Instagram marketing for Business

Did you know that as of April 2017, Instagram has over 700 million active users? More than half of them (400 million) are using the platform on a daily basis, 8 million of them are brand profiles.
It is a great platform to connect with followers and advertise your brand through appealing content. However it has become hard to set yourself apart from all these brands.


Here are the various steps to do so.

The Ultimate Instagram Marketing Playbook For Your Business

More and more people want to connect through Instagram, making this photo-sharing app an important tool for brands. Research shows what type of benefits and advantages brands are researching:


  • According to Socialbakers, brands have more regular engagement with their followers on Instagram than on Facebook.
  • 60% of Instagram users log in daily making it the second most engaged network after Facebook, according to Brandwatch.
  • Only 36% percent use Instagram to market their brand, according to Selfstartr, compared to 93% of marketers who use Facebook as their main platform.


One report by Deloitte found that social media has proven its influence on making a decision on whether or not to purchase a product. If you can find the right marketing strategy and produce the right content, people will believe your brand. They might purchase products without even having to do a sales pitch.

How To Achieve Success On Instagram

Dunkingdonuts instagram marketing

It’s more than publishing visually appealing photos on Instagram You also need to have those elements if you want to generate results:


  • A clear vision and visual style
  • A consistent posting schedule
  • Audience familiarity
  • An effective marketing strategy


If you combine all those elements together, you will be able to produce results for your business. Let’s take Dunkin Donuts for example. Instagram is now a key marketing channel for them as they amassed over 1.5 million followers and get about 50k likes per post. They are able to reach out to hundreds of thousands of potential customers everyday.


How were they able to set themselves apart from the competition? We have other points to follow to help you create a great Instagram and a marketing strategy that will work for you.

Creating The Perfect Instagram Marketing Strategy

It’s important to have clear goals whether you are new to Instagram or already established. The reason why setting goals is important is that it’ll help you build a marketing strategy and produce interesting content for you Instagram target.


Common brand goals:

  1. Advertise business services or products
  2. Build or expand the community
  3. Increase business awareness
  4. Exhibit company culture and values
  5. Reach out to potential customers


It’s best to have at least one or two goals for your Instagram profile. You can either choose from the options above or create goals of your own. To pick goals that match your visions, you should consider the following questions below:


  • Are your target audience on Instagram?
  • How much time and budget can you commit to Instagram?
  • How can Instagram help in achieving your target goals?
  • How does Instagram differ from other social media platforms?
  • Can you commit to producing regular content for maximum engagement

Just like any other social network, you want to focus on your engagement rate by posting content on a regular basis. Engagement is what helps brands bring in potential customers. It is a marketing strategy that every brand should be aware of. Do you want to know who of your target audience are on Instagram?


Search the demographics. This will help you realize if your are reaching the right audience on Instagram. Pew Research released a breakdown of demographics of Instagram users in 2015.


Now that you already have an idea of the demographics and target goals in mind, it’s time to focus on growing a presence on Instagram. Let’s begin:

Instagram users percentage - 2013 to 2014

Crafting The Ideal Instagram Profile

Profile Picture


Your profile picture is your first impression, be sure to make it good and recognizable. Why so? People recognize brands and love to connect with them. Once they see your profile on the platform, they will instantly recognize it with your profile picture. Most of the brands use their logos as their profile picture and will use the same logo across all of their social media profiles for consistency. M.A.C Cosmetics is a good example.

profile picture - instagram - 1

Bio Or Introduction


Right next to your profile photo, your profile description should include a brand slogan and an outline of who you are and what you do to show your followers what your business is about. It should be catchy. Air Canada and MasterCard are solid examples of strong profile descriptions.

profile picture - instagram - 2
profile picture - instagram - 3

Website Link


Since Instagram does not allow clickable links to be included in posts, you may add your link in your profile description. Here is an example of a website link in description:

website link instagram 1
website link instagram 2

A lot of brands use this opportunity to drive traffic from their Instagram to their website. This can help to generate traffic onto the website. For example, you can change the link in your description out based on the content you are posting, and in your post itself, tell people to go to your profile for the link. This forces people back to your profile and drives traffic to the specific piece of content you’re speaking about – a win-win scenario for you. Here is an example linking to a YouTube video:

How To Define Your Content Strategy For Instagram

1. Publish pictures that the users will want to follow


A picture is worth a thousand words…and they were right! We always have to remember this when we post and use it to its full advantage. Instagram is an image-centric platform and images are preferred rather than words. Point is: you need to make your photos stand out more to convert them to sales. The content you publish needs to be in the line of interest of your audience as well. If you only post content that are in your interests you might not achieve the results you were aiming for. The type of content to keep in mind is user-generated content, behind the scenes, educational content and influencer pictures that will appeal with your target audience.

2. Avoid hard selling


While your audience is strongly influenced by social media platforms when they consider to make a purchase, most of everyone are annoyed when it comes to hard selling. It will not translate to sells. Your audience on Instagram likes appealing pictures that are attention grabbing and reflects your brand. Let your visuals speak for itself and sells will follow.
Keep the 80/20 rule in mind – 80% of the content you post should be content that provides value to your audience and the other 20% can be promotional content. Sticking to this rule will increase the chances of your target audience responding and engaging.

3. Promote your products with creative, professional photos


Instagram users share over 95 million photos and videos daily. Which makes it easy for your post to be overlooked. To be noticed , you will need to stand out by being creative or acquiring the services of influencers or celebrities to attract an audience.

For example, brands like Wonderful Pistachios use famous celebrities to promote their brand.


There’s no defined rule when it comes down to strategy as they will vary. What worked for one brand might not work for you. It is important to focus on content that matches your branding and your audience. This is defined when you start to build your strategy.

instagram marketing strategy

Brands That Rock Instagram (and what you can learn from them)

Put Together Your Instagram Style Guide

Have you ever seen a themed Instagram that was so interesting that you wanted to know how they did it? It is because of their style guide! What makes a style guide important? It ensures consistency towards the content you are publishing. You should think about composition, fonts, filter, captions, hashtag, color palette etc.


Let’s see those in details:

1. Composition


The arrangement of visual elements refers to composition. Not every marketer is a professional photographer which is why defining a few composition rules is good for them. Here are a few things they should consider:


  • Solid background color
  • Main focus of the picture set to the Rule of Thirds
  • Extra space at top/bottom for text
instagram style guide

2. Color Palette


How do you make your Instagram feed look consistent and focused? You do it by picking out a color palette. Choosing one does not necessarily mean you are limited to using only those colors. Having a color palette can actually help your posts have this appealing feeling.
Here’s a brand, Yeh! that uses color palette as a key part of their

instagram color palette marketing strategy

3. Fonts


It is best to use the same font if you are planning to publish photos or videos that contains quote or text on Instagram. This is used to keep consistency across your publications. Users can instantly recognize brands by their font. Nike, for example, is known for using a bold, sans serif font across all of their branding. The font itself is designed for impact and becomes easily associated with the brand.

4. Filters


Filters are the amateur photographer’s best friend. These pre-made edits that Instagram provides for its users can make anyone feel and look like a pro. They are easy to use and ideal to create professional looking photos without requiring the help of anyone. They can change the look of any content you punish on the platform. It is important to keep your Instagram profile consistent by using a few filters that you feel would represent your brand.

5. Captions


Captions are the short texts you see below Instagram posts. Think of them as being a representation of your brand. Having a good caption can do a difference in your posts. You are trying to aim for a caption that includes a call-to-action so that you can have engagement. There is a limit of 2,200 characters, but after 3 lines, your caption will be truncated. It is best to keep it short.

6. Hashtags


Hashtags give Instagram users the ability to discover new content and brands to follow. It is also the platform’s way to categorize the content users posts on the platform. A study performed by TrackMaven found that the optimal number of hashtags to use per post on Instagram to achieve maximum engagement is 9. You can include a maximum of 30 hashtags on your post, but it is not recommended.

instagram hashtag vs angagement

How Often and When to Post on Instagram

Consistency is key when posting to any social media network. You need to produce content to keep your audience interested in your brand. There is no magic number as to how many times you should publish a post. But on Instagram it is a bit more free.


Research shows that the more you post, the more likes you get – in this study by Tailwind, maximum likes were achieved with 7+ posts per week. And unlike with other social media networks, with Instagram, multiple studies have shown there is no negative impact brought about by posting more content. In fact, the Tailwind study showed Instagram accounts that started posting more had a higher engagement rate and grew their follower base quicker. However, that doesn’t mean you should push yourself out to produce content.


In regards to when you should post to Instagram, CoSchedule compiled data from multiple sources and they found Sunday had very low engagement, while Monday and Thursday were the best days. The best times to post are around 2 AM, 8-9 AM, and 5 PM.

Instagram best time to post