,” consciously create:

  • Branded visual contentOf course, you want to use a variety of images—some of people, some of places, some of products, some of human-interest topics. However, among the variety, you must:
    • Use images that are relevant to your brand—your industry, your product/service line, your corporate culture/personality
    • Create a consistent image feel—in other words, use images that create a similar layout and/or mood, perhaps by applying one “trademark” filter or effect

    Avoid the temptation to literally brand your images by always prominently featuring your name and/or logo.

  • Branded textual contentA picture may be worth 1,000 words, but a captioned picture is worth more! Use the space and search capabilities Instagram allows to create unique hashtags that are easy to remember and inspire engagement.

    Brand your textual content by defining grammatical and stylistic guidelines (like, emojis or no emojis) that reflect your company’s culture/personality.

Engaging on Instagram

Effective Instagram marketing is a balancing act. You want to post often, but not too often. You also know you need to engage to get engagement with your brand, but you don’t want to waste time following and commenting on the wrong posts or accounts. To help you find that balance:

  • Test when and how often to postThere is no posting schedule or time table that works for everyone. To find the best times to post and number of posts per day or week, you simply have to test your activity. But to shave off some trial-and-error time, do:
    • Post at least once daily
    • Post at times research indicates people are most likely to check-in to their tech-mediated networks* to see when your users are most active
  • Define criteria for who is follow- and/or comment-worthyOn Instagram, you will be judged by the company you keep, so be wary of the accounts you follow and posts you comment on. Again, there are no hard and fast rules for who to engage with or whom to avoid. But, your social media team should discuss guidelines to make sure you associate with quality accounts and that your comments conform to the same stylistic guidelines as your own posts and maintain a consistent persona.

To make Instagram work for your business, there is a lot about your business and your business’ online persona and reputation you need to consider and clarify before posting so that your time is well spent and your images and videos are well received by your target audience.

* 8:30-10:00 am, 2:30-3:30 pm, 8:00 pm -12:00 am