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A Beginner’s Guide to Instagram Marketing for Small Businesses

Instagram is one of the top social media platforms for marketing your brand. The huge user base along with the multiple on-platform features make Instagram a great medium to fulfill your social media goals.

If you are new to Instagram, you will realise how it is more than just a photo-sharing app, a multifaceted platform. Instagram was once only a photo-sharing app. Today, it has IGTV, Instagram stories, Ads in multiple formats and much more.

There are so many brands already using social media to drive their sales and increase website traffic. You too can use Instagram to fulfil your social media goals. As intimidating as it many seem, with the competition today, you can ace Instagram marketing by following a few steps.

Instagram for small business

Using Instagram for small business can be made easier if you follow a step by step approach, leveraging each and every aspect of the platform. Here’s a comprehensive guide to Instagram marketing for your brand:

Begin With Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

What is your goal and objective behind using the platform of Instagram? Do you want to enhance brand awareness, or are you aiming at drawing attention to specific products or services?

When you are starting out on Instagram for marketing your brand, you need to have a clear goal and objective on mind. With clarity on your goals and objectives, you can define actions that will help you achieve them. Accordingly, design a strategy for Instagram that aligns with your goal and let it offer a direction to all your social media activity.

Set Up Your Instagram Business Account

Download the app and set up your Instagram account. Then tap on the option of settings on your profile. Select ‘Switch to business profile’. If you have a Facebook business page, it is recommended to connect it with your Instagram business profile to make the most of this feature. Fill in the details about your business, including your category and contact information.

Setting up your Instagram business account is important so that the public to recognise your profile as a business one. You can add important business information on your profile with a business account. This includes information such as email address, contact number and physical address.

Understand The Instagram Algorithm

As an important part of using Instagram for business, you need to get acquainted with the Instagram algorithm. It is the Instagram algorithm which determines what appears on a users’ Instagram feed.Every user will see a different set of posts coming in a different order on their feed.

Essentially, the Instagram algorithm takes 3 main aspects into account. The user’s past behaviour and interactions with the content, as well as the recency of the content together determine what users will see on their Instagram feed.

Add an Informative, Eye-catching Instagram Bio

Offer an introduction about your brand in your Instagram bio. This space allows you to write a description about your brand in not more than 150 characters. In this short character amount, you should be able to inform your target audience about your brand and put out your desired message.

Keeping it short, simple and sweet, describe your brand and what it represents. You can include emojis and branded hashtags to make your bio interesting and eye-catching. This is the only space on your Instagram profile where you can add a link. This could lead to your website, a new blog post that you, a new product you launched or correspond to a post you shared recently.Put a compelling call to action along with this link on your profile.

Let Your Profile Reflect Your Brand Voice

The overall look of your profile as well as your profile photo should reflect your brand voice. Use your brand logo or mascot for your profile photo. You can follow a colour scheme for your Instagram profile, to add a unique style to it. Which colours would you associate with your brand? You can use these colours to define the overall aesthetic of your content and your profile in general.

Not just colours, you can have a theme directing all your content posts on Instagram. For instance, you can shoot your products in a natural setting and follow that theme in all your Instagram posts. The whole idea behind this is to build your brand image and consistently work towards enhancing it.

Post High Quality, Optimised Photos and Videos

High quality photos and videos

Fine tune your photos before posting them on Instagram. Choose well lit areas with natural light to click pictures. Use your native phone camera to shoot pictures as well as videos instead of using the in-app camera of Instagram. Make sure to edit and optimise your content to create sharp, high quality videos as well as images.

You can use the in-built tools on the app for editing or rely on third party apps to fine tune content.Use filters whenever necessary and make your content stand out.

Post Consistently When Your Audience Is Active

Maintain a consistent posting schedule on Instagram. For increasing your engagement, it is important to keep posting content consistently. Build stocks of content and schedule them according to a content calendar. Having the content calendar ready will help you maintain your consistency on Instagram.

It is equally important to post content when your audience is most active on Instagram for increased engagement.

Use Instagram Stories

Use this feature of Instagram to deliver engaging content. Bring out your brand’s story using Instagram stories. With Instagram stories you can  generate content in the form of 15-second long videos, photo slides and in various other modes. You can use Instagram stories to introduce your team, go behind the scenes, and capture moments from your organisation. By depicting all these elements, you can build a connection with your audience.

Explore your creativity to leverage this feature of Instagram in favour of your brand.

Conduct Live Streams

Live videos are a great way to generate social media engagement, and that too in real time. Get candid with your audience and invite them to ask you questions. You can bring a subject matter expert or even introduce your team on live stream. You can also cover important events such as product launches and other brand events using Instagram live.

Give out the date and time when you will go live on Instagram, so that your audience can tune in. Instagram will notify your followers few minutes ahead of the live stream.Alert your audience through your Instagram stories about the live streaming sessions with full details from what to when. This will help build a buzz around the live streaming session.

Live streams generate real time engagement and allow you a chance to interact with your audience directly. Leverage this tool to get more traction for your brand on the platform.

Frame Compelling Captions

As a part of your Instagram marketing strategy, focus on creating captions that draw the audience’s attention. First and foremost, your Instagram caption should reflect your brand voice and style. If you usually write in third person, make sure that from now on, all your captions are written in third person.

Your Instagram captions should bring value to your visual content. Make it interactive by posing questions or asking for feedback or opinions. Adding calls to action in your captions and adding mentions are some of the best ways to write Instagram captions. The idea is to push your audience to interact with your brand and increase engagement.

Respond Actively To Comments And Messages

Maintain a strong relationship with your target audience by making sure to respond to your audience on the platform. This also helps generate engagement. Respond back to all the comments and queries, questions and feedback. Respond to all the messages that pile up in your Instagram inbox.

When you response to your audience, it reflects that you care about your audience. In this sense, responding actively to comments as well as messages  helps in establishing a positive brand image while enhancing engagement.

Leverage the Power of UGCs

User generated content

Peer to peer reviews are very powerful. Use the impact of peer reviews to push for engagement and conversion on Instagram. You can ask your followers to put out content featuring your brand, on Instagram.This could be done using branded hashtags, for instance.You can then share their content as posts through your Instagram profile.

When normal people use your products and endorse your brands, the audience is more easily convinced about your brand’s authenticity. It also instills a sense of trust in your brand. AirBnB, for instance, has been posting user generated content on Instagram for a very long while now.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing

Partner with a niche Influencer to take your Instagram marketing efforts to the next level. Find an independent creator whose niche resonates and aligns with your brand. Enter into a collaboration with them to leverage their content creation capabilities and access to large audiences on Instagram.

Influencers can conduct Instagram account takeover of your brand. They may feature on your Instagram stories and even on Instagram photos and videos. You can bring Influencers on board as campaign ambassadors on a short term basis.There are so many ways you can leverage the content creation skills of Influencers. Product reviews by Influencers can turn out to be powerful endorsements for your brand. Influencer marketing, in this sense, can be even more impactful than peer reviews.

Instagram Advertising

Instagram for business offers you the option of generating paid and sponsored posts for promoting your brand. Use Instagram Ads as a sure shot way to reach out to your audience on Instagram. Precise targeting and impactful story-telling with the multiple creative formats that Instagram offers, make Instagram Ads a lucrative tool to market your brand.

From simple Photo Ads to Video Ads, Carousel Ads and Stories Ads, you can create Instagram Ad creatives that leave an impression on your audience. Collection Ads offer elements of both photos and videos. Make sure to add your calls to action with all your Instagram Ads on the platform. Depending upon the content of your Ad creative and your goal, you can frame a caption with an appropriate Call to action.

Tracking Your Metrics Using Social Media Analytics Tools

Tracking your metrics is relevant to Instagram marketing for small businesses as well as established business. It is important to keep stock of where you are heading before you can plan out your next strategy. Track and monitor your social media performance using a social media analytics tool such as Unbox Social.

Social media analytics

Uncover important social media metrics such as your engagement rates as well as brand impressions, using this social analytics tool. Unveil post specific analytics as well. Find out about your audience using this tool. Finally, pull out Instagram reports using this tool and uncover important insights about your social media activity.

Learn from insights derived from your Instagram reports and take actions accordingly. Which Instagram posts received more engagement? Take inspiration to generate more such content. Which Instagram posts were least popular? Rethink your content marketing strategy here.


Leverage Instagram for marketing your brand on the platform by following a few simple, comprehensive steps:

  • Set clear goals and objectives that you want to achieve using Instagram marketing
  • Create your Instagram business account
  • Get acquainted with the Instagram algorithm
  • Come up with a catchy, yet informative Instagram bio
  • Bring out your brand voice with your Instagram profile photo, them and color scheme
  • Fine tune all your photos and videos before posting them on the platform
  • Maintain posting consistency and post when your audience is active on the platform
  • Leverage the Instagram stories’ feature
  • Boost real time engagement and establish a relationship with your audience by going live on Instagram
  • Write Instagram copies that engage your audience
  • Make sure to respond to your audience’s comments and messages
  • Leverage user generated content for strong peer endorsements
  • Run Influencer Marketing campaigns
  • Post Instagram Ads and target your audience in an effective manner
  • Track your social media metrics using analytics tools



What is Unbox Social?

Unbox Social is a powerful tool that offers solutions for influencer search, social media analytics, and competition tracking. The platform helps you get in-depth social media performance data of your brands, campaigns, and competitors. Get detailed reports and implement the findings in your strategies to get the most out of your campaigns!

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Working with influencers?

Use our brand scan to find who competition works with!


Working with influencers?

Use our brand scan to find who competition works with!